KTM gets customization

Dailies -



Check out these LED light strips that integrate neatly into the KTM 125 Duke’s fuel tank. They’re not just some random product in an inches-thick, generic accessories catalog, they’re available in KTM showrooms alongside the motorcycle they’re meant to go on. Since that bike is targeted at restricted license European teenagers, these should work wonders at prying a few extra Euro out of parents’ pockets and help increase the little Duke’s already strong appeal in that market.

Typically limited to plastic seat covers and branded bike covers, OEM accessories are often so unremarkable as to cause an instantaneous onset of narcolepsy. The notable exception there is Harley, which instead causes bursts of uncontrollable laughter as you flip through hundreds of pages of chrome tassels and chrome “performance” enhancements. Still, that most loathsome of exploitative lenders demonstrates the power of the humble bolt-on; they provide an avenue for up-sale at time of purchase and help enhance the appeal of the product in the showroom, allowing customers to achieve personalization even in an environment packed solid with identical motorcycles.

There’s also this sticker kit, which manages to add some really neat graphics instead of the usual tribal ghost flames.

What we haven’t seen in motorcycles yet is OEM accessories successfully targeted at young buyers. Part of the reason for that is that motorcycle makers are still reluctantly making the switch from focusing all their efforts exclusively on boomers and also because the potential of the youth market has gone largely untapped, especially in North America. Look at the success of, say, Scion’s accessories program to see how powerful gewgaws can be in increasing the appeal of relatively staid products.

As KTM ramps up to tackle the American youth market with a dedicated street product, the 2013 KTM Duke 350, it’s encouraging to see a grasp of that market demonstrated in a product like these light strips. Strong design, a high level of spec, a low price point and a genuinely capable machine (if the 125 is anything to go by), we’re hoping the mid-capacity Duke can be the bike that gets kids off ratty cafe racers and onto a real motorcycle.

  • Vincent

    KTM knows how to make a good looking bike.

    I bet that thing is an absolute blast around the city.

  • todd

    sheeesh. sorry, seems lame to me.

    what about a different seat? different foot pegs, bar end mirrors, different handle bars, different sprokets/gear rations, different exhaust systems…. “real” shit everyone does the second they get the bike home.

  • robotribe

    I get the “why”, but still think the end result is basically barf-inducing farkle.

  • nick2ny

    I’ve never seen an LED look anything but trinkety. Even on 911s and R8s, they look cheap to me. No thanks KTM, but I will take the rest of the bike!

    • je

      There is no reason to bring Audi into this, their LEDs are pure s3x.. deal with it.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub the (unfortunate) roomate

      i think you win the craziest comment of the day award.

      • BMW11GS

        I dont think they look bad either…

        • Kyle

          i put aftermarket ones on my VW and it looks fantastic.

          • always_go_big

            I put some on my coffee machine and it looks great and is much faster than before.

  • HammSammich

    HD sees accessories as a great means of increasing the total purchase price of bikes as well as providing an ongoing market for boomers with disposable income and a fanatical desire to see their do-rags reflected in every possible surface of their motorcycles.

    I can definitely see KTM’s accessories program giving a little boost to purchase price, and being used as marketing to attract new buyers, but I’m doubtful that the buyers of Mini-Dukes will be able to support a very large OEM accessories catalog…

  • Terry

    I think LED strips are silly, but then again, kids like silly shit. I’d like to see some effort expended towards making it easier for me to get a KTM in the first place – I don’t think there is a dealer I can get to in less than two hours on the road.

  • Thom

    Isn’t this just so very very Cute .

    KTM is trying to become the MINI of the Motorcycle world .

    As well as giving Harley Davidson a run for ” Most Accessorized Motorcycle ” being sold .

    Remind me . Wasn’t KTM the ones who came out with the Bad Boy Duke , the true all terrain Adventure M/C as well as that new Superbike ?

    And this is what it all comes down too ? Cute teeny bopper accessories for your cute teeny bopper M/C ?

    I guess the X-Bow must of done more financial damage to KTM than anyone previously thought .

    • Jens

      As I heared the X-Bow burned 35 Million Euro…

    • Myles


      Goddammit, I hate agreeing with you.

      • Edward

        That’s a shame, I thought the X-bow was incredible

    • dux

      How about KTM trading cards? Pogs maybe? Product placement in Jersey Shore?

      • HolyHandGrenade!

        KTM should pull an an A&F and pay not to be on the Jersey Shore.

  • Jens

    In Europe all manufacturers have problems to attract young riders. Not sure if a 5$ chinese LED strip is the way to go, but KTM is following the track. First a real attractive bike, now the accessory.

    Enough well situated fathers would love to get the gameboy generation on 2 wheels.

    • HolyHandGrenade!

      I agree with everthing but “real attractive bike.”

  • kneepuck

    Wow! Reading most the comments above make it clear they just don’t get it. Good for KTM. Get those young butts on motorcycles!

    • Joe

      Agreed, I went to Indy for the MotoGP and was shocked to see nearly no one my age on motorcycles downtown on Meridian.

      People in my age bracket need more affordable motorcycle options.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, it’s all well and good to get your butt hurt because we’re all real and pure and authentic motorcyclists, but an 18 year old dude just wants a bike that’s cool to him and his peers.

      • JonB

        Bravo KTM.

      • HolyHandGrenade!

        Wes, that is true of most people who buy motorcycles. Even more so for first time buyers. Why is that so wrong?

      • Kyle

        I dont care if they bring a 350 or a 125 here I’ll take either one an dbe happy with it. Dont get me wrong I’d love a showoffy F3 or 848 but dman this bike is awesome. Probably really good gas milage and total campus cruiser.

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    I don’t think it’s so impractical to add LED lights to your bike. Sure the intent isn’t safety, but the result might be slightly added side visibility.

    People love to farkle their bikes, so let ‘em farkle! KTM minus well get a cut of the action. Their hardparts catalog is really nicely curated, and probably 90% of the items come from a 3rd party.

    At least there are some original graphics, colors and textures coming out of Mattighofen, I hope they continue to work with Kiska.

  • Sean Smith

    “We’re hoping the mid-capacity Duke can be the bike that gets kids off ratty cafe racers and onto a real motorcycle.”

    I always enjoy a good cafe racer jab.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub the (unfortunate) roomate

      because you’re a real motorcyclist and better than people who like a combination of style and function.

      • HolyHandGrenade!
      • Sean Smith

        I just place faux-vintage style somewhere below function, safety, riding skill and knowledge. ;)

        • rohorn

          Sadly, most motorcycles ARE fashion accessories, lifestyle totems, and social tools.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    I don’t know if I would buy this for my bike but bolt-on parts are a great way to squeeze some extra margin out of the product, especially if it’s entry-level. If it gets the kids onto bikes and keeps KTM in business then I’m into it.

    • always_go_big

      +1. If it takes some christmas lights to get a new generation of riders to embrace two wheels and a motor then I’m all for it. I am sure the old guard said the same about pint sized RD’s and candy apple XL’s back in the day.

  • http://www.xenophya.com Xenophya

    We suggested a strip led light like that for the front of the Rieju RS3. The idea being that it would have worked as a parking light. Sadly the idea got vetoed.