KTM gets customization

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.

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