KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas – Pierer Mobility’s Three-Pronged Assault


Like many motorbike manufacturers, KTM had a difficult 2020, with gross sales shrinking within the face of COVID-19 and the financial toll it exacted. The Austrian model bought 212,713 bikes via the yr, a 9.3% lower from the pre-pandemic world of 2019.

Regardless of the lower in orange bikes, to not point out a two-month interruption in motorbike manufacturing, guardian firm Pierer Mobility truly noticed a rise in market share, thanks largely to its different two motorbike manufacturers: Husqvarna and GasGas. Husqvarna gross sales elevated from 45,650 items in 2019 to 49,046 items in 2020, whereas GasGas bought 8,648 bikes in its first full yr as a part of Pierer Mobility. That wasn’t fairly sufficient to make up the 21,736 lower in KTM gross sales, nevertheless it did assist cushion the blow.

Picture by Rudi Schedl.

A Historical past Lesson

Pierer Industries acquired Husqvarna in 2013, buying the Swedish model from BMW. On the time, Pierer Industries additionally owned Husaberg, one other Swedish model that splintered off of Husqvarna when the corporate was acquired by Cagiva in 1988. Pierer then merged the 2 tre kronor manufacturers underneath the Husqvarna title.

In 2015, KTM was reportedly in discussions to buy GasGas after the Spanish model filed for chapter. Staff of GasGas have been, let’s assume, lower than welcoming. The Torrot Group stepped in as a substitute to maintain GasGas afloat, however that solely lasted a few years earlier than the model met monetary hassle as soon as extra. This time, Pierer Industries stepped up and bought a 60% share of GasGas in 2019. In July 2020, Pierer Industries, now renamed Pierer Mobility, acquired the remaining 40%, assuming full management over GasGas, including it utterly to its portfolio alongside Husqvarna and KTM.

Pierer Mobility’s three-brand strategy, sharing expertise throughout its Orange, White and Crimson manufacturers, holds a singular place within the trade.

We’ve seen this extra typically within the automotive trade, with corporations like Basic Motors, which controls sub-brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC, or Fiat Chrysler Vehicles, which incorporates U.S. manufacturers Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram plus Italian marques Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, and Maserati. You even have automakers splintering a luxurious model from the principle firm, like Toyota and Lexus, or Honda and Acura.

Within the motorbike world, the closest comparability is the Piaggio Group, which embrace Aprilia, Vespa, Moto Guzzi, Derbi, and Gilera. Whereas there’s quite a lot of shared expertise throughout Piaggio’s scooters, its bikes, most notably Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, have utterly totally different engine philosophies.

With KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas, every model affords related fashions, sharing practically equivalent engines and frames. It’s straightforward to imagine their merchandise are all the identical, simply with totally different colours and graphics, however Pierer Mobility makes some modifications to distinguish between its three manufacturers.

KTM 1290 Super Duke RR

KTM has the widest vary of fashions of the three manufacturers and the one one in the mean time utilizing the big 1301cc V-Twin, most just lately used on the restricted version 1290 Tremendous Duke RR. Picture by Rudi Schedl.

KTM stays the corporate’s essential model, and it’s the place we normally see the outcomes of the corporate’s R&D first. Traditionally the oldest of the three manufacturers, Husqvarna is its premium marque, however not on the expense of accessibility. Husqvarna’s streetbikes specifically draw on a distinct aesthetic, balancing fashionable design with a retro vibe.

The Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 shares a platform with the KTM 390 Duke however has a definite model from the orange bike. Picture by Rudi Schedl.

As Pierer Mobility describes it, “each motorbike within the [Husqvarna] vary is trimmed to the naked essence of the mandatory functionalithy, but nonetheless engaging, subtle, and good sufficient to attraction to discerning riders.”

GasGas is a comparatively lesser-known model, beforehand recognized most for its trial and enduro bikes. GasGas is positioned because the entry-level (Pierer Mobilty’s phrase alternative is “enabler”) model, with an emphasis on enjoyable and accessibility. Visiting the web sites of all three manufacturers, the writing on GasGas’ website is noticeably extra informal and extra energetic than the extra stoic and technical language on Husqvarna’s and KTM’s web sites.

Pierer Mobility has ramped up GasGas’ worldwide motorsport presence, most notably in Moto3 and on the Dakar Rally. Picture by RallyZone.

All collectively, Pierer Mobility’s three manufacturers mix to compete for the title of Europe’s largest motorbike producer towards its German rival, BMW.

Lineup variations

KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas product portfolios

Of the three manufacturers, KTM has the widest product portfolio, with a spread of off-road bikes and streetbikes. Husqvarna affords a variety of grime bikes however a extra restricted vary of road fashions, primarily with its Duke-based Vitpilen and Svartpilen nakeds, and it’s anticipated so as to add a spread of journey bikes beginning with the Norden 901.

Below Pierer Industries, GasGas just lately launched its first motocross fashions. At one level, Pierer Mobility was contemplating including some journey and bare fashions to the GasGas lineup, however in the mean time, the corporate positions GasGas as its entry-level off-road model. Regardless of solely taking up the model in September 2019, KTM was in a position to shortly develop and mass produce GasGas bikes by leveraging a shared platform with its different two manufacturers.

GasGas launched its very first motocross fashions underneath Pierer Mobility possession.

simply the off-road lineups, KTM nonetheless affords the widest vary of displacement choices. Choices could differ for every market, however the Austrian model’s motocrossers embrace 450, 350, and 250 four-strokes, plus two-strokes within the 250, 150, 125, 85, 65, and 50 lessons. Husqvarna’s lineup is analogous, nevertheless it lacks a 150 two-stroke mannequin. GasGas’ motocross vary is even smaller, omitting the 250 and 150 two-strokes in addition to the 350 four-stroke.

It’s the identical story within the enduro and cross nation ranges, with KTM providing a full vary and Husqvarna and GasGas having a extra selective alternative of displacements.

What are the variations between KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas fashions?

Although all three manufacturers provide related fashions, there are some notable variations between them to create some market separation. There’s additionally a little bit of a value distinction, with Husqvarna fashions usually priced $100-$200 larger than their KTM counterparts, whereas GasGas fashions can run about $600 cheaper than the equal KTM. For instance, GasGas’ 450-class motocrosser, the MC 450F, is available in at $9,399 U.S., in comparison with the $10,199 KTM 450 SX-F and the $10,299 Husqvarna FC 450.

Pierer Mobility made delicate modifications to its platform to distinguish between KTM, GasGas, and Husqvarna bikes. Picture by Mitterbauer H.

The engines are primarily the identical throughout all three manufacturers, although the exhausts on four-stroke GasGas fashions lack the resonance chamber on Husqvarna and KTM header pipes. The chromium molybdenum metal frames are the identical throughout manufacturers – except the orange, blue or crimson powder coatings, in fact – however Husqvarna’s off-road fashions use carbon fiber composite subframes which it claims weighs simply 3.1 kilos. The carbon subframes give Husqvarnas a distinct weight distribution than the aluminum subframes employed on the KTM and GasGas fashions.

GasGas fashions use cast triple clamps as a substitute of the pricier machined triple clamps discovered on their Swedish and Austrian cousins. GasGas fashions additionally don’t come normal with bar-mounted engine map switches, although they’re obtainable as elective equipment. Additional contributing to deliver the costs down, GasGas fashions usually include Maxxis tires as a substitute of the dearer Dunlops discovered on KTMs and Husqvarnas.

Brembo provides a lot of the brakes to all three manufacturers apart from Husqvarna’s enduros which use Magura brakes. Magura additionally provides the clutches for all off-road Husqvarnas, whereas Brembo is the provider for KTM and GasGas.

Husqvarna carbon subframe

Essentially the most notable distinction with Husqvarna fashions is the usage of a carbon composite subframe. Picture by Kiska.

Husqvarna fashions additionally use Renthal handlebars whereas KTM and GasGas fashions use Neken bars. There are additionally some variations to the gas tank designs throughout manufacturers. Within the two-stroke 125cc motocross class, for instance, the GasGas MC 125 has a 1.8 gallon gas tank in comparison with the KTM 125 SX’s 2.0 gallon tank and the Husqvarna TC 125’s 2.1 gallon tank. That’s three totally different sized gas tanks on bikes with primarily the identical engine and body.

The bodywork differs between the three manufacturers, with KTM fashions normally having a extra aggressive form. Husqvarna off-road fashions additionally undertake a distinct airbox cowl design with inlet ducts it claims reduces drag and air movement deformation.

WP Suspension is a part of the Pierer Mobility household, so it’s no shock its provides suspension for all KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas bikes. Picture by Kiska.

All three manufacturers use WP suspension methods, which involves no shock as WP can be a subsidiary of Pierer Mobility. Although the elements are the identical, there are some variations to the internals, tuned for every particular mannequin. Most of KTM’s off-road fashions have the rear shock related on to the swingarm whereas the Husqvarna and GasGas variations use a linkage system.

What in regards to the road bikes?

Of the three manufacturers, KTM affords the widest vary of street-legal bikes, with a collection of nakeds, journey bikes, sport-touring, and sportbike fashions in numerous displacements. The middleweight 790 Journey and Duke fashions have been perennial favorites right here at MO, they usually look to be superceded by the brand new 890 fashions.

Husqvarna Norden 901

The Husqvarna Norden 901 idea debuted at EICMA in 2019. We anticipate the manufacturing model to reach for the 2022 mannequin yr.

Husqvarna’s road lineup truly shrank this yr, because the Vitpilen and Svartpilen 701 fashions weren’t refreshed to satisfy Euro 5 restrictions. We anticipate Husqvarna will substitute them with new 901 fashions sooner or later, following the discharge of the Norden 901 journey bike.

In the mean time, GasGas is a purely off-road model, and Pierer Mobility seems intent to maintain it that approach. Shortly after GasGas was first acquired, Pierer Mobility ready a presentation for buyers that confirmed potential bare and journey fashions, however the firm has since pivoted away from these early sketches.

GasGas’ debut Moto3 season is off to a powerful begin with Izan Guevara at present sitting fifth total after two races.

Nonetheless, there stays a risk of highway bikes from GasGas sooner or later. GasGas just lately started competing in worldwide highway racing for the primary time, getting into the 2021 Moto3 World Championship with the Aspar racing crew. There’s a pure synergy with a Spanish model becoming a member of a Spanish race crew with a pair of Spanish riders, however it’s important to marvel why an off-road solely model is competing within the highest ranges of highway racing.

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