The new ‘home’ of KTM

KTM’s ‘MOTOHALL’ is the result of four years planning and almost 30 million euros of investment. Here’s the lowdown on the company’s impressive new showpiece set to open early May in Mattighofen.

There is an undeniable KTM presence in Mattighofen. The town is a short distance across the German-Austrian border, east of Munich, north of Salzburg. Signs, transport, and bikes pop up frequently in the small center and close to the main factory. A spares center and engine plant are also easily spotted before the main road to Munderfing shows off yet more new structures, the Racing HQ and KTM Components GmbH.

The taste of orange will become slightly stronger by May when the firm open the doors of their ‘MOTOHALL’ to the public. Built a ten-minute walk from the principal assembly lines, the easy-to-find multi-purpose, multi-storey KTM ‘hotspot’ is more than a museum or a display zone: it is a modern and stylish beacon for the company’s roots, achievements, current activities and future. Kristina Kuttruf has been charged with overseeing the massive project – one of the most diverse and fascinating in KTM’s history – so we asked what it’s all about, what visitors they can expect and why it’ll be well-worth tapping ‘Mattighofen’ into the GPS app.

© KTM Motohall GmbH

Welcome to our MOTOHALL. There are five sections to the exhibition then a shop, an adjacent restaurant called ‘Garage’ and a small café bar inside the actual MOTOHALL. We also have the presentation hall and parking space for about 130 cars. We have three main floors that chart the KTM story. On the first floor we talk about the design, the clay modelling, the shapes, the engineering and evolution. We’ll speak about the engines and the engine families, frames, suspension, the subsidiaries and KTM worldwide. It is hard to offer people KTM factory tours because we don’t have the space for visitors to walk around so in the MOTOHALL instead we’ll have a map model to see how the factory has developed and grown over the years and since the 1950s. You can touch a ‘building’ and see how it is inside and how it is today. You walk to the third floor through a ‘ring’ layout that illustrates the KTM history with all the bikes. The MOTOHALL floors are inclined and it is quite a complex and interesting piece of architecture. After seeing the evolution of the bikes you can then pass other areas like customer racing that has models like the KTM X-BOW and the Moto3 bike and the actual current model range will be on display. Racing has pride of place and we have the third floor dedicated to our racing heroes. It was not easy but we chose 28 heroes from our champions and they are present with their ‘figure’ and original clothing and bikes. We have a 360-degree video installation where a film made exclusively for the MOTOHALL is shown every hour highlighting the racing and the racing spirit. Goosebumps guaranteed.

“It’s not a museum because it is not dedicated entirely to history instead it is the heart of KTM, the epicenter.”

That’s not all. In the basement we have meeting rooms as well as a presentation space where we can run events for up to 400 people. It has a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system so we envisage having launches, MD meetings and things like presentations of race teams. We also have a ‘living workshop’ where one of the technicians will be there the whole time and will be restoring old bikes and you can talk and interact with him. In the Innovation Lab, located next to the workshop, kids and teens can experiment with technology like a laser plotter and 3D printers. Students might find it interesting to work in this section as the facilities are on a high level. For sure it will be interesting for school kids making an educational visit.

© KTM Motohall GmbH

Staying in Mattighofen. We had a mission statement and it was to allow people to be part of KTM and our technique, visions and heroes. Also to let people know why we are in Mattighofen and what our roots are all about. It was important that the MOTOHALL was located here.

Shop ‘til you drop. I’m very happy that we have about 300 m² for the shop space and to show the whole KTM PowerWear range. The current shop at the factory is really small so we are limited with what we can reveal. Riding gear is a bit different because you need time to explain technical wear and best left to the dealers. We can keep stock in the factory – which is just next door – but we also have space for stock in the MOTOHALL. The same staff in the current store will move in and I think they are happy to have a much larger and more modern facility.

© KTM Motohall GmbH

Reaching the people. One of the great things is that up until now we, as a company, have only really communicated with motorcycle riders and race fans and now we are able to open up to much more people: families and kids, grandparents, non-bikers and business partners that want to do an event at the MOTOHALL. For the first time we are really ‘open’ and speaking with everyone. It is a challenge but it is great. What I really love is that we can offer something more. In the past we saw people who have ridden up from Italy and they are standing outside the factory taking photos and selfies; we cannot offer them a tour because the rate of bike production means we need all the space we have. Now, for the first time, we can open our doors and offer them something. We can show them the core of KTM and some of the philosophy as well as a chance to read and hear cool stories, see cool bikes, videos and things they won’t find anywhere else. We have a whole launch and communication concept and we have only just started with the Instagram account. We are going slowly with that because there are still a few months to go. Two months before opening we’ll push on with the publicity, offer more and more information on the KTM MOTOHALL website and get in touch with KTM fans.

Initial visitor numbers. It’s hard to say … we have tried to see what other similar concepts have managed but we have to remember that while we are a very strong and interesting brand on the one hand on the other we are not located in a big city like Munich or Stuttgart. I think if we can attract 60,000 visitors a year at the beginning then this would be fine. Overall it is a little of guesswork but we as team are prepared to offer a comfortable and interesting experience for all national and international visitors.

© KTM Motohall GmbH

The tickets. We’re talking about 10 euros for adults and 7 euros for concessions. Children up to the age of 14 are free. We have a group price and a family ticket. The MOTOHALL will be open every day of the week except Mondays. The few public holidays where the MOTOHALL will be closed can be found on the website.

The MOTOHALL has to be engaging for a motorcyclist, an engineer but also a mother of two kids who has never ridden a bike.”

Let’s get interactive. The kids will have a ‘Rookie tour’ that involves a ‘Road Book’ taken from the main desk and there will be fourteen stations in the MOTOHALL where there will be an activity, sometimes with a touch screen and they will have to collect stamps in the book. We’ll also have a model of a 65cc bike with the sounds and vibration so they can feel what a bike is like for the first time. Then there are things like finding particular ‘heroes’ where the stamp is an autograph, and a section where they can build their own bike digitally and get a photo of themselves with types of riding gear and this image can go inside the road book. It is pretty interactive from the age where kids can read – so from six, or even younger, if parents help them. There is a lot to do. For older ages we have technical tables where you can go into real depth. At the suspension ‘table’ you can take a screwdriver and adjust suspension to see and feel the clicks and digitally a bike will then appear on the screen and show you how effective your idea or setting was. There will also be educational videos, such as showing the differences between 4-stroke and 2-stroke and engine concepts. You can interact with the screens. It is much more interactive than some other places I’ve visited where the displays are very static. KTM engaged the agency ATELIER BRÜCKNER from Stuttgart that has dealt with many huge projects, like BMW in Munich, and they made the ideas for the interior and we delivered the bikes and the knowledge.

It will look good! The metallic sculpture of the exterior is supposed to give the effect of a dirtbike’s wheel spokes of going through the mud. Each individual metal plate has been slightly adjusted and changed to create this. Quite a job!

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© KTM Motohall GmbH

Our biggest challenge was … that we started with an idea but we have not stuck with it. If we’ve seen or thought of something that would be an improvement then we’ve gone with it, even as we have drawn closer and closer to the opening. We had the architects around the table and have used a technical team; an example is the Innovation Lab – which will be in the basement – that came up around a year-and-a-half ago and gives youngsters the chance to explore all these new technologies like 3D modelling and virtual reality. Furthermore, they can experiment with things like soldering stations. We saw that it would be popular and it wasn’t in the original plan but we moved to make it happen. It’s typical KTM: if you see an improvement then we go for it and don’t stick with the old way. We also had to lean quite heavily on departments like R&D. They are busy designing and building new motorcycles but we needed details and approvals and used the test riders to give us sensory information and data for the interactive parts of the MOTOHALL. It was a lot…and I know they are now happy that we’re not bothering them anymore!

We’ll make our own oranges. The café and restaurant was something we wanted to handle internally. After all, the restaurant is normally the last place to be visited so the impression has to be just as strong as the experience in the MOTOHALL and you don’t want guests having low quality food or drinks. Of course, KTM is not a catering company so we were looking for partners and in the end founded our own company with experts. The quality is something we can control directly. It is something new and something to learn.

The MOTOHALL down the line. After the first year we’ll start with special exhibitions – we already have some ideas in mind – and we want to keep it interesting. I believe there is a lot inside the MOTOHALL and it might not be possible to ‘get it all’ in the first turn. You might need two or three visits to enjoy all the details. The MOTOHALL will have a ‘convention center’ role as well and we’ll invite companies to have their meetings and presentations as long as their ideas fit together with KTM. This will be a new kind of business case.

© KTM Motohall GmbH

What KTM think of A KTM MOTOHALL. It has been a long-term task and we have been working on it now for nearly four years. People were a bit distant from it in the beginning but as it progressed and took shape the interest really grew and the questions started coming and I saw many people getting so enthusiastic. I think every corner of the company is standing behind this and is proud that KTM is building this MOTOHALL. It is a positive project and I think we are lucky to be working on it.

Photos: KTM Motohall GmbH