Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM has spent over 50 years building fast, austere motorcycles aimed at performance purists. Moving beyond their ready to race bikes however, KTM has announced that they're bringing their first four wheeler to market which will make its first public appearance at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
Reminiscent of the Ariel Atom, the KTM X-BOW roadster is a four wheeled motorcycle track car for the road which looks something like a cross between a Lotus Elise and a go-cart. It employs a 70 kg carbon fibre monocoque chassis design, the same safety technology used in Formula One racing, which provides the driver with outstanding rigidity and safety. Matched with the the race-tuned suspension and a compact, modern four valve FSI engine, 0-100 km/h times are under 4 seconds. Not surprising considering the entire vehicle weighs just 700 kg / 1,543 lbs.
Similar to the Hypercar concept, the KTM X-BOW utilises high-tech, light-weight materials to reduce the size of the engine and offer better performance; it's just in this case that performance is translated into speed, not lower fuel economy. The carbon fibre monocoque used has until now been reserved for the highest levels of professional racing and super cars. But through a new construction and production process developed with Italian racing car specialist Dallara, the cost to mass produce such materials has been cut from the traditional price of US$500,000 plus to less than US$100,000.
Analysis: Reduce the weight some and you can reduce the weight even more. For example, the X-BOW is so light that it doesn't need power steering. If KTM achieve their desired 500 units per year output, mass produced carbon fibre automotive construction will be one step closer.