BACK IN THE DAY: REBIRTH OF THE JACKPINER

Back_in_the_Day_Jack Pinerweb

John Penton and KTM had a stormy relationship. And there was a time after the disappearance of the Penton motorcycle brand, which had been manufactured by KTM, that nerves were a little raw. The John Penton Story, which is a charter film currently being shown in limited release, does an excellent job of telling the whole story. By 1997, however, all was forgiven. Stefan Pierer had been on the KTM executive board for five years and had immense respect for the Penton legacy. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Penton motorcycle sold, KTM released a limited-production dirt bike called the Jackpiner, named for the 175 Penton that housed the first full-size motor that KTM built. There were 133 of them sold, and all were numbered and had a sticker on the front fender with John Penton’s signature.
But, the significance of that 1997 motorcycle goes far beyond its short production run. It marked the beginning of a KTM dynasty that continues to this day. It was the first 200 that KTM built. That was important because it showed an understanding of the American market, where that displacement was important at the time. The 200 would go on to be KTM’s biggest-selling model in later years. Beyond that, the Jackpiner was the first bike with PDS no-linkage rear suspension. That would become a KTM trademark feature in 1998, and remains a feature on the XC-W line to this day. It was also one of the very first dirt bikes with a hydraulic clutch—that’s rare today, and virtually unheard of in 1997. The Jackpiner had a number of features that other KTMs never received. It came with an Ohlins shock, and in fact it was Ohlins who originally developed the PDS system. And it was blue, just like its namesake.
Another groundbreaker was the price. It sold for $6797 in a time when a 250 motocross bike sold for around $5600. Subsequent versions of the 200 would drop down into the low $5000 range, but a barrier of sorts had been broken. Today, you occasionally see a Jackpiner for sale. If you do, it’s probably one from 1975. There were a lot more of those built.

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