TWO-STROKE TUESDAY: THE HOT PINK TM
It is rare to find a picture of a TM motorcycle before the 1980’s. Pictured is a 1984 TM with an 80cc engine that rests in a 125cc chassis. This engine/chassis combination were and still are popular in Europe. Notice the aluminum gas tank and shock placement.
TM motorcycles have been around since 1976. Two men, by the names of Claudio Flenghi (who is known as Mr. Engine) and Francesco Battistelli (known as Mr. Frame) from Italy, were childhood friends with a passion for the world of motorcycles. They came up with the TM name from the initials of the names of their sons–Thomas and Mirko.
Honda? Look again! The red and blue color scheme as well as the plastics make this 1991 TM look like a Honda replica. This is TM’s 1991 80cc in a big bike chassis model. Notice the cone pipe, Excel rims and Ohlins shock.
In 1977, their motocross bike showed unexpected success at the Milan Motorcycle show. From this success, they moved the TM company from Flenghi’s small workshop to an equipped factory and team. In 1978, the company produced a total of 200 motocross bikes.
In 1993, TM went with the hot pink color scheme. It was loud and exotic, but not a popular color choice among men. Notice the WP upside-down forks, cone pipe, aluminum tank, Ohlins shock and solid rear disk.
You have to realize, it was never the dream of these two to take over the motocross industry. Their philosophy was to be different. They spared no expense using the highest grade materials to make a quality brand that was, and still are built by hand–and they don’t want to change that. They couldn’t pump out the production numbers that Yamaha or KTM do, nor do they want to. They take pride in the legacy of Italian handmade craftsmanship.
Dare to be different they did in 1993. Before then they looked much like an exotic Honda with their red and blue color scheme, aluminum tank, cone pipe and Ohlins shock. Choosing to change the color scheme to differentiate themselves from other brands was a smart move, although choosing the feminine color hot pink was over the top. Boy did it catch the eye, but it also turned some off. The motto, “Only real men wear pink,” didn’t catch on until the 21st century. They might have been early to the show, but the bold statement made the TM brand buzz worthy. Maybe not the attention they wanted, but for a small boutique brand any attention is good attention, especially if they had a product that performed.
The hot pink color scheme lasted four years until 1996. They then moved on to a Yamaha blue that had Yamaha plastics. They went back to looking like another brand. After a few years, the color then changed to more of a fluorescent blue which it is today.