John Penton and the Off-Road Motorcycle Revolution

Consumed by a passion to build better motorcycles and a deep patriotic desire to lead America to victory at the International Six Days Trial, John Penton has spent his life redefining off-road motorcycling. Along the way he helped change the face of American motorcycle competition, the polities of racing, and what Americans expect from their off-road motorcycles. One of the most visionary, driven, complex, dynamic, and influential personalities in motorcycling, John Penton stands out in what may have been the most exciting revolutionary quarter-century in the history of the American motorcycle sport.

Author Ed Youngblood draws upon his 30-year personal acquaintance with John Penton, and exhaustive review of the literature of the period, and more than 50 interviews with Penton, his family, friends, employees, dealers, customers, business associates, and competitors to tell this captivating tale of the creation of the high-performance, light-weight, purpose-built off-road motorcycle. Yet John Penton and The Off Road Motorcycle Revolution goes beyond the story of a man and his machine, it tides motorcycling in America into a large cultural movement, explaining how major political and economic events affected the creation of the off-road motorcycle in the 1960’s, the precipitous decline of the market during the 1970’s, and the rebound that found KTM motorcycles—successors to the Penton—competing successfully against the powerful Japanese in the 1990’s.

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