Introducing KTM Twins' Vendor Highlight series - we talk shop and get the scoop behind the big brands you know and love, the ones you don't, and the new ones you're soon to love. Our ride starts with a brief overview of the brand with stops to hear from owners. We arrive having learned about why parts are created or refined to stick with us through our adventures. If we're lucky we even get a hint of where the future might take us!
If you've been hitting the trail and haven't yet heard of Perun Moto, you're in the right place. They're a group of riders that are dedicated to making solutions to keep them en route ride after ride. Instead of cobbling together "good enough" parts, they focus on quality construction and finish. Since the parts look so cool, they also thought the rest of us might benefit from their kickass designs.
Perun isn't a household name to KTM owners yet. The Twins team already knows how popular this small manufacturer is, but you might not. We're making sure you do.
Fellow riders can't help but admire Nikola Maletić, founder and owner of Perun Moto, for his story and involvement with his passion. We gave him first crack at our Vendor Highlight series and the opportunity to help you get geared up for your next ride.
Tell us the name of your company, where you are located and how you got started?
My company is Perun Moto. We are located in Belgrade, Serbia, Eastern Europe. It’s a great place for adventure riding, as we are allowed to ride almost everywhere, and we have some great terrain nearby. Also, Alps, Greece and Romania are close too. All adventure rider paradise locations.
What motivated you to start the brand?
At the beginning, there wasn’t a business plan, nor even an idea to start my own business. But there was a love for adventure riding, travel and bikes in general. On the other hand, I was always interested in machining and design, but my career took me to different waters - I had a decent government job involving responsibility, office, a suit and a ton of papers and numbers every day.
Officially, Perun moto was registered as a business in early 2015. But everything started to get serious few years before, when I bought my first KTM. It was a 2008 KTM 690 Enduro R. Since I was doing a lot of “adventure” type rides, I immediately felt a need to improve some things – to address the “tank bolt” issue, to improve carrying capacity and so on. Since I was already involved in machining and CAD design at a high hobby level, I had a lot of ideas. It was easy to start making stuff for me and my riding buddy who had the same bike. I shared my designs and ideas with folks on the advrider forum and I saw there was some interest for what I was doing. I got serious about it, started to learn new things daily and improve my designs. It reached a stage when I was very confident in what I was doing. At that moment, I felt that it was a time to give up on my job and to start my own business.
When I started Perun Moto, I was working alone from my house basement (it’s a nice basement) on a small CNC router and I had to outsource lots of things. Growth was steady and I invested everything in the business. The team got larger – now there is three of us. And now we have our own relatively large workshop, two high speed CNC routers, CNC press brake, tons of tools and tooling andCAD workstations. We are expecting some new machines by the end of the year. This allows us to do almost everything in-house – design, prototyping, testing and small series production. We outsource only surface finishing operations.
Perun Moto got its name after Perun, God of Thunder from Slavic mythology. It was the name of my alt in one computer game I played and after that it was my name in motorcycle forums I was active in. People knew me as Perun, knew my products as “Perun’s products”, so “Perun Moto” came as logical name.
What makes you different from competing brands?
I am sincere when I say that I really respect everyone on the market. Other companies have great products. What makes us a bit different is that we design products only for bikes we own and ride. This gives us a unique opportunity to design highly customized and focused products. It also allows us to do some very serious testing. Our product line-up is small, and it will stay that way. But I will do my best to offer only top quality, no-nonsense products.
Also, when I started Perun Moto, I decided that I will pursue quality, no matter what. We don’t chase profit margins and we try to achieve high quality in all aspects of our work, even if that may not be necessary. We use only high-quality hardware, certified materials, we use top-of-the-line IGP powders and we have rigorous quality control. Building a name is important for us.
What is the main goal or what are you trying to solve when designing luggage racks & accessories?
By now, I can say we really have a lot of experience with luggage racks and related products. There is a set of unofficial standards and criteria every good luggage rack has to meet – it has to be strong, durable, functional and aesthetically pleasing. We also added some features to all our racks – like options to mount Rotopax fuel cans and Kriega rack loops. We machine our racks, so all edges are chamfered and smooth. This isn’t easy or economical to do, but it really leaves a nice touch and it is strap-friendly.
Look at those smooth edges.
Among Perun employees, we have nice collection of motorcycle luggage – Mosko Moto, Giant Loop, Kriega, Wolfman. We test our racks with all those bags and luggage systems. This tells us how and where to position slots, how wide racks should be and so on.
Next, there are some bike related specifics. KTM 690 and Husqvarna 701 were not designed to carry luggage racks, so we had to overcome some serious engineering challenges. There were some failures at the beginning, but eventually we came out with our “triangulation” design that has really proved it’s worth. Since a design update back in late 2015, I am not aware of single broken 690 rack. And we sold many.
For KTM's 1050/1090/1190/1290 family, we added an option to mount Givi or SW-Motech top cases directly to the rack, as many people use their bikes for commuting too.
What are some challenges you have faced as a company specific to your product/industry?
We are very focused, and we don’t have many products. We also manufacture only in small batches so we can improve something as soon as we see something that can be. And we like to have total control over quality. This led us to the point where I realized we need to manufacture in-house. This required costly machines. Some machines, for instance the CNC press brake, are used only a few hours a week. From an economical stand point, this is a disaster. But it allows us to do prototyping in-house and that is invaluable to me.
What is Perun Moto's most popular product or the one that really solidified the brand?
Without a doubt, it’s the luggage rack for KTM's 690 Enduro R. That bike is used for round-the-world trips, rally racing, even commuting. It wasn’t designed to carry a rack. It took us a lot of time and effort to design this rack, but it was worth it. It really makes me proud knowing that riders all over the world are using Perun Moto racks on their adventures and every day rides.
How many products do you make, how much has your catalog expanded since Perun Moto first got started?
We don’t have many products. We started with two – tank bolt upgrade and rack for 690. Now we have seven products for the 690 / 701 and four products for the 1050-1290 big twin family. We have a few products in late design stage, so soon we will launch more. But we’ll keep it on that level for some time. We launch products only if we are sure it is something we need to have on our bikes and that we can do it better than others.
(Sneak peak of the yet to be released kickstand foot! Keep on the lookout!)
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being part of a company so ingrained in the motorcycle industry?
For someone who has been a rider for over two decades, this business is a dream come true. Not only that it gives me an opportunity to ride, travel, design and mill, all very interesting, but it also gives me an opportunity to be active part of the adventure motorcycling community. We are located in Belgrade, and lot of riders are passing by on their travels. To all of them we offer a safe place to leave a bike or to do their own maintenance with our tools in our workshop. We've met lots of interesting people over the years. Also, I am in contact with our customers from all over the world and I enjoy reading about other people’s experiences and perspectives. We are so different, yet we share common passion – bikes, travel and adventure.
What do you attribute to Perun Moto’s key to success?
Honesty maybe. We don’t pretend to be something that we aren’t. We are a small company and we don’t pretend we are a large and omnipotent industry leader. We made mistakes in the past, but we always stood behind our products.
How strong is the riding culture at Perun, do all of the employees ride?
There is only three of us in Perun Moto. I am oldest, almost 40, so I am most experienced. Viktor is riding smaller bikes, but he is too busy with Crossfit and raising his baby daughter at the moment, so he has yet to get involved in adventure motorcycling. Andreja is true adventure rider and he is getting his XR400 ready for this season. We have several riding buddies that are hard core riders, and they are involved in product developing and testing. And my riding buddy Oleg is always here to share his thoughts and ideas.
How is Perun Moto growing/where are you headed next?
We are growing slowly, but at a steady pace. By the end of this year we should complete the next stage of our development. We will have fully equipped shop with advanced design capabilities and skilled stuff. We will stay true to our idea – we will keep small product line up and we will be focused only on bikes we ride. We will try to further improve design and quality, not to widen our offer.
If you had to pick a KTM product to recommend, what would it be and why?
There aren’t many companies like KTM today. I met folks from KTM HQ’s on 2018 KTM Adventure Rally in Sardinia and I was impressed with their passion and honesty. They really enjoy what they are doing. And they are 101% dedicated to offering unique riding experiences. They make great bikes. But, from my point of view, the 690 Enduro is their best product. This bike is in its own league and it has no competition, apart from its white twin brother. It evolved so much from its’ debut in 2008 that it is safe to say it is nearly perfect dual sport bike.
We have our eyes on the future of Perun Moto and the top-tier gear they make for the community. We know Nikola stands behind his products and we do too. Missing parts or marred surfaces are taken care of as a commitment to the brand.
If you haven't checked them out yet, see the entire lineup here!