Believe it or not, there was a time that 300cc two-strokes didn’t exist. That was until 1989 when Scot Harden as Western Region Sales Mgr for KTM America and KTM President Rod Bush convinced the KTM factory to add a 300cc model to the line. Conventional wisdom was that there was no market for such a product but we knew otherwise. No one understood how a 300cc would fit in with the existing 250cc and Open class structures. As motorcyclists, Scot and Rod knew however that a 300cc model would be just the right combination of lightweight and torque, especially for the growing vet class. Begrudgingly KTM management agreed to build the 300cc but only for the US market and in 1990 it launched. To make a long story short the 300cc model proved to be so popular that by the end of the 90s it was the single biggest selling full-size model in KTM’s line globally and was quickly copied by several other European manufacturers. Scot campaigned KTM 300 two strokes exclusively throughout the 90s and raced them in the desert, enduro, grand Prix, hare scrambles, motocross, and long-distance off-road races proving their versatility. Today it's hard to believe the off-road world without a 300cc two stroke.
In the early '90s, the only mass-produced mini-cycle products a 4-9-year-old child could dream about were a Yamaha PW50 or Honda MiniTrail 50. Great little bike but not a real competition bike. In 1995 as VP of KTM America in charge of Sportimini development Scot led the development of the first line of competition KTM 50cc Sportiminis based on full-size motocross styling and design. From their initial launch, they were a huge success promoting participation and development of a whole new generation of motocross riders and families. Scot followed the 50cc introduction with the development of a new 65cc model which was launched in 1998 and gave rise to another level of youth interest and participation in motocross.
In the early 2000s Scot was instrumental in the introduction and development of the serious adventure motorcycle market by spearheading the introduction of the KTM Adventure line in North America. Scot showcased the capabilities of KTM’s 640LC4 Adventure and later the first KTM LC8 950cc V-Twin Adventure. All this was accomplished through his role as Team Mgr of the KTM/Red Bull US Dakar team and as General Manager of KTM Adventure Tours. Scot forecast the rise in popularity of the adventure market and was a pioneer in demonstrating the sport and its potential to a whole new generation of off-road riders in America.
As a pioneer in the electric motorcycle field Scot was amongst the first Powersports professionals to recognize the relevance of electric motorcycles in the marketplace spending six years leading focus groups and design teams in the development of these products. Scot traveled the world meeting with customers, dealers, and partner companies identifying the challenges and opportunities to understand fully the potential of this technology and its potential impact in the marketplace.
In 1998 as VP of KTM America Scot conceived, created, and successfully launched the most innovative youth motocross promotion ever, the KTM Jr. Supercross Challenge. The concept was born out of a necessity to showcase KTM’s new Sportmini line and as a way for KTM to have a presence in Supercross racing when it did not yet have sufficient funding to finance a full professional Supercross team. Instead, Scot wrote the blueprint for an intermission program that would showcase the youth of our sport(along with KTM in the process) at the intermission of every Supercross race in America. It was a huge success from the very start and is run today essentially using the same format as Scot developed in 1998.
In his role as VP of Global Marketing for Zero Motorcycles and as a consultant for GasGas Scot established the first manufacturer-supported free AMA membership programs. The AMA represents our only collective voice in regulatory, land use, and rider safety issues. As such Scot made it possible for customers to receive a free one-year membership in the AMA with the purchase of a motorcycle from the two aforementioned companies. Not only did it start a whole new group of riders off as AMA members they also benefitted from the amazing group benefits offered by the organization.
In 1985 Scot along with his partner and fellow off-road legend Casey Folks created the Nevada 200 Trailride, an invitational event designed to promote camaraderie, fellowship, and stewardship of off-road recreation and trail-riding in particular. The Nevada 200 is entering its 38th year and is widely recognized as the best trail ride in all of North America.
Scot has spent a lifetime giving speeches, hosting new model launches, and representing various companies with enthusiasts and mainstream media. He is highly trained and effective as a spokesperson and advocate and has appeared on nationally televised shows such as Fox News "Varney and Friends” as well as CNBC Brian Sullivan’s “Street Signs”. Scot has also been interviewed by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Bloomberg.
As a member of the AMA Hall of Fame Scot brings additional credibility and respect to the projects he is associated with. Scot has also been the recipient of two of the AMA’s other highest achievements the Bessie Springfield “New Market Pioneer” and Hazel Kolb “Brighter Image” awards for spearheading the development of new market segments and for presenting the sport in a positive light.
Over the years Scot has proven to be a reliable and vocal advocate for public access for off-road riders serving three years on the ORBA(Off-Road Business Association) Board of Directors and participating in countless land-use debates and policy issues. He's traveled to Washington DC, met with industry and volunteer groups, and lent his name to campaigns and other efforts to promote continued access to public lands and off-road riding areas. As founder of the Nevada 200, Trailride Scot has added thousands of miles of approved trails to the Lincoln County Nevada BLM district, and as KTM Adventure Tour General Manager was the first entity to ever receive a commercial permit for off-road tours in the Mojave National Preserve.