Penton was established in 1966 by John Penton of Amherst, Ohio. The motorcycles were well-known performers on the motocross, trials and enduro circuit in the late 1960s and 1970s.
In 1950 John Penton and his brothers opened up a motorcycle dealership in Amherst, Ohio which carried NSU, BSA, and BMW motorcycles. In 1958, Penton was the winner of the Ohio State Enduro Championship, Stone Mountain Enduro, and the Alligator Enduro in Florida on a 175cc NSU. Later that year, Penton set the New York to Los Angeles non-stop record of 52 hours, 11 minutes on a BMW R69S.
In 1968 while touring Europe, Penton met with Husqvarna in an attempt to find a manufacturer willing to build a lighter motorcycle to his specifications. After negotiations with manufacturer KTM for a lightweight off-road bike were satisfied with Penton putting up $6000 of his own money, he took delivery of the first 6 Penton 100cc prototypes. Production moved to a 100cc Penton Berkshire, a 100cc red bike. The 125cc Penton Six Days with a green tank. The lightweight, inexpensive Pentons sold for $700 and were in high demand. That year, over 400 were sold. By the time KTM purchased the distributorship back from Penton, more than 25,000 had been sold in the U.S.