I know that 50,000 miles isn't a big deal around here, but I figured that I would recap my 4.5 years with my 2007 KTM Supermoto "R" since this is a new high water mark for me (43K on my 2002 Sprint RS was the previous high).
I test rode the bike in the summer of 2007 along with the Duc Multistrada 1100, Buell Ulysses, Suzuki V-Strom, and Triumph Tiger 1050. I wanted the sportiest "standard" with longer travel suspension that I could find. My goal was to shrink the stable to two bikes: a sporty versatile street bike and dual-sport (DRZ400S). I couldn't get it out of my head and I test rode it a couple more times. It had a sporty, raw edge that the other bikes didn't have. It really pushed my fun button, but I couldn't justify the $14K price tag. Plus, the 2006 and earlier years had some design issues that had me concerned as well including:
- fuel pumps wearing out every 15K
- starter torque limiter failing (replace with upgraded parts)
- water pump seal failures every 15K (replace the water pump shaft, seal, and impeller)
- oil tank site tube splitting/leaking (replace with upgraded part)
When the dealer knocked several thousand off the price in mid-December I started lobbying with SWMBO to sell off my ZX6R and Wee Strom to buy the bike. Supposedly the 2007s came with the upgraded starter torque limiter and water pump parts, so I decided to pull the trigger just before Xmas. As I have posted before, "buy the bike that gives you wood". The Wee sold immediately (day after Xmas) and the Ninja bike went in May. Here I am with my new baby:
I still have that Olympia AST jacket (a few months old at that point) and although its been washed every year, it has a lot of "character" now (faded and stained).
The original mods were to add a 46L top case, small Laminar Lip windscreen, smaller front sprocket, the Head2Wind jet kit, and Leo Vince slip-ons (less weight, less heat, better sound).
More mods over the years. The stock seat is quite narrow and dirt bike like, so I got a Rick Mayer seat the following winter. A local guy starting making custom adjustable levers (ala Pazzo) and used by bike as the test mule, so I got a free set for the use of my bike.
So I rode it all over the east coast for the last 5 seasons. It's been to PA, WV, OH, MD, NY, VT, NH, MA, CT, NJ, MD, VA, NC, TN, KY, MO, AR, AL, GA. I don't commute on the bike because it's all traffic-clogged highways, so those are all fun, weekend twisty riding miles.
The bike loves bombing around the mountains on twisty roads with less than perfect pavement. The riding position is all-day comfy if you stay off the slab. I find the wind blast gets tiresome after an hour or so. I think the most slab I ever did on it was heading to Barber from Memphis (about 4 hours). It's not a fast bike (90-ish RWHP), but it's quick enough. I rarely exceed 80 MPH with it with the exception of a multi-car pass. Can't remember the last time it saw the ton. I've done several track days with it too and those are a lot of fun. It doesn't have the speed on the straights, but is big fun in the corners.
The bike vibes a bit. It's a twin. But the vibes don't bother me or put anything to sleep. YMMV... There is a happy place in the RPM range where things smooth out, so I tend to ride there a lot. I should probably be a gear down and running higher RPMs in the twisties as I sometimes find myself in too high a gear exiting uphill corners and the bike lugs a bit on exit. The bike does not have a tachometer, so I really don't know where I am in the rev range. I suspect lower than I think. I don't think it has ever seen the rev limiter.
The fully adjustable suspension was nice when new, but I didn't do any maintenance to it and it had gotten a bit harsh over the years, so last year I had Full Travel Innovations in NC rebuild and revalve the forks and shock. Wow, what a difference that has made this season. The bike is much more composed over rough pavement. My usual riding buddy says that I am riding noticeably faster this season, but I don't feel like it. In retrospect, I should have had the suspension done a long time ago. Money well spent.
Last winter I switched from the H2W jet kit to "X-bike" jetting, just to see what the difference would be. The X-bike jetting uses a high-flow air filter, opens up the air box, and uses richer main jets (stock needle). Not a huge difference from the H2W kit, but it does pull harder. I think it's a bit rich on hot/humid days because it runs better on cool mornings than hot afternoons.
The KTM Adventure can be a pain to do normal maintenance on (pulling tank, etc), but the Supermoto is easy. Two bolts to drain the oil, and two bolts to access the oil filter (cartridge, not spin on). I used to clean the oil filter screens every oil change, but they were spiffy clean after break-in, so they only get done a couple times a year now.
The bike eats rear tires. It has a lot of engine braking, so all you need to do is roll off the gas to set corner speed, then roll it back on. Great fun if you like running "The Pace", but that engine braking is chewing up rear tires. I've been through 15 rear tires to date, usually changed as complete sets because I don't like the feel of a used front with a new rear. I'm still trying to find a sport-touring rear tire that will last over 4K miles on this bike. Sport tires (Pilot Powers, Q2, etc) only last 3K miles. I think the fact that I mostly ride twisty roads where I'm constantly rolling on/rolling off versus maintaining a steady RPM (like on a highway) is also part of it.
I have replaced the chain twice. The DID X-ring chain seems to last about 20K+ miles. Did the sprockets both times. The bike is geared to the moon stock, so unless you travel well over 80MPH regularly, sixth gear is worthless. Most everyone goes down a tooth up front and some add a couple or three to the rear too.
I finally replaced the original brake fluid over the winter with 40K+ miles on it. Didn't look to bad actually. I've been using EBC HH pads. I think the pads have only been replaced once front and rear to date (didn't check my spreadsheet).
So what about those reliability issues? The bike has never left me stranded. I've limped home twice with a dying fuel pump, but always made it. Here is the list of stuff that has broken over the years:
(3) fuel pumps. I'm on pump #4. The issue is that the pump uses points (remember those?) and they wear out. Turns out you can install new points in an old pump for a lot less $$$ than buying a new pump. The fuel pump is external, but tucked away under the left side of the tank. Easy swap once you remove the tank. Two hoses and an electrical connector. Well under an hour start to finish.
(2) oil tank sight tubes. The LC8 engine is a dry sump design with an external oil tank. The oil level in the tank is checked by looking at a tube mounted to the tank. Kind of like using a sight glass. The hot oil fatigues the plastic and eventually they start to split where they are expanded over the barbs on the banjo fittings to the oil tank. The split eventually reaches the end of the barb and you'll get a quarter sized drop of oil when parked. My original split after about 20K miles. The replacement (same part #) also split after about 20K miles. The latest replacement is the newer part with clear tubing instead of opaque. This is a $20 part that takes 15 minutes to replace (two easily accessible bolts).
(1) water pump rebuild. The seal finally started leaking last fall after 40K+ miles. It's about $100 in parts and an afternoon to replace. The pleats on the oil filter will look puffy when you start getting water in the oil. If you let it get bad enough, the swelling can restrict oil flow and you'll start to see the oil pressure light flicker. Mine never did that.
(1) clutch slave cylinder. Supposedly the stock one can fail, so I bought a fancy Evoluzione one and it sat on the shelf in my garage for a couple years. I finally installed it last season even though the stock one was still working. So the part didn't break, I just decided to upgrade it as a preventative measure. As it turns out, I think it was weeping a little clutch fluid from the bleeder and the clutch fluid level got low on the Seneca Campout last October. I ended up replacing/bleeding the clutch fluid in the Petersburg Sheetz parking lot (it uses mineral oil or ATF, not brake fluid) on the way home and has been fine since.
My only complaint with the bike is the limited fuel range. The tank is only 3.7 gallons and I get about 40 MPG. The low fuel light comes on at 110 - 120 miles and I figure I can safely go another 25 miles on reserve. So figure 140 to pushing. This means that I have to plan my gas stops when planning a route. To be honest, it hasn't been an issue finding gas every 100 miles, but I pull into many gas stops with the light on. I have not run out of gas yet but was REALLY close at ESTN in Lake Placid with 150 miles on a tank. I always carry a hose in the top case to siphon fuel from someone if needed.
I still really enjoy riding the bike and it looks pretty good considering the miles. I'm not sure what I would replace it with, but my eye is starting to wander. I thinjk I would like to get an adventure-touring bike to explore dirt roads (the 17" front on the SMR doesn't like gravel), but I'm not sure that I am willing to give up the light weight (under 450 wet) and nimble handling of the SMR.
The bike has never been dropped or down (knock on wood). I've had a few "Oh S&*%!!!!" moments, but even 0 MPH driveway/parking lot drops have (to date) been avoided.
I'll finish with a photo from ESTN last weekend on the BRP: