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Topic: 2013 KTM 990 SM-T ABS review (Initial impressions and musings)  (Read 54618 times)

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Windblown
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Motorcycles: '04 Concours - '03 FZ1 - '05 KTM 525 - '09 CRF250X - '13 KTM 990 SM-T - '07 Yamaha R6S
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« on: May 13, 2013, 04:25:52 pm »

Last Thursday I pulled the trigger on a new 2013 KTM 990 SM-T.  Here's the zero mile bike just after being unloaded from my truck, complete with the Mini-Pearl style sticker still attached to the factory sidebags. Smile

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/sideshot_zps3dfec87b.jpg

After a several short rides with a cool down period inbetween a few days later it was time for a quick oil change and get it loaded for some time on a track where I could really find out how me and the bike were going to get along.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/ktmtruck2_zpsc60e20af.jpg

The following are my opinions based on my short time with the bike:

Engine:  The engine is extremely compact compared to many V-twins of similar CC, in part due to the (beefy) external oil reservoir tucked low and in front of the motor. Various dyno charts on the net show the engine in stock trim laying down about 103hp peak to the rear wheel.  This is not a high strung fire breather.  It's a high strung tractor. Smile A wee bit raw - but in a pleasing way to me. The power comes on smoothly unless you twist the grip quickly while in too high a gear, in which case the engine will register it's complaint with a bit of bucking to get you to click down a gear or two.  There is no dramatic "hit" along the way to redline - twist the throttle and your greeted with a grunty shove on down the road. Twist it hard enough and you may get a view of the sky.   The engine really smoothes out and hums along without intruding at all around 3800 rpm. Over 5000 rpm the engine is smooth and strong however vibes become more apparent, if you're busy chucking the motorcycle through corners you won't notice it, if you're droning along you most definitely will. However at highway speeds the engine purrs right around 4000rpm in the sweet spot for low vibes.  Personal note: Redline comes quickly to an ear more accustomed to the sound of an inline4. It will take a bit to get myself reprogrammed.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/ktmmotor2_zps5d800ccf.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/ktmmotor_zps4daebf83.jpg


Fueling: The often mentioned sensitivity in the right hand control is undeniable.  It's easy to overcome this issue in normal riding simply by being smooth with the clutch, something anyone who has ridden a dirt bike is familiar with and used to.  The issue becomes a bit more difficult to control when scratching corners with a desire to be in the sweet spot in the RPMS on exit. Any change in throttle position when in the motor is humming along will be immediately greeted by a surge forward or a feeling that you just hit the brakes. Not a huge issue until your leaned over near your maximum comfort level. Then it gets a bit dicey.  It's not that the fueling is that bad compared to many modern inline 4's, it's just that the on/off nature of modern fuel injection is agrivated even more on a thumper or twin.   I'll post more on my impressions of the fueling after a few mods in this department.

Chassis/suspension:  The chassis and suspension work well together to form an alliance that keeps the bike well in check. The suspension is top shelf componants from WP. Forks are adjustable for pre-load, compression, and rebound. Shock is adjustable for hi & low speed compression, rebound, and preload. I found the steering to be light and neutral, bump absorption, and willingness to change direction in corners good to excellent. The best praise I can give any bike this one well deserves: The bike never gave me a single "moment" during my trackday where it seemed to want to do something I hadn't asked nor wanted it to do. And I didn't spend a great deal of time with fiddling with it when I arrived at the track. I simply set the clickers to where KTM recomended them for "Sport" and they worked great for me (I weigh about 190 lbs in full gear).

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/rearsuspension2_zps675804fb.jpg

Brakes: What can be said? The front brakes are monsters and will haul the bike down from speed in the blink of an eye and yet I felt like there was a direct connection between me and the forces working on the front tire. This was super confidence inspiring.  The rear brake is a hair bit weak IMHO, though since I hate an overly sensitive rear brake I wouldn't have it any other way! Note:  There have been reports of brake pads delaminating on these Brembo's used in KTMs as well as other manufacturers. I don't know if the issue has been resolved in new models or not. I will be keeping a close eye on the stock pads. The ABS system is very good. Perfect? Well no, but close. Better than what I had on my Yamaha FJR1300. At least as good if not better than what came on my Srpint 1050.  The key difference here was the ability to switch ABS on and off, unlike the other two.  I played with the easily switchable ABS system while at a recent trackday. What I found was that the ABS can be fooled into activating before it's really needed during extreme braking upon occasion, more so if braking bumps are involved.  This results in extending stopping distances slightly while the ABS sorts things out.  The ABS never let me down or caused me to run off the track, but in this one scenario the human brain still out performed the computer.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/ktmfrontbrakes_zpsb7b741e7.jpg


Ergos:  As one would expect this bike has a very upright seating position with lots of legroom. What a relief it is for aging joints to have a bit of leg room!  For my 6' frame the windscreen does a decent job of deflecting wind blast from the main chest area while leaving the helmet in mostly clean air. In mild temps this is great. In winter it may be a bit brisk.  The tank and side pieces attached to it flair out quite a bit and provide surprisingly good wind protection to the legs without  coming so far back into the cockpit as to cause any interference with my knees on my rather long legs with a 34" inseam. A bit more reach to the handlebars would be welcome for my long arms. The level of comfort is amazing overall.  The seat is wide and flat and at first I found it a bit too much so. Seat height is high by street standards, but even my daughter who is a shorty could manage to hold the bike up with one foot if she slid off to the side of the seat. I suspect the SMT seat may actually make the bike easier to reach the ground since it is reportedly narrower.  But even though the width of the seat seemed a bit excessive at first I have to admit that after several hours onboard my arse seemed happy with it. Wink

Controls and lighting: The instrument panel is Spartan and yet feeds the important information to you in an easy to read format. Speed and tach are easily readable and a temp gauge is present to let you know how the motor is feeling. On the left are three buttons to program the clock and such, as well as a much beloved button to activate and deactivate the ABS. There are a number of bright idiot lights for engine oil, low fuel, ABS, etc. ODO and 2 trip ODO's round and a clock round out the package. Missing in action is a gas gauge.  Lighting up front is fair to good but not stellar. I've never seen a KTM yet that I thought did a GREAT job on it's lighting. Perhaps in part due to their history in offroad bikes where lights were basically slapped on and considered disposable.  Evidentially they have opted not to spend a great deal of money on lighting. No LEDs for example for the rear signals or the rear light. I find this a little disappointing on a bike so well equipped otherwise with top shelf bits.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/insruments_zps7e77fb01.jpg

[IMG]http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/ktmrearlights_zpsa78e3ff3.jpg[/URL]

Storage:  This is not your fathers Goldwing and you won't be bringing along the kitchen sink without doing extensive mods.  The bike comes with enough under-seat storage to hold the very well equipped standard set of tools that come with the bike and a few more bits that you may wish to take along for emergency roadside maintenance or repairs. However, additions to what's already provided will likely be few. There isn't much you can't do with the factory supplied tool kit. The standard side bags are very light weight, yet not floppy like most aftermarket softbags. Let's call them "Semi-soft" bags. Regardless,  the good news is they seem very well built, very well secured to the bike, yet go on and off the bike in a snap. The bad news - yes, they're small and they are not waterproof (though I expect they are pretty water resistant). The well sized rear deck looks to be solidly built and fully able to withstand the rigors of a top box should one want one.

Maintenance: The only maintenance I've performed other than fluid checks is an oil change. Oil changes in KTMs are different than just about any other motorcycle on the planet.  As I also own a KTM525 I'm already familiar with the process. An oil change on the KTM 990 entails two drain bolts, 2 oil screens to be pulled and cleaned, and one long internal filter situated low on the left side of the motor. It's not a big deal to do. It's easier and quicker to do than some motorcycles with just a screw on external filter and one drain bolt. But the exta steps throw some folks off.

Conclusion:  It's a bit (ok, a lot) early in my experience with this bike to make any definitive claims. For now I have to say it's the best balance of fun and comfort I have found in any motorcycle.  The number of boxes it checks for me in one package is pretty amazing. Time will tell hoe we get on in the long run.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 01:38:10 am by Windblown » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 05:15:20 pm »

nice pics and write up Thumbsup One hell of a bike it seems!!

As my Austrian co-workers would say, "Das ist gut"!

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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 08:34:33 pm »

:popcorn:
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 08:38:11 pm »

 Drool
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2013, 02:10:19 pm »

Sure is a hot looking bike.  Drool :leghump: I saw one just like that at my local KTM dealer.  Congrats and keep us updated!
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 05:12:11 pm »

What a great looking bike!  Thumbsup
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 11:04:00 pm »

Definitely looking forward to the updates!
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 07:52:48 am »

I demo'd one a couple of years ago and thought that it was a real hooligan tool. I recon my license would last maybe three weeks to a month at most before I'd lose it and/or be jailed. Everyone bar one guy who has bought an SM-T here has now got points on their previously clean licenses. Saying all that, I'm considering the KTM 1190 Adventure and it's as mad as a box of frogs too.  Lol
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 11:48:12 pm »

Another update will be forth coming soon to cover the following subjects:

Tune ECU - affects on stock fueling.
The stock Conti Sport tires.
Adding Acropovic Exhaust.

Overall impressions after a couple of thousand miles.

And yes, for those wondering I still have my license... so far. Smile

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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 10:15:19 am »

Look forward to the reviews as the miles pile on :popcorn:  Been on my short list for awhile.  Just not sure I can go from a silky smooth four to a 2 cly.  
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 03:33:30 am »

Luggage size is just right for a sport touring bike   Thumbsup

It'll teach you to get by with less.

See Mr. Smooth and Daniel Kalal's trip reports as a reference  Bigsmile
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 07:03:45 pm »

So a couple of thousand miles have passed underneath the wheels and I've gotten to know the bike a bit...

"It's a KTM" should be a definition of some sort one finds when looking for a phrase that portrays joy and frustration all at the same time.  Wink


The bike produces grins every time I ride it. It's not as smooth nor as fast as my FZ1. But it's more fun to toss around AND more comfortable to ride. On my FZ1 I often feel the NEED to push in order to have fun. On the SM-T I can have a LOT of fun pushing, and still have fun and be content to take it down a couple of notches and just cruise.  The ever present thrumming vibes of the motor add rather than detract for me. They let me know I'm riding a bike not an electric train. Wink


1) Fueling part Deux: The fueling on this bike from the factory is very poor. I found the more I rode the more it annoyed me. So I got a OBDII cable, a copy of TuneECU and made things much better after some experimenting with various maps. Do NOT expect a KTM dealer to address these issues. They can't and won't, just like any bike from any manufacturer that has fuel injection issues ('06 yamaha, various Ducatis, etc).  The Tune ECU route is the cheapest fix, but time consuming. Other choices to address the fueling are a PCV5 and auto-tune (expensive) or a PCV5 and a trip to a good dyno tuner (also expensive).  

The Austrians have not yet figured out how to get past emissions requirements and still provide a smooth throttle.  Many 690 & 990 owners have gone down this road before me.  If you just want to ride down the street it's fine, but if you want to start exploring the bikes limits you better plan on addressing the fueling.

2) Engine character: This engine is in it's happy place from 4000 rpm and up. Lower is ok for 1st through 3rd if just maintaining speed. In higher gears less than 4000 rpm you can tell it's not where it wants to be.  There is a noticeable harmonic vibration that increases right about  5000 rpm but goes away by 5500 rpm.

3) Ergos: Bike is amazingly comfortable. I've always considered my FZ1 to be a pretty comfy couch for long days in the saddle however when I jumped on the FZ1 today I felt like I was being bent into the shape of a pretzel! The KTM has spoiled me.

So far my opinion is overwhelmingly positive. I feel like long days will be a non-issue on this bike even though 400 miles is as far as I've done in a single day so far.  The bike is hugely fun and that's why I ride.  Just as importantly I don't have to be flying like my hairs on fire in order to have that fun. Just a twist of the throttle coming out of a corner gets the grin factor lit up. I've had other bikes that are/were BIG fun to ride fast but sucked whenever your heartbeat dropped below 100 bpm. That is not an all-around bike to me. This one is though.


My recommendation to others: If spending a big chunk or change and then spending time working out nits and niggles is an abomination to you - don't by a KTM, it will piss you off.  If your motorcycling mindset is similar to the mindsets of the madmen engineers over at KTM buy this bike (or any KTM), there isn't anything else out there quite like it.


I love this bike, I hate this bike. "It's a ktm"  

Bigsmile
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2013, 10:55:36 am »



My recommendation to others: If spending a big chunk or change and then spending time working out nits and niggles is an abomination to you - don't by a KTM, it will piss you off.  If your motorcycling mindset is similar to the mindsets of the madmen engineers over at KTM buy this bike (or any KTM), there isn't anything else out there quite like it.


I love this bike, I hate this bike. "It's a ktm"

Bigsmile


Ahhhhh. My KTM feelings exactly. (A bit exacerbated today, mind you, by electrical issues).

I'm glad I'm not alone!!
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2013, 11:08:03 am »

I generally love my 950 Supermoto (with 55K miles on it), except for the poorly designed fuel pump that craps out every 15K miles. My wallet doesn't love buying new rubber every 3-4K miles but it's big fun to ride in the twisties.

For the first 15 months of ownership, I pretty much hated my 530 EXC. Damn thing wouldn't start when hot which ruined pretty much every ride I took it on. I had done all the standard mods to make them run right, but mine wouldn't. Had two different mechanics look at it, but no joy (just wasted money). Then I checked the float height and saw it was high (rich). Adjusted the float height per the wisdom of the internet using a home-made tool and it's been running great ever since. So it's gone from mostly hate to mostly love this season. Leaving for a four-day (1000 mile) dual=sport ride in WV this weekend on it, so I guess I'm confident the bike is running well.

They're KTMs: imperfect, kick-ass motorcycles. The fixes/workarounds are usually well-known, so do the mods and the maintenance, then enjoy the ride!
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Windblown
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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2013, 11:25:10 am »

Expatbrit: Good luck with the gremlins.



Leaving for a four-day (1000 mile) dual=sport ride in WV this weekend on it, so I guess I'm confident the bike is running well.



Have an awesome trip!  I still want to do a long trip on my 525.



They're KTMs: imperfect, kick-ass motorcycles.


Well put.  Lol

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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2013, 08:30:21 pm »

Beautiful bike, I'm adding one like it to my garage very soon.  I'm glad I finally got a chance to check out the SMT as I had looked at everything from a Bonneville to a Road King as a potential replacement for my 950 Adventure.  
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2013, 11:17:57 pm »

I haven't had much time for riding lately. I've only managed to rack up a scant 3000 miles on the KTM so far. However the FedEx man brought me a present this past Friday in the form of a brand new KTM warranty approved Akropovic exhaust so I had to make time to get it onto the bike.

I got the exhaust installed yesterday. Installation was straight forward: Remove seat, rear luggage rack, rear side plastics, pannier mounts, and heat shields. Unbolt the exhaust and with a bit of work pull both cans and the y pipe out in one piece. Bolt on the new stuff and assemble in reverse. I then pulled out the DB-killers just for grins. I loaded the Akropovic fuel/ignition map and disabled the SAS using Tuneecu this morning went for a 300 mile ride.

The combination of the exhaust and the new mapping seriously transformed this bike! I can run much lower in rpms with a load on the engine and it remain smooth and not jerky.  Runs up to the limiter smoothly and quickly. A huge bonus is the excessive engine braking is gone which combined with the smoother on throttle action has completely eliminated the twitchy throttle response and has made the bike much more fun to ride in the twisty bits!

How loud is it you ask? Let's just say you won't forget to put your earplugs in with the db-killers out... Seriously, it's freaking loud. Like obnoxious Harley loud. I live in a super quiet rural community and I come home from work at 1am so I re-installed the DB-killers when I got home and expect they will remain installed. I know I'll lose a smidgen of performance with them in but I can live with that. The bike is SOOO much better in every way with this upgrade.  This is the bike as KTM designed it before they had to make changes to meet EPA regs. It's a serious pleasure to ride. If it hadn't been for some nasty afternoon thunderstorms I would have put a lot more than 300 miles on it today. Smile
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2013, 09:10:05 am »

Nice right-up and thread, I have lusted for one of these for some time, one is in the long term plan, just need to sell the Norge, don't tell Orson I'm already in the bad books for selling the LeMans.
You are spot on when it comes to your thoughts on KTM philosophy and dealers inability or resistance to take on the fueling issue's, not having the foresight to try and re-map myself I ended up selling my 08 Adventure it pissed mo off so much. It was fine when you were riding hard but try to sneak  around on trails and such, forget it
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2013, 09:46:59 am »

I've been keeping up with this thread and have been meaning to post for some time now.

First, the quality of the review is better than anything I've read from any moto rag out there.  THIS is the kind of detail and writing I can't get enough of.  Well done!  

Next, while KTM street bikes (and some of their dirt bikes) have teething issues, I have found them to provide a brilliant balance of ergonomics,  sportiness, engine characteristics, and chassis.  Save the ST3/4 Ducati, all other bikes I've ridden have NOTHING on KTM when it comes to chassis and comfort.  Go compare a Monster to a Super Duke and the SD wins every time in an overall look.  IMO, the same holds true with the new Touring Hypermotard v. the SM-T.  

Finally, on fueling issues, my experiences have been different from most.  I never had any surging issues on any KTM I've spent quality time with.  I never had one problem with the Super Duke or RC8 (well, except that one time I was a little too hamfisted coming out of Rainey Corner  Embarassment Lol ).  However, on my 990 Adventure, I would occasionally have a "dead spot" when accelerating out of a corner.  I liken the feeling to trying to aggressively accelerate with a diesel car from a rolling start.  There can be a bit of hesitation.  

If these guys ever improve their dealer network, I would most definitely want to have another KTM in the garage some day soon.  But, for now, I'm quite enjoying gelling with the BMW boxer motor.  I just wish the BMW had a better chassis.  It's not bad, but it's no KTM.   Bigsmile  
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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2013, 12:20:13 pm »


I just wish the BMW had a better chassis.  It's not bad, but it's no KTM.   Bigsmile  


Thanks the kind words. I'll do my best to keep things fairly straight.  

Engine: The engine still has an increase in vibes right around 5000 rpm that can be annoying if just cruising. Not an area it likes to live in when just tooling around.  Luckily that's an rpm that is not needed for cruising.

Speaking of the KTM chassis: I had a moment to give it an unexpected test the other day while running at a bit higher pace through the twisty bits than normal. I came into a right hander at about 40-50mph and because of my pace I dipped in tighter towards the apex than usual and there was a large patch of gravel waiting there for me I had failed to spot.  As I hit the apex the front tire entered the gravel and the bike started to push significantly to the outside followed by the rear swinging out slightly as well. Lean angle increased as the tires searched for grip and the suspension started to extend due to lack of force pushing back on them. As I cleared the gravel the front found traction, the forks smoothly re-compressed, and I found myself completing the corner as if nothing had happened. The chassis and suspension absorbed the abrupt changes in forces with extreme smoothness. I wish I could take credit for having "saved it" but the bike really did do all the work. I even laughed at myself a little for pushing the pace too hard as I came out of the corner... which is not my usual response to losing the front.

Coming up is a trip out to OH if all goes as planned. I may take the Conti-front and BT003 rear off and try some PR3's for this trip.

One last note on the exhaust: The combination of the Akropovics and the mapping resolved the issues as I mentioned. What I failed to mention as a point of reference is that this is the first bike (of several) that I've ever owned where I felt compelled to spend the money to put on an aftermarket exhaust to make the bike run properly.

Having owned mostly mass produced Japanese bikes I'm accustomed to motorcycles being very good out of the box. IMHO you simply cannot buy a KTM and expect it to operate as it should without some work.  My KTM 525 was the same way. That can be a tough pill to swallow when one drops north of 10k on a new machine.  They are just so bloody brilliant when the niggles are addressed. Smile

Still waiting on a SMR seat which I purchased to see how it would change the feel of the bike. The stock seat is very comfy yet I like the feel of a narrower seat on loose surfaces and when I want to move around a lot so I ordered one to try out.  
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« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2013, 10:30:37 pm »



If these guys ever improve their dealer network, I would most definitely want to have another KTM in the garage some day soon.  But, for now, I'm quite enjoying gelling with the BMW boxer motor.  I just wish the BMW had a better chassis.  It's not bad, but it's no KTM.   Bigsmile  


I REALLY wanted to go the route of a 1190 adventure..but the dealer network is just so dang sparse Sad

Maybe in 3 or 4 years when I get the itch for a new bike it will have improved and I can pull the trigger on that sweet sweet bike... Drool


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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2013, 02:30:24 pm »


 

Finally, on fueling issues, my experiences have been different from most.  I never had any surging issues on any KTM I've spent quality time with.  I never had one problem with the Super Duke or RC8 (well, except that one time I was a little too hamfisted coming out of Rainey Corner  Embarassment Lol ).  However, on my 990 Adventure, I would occasionally have a "dead spot" when accelerating out of a corner.  I liken the feeling to trying to aggressively accelerate with a diesel car from a rolling start.  There can be a bit of hesitation.  


I resemble that ham-fisted remark. I won't forget in a hurry. Whoooof.

Quote

If these guys ever improve their dealer network, I would most definitely want to have another KTM in the garage some day soon.  But, for now, I'm quite enjoying gelling with the BMW boxer motor.  I just wish the BMW had a better chassis.  It's not bad, but it's no KTM.   Bigsmile  


They, apparently, have some policy about ratio of dealers to population. The folks I've talked to say they also require a lot of in-stock, and they definitely do separate certs for the twins and the singles. It seems they really want to NOT have a good network.

My local dealer I have a hit and miss relationship with. I'd love to test-ride the 1190 when it comes over here, but I do really like the MTS...
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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2013, 05:07:54 pm »

Did a few more multi surface rides which took it's toll on the tire I had on the rear. Constantly spinning through rocks and gravel is not something  a BT003 appreciates.

Since I do spend a fair amount of time on forest roads I decided to not go with the PR3 and mounted up some D616's instead.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/20130818_120842_zpse86cda14.jpg


Got the KTM SMR seat in. Thinner, firmer, and allows more front to back movement unlike the sculpted SMT seat.  I like the freedom of movement the SMR seat offers. For back to back days the SMT seat may be more comfy. Hard to say yet.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/20130804_222009_zps3e3d26e1.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/20130804_221937_zps2d9179ae.jpg

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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 01:09:43 am »

Bolted on some lightly used KTM 37 liter Trax luggage to increase storage room for cold weather gear. The following picture is why you rarely see a shot of bolt on luggage from the rear. That's a 40" wide ass!  EEK!

Good thing I live in a rural area so I never have the temptation to lane split. LOL

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/20130927_004446_zpsb0a0edc0.jpg
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« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2013, 08:11:48 pm »

How do you like the 616's?
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« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2013, 12:39:54 pm »


How do you like the 616's?


I'm pleased with their all around good manors. Matches up well with the bikes purpose as I use it.

I only have a bit over 1500 miles on them at this point so it's still early in the game. Running 34/34 cold which is less than I normally run on a street tire but they seem to like it.  Good grip on asphalt, neutral feeling, not squirrely in the rain. The gravel road to my house goes up the side of ridge that makes my truck break traction over the washboard sections no matter how gentle I am yet the bike does well on it with these mounted. So far they have put up with my rather straight commute to work. Wear at this point is not significant at all.

I was a bit concerned by some comments online about odd cornering traits however I haven't had any issues with them on this bike.

I haven't taken them for an extended run through the twisties. From the shorter sections I've done I don't think I'll be unhappy.  If the rear gives me 4000+ good miles I'll consider them a great success.
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2014, 11:33:21 am »

My first year anniversary with the SM-T was this month.  Hard to believe it's been a year. Quick run down on the first year.

8300 miles now on the ODO - less than I'd like.  Sad

Still running D616's. I haven't found a better all surface tire yet.  Last weekend I scrubbed a new rear to the edges on a twisty asphalt ride.  This weekend that same rear was pulling duty on fireroads (and scrambled well over a rock ramp I had to build to get over a blow-down).

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/Dual%20Sporting/Stateline/156960x1280_zpsb63242d0.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/Dual%20Sporting/Stateline/0991280x960_zps63089daa.jpg

The Gen1 FZ1 was the best all-arounder I had ever owned before this bike. I still love that bike but it gets ridden rather rarely anymore. The SM-T suits me a bit better for just about any environment.


No issues mechanically with the bike. Everything is working. I've come to grips with the fueling which can still be a bit quirky at times but it never gives me trouble.





  
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« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2014, 07:22:51 am »

Great owner review and 'living with it' reports - thanks. Any updates to add from the last few months?
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« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2014, 02:12:57 am »


Great owner review and 'living with it' reports - thanks. Any updates to add from the last few months?


Arrrggg. Glad you posted to this thread. It made me realize my photobucket house keeping had blown up all the picture links. Got that fixed. Smile

As to the bike. It's been keeping busy.  Smile

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/duck7_zps81e58f17.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/0011280x960_zpsc4195ccb.jpg

I've decided that the combo of a sporty front geometry, a 17" wheel, a so-so rider, combined with mud = Supermans Kryptonite however.  Below was the aftermath of losing the front end in some slimey WV mud. This bike does not recover easily in mud. Sad

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/0021280x921_zps0d9c03a1.jpg

The Trax case was actually ripped from it's mount and picked up about 20 yards or so behind where the bike came to rest. I had jury rigged it back onto the bike by the time I took out the camera. I was not overly impressed with how the Trax case faired...

Following the above (which was actually the 2nd time I've lost the front in mud and gone splat) I decided it was time to resign myself to putting some sport touring tires on it, give it a good bath, replace the now very dirty air filter,  and let the bike live the easy life at least for a little while. New air filter, oil change, Dunlop Roadsmart II tires.

Getting to the air filter and getting it replaced is decidedly un-dirtbike like.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/001_zpsa2eff623.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/008_zpsde9e766a.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/016_zps53d3cd94.jpg


Just got back in from a ride today to get the new rubber scuffed. I still can't seem to stay on the asphalt at all times. Smile

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/0781024x768_zps01c3f0b3.jpg

Was a nice sunset up in the mountains this evening.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/KTM990/1011024x768_zps64fb80e5.jpg

It goes off the the dealer on Wednesday for the first time since I bought it. Time for a valve check which I want done by the dealer to ensure no warranty hassles (actually it's a wee bit overdue). I'll update any interesting tidbits from the mechanical side after I get it back.







 
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« Reply #29 on: August 18, 2014, 10:17:57 am »

Good pictures. Too bad on the mud event. Your air filter pulls air from the bottom through the chassis and what not?
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« Reply #30 on: August 18, 2014, 10:49:22 am »


Good pictures. Too bad on the mud event. Your air filter pulls air from the bottom through the chassis and what not?


The air path is a bit convoluted. It starts at the rear facing intake snorkel poking up in the first picture at the lead edge of the airbox. From there air is then drawn down into the airbox box, then up thru the filter, and then up and over the edge of the velocity stacks.  I had flipped the stock filter over in the picture to show the dirty side. The filter was doing it's job, the side the intake stacks were on was still clean.

I've read that removing the restrictive stock airbox and getting an aftermarket filter kit is good for another 10hp to the wheel. However the complicated airflow path also makes hard to suck up any water into the intakes and I have been known to take the bike across a stream or two so I' leaving it in place for now. Wink
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« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2014, 05:30:43 am »

I'm coming to this a little late, as I just stumbled across this forum while researching a new bike.  It would seem that your story is similar to mine in that you went from a first gen fz1 and went to the same machine that I am looking at.  I have 2 simple questions for you.  How has the reliability been and would you buy it again?
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« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2014, 07:09:36 pm »


I'm coming to this a little late, as I just stumbled across this forum while researching a new bike.  It would seem that your story is similar to mine in that you went from a first gen fz1 and went to the same machine that I am looking at.  I have 2 simple questions for you.  How has the reliability been and would you buy it again?


Welcome Matt!

To the first question: Reliability has been fine. Zero issues so far on that front.

The 2nd Question is the million dollar question isn't it... Would I buy this bike again?  Yes and No. Smile

Yes, because it's a great all around grin inducing bike that will hang with any sportbike where the road snakes around a lot yet will eat a 500+ mile day for breakfast. Also parts availability has been generally extremely good. KTM has stepped up their supply chain process in the USA.

No, because the SM-T is a bit better on the street than I actually need and not quite as good off-pavement as I'd like.  Furthermore it's not a cheap bike to dump off-road as that's not it's primary design.  Replacing some plastics and a beat up front rim was very un-dirtbike like cost wise.

After I get the SM-T back from service I'm going to be doing some soul searching as to whether to keep it or sell it for something a bit more off-road worthy but still fun to ride and good for a 350+ mile day.  I guess there is no PERFECT bike when you are asking it to perform in such widely varying roles.
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« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2014, 09:07:02 pm »




Welcome Matt!

To the first question: Reliability has been fine. Zero issues so far on that front.

The 2nd Question is the million dollar question isn't it... Would I buy this bike again?  Yes and No. Smile

Yes, because it's a great all around grin inducing bike that will hang with any sportbike where the road snakes around a lot yet will eat a 500+ mile day for breakfast. Also parts availability has been generally extremely good. KTM has stepped up their supply chain process in the USA.

No, because the SM-T is a bit better on the street than I actually need and not quite as good off-pavement as I'd like.  Furthermore it's not a cheap bike to dump off-road as that's not it's primary design.  Replacing some plastics and a beat up front rim was very un-dirtbike like cost wise.

After I get the SM-T back from service I'm going to be doing some soul searching as to whether to keep it or sell it for something a bit more off-road worthy but still fun to ride and good for a 350+ mile day.  I guess there is no PERFECT bike when you are asking it to perform in such widely varying roles.

You know, sometimes I scare myself at how smart I am!!!!! I can solve your concern #2 as to dirt worthiness. Simply stay away from mud and rocks. See, did I help you out.   Bigok
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« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2014, 09:27:41 pm »

I have no plans on going off road with it.  The most it would see is the occasional dirt road or fire road.  I'm thinking that I'm on the right track.  Thanks for all the info.
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« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2014, 04:43:34 pm »

Got a clean bill of health from the dealer. Full service and valve check done. Valves were in spec and  no other issues found. I took the SMR seat off and put the stocker back on since I'm trying to behave myself and not go off-pavement with it. Wink

Now to Keep or sell it.... Dang it. I really need a bigger garage.


Simply stay away from mud and rocks. Bigok


LOL. That's amazingly difficult for me.

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« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2015, 11:32:27 pm »

Thanks for all the great info on your 2013 KTM 990 SMT.  I read this forum many times and just fell in love with your bike.  I eventually found the exact same bike used for a great price.  I since put on Cont TKC 80 tires on it.  They work great, and I can do the same type of forest service roads (in your pics) with the bike.  They also handle good for road work. I have been driving it every day to work, without any troubles.  They seem to be ok up to 90 mph and ride well.  I haven't tried any big lean angles or corners yet, but they seem to do ok on what I have done.   It is extremely hard to wheelie the bike with these tires, which is probably safer for me.  I am looking for another set of rims/wheels so I can have a dirt set and a road set.  I am also looking for a seat like yours for more off road type riding.  I would like to sit back further when riding in the dirt than the stock seat.  I did put crash bars on the bike and a KTM skid plate under it.  It makes it look more off road/tough looking, but helpful.  
Anyhow, thanks for all your photos and input.  You info pushed me to get the KTM 990 SMT over any other bike - and I LOVE IT.  My favorite bike ever, and I have owned/road many.  Thanks again, Robert
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« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2015, 11:41:30 pm »

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/01/11/5c93468538e63e5cf89422ee56602566.jpg
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« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2015, 11:42:12 pm »

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/01/11/9363ad93f627dd7a43f022c46a0fb8d0.jpg
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« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2015, 11:43:25 pm »

I am going to try and make a bracket to bring up front fender.  It is to close if riding in mud.
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« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2015, 07:47:08 pm »

Hope the info proved helpful. Nice looking ride you got there. Smile

Yep. The SM-T needs a fender mod to handle mud. I suspect mud trapped between the fender and front wheel contributed to my prior oops in the mud.  

Almost took mine out for a spin on Monday but shady side roads were still icy so I took out the lil'ktm instead.
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« Reply #41 on: May 25, 2016, 01:30:52 pm »

Hi, just reading your post from 2014. Do you still have the 990 SMT ? How was it on the track day? I'm looking for a do it all bike as well: track, long distance with the wife, city and twisties ... Thanks !
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« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2016, 08:08:50 pm »


Hi, just reading your post from 2014. Do you still have the 990 SMT ? How was it on the track day? I'm looking for a do it all bike as well: track, long distance with the wife, city and twisties ... Thanks !


Hi!

The bike got sold.  I will say that the SM-T was quite possibly the most fun motorcycle I've ever owned.  I wouldn't consider a SM-T a great long distance bike for 2-up though.  IMHO it's built and designed for a rider, not a rider and passenger.

It was very capable on the track & street, and very comfortable as well. However, the little niggles/irritations that seemed to frequently crop up with the bike combined with an increasing personal interest in off-pavement riding were the main factors in selling what was a truly grin inducing package.  

I say the KTM was the hot looking high maintenance super-model. These days I prefer the lower maintenance "girl next door" types. Wink

13 year old FZ1 for smooth fast fun. Triumph Tiger 800XC for a go any where, any time machine. And my KTM 525 for when I just know I'm going to be doing something stupid.
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« Reply #43 on: July 29, 2016, 12:07:57 am »

I'm actually bike shopping right now, and the SM-T is on my radar.  Could you elaborate on the niggles/irritations?  My biggest fear with a KTM is that if there are frequent niggles/irritations, it's going to eat up time and money.  Plus I don't have a dealer nearby.  Judging by an earlier post, it sounds like an exhaust and tune are essential.
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« Reply #44 on: July 29, 2016, 07:00:57 pm »


I'm actually bike shopping right now, and the SM-T is on my radar.  Could you elaborate on the niggles/irritations?  My biggest fear with a KTM is that if there are frequent niggles/irritations, it's going to eat up time and money.  Plus I don't have a dealer nearby.  Judging by an earlier post, it sounds like an exhaust and tune are essential.


Since Windblown is lost in the Rockies right now on his new 1190 Adventure R, I'll talk about his beloved Tiger that gave up the ghost somewhere in Indiana I believe, prompting his mid trip purchase of the Adventure.  British tea cannot replace Orange Koolaid.  
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« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2016, 09:30:03 pm »



Since Windblown is lost in the Rockies right now on his new 1190 Adventure R, I'll talk about his beloved Tiger that gave up the ghost somewhere in Indiana I believe, prompting his mid trip purchase of the Adventure.  British tea cannot replace Orange Koolaid.

I desperate want to disagree with this, but I have sold the Trumpet and keep getting Katooms.

Crap.


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« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2016, 10:13:59 am »

In the mid-2000s, Triumph seemed to really hit their stride on making cool bikes that enthusiasts wanted to ride. I would say that KTM has passed them up once the various 990 bikes came out (Super Duke, Adventure, SM-R, SM-T).

I found my 950 to be reliable for the 70K miles I put on it aside from the crappy fuel pump. I don't recall if the 990 used the same part, but I suspect it did. There is a well-known fix for the issue. There was also a water pump shaft/seal issue in my 2007 that was fixed with upgraded parts, so that probably wasn't an issue on the 990s. I think it's a solid, over-built engine, with a few well-known niggles and well-known solutions.
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« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2016, 12:13:59 am »

One of the things that makes me leary of an SM-T (or any plastic tanked Euro bike) is peoples reports of tank swelling.  

But the main thing is this:
I used to really lust after the Super Duke.  It was what I thought I really wanted to replace my SV650 with.  When I got to where things were going well enough financially for me to consider a new bike, I wound up with the GSX-R 750 because I got a good deal on a leftover.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted.  Just exactly what I wanted if I were to buy a supersport.
Then, last year a friend bought a used Super Duke.  He didn't like the engine, but he'd gotten it cheap enough that he'd have no trouble flipping it at a profit.  So, I test rode it.  Every complaint he had about the engine was true.  If you were much below 4000 rpm, it was completely useless.  The only thing comparable that I've experienced was a Duc 696.  It would shake and shudder in protest if you tried to accelerate outside of its happy place.  Which meant shifting a lot to keep it above 4K.  And it was geared so tall you had to be going 65+ mph (iirc) before even thinking about using 6th gear.  Above 4K it was very stout, but you had to work more to keep it in its happy place.  Keep in mind this bike was bone stock, and who knows how well it had been maintained prior to him buying it.  
I found my 750 to have a far more flexible engine.  Sure, it doesn't start to pull with any kind of authority until you're above 5K, but if you could still lug it a bit and it wouldn't protest if you got into a corner in too tall a gear.  Realistically, it had a good 9,000 rpm range of solid, useable power regardless of what gear you were in.  I shifted more for keeping noise down than the bike actually needing to be in a different gear.  If I chose to, I could have ridden almost every bit of all my favorite local roads in 3rd gear exclusively.  But I used 3rd through 6th to keep the intake from howling like a banshee.  
If what I experienced was the norm for a 990, I really don't want one.  But an SM-T came up for sale at a great price on Craigslist, so I thought I'd research it.
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« Reply #48 on: August 04, 2016, 03:21:50 pm »

https://denver.craigslist.org/mcd/5681137728.html
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« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2016, 08:38:23 am »


One of the things that makes me leary of an SM-T (or any plastic tanked Euro bike) is peoples reports of tank swelling.  

But the main thing is this:
I used to really lust after the Super Duke.  It was what I thought I really wanted to replace my SV650 with.  When I got to where things were going well enough financially for me to consider a new bike, I wound up with the GSX-R 750 because I got a good deal on a leftover.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted.  Just exactly what I wanted if I were to buy a supersport.
Then, last year a friend bought a used Super Duke.  He didn't like the engine, but he'd gotten it cheap enough that he'd have no trouble flipping it at a profit.  So, I test rode it.  Every complaint he had about the engine was true.  If you were much below 4000 rpm, it was completely useless.  The only thing comparable that I've experienced was a Duc 696.  It would shake and shudder in protest if you tried to accelerate outside of its happy place.  Which meant shifting a lot to keep it above 4K.  And it was geared so tall you had to be going 65+ mph (iirc) before even thinking about using 6th gear.  Above 4K it was very stout, but you had to work more to keep it in its happy place.  Keep in mind this bike was bone stock, and who knows how well it had been maintained prior to him buying it.  
I found my 750 to have a far more flexible engine.  Sure, it doesn't start to pull with any kind of authority until you're above 5K, but if you could still lug it a bit and it wouldn't protest if you got into a corner in too tall a gear.  Realistically, it had a good 9,000 rpm range of solid, useable power regardless of what gear you were in.  I shifted more for keeping noise down than the bike actually needing to be in a different gear.  If I chose to, I could have ridden almost every bit of all my favorite local roads in 3rd gear exclusively.  But I used 3rd through 6th to keep the intake from howling like a banshee.  
If what I experienced was the norm for a 990, I really don't want one.  But an SM-T came up for sale at a great price on Craigslist, so I thought I'd research it.


What you state here is true, they are geared tall and gutless below 4k rpm.  A simple sprocket change of -1 front or +1 rear is all I've had to do to my 990's to make 6th useable.  The painful shuddering below 4k rpm is due to the lightweight/short stroke of the moving parts in the engine to yield a fast revving twin that is capable of high rpm.  Sounds like you would be more interested in a cruiser... Lol
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2016, 09:02:33 am »


What you state here is true, they are geared tall and gutless below 4k rpm.  A simple sprocket change of -1 front or +1 rear is all I've had to do to my 990's to make 6th useable.  The painful shuddering below 4k rpm is due to the lightweight/short stroke of the moving parts in the engine to yield a fast revving twin that is capable of high rpm.  Sounds like you would be more interested in a cruiser... Lol


Tis true that the 9x0 engines like to rev and not be lugged. I went down a tooth up front and added a couple in the rear on my SM-R as I don't ride over 80 MPH very often and avoid interstates like the plague. Worked great for my needs/use.
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« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2016, 02:08:41 am »

Sounds like you would be more interested in a cruiser... :lol


Nope.  Just enjoy a flexible engine.  Smile  
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« Reply #52 on: August 22, 2016, 08:17:07 pm »




Since Windblown is lost in the Rockies right now on his new 1190 Adventure R, I'll talk about his beloved Tiger that gave up the ghost somewhere in Indiana I believe, prompting his mid trip purchase of the Adventure.  British tea cannot replace Orange Koolaid.  


Talking about me in my absence. Tsk tsk...  Lol

Yep, couldn't stay away from the Orange Cool-aide.  Beerchug

As an aside, you can tell the 1190 motor prefers 4000+ rpm just like the 990 does, but it is head and shoulders smoother and pulls better below 4000 rpm than the 990 mill which makes it a more versatile package IMHO.  So far it's been 99% grins with the new ride, but in typical KTM fashion it hasn't been without it's moments.  In all, I'm digging it alot. And since I didn't spam the ride report section here with my trip I'll just throw in a couple of pics instead! If anyone wants the story of how I ended up back on team orange the story is here: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/getting-out-west-15-years-in-the-making.1165297/

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/Colorado%20ride%20-%20the%20rest/P7300080_zpsfpilisdr.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/Colorado%20RMAR%202016/P7300069_zpsji9zix4s.jpg

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/Colorado%20RMAR%202016/P7290026_zpsxwxbqzo0.jpg



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« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2016, 08:52:08 am »

Keep us informed if you find the newer KTM as finicky as your SMT
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« Reply #54 on: October 03, 2016, 03:36:43 pm »


Keep us informed if you find the newer KTM as finicky as your SMT


7000 miles on the ODO so far. I hate to admit it but the damn bike just keeps growing on me. Quirks to date have been minimal. It really is just a big powerful dirt bike that will tackle anything the rider is ballsy enough to twist the throttle and hit, and then turn around and ride 400 miles home afterward. It ain't for the timid though, I have to put my game face on to get the best out of it. When I'm too old to enjoy it it will be scooter time. Smile

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« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2016, 05:35:05 pm »



http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/PA020105_zpstbssjkjj.jpg



Where's that?  Looks like PA
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« Reply #56 on: October 04, 2016, 10:41:24 pm »




Where's that?  Looks like PA


Reddish Knob on the VA / WV border.
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« Reply #57 on: October 06, 2016, 10:16:35 am »


Reddish Knob on the VA / WV border.


Thanks, It's now on my list!
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« Reply #58 on: October 06, 2016, 12:13:45 pm »

My 990 SD certainly became more user friendly below 4K after doing the O2 sensor removal mod.
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