I think I've found my upgrade! KTM 950 SM Anyone? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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I think I've found my upgrade! KTM 950 SM Anyone?

As I'm sure we all do, I can't help but wonder about what my next bike might be. I have looked at a number of machines, the latest being a Street Triple, which was a lovely machine, but I just could not see using it as a daily, year round driver. As upright as the seating position is, I found myself still leaning too far forward with too much weight on my wrists, which I am discovering are sensitive. I had also hoped the small triple would be torquier than it was. It was a wonderful little motor, and pulled eagerly, but I think I am looking for that big motor torque. I also rode a Tiger 1050 for the third time, and once again came away a little disappointed. I suppose my lack of excitement over the Tiger can be summed up by saying that as smooth and refined as it is, I find that it lacks soul. It's just not very exciting. It does everything reasonable yell, and the seat is fantastic, but I am finding it bland, and actually looked forward to getting back on the V.

Onwards and upwards, and off to the Honda/Suzuki/KTM dealer to sit on their new 990 SMT. This is the first time I have ever even considered the big orange machines seriously. I have seen Adventures around, and always thought they looked a little ungainly and odd, and never really paid them much mind. The SMT was a floor model, with no demo available, so I gave it a careful eying and was super impressed by the build quality of the machine. The attention to detail and quality of components is absolutely top notch. They really are the cats ass when it comes down to the quality of components. The seating position is perfect, the seat is comfortable, it comes with little side bags, and a mounting plate for top case. There really is not going to be much if anything that needs to be done to the bike once you get it home. It is pretty perfect as is.

I was keen to see what the big twin was like and had booked an appointment to try the only demo they had with the 990 motor, which was an Adventure 990. I approached the thing with a little bit of caution and a little bit of skepticism. It looks like a really tall bike, and right off the bat, I worried about dropping it!

Here's the SMT... very well equipped, and a very nice bike!



Test rode this bad boy!


As I mounted the beast, I was surprised to find that I had absolutely no problem flat footing on the bike. It is so narrow wasted, that it is easy to mount and easy to stand. That was my first surprise. I thumbed the ignition and the throaty V Twin rumbled to life. It has a delicious sound. Not to loud, but classically V Twin. The clutch is very light, with a nice engagement, and the tranny shifts flawlessly and very smoothly. As I pulled out I was immediately struck by how incredibly light the bike feels, and as I soon found out, this also carried over to the handling. It feels WAY lighter than it has any right to. Lighter even than the Versys. The Tiger 1050 by comparison feels kind of slow and heavy. The throttle is very sensitive, and takes some getting used to. If your throttle control isn't particularly good, you would find the throttle quite snatchy at low speeds. There are fixes for this, but by the end of my test I had gotten used to it, and could ride the bike in city traffic very smoothly. The motor pulls everywhere, and the bottom end grunt is staggering. I really, really liked it! It vibrates quite a lot, and rumbles and grunts and snorts. I would not call it uncivilized, but it definitely lacks the refined manners of the Tiger. I have decided to call it character. Which the bike has in globs. I must say, I felt a little special rolling down the street on the Adventure. It's not a bike you see often, the view from the bridge is commanding, and with the head light so high up, I found lollygaggers in the left lane were actually eager to get out of the way!

So... I was impressed with the KTM, and decided the SMT would be an excellent all rounder that I could live with for quite some time. Unfortunately, I can't afford one... or rather don't want to doll out the $17,000 with taxes it will take to put one in my garage. BUT... fortunately, for whatever reason, KTM seems to depreciate quickly, and the equally, and maybe even more delightful 950SM is well within my frugal means, and just might take the Versys parking spot in the nearish future.

The 950 is the predecessor to the 990, and the SM is the bare bones Super Moto version of the SMT (Touring). The motor is an absolute gem. They are easily fitted with top boxes and wind screens, and is arguable the most fun motorcycle ever made (from my rather extensive reading). The seat is lacking, but it is better than the stock Versys seat, and there are after market seats. It does not get quite as good fuel mileage as the Versys, but not bad for a big V-Twin. I think I'll see 36-38 around town, which is what I am getting with the V anyways. The 950 Motor is well proven, quirks are known, and the fuel delivery is spotless and fantastic. The bike is as light as the Versys with 98HP and 70ft pounds torque. Fully adjustable WP suspension, which is about as good as it gets, top of the line Brembo brakes, and can be had for ~$7000 with very low miles! I think I might have finally found my next bike!

KTM 990 Super Moto eye candy!









And finally.. a few vids to whet the appetite!



On the road

2007 Versys Black, V35 Bags, H&B Bars, Skidmarx Hugger.Fender Ex., Avon Distanzia, Braided Lines, Hella 65W bulbs Arrow Can, DNA Air filter, GIVI tall screen (for winter), PCIII, Baldwin Saddle. **SOLD**

2011 KTM SM-T. Crash bars, E55 Top Box, Fender extender front and rear.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 03:01 PM
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Have a co worker that have one. Seems he's always fixing something on it. Not sure if it's a reliablity issue or if he's just a thinkerer. Awesome bike, If your going across the sahara. Not sure about it as a daily commuter.

Have you looked at the BMW F800 ST? or the 800 GS if your planning to get dirty. Same basic engine but tuned for different purposes. I've been tempted by it. However, still enjoying the V too much to justify an upgrade.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 03:08 PM
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I have a friend with a 950 adventure. I rode it & really like it. But it does vibrate like crazy. It's been awhile, but I don't remember it feeling lighter than the Versys, but it may be due to the front wheel being more narrow. No matter, they are great bikes & he loves his. I think the only real trouble he's had was a water pump issue & I think it was covered under warranty. Again, long time ago....

And yes, the 990 SMT is a sexy bitch!!



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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 03:10 PM
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I think you broke the cardinal rule. You tried out a motorcycle you can't afford.
I don't intend to sit on any KTM for a few more years even though I've been lusting for 990 Adv.

I didn't understand at the end. You liked the Adv. but you want the SM(T)?
If asphalt is your playground then SMT may be more fun, but the Adv can climb a lamp post. It's a sport-tourer against adventure-tourer. Depends what flicks your switch.

I've been (masochistically) following the ads on AdvRider.com for 990Adv and there are some farkled and very nice ones from 8 to 10,000$.

Here is some proper eye candy of the Adv:
KTM Slideshow



Cheers.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 03:22 PM
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Checked out the SMT at a recent bike show, impressive bike and I do love vtwins, best bike motors out there. But the cost is too high for me now, I'm donecwith spending big bucks on bikes knowing full well that I'll get tired of it eventually and be looking at something else. Nice machine tho, try to find a used one
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:15 PM
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What's up w/ that skidplate oil resovoir?

My understanding of the water pump issue is that its tattle-tell weep hole drips coolant into the oil when the water pump goes out.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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This sums it up...

I would like the $17,000 SMT




but will likely get the $7000 SM950

.


This is after trying the Adventure, which is nice, but not for me.

is just too big.

2007 Versys Black, V35 Bags, H&B Bars, Skidmarx Hugger.Fender Ex., Avon Distanzia, Braided Lines, Hella 65W bulbs Arrow Can, DNA Air filter, GIVI tall screen (for winter), PCIII, Baldwin Saddle. **SOLD**

2011 KTM SM-T. Crash bars, E55 Top Box, Fender extender front and rear.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:35 PM
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its been a year since i had this beast for 2 weeks.symbiosis with it was pretty interesting....
my friend said me,take it ,go to the island but dont blame me after...i took my chances and took it even if i could not imagine what could he meant...
after two weeks ,or two hours,i knew what he meant! this thing evaporates gasoline like hell!! better take a small suv man,load it with everything and you get better mileage...
apart that sad fact,the bike is a dream in every aspect.for big fellas like me its perfect,it gives you good geometry so as to corner and to feel confident in almost every surface.wp is a serious piece of engineering...

i like the engine too much,its like the v engine x2 in terms of power and acceleration and vibrations of course.in america you enjoy cheap gasoline,here the liter now is about 1.5 euro and versys takes 19 liters to be full.make your calculations and ....buy it! its a beast and the lc8 engine is ktms star in terms of survivability .this bike has no real competitors atm,tiger is tooo heavy and fat while all bmw and the new tenere are way heavier-uglier etc...dont even talk about varaderos,caponord etc,klv,v-strom 1000...
a versys 1000 could be close to this beast but kawa seems to be fine with the 650,but who knows...?
ktm adv is an arrow ,goes fast in every surface ,is dangerously beautifull and in the right hands its a weapon go for it man you will not regret it


woot? no no dont take the sm,you will miss all the fun...

Last edited by naz; 06-09-2010 at 04:38 PM.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inroads View Post
What's up w/ that skidplate oil resovoir?
Dry sump oiling. Helps keep the CG down low by not having an oil pan which lets the motor sit lower in the frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inroads View Post
My understanding of the water pump issue is that its tattle-tell weep hole drips coolant into the oil when the water pump goes out.
Well known issue. There is a technical bulletin and an easy fix. I don't think it leaks internally. http://www.ktm950.info/how/ktm_950_issues.html

2007 Versys Black, V35 Bags, H&B Bars, Skidmarx Hugger.Fender Ex., Avon Distanzia, Braided Lines, Hella 65W bulbs Arrow Can, DNA Air filter, GIVI tall screen (for winter), PCIII, Baldwin Saddle. **SOLD**

2011 KTM SM-T. Crash bars, E55 Top Box, Fender extender front and rear.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:40 PM
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Awesome! would love a KTM adventure and love the big V twin torque. Also love my old 95 Ducati Monster 900, the road I ride in to work on has a nice roller that my Monster's front wheel would come off the ground when I rolled the throttle on over it, My V doesn't do it. not enough low end torque. Have to down shift and get the RPM's up on the V.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
This sums it up...

I would like the $17,000 SMT




but will likely get the $7000 SM950

.


This is after trying the Adventure, which is nice, but not for me.

is just too big.
I am surprised the SM is 10 grand cheaper, definately worth 7K!

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 05:11 PM
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ok i found it.see what an sm can do,this is a single cylinder ktm 520...

only in this type of roads though,for gravel AND asphalt i would choose the adv.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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I am surprised the SM is 10 grand cheaper, definately worth 7K!
That's for used. Like an 06 or 07 with 2-3000 miles. The new ones are more, but fortunately they depreciate quick! I saw an 06 with 1350 miles on it for $6450 yesterday at a BMW dealer in Seattle. Phoned him this morning, and it had already sold. He had it for all of 4 days before it sold. Bugger!

2007 Versys Black, V35 Bags, H&B Bars, Skidmarx Hugger.Fender Ex., Avon Distanzia, Braided Lines, Hella 65W bulbs Arrow Can, DNA Air filter, GIVI tall screen (for winter), PCIII, Baldwin Saddle. **SOLD**

2011 KTM SM-T. Crash bars, E55 Top Box, Fender extender front and rear.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 05:40 PM
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Only thing I can add is that I test rode a 950SM and loved it. The demo was at T.W.O. in Suches Georgia and included some of the twistiest parts of HWY 60. The handling on this bike is unreal....I've never ridden a bike that had so much front end feel. It's like I could do no wrong. The front brakes border on frightening........grab a full fingers worth and your arms will fold up.

If I didn't ride with a passenger 70% of the time I would have one in my garage.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 08:07 PM
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Has anybody seen a copy yet? Looks like a KTM in the lineup of bikes the Versys beat.

Has anyone ridden the new Z1000? Looks like a contender:

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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
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Has anybody seen a copy yet? Looks like a KTM in the lineup of bikes the Versys beat.

Has anyone ridden the new Z1000? Looks like a contender:
At $80K or about USD25k , i rather save the $ for the kids and I am happy with the V-voted the perfect street bike and KTM has a history for reliablity problems down here.

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