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Old 19 Apr 2006
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640 or 950 for round the world

Just wondering what bike some of u ktm riders think i should use for going around the world. i know the basic pros and cons of each bike but would like to know what some owners think. i am planning to go to some remote places in south america and africa. I'm not gonna lie I will be on praved roads for probably 80-90% of the time so the 950 seems like it will be a much more fun bike for that part of the trip. But anothing thing i wanna do is ride right through sahara so the 640 looks lil better now. i am a bike man at 6'1 and around 240pounds and i'm no stranger to the gym so i don't think i should have too much problem lifting the 950. so has anyone riden some hardcore sand dune in the sahara on a 950 and which engine is more reliable.
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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There's a possible confliction in your plan - remote places in Africa (and I guess south America though never been) will most likely mean lots of dirt roads.

If I was heading RTW next week I would still choose the 640, due to their relative simplicity when compared to the 950. IMHO the only place the 950 wins is for long stretches on the tarmac. The 640 will also do this, but (again IMHO) the vibes make it less comfortable. In my experience, the performance of the 950 just isn't useful in places like the Sahara, only in getting there in the first place. The size of the rear tyre on the 950 also puts me off them. Great bike all the same.
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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I assume 'i' is one person. For 2 up i'd suggest a 950.

for rtw and sand i'd suggest a 640 but why get a 640 when for the other 80-90% of the time the power and smoothness of a 950 would be so much more fun?

once you get to the sahara - depending on route etc you may find a 4x4 to help carry some stuff - assuming youre going in the same direction

It also sounds like you are a bit heavier than me (im 160) and stronger so picking up the 950 wont cause any problems.

engine reliability -
640s inlet rocker arms last 40,000km. easy to replace before they fail.
friends with 950s have had quite a few problems but the lastest bikes should be much better. ktm want to move into road bikes so cannot afford them to fail.

however, i didnt choose a 950 because i know i'd kill myself by going too fast. a 640 is is quick enough for me, a lot of fun, simple and i can do most work on it myself.

try before you buy - can you not get a demo rides/borrow both and try some local sandpits etc?

the worst thing is to choose a bike youre not happy with.

if you start in north america with what you think is best & plan your mix of roads right to test everything but find your choice drives you nuts you might still (with huge amounts of planning) be able to sell current and buy the other one in the usa/mexico/south america before hitting the carnet countries where you cant sell your first choice.


Last edited by Jerome; 19 Apr 2006 at 21:27.
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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Hmmm. The 950 is sooooo sexy, but... . Reading around it seems that maintenance is not that easy, meaning that I wouldn't take it trough Africa. I'm dreaming of a 990, but if I bought one, I'd still keep my transalp for the real traveling stuff. It's not the weight that would worry me, more something like 'maintainabillity', and talking of 'maintainabillity' I'de be tempted by a honda/suzuki/yamaha.
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Old 20 Apr 2006
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Originally Posted by Flying Gringo
In chosing a KTM for a long adventure tour ride, you should keep in mind that you will most likely be loading it in the back of a lot of vehicles and pushing it down the road to the nearest place where someone claims they can fix it. Go with the lightest one.
Have you had problems with a KTM Flying Gringo? If so I'd be interested to hear them.

I'm on my second LC4 - been stranded total of 3 times. First time due to leaking water pump seal, second and third not a problem with the bike itself - loose connector from an accessory part earthing and a snapped chain. Not bad considering two Sahara crossings, numerous small trips and competitions.
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Old 20 Apr 2006
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Fair point, not that many (between 15000 to 20000 on each), but what there are haven't been easy.

I'd still choose a 640 for an RTW (although considering a DRZ400S at the moment).
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Go with the lightest one...

Well, George will know that after his experience on the MotoGuzzi... Jerome is travelling on his KTM now for 3 years with some heavy experience, I met him in Chile and you should check out his website If he forwards it to you. I myself rode down from Alaska on the KTM 640 and when you have to lift it up in the mud every kilo is too much. Next time I will vote for a smaller bike (like George said), a Japanse one because of spare parts coverage and it must have a kickstarter as well. At the end I chose the KTM 640 and it got me down the road, but when you need spare parts you heavily rely on the airfreight out of Miami, Germany (KTM Sommer is the biggest and best dealer in the world) or elsewhere.
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