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If you are considering a new 950 - 2005 model, I would expect the problems of the 2003/4 models have been fully addressed. The 2005 model has had some sort of re-design to the head (and perhaps barrel as well). There were some issues with the 2003/4 blowing head gaskets, but has been fixed for 2005 I am told.
My 2003 950s limped out of Morocco with the head gasket gone for the second time in September 2004, this was only a month after it had been rebuilt - and 3000 miles. I have been given a new 2005 engine by KTM, and hope all should be ok from now on. (see thread on 950 head gasket)
The rest of the bike performed well, no problems at all, fitted with KTM plastic luggage, top box and tank bag. I was glad that I had fitted Akropovic exhausts rather than leave the standard ones on, as they made the bike run cooler by one 'bar' on the temprature gauge - handy in the heat, and the bike pulling from 2000 revs. I had fitted a 45 tooth rear cog to drop the gearing a little, and found the bike much better at slow speeds on the semi-rough stuff - Piste over the Atlas etc. Apart from an oval plate 4x2 welded onto the side stand, and a centre stand, the bike is standard.
standard tank gave me a range of 165 miles, and I was getting aprox 40 mpg. - not a problem in morocco as the gas stations are fairly close together. Synthetic oil might pose a problem, I only found 1 garage in Morocco which sold it. With a service interval of 4000 miles, and quite a protracted job to perform a service (both halves of the tank need dismounting), you will need to take this into consideration.
The standard tyres are a pain to remove as they are tubeless tyres with tubes fitted.
I would consider some protection for the tank as it is a bit exposed when you fall off.
Oh! forgot, I also have the gel seat fitted, a little softer than the original, but after your 640 you will think it heaven.
Would I take the 950 again?
Mmmmm... maybe, or maybe a lighter less complicated bike.
[This message has been edited by Bill Holland (edited 06 March 2005).]
Thanks for the reply. Sounds like you've been unlucky Bill.
I'd be looking at a new 2005 so hopefully most of the teething troubles should be ironed out.
In my experience the 640 is an excellent machine, the only downside IMHO is a lack of comfort on sealed roads. I'm hoping that a 950 would be more comfortable on tarmac, but still retain a good degree of off-road capability. They're heavier I know, but at least look as though they carry the weight in the right place i.e. low down.
Originally posted by Bill Holland: Would I take the 950 again?
Mmmmm... maybe, or maybe a lighter less complicated bike.
Yes, they are well ballanced, and the weight is low - the 950 more so than my 950s, they are a lot smoother than the LC4 single (I used to have one but it shook all my fillings out). I crossed Spain (825 miles) in one day on the 950, fully loaded without any problem, and have done several 500+ mile days in the UK.
You should get a day's test ride from a dealer, as a trip round the block is never enough.
There must be other 950 owners out there who have covered the distance, I look forward to reading their contributions.
[This message has been edited by Bill Holland (edited 06 March 2005).]
I own a '04 950 Adv and I've been last January/February in a 36 days trip from Portugal to Mali and return, 12000 kms overall and 5000 kms offroad. Two bikes (the other was a Honda XR650) and six 4x4.
We have made tarmac form Portugal until de Mauri border, and then we took known tracks but also not-used tracks and even off-track through Mauri and Mali.
Well, it was a very tough trip for all, and the LC8 behaviour was quite impressive, I would say it was the only vehicle with no major problems.
I've changed tires at the Mauri border (it is mandatory, since you need the original MT90 for the tarmac if you ride not too slow, and enduro tires for offroad - MT18 was my choice). I've tried for overall use the TKC80 when training at Portugal and the result was a disaster in the tarmac, all the 'rubber pieces' (what's the english word...?) have been drown!
The only problems I had was the following:
- front wheel completely bond (I can not understand the kind of wheel KTM mounted in the LC8, absolutely inappropriate)
- hydraulic clutch oil have disappeared... changed with motor oil…
- little loss of water (it was a little below the minimum level), filled often but an insignificant quantity
- ignition key not working after a sand storm (forgot the condom...) WD40 solved the issue
- and a broken out rear tyre when I was returning, at Western Sahara, 100 kms after changing the MT18 by the MT90 tires... very dangerous situation and I can’t explain what happened... bad mounting?...
Well, if you want more info fell free to ask, but finishing I would say whether I was very lucky or the LC8 is for sure the better bike to do such a trip, fantastic in ever imaginable ground, 100% fun!
Yes, I've already ordered a front Excel rim. The rear will remain the original, is not bent and there are not the rim size available, my vendor said.
The front burying was mainly in the track Atar - Tidjikja, where we found more soft sand and dunes. From Nema to Timbuktu we didn't have too much problems, we did the track through Nampala and Lere, what have you done?
This was part of my longer trip through NW Africa - report on AMH website. I can strongly recommend Algeria when it becomes safe again. Even with the compulsory guides it should be good. Before the abductions I rode down to Djanet and crossed from Tam to Arlit, then on to Mali, Guinea and Senegal/Gambia. The scenery in the Hoggar was great, the pistes generally good (no more difficult than the Atlantic route) and in Algeria at least, there was no hassle to tourists like you can get in Morocco.
I'm intending to try Maroc and RIM (again) in the near future.
Originally posted by Ian: I went from Douentza to Timbuktu - story here
Great trip yours!
It seems that in two years the road from the Niger south side to Douentza have changed a lot! Last January we didn’t have that kind of problems and as far as I remember it is a macadam road with lots of traps (you can ride near 100 km/h and big holes appear suddenly) but with no soft sand at all.
Algeria it’s a dream but who knows when it can be done… I was in 2003 in Ouadanne, RIM, with a Algerian that said it is secure travel in Algeria since you avoid certain areas, but the general opinion is that it is far from safe for now.
Next September I’m planning to make a trip through Morocco and RIM, perhaps we can meet there!
Hello Ian, I would recommend the 950 without any hesitation albeit a lot heavier than your lc4, I have now covered 25000 miles on my 03 model without any problems. I have just returned from a 5000 mile trip into Russia where some of the roads and non roads tested the bikes suspension and durability, fully loaded and two up. no problems whatsoever. I would get to grips with tyre changing at home first cos it is a pig of a bike to change the rear tyre/repair punctures but with practice can be done in about 30 mins. I have not had any mechanical problems but do think access to the engine is difficult if you do have any problems. all the same how much can you fix at the roadside anyway?. still rate it as best all round bike i have owned.
Considering a new 950Adv as there some exellent deals on at the moment. I've had a couple of Africa Twins which were very reliable although lacked a little power and a couple of GS's which weren't totally reliable but, had enough power. There seem to be mixed opinions here on 950. I rode a demo bike this week and it confirmed my desire to get one. Personally, I found the riding position and seat more comfortble than the 12GS I sold three months ago. The whole machine had a quality feel about it and was a real hoot to ride. However, having read the posts above, I'm a bit concerned about reliability and maitainance; oil changes sound like a nightmare. Looking at travelling to North Africa, two up next year. Latest opinions please. LB.
I didn't buy a 950 Adv in the end - I'll stick with my LC4 for now. I was very tempted by the BMW HP2, but oh the price - I'll wait and see if a KTM 950 Super Enduro, or BMW F650 based HP-something is launched.
The thing that put me off the 950 Adventure is the weight - even though it's relatively lightweight for a bike of that size, I wouldn't like to push it through soft sand too many times on a hot day in the Sahara.
Having said that, the 950 Adv will IMHO comes close to being both comfortable on the motorway but usable on the piste and if I was heading to Africa 2 up, it'd be my choice.
Oil changes: you just get used to them. The first time I attempted it on an LC4 it took me the best part of half a day, now it's less than half an hour.
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