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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #16  
Old 3 Mar 2011
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ditto

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
My $0.02: If you're doing a lot of off road, keep it light, sell the AT and buy something no bigger than a 650 single, preferably even smaller cc's than that.

Big bikes are fine for 2 up long distance but quickly become a huge pain in the ass in loose sand/mud etc.
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  #17  
Old 5 Mar 2011
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Even if yours has been good and my brothers was bad this is still only two machines and at best, anecdotal evidence. Chatting with the engineers working at a KTM dealership put me off from ever buying one and my brother quickly got rid to buy a Jap 650. Not as quick but it never did let him down. The common consensus is that KTM are riders bikes, great engines, great frames but what lets them down is they're designed to perform, not with maintenance and durability in mind. This is a major problem to me when you're considering an adventure machine. The fuel consumption is also a black mark. It cuts range down considerably and increases weight over a 650.
Ok, it has a bit more power but it's only useful at higher speeds, illegal in most countries except on motorways and it's not the kind of bike built for those roads and is not being bought for that purpose.
The 650 class bikes, (ideally singles for simpler maintenance, durability, weight, range and torque) are more useful all-rounders and come into their own when the road surfaces turn into fire-roads or trails.
I've had them all ad can say my current 650 is the only one I would trust to go travelling on.
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  #18  
Old 5 Mar 2011
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JTW000, I aint arguing - your right a 600 makes much more sense some would say a 125 makes more sense (Birdy for instance) as it happens I actually prefer the Bilge pump (my r80gs) she is simpler in every respect and she is well sorted and we have done quite a bit of touring to far off places and I would not hesitate to set off anywhere again on her at the drop of a hat, she is easier to ride, more comfy for my wife, and for me the one I would choose to go away on - but that does not take away the experience I had when I toured on the ktm to various places - the bike and the experience of riding her was overall - very good. At the end of the day it really does not matter I suppose - if Groot want a KTM and takes one then he will build his own experience and that may be great or terrible - but it will be his experience. All part of life's little ups and downs.
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  #19  
Old 5 Mar 2011
petesonhisway
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You'll no doubt have noticed not many KTM twin owners tend to hang out here, which is a shame but understandable even considering the posts in this thread alone.

For anyone considering these bikes, there is lots of information, good and bad in the Orange Crush forum on Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum. You don't need to have a KTM to ask questions, if fact you don't even need to have a brother who had one.
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  #20  
Old 5 Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petesonhisway View Post
You'll no doubt have noticed not many KTM twin owners tend to hang out here, which is a shame but understandable even considering the posts in this thread alone.
really, is there any need to go into a huff about it ? maybe tell the guy about your own travel experiences on your 950 or 990 (that's what he's asking for), rather than just complain about what's being said but offering nothing of real value.
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  #21  
Old 5 Mar 2011
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Thank you for your kind words. There is, no huff, I thought my post was funny - ah well I'll be on my bike...just hope it doesn't fall apart when I get on it, or even worse, fall over...cos it's so heavy I'll never be able to pick it again...
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  #22  
Old 6 Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petesonhisway View Post
Sorry guys I thought this was a thread about sharing experiences of the KTM 950/990. As I've owned one for 5 years and travelled a to a few places I thought I had a good idea about the merits of the bike, didn't realise I was surrounded by so many experts.

Same old same old.
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  #23  
Old 6 Mar 2011
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The way I see the bike of choice needs two main qualities.

Fuel range, and weight.
However the single and most important requirement, far outweighs all others, is "reliability and ease of repair"
All these big bikes are more than powerful enough, so I have discounted power.

From the probably the three most popular bikes mentioned, here they are.
BMW F800GS
KTM 990
Africa Twin 750.

All details taken from MCN.

2008 BMW F800GS Specifications
Top speed
130mph
1/4-mile acceleration
secs
Power
85bhp
Torque
60ftlb
Weight
185kg
Seat height
880mm
Fuel capacity
16 litres
Average fuel consumption
45mpg
Tank range
140 miles
Insurance group
12
Engine size
798cc
Engine specification
8v parallel twin, 6 gears
Frame
Tubular steel
Front suspension adjustment
45mm inverted forks, no adjust
Rear suspension adjustment
Single shock, preload and rebound damping adjust
Front brakes
2 x 300mm discs
Rear brake
265mm disc
Front tyre size
90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size
150/70 x 21





KTM 990 Adventurer Specifications
Top speed
140mph
1/4-mile acceleration
11.03 secs
Power
115bhp
Torque
71ftlb
Weight
196kg
Seat height
855mm
Fuel capacity
19 litres
Average fuel consumption
48mpg
Tank range
150 miles
Insurance group
17
Engine size
999cc
Engine specification
8 valve, 75 degree V-twin
Frame
Steel trellis
Front suspension adjustment
Fully adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment
Fully adjustable
Front brakes
2 x 305mm discs
Rear brake

Front tyre size
120/70 17in
Rear tyre size
180/55 17in





Last model 2003 Aftica Twin Specifications
Top speed
110mph
1/4-mile acceleration
13.9 secs
Power
61bhp
Torque
46ftlb
Weight
202kg
Seat height
860mm
Fuel capacity
23 litres
Average fuel consumption
38mpg
Tank range
190 miles
Insurance group
12
Engine size
742cc
Engine specification
6v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame
Steel perimeter
Front suspension adjustment
Preload
Rear suspension adjustment
Preload, compression
Front brakes
Twin 276mm discs
Rear brake
256mm disc
Front tyre size
90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size
140/80 x 17




The Africa Twin is 10 years older than the other 2 bikes, and as such I believe will be far easier to fix.
The Africa Twin, gives far greater driving range that any of the others.
However the Africa Twin, because it is older, is also a little heavier.
BMW = 185 kg
KTM = 196 kg
AT = 202 kg

In the big picture, the Africa Twin isn't that much heavier.

In view of all the information, there is but just one sensible choice, and that gents, is the Africa Twin.

'vette
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  #24  
Old 6 Mar 2011
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given the choice of those 3 bikes, I would probably have taken the KTM myself.
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  #25  
Old 6 Mar 2011
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Personal Insults Deleted...

Last edited by chris; 6 Mar 2011 at 17:17. Reason: PERSONAL INSULTS DELETED...
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  #26  
Old 6 Mar 2011
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Now I like the R80gs. I like that a lot and would have gone that way except for a couple of factors. One, they're insanely expensive now, presumably because of their excellent reputation for reliably, durability and simplicity. Secondly, if I was to get one I would face a major overhaul of bearings and gear to prove it (purely to myself) and third it's just old tech. Not that I think that old tech is worse, far from it it's just that my modern 650 single gives the same power with a far lighter overall weight and similar reputation for reliability while giving far better fuel economy. I couldn't justify swapping it in.
I did look into KTM when i was shopping for the right bike. Specs wise I ended up opting for the F800gs which is the absolute perfect adventure bike... until you own one. Then the flaws start to show up, the forums are now full of the minor faults and major ones too. Crying shame, it had so much potential. To ride, the KTM is a good bet but I don't think I could ever trust it. I'm heading a long way from home and every modification i make to my bike is in the order of having one less thing to worry about. I've ended up going for a bike with major design drawbacks but a solid reputation. A year into owning it and it's proved to be very durable and I'd be stupid now to change it.

PS... MCN details are not very accurate. The F800gs delivered and average of 65mpg around town and the 880mm seat height doesn't include the fact that after riding 50 miles you feel like you've got pure evil nailed to your arse with rusty tent-pegs. Also the power delivery is odd so the BHP figures don't feel accurate.
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  #27  
Old 6 Mar 2011
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ktm

just my 2 cents on ktm reliability:

I have 70.000 km on a ktm 990 2006, never had any major issues (just the clutch slave cylinder replaced and main relay that burned) services (yeah quite expensive) always done on time and regularly.

if you check this guys they left for a trip around the world: ktm 990 more than 100.000 km (62000 miles) with no problems (they list all the spares and services done, look yourelf)

http://www.ride-the-world.net/wordpress/?page_id=14〈=en


Ktm 950 and 990 have few well known (all minor) issues. if you know them you can leave for a round the world trip 100% assured that you will come back.

Have a look to the last 10 years Paris-Dakar all won by Ktm and count how many Bmw's are there ( the number approaches zero), experience in raids definitely goes also in production bikes (and Meoni probably the greatest driver ever was riding a ktm 950 in paris-dakar).

Data reported from MCN is definitely wrong, a ktm has a 21 inches front wheel (90/90/21) and a 18 inches rear (150/70/18)

i definitely agree that are heavy bikes even more with panniers and some farkles but the only alternative IMO is a mono.
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  #28  
Old 7 Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
Now I like the R80gs. I like that a lot and would have gone that way except for a couple of factors. One, they're insanely expensive now, presumably because of their excellent reputation for reliably, durability and simplicity. Secondly, if I was to get one I would face a major overhaul of bearings and gear to prove it (purely to myself) and third it's just old tech. Not that I think that old tech is worse, far from it it's just that my modern 650 single gives the same power with a far lighter overall weight and similar reputation for reliability while giving far better fuel economy. I couldn't justify swapping it in.
I did look into KTM when i was shopping for the right bike. Specs wise I ended up opting for the F800gs which is the absolute perfect adventure bike... until you own one. Then the flaws start to show up, the forums are now full of the minor faults and major ones too. Crying shame, it had so much potential. To ride, the KTM is a good bet but I don't think I could ever trust it. I'm heading a long way from home and every modification i make to my bike is in the order of having one less thing to worry about. I've ended up going for a bike with major design drawbacks but a solid reputation. A year into owning it and it's proved to be very durable and I'd be stupid now to change it.

PS... MCN details are not very accurate. The F800gs delivered and average of 65mpg around town and the 880mm seat height doesn't include the fact that after riding 50 miles you feel like you've got pure evil nailed to your arse with rusty tent-pegs. Also the power delivery is odd so the BHP figures don't feel accurate.
Like you I cant help doing stuff to the GS - mine it now weighs in at less than 185kgs, has 43litre tank so massive range, puts out 65hp at crank (54 at back wheel and Torque at the back wheel of 72nm from just over 2000 revs and stays at that to over 6000, loads of other mods and front and rear suspension upgrades puts it up there with many modern bikes and averages 51mpg but I have had well over 60mpg on leisurely long runs on tarmac (55mph steady) and its better than almost any single two up which is important to me. Oh and when i bought mine she was about £2400, I have spent about £4,500 on her over the years to get her to where she is now and she has also covered near to 100,000 mile ( complete engine rebuild upgrade and modification in last year was Large amount of that money - still a lot cheaper than a new or replacement bike.)
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  #29  
Old 7 Mar 2011
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That's great but again, anecdotal evidence. Of the people I have spoken to and the articles I have read I don't trust KTM and had to rule them out as a reliable travel machine.
The Dakar is a lousy test of a bike these days. The backup crew, the modifications to the machine make it all about who is throwing the most money in a pot. I read an article about a man entering without a backup crew, just one man, a bike and a toolkit, not that was a good test of a bike and a man.
As I said before, KTM make great competition machines, that's what they build but they don't transfer well to adventure touring because to KTM reliability, maintenance, economy and durability are secondary concerns to performance. Nothing wrong with that at all but it does mean they don't suit me.

@adventure950
That's great, a lot of gains in power. I have a 650 single for my trip this year but a change in circumstances means my partner is tagging along through a trip around europe so now I'm a bit torn and wish I had a reliable boxer. I love the boxer, it rides like a big single, loads of torque and puts all the bits you need to work on exactly where they should be. Sadly the modern ones are overstuffed with toys that break down so the ones like yours are the ones to have. Of course now I've committed to this bike so we have to make the best of it. I would prefer to be on a bigger machine, the R1100gs still calls me. That's a lot of cash to spend on upgrades but I know what you mean. I got my single for £3200 but it's selling for about £2500 now and I've spent that again on bolted on goodies and still she wants more. Bloody bikes. Mine still has a lousy 9.5 litre tank and a 5l auxiliary so my range is poor. I get 200 miles plus reserve.
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  #30  
Old 10 Mar 2011
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Appreciate all the input on this.

As expected some very different opinions but all in all it seems the majority of KTM users themselves are convinced it is suited for a long trip, despite the shorter service intervals and maintenance issues that are often referred to.

Next topic might be KTM 990 vs BMW 800 GS (also referred to above) but no doubt there is information on that elsewhere on here.
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