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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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Old 13 Feb 2014
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 14
Smile Ktm 990 smt

I was wondering if any has decked out a KTM 990 SMT for an overland adventure ?, why I ask this question is that they are a very capable bike. Yes before you shoot me down , I will give you a brief background about myself so you know I am not ignore to motorcycling.

I have been riding for 35 years , ( to many bikes to mention) both on and of road. Have traveled Australia and NZ only on bike trips. But are planning a trip to South America next year. I am a motorcycle instructor and worked with motorcycle hire and tour companies ( both on and of road) . I am by no means talking myself up, just wont my reply directed in the right context.

Well the KTM 990 SMT has a great rap for being a good alrouder, Touring, handling, not to heavy, ok on light dirt roads , lots of accessories to gear it up for touring. The bike only has a 19 lt fuel tank, no fuel gauge, ( my question is can you put a larger tank on and what are the reliability issues of this bike ?

Also if anyone has also done a long adventure trip on a Yamaha TDM 900 ? ! They also are a great bike in many ways ,

I currently own a Triumph tiger 800 , Aprilia pegaso 650 and a Suzuki DRZ 400,

My type of riding I wont to do in South America , is a mix of no and of road , ( But not to extreme) fire trails , river and Creek crossing etc) , when I ride my DRZ I go mad in the bush, but for a long trip I will not be doing this. my desires are

1. I travel light , Im not that tall, dont wont a big heavy bike and comfortable.
2. Do not like BMW, my Tiger a bit to heavy for want I wont, my DRZ abit to much off road.
3. Easy of servicing, reliability, Power when required. Good fuel economy

Can you guys tell me from what I require is a KTM 990 STM , reliable and the rest above, all advice much appreciated.

Paul from Victoria - Wodonga Australia.
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Old 13 Feb 2014
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Location: california
Posts: 2,266
Seems to me you're spoilt for choice! So Many Good Bikes! Any one of them could do your trip!

I don't own a 990 but many riding buddies do and I've ridden a few.
The SMT model would not be my first choice mainly due to the 17" front tire and short fuel range. 990/1150 Adventure may be a better choice?

But if you feel the SMT cast wheels are tough enough to handle hard rock hits/massive pot holes and if you're good enough to ride a 530 lbs.( 240 kgs.) bike through deep sand / mud on street tires ... then you're all set!

Seems that a loaded up, tall-ish bike would be a bit of a handful? Probably add 100 lbs. with gear, Boxes, racks, hardware, tools, guards loaded on board.

KTM's are great bikes, super fun to ride. (I've only ridden the 990 Adventure and 950SE) Both too tall for me, I could never travel loaded up ... too many tip overs!

I guess the huge cost of shipping your bike from Oz to S. America (and back) is not a problem? Have you got that figure?

Of all your bikes I would be most comfortable on the Tiger 800 (XC model?) or the Pegaso. Also consider how much you could lose if something goes tits up. The Pegaso is not super expensive ... but the KTM and Tiger are. Not sure any Oz insurance would cover you and local insurance is dodgy at best.

If you were to travel mainly in Chile and Argentina then the SMT would be great. Fantastic paved roads on the main routes. But as you go North into Bolivia, Peru', Ecuador and Colombia you may find rougher roads if you go even slightly off the beaten path.

Even "Main Roads" can be rough, rocky dirt and in bad weather may be a challenge. Sure, if you stay strictly on the well paved Pan American, no problems, but doing a bit of exploring is part of the fun.

Keep in mind in some places road speeds are low, so you can't exploit the KTM's massive power. In more Urban areas speeds are more like
40 to 50 kph. and in some areas lots of cops waiting for foreign riders to come by. Lots of riders buy inexpensive 125's or 250's locally and tour on those. They can be sold off (legally) at trips end. You could sell your KTM too ... but could be a bit more of an effort and not strictly legal.
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