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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.
Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.

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Old 20 Feb 2015
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KTM 1190 or the new Tiger 800 XC

Hi there!

I should probably apologize for not doing my first post in the "new to HU" part of the forum. Sorry

This thing with doing longer travels on a motorbike is something I've been dreaming of for a long time (I won't mention the show with the famous guy and his slightly less famous mate that went around the world)

Finally the kid is big enough that my wonderful wife has given the go ahead for me to start my adventuring days. Being the sensible person I am, I'll start of with something less time consuming and terrifying then Mongolia and the Road of Bones.

So in the beginning of September I'll be riding from Stockholm (this is where you go, "ahh, sensible, I see") riding on through the northwestern parts of Europe, taking the train from Calais over to Folkstone and then through England, Wales up to Scotland.

I won't bore you with more details then that but the issue I'm facing is what bike I should put my money on.

Now what made me contemplate changing my bike is to have as new a bike as possible and in the process getting a bike that'll see me through a number of longer trips to come.

In my planning this "not so adventurous" trip is just a shakedown trip, for me, my gear and the bike. Next trip will raise the bar by going somewhere less populated and developed.

I'm not a hardcore off-roader, nor do i aspire to be. I do, however want to be able to comfortably end up riding off-road if that's what happens. I also want to consider things like comfort for long daily hauls, fuel consumption, ability to pack on luggage, reliability and how easy it'll be to service the bike and/or find spare parts for it in places that aren't western Europe.

So, now for the important bit. The two bikes I'm currently thinking of are right up there in the title.

Currently I'm on the Austrian Beast and I have no bad things to say about it really, it's not given me the slightest problems, it's plenty agile and comfortable for the type of riding I've done so far. Haven't brought it off-road at all but figuring it's a KTM and watching Youtube I don't believe the bike will be the limiting factor.

The things about the 1190 that makes me think of changing bikes are:

Fuel consumption, 150bhp isn't exactly the most economical performance numbers if you want to max out the distance ridden between stops.

Electronics, I've gotten this notion that the fancy electronic suspension and ridemodes might not be so stellar for going out in to less civilized areas where the local KTM dealership might be 2 countries away when the bike decides that it wants a reboot.

Wheel dimensions, 19" front and 17" back. If I keep it and in a year or so decide to do a more off-road oriented trip, will this give me grief because the selection of dual purpose tires is much smaller then if I ran a more traditional 21/17 wheel setup?

As for the Tiger 800XC. I've owned one for a season, think it was an -11. I liked it, I came from a Tiger 1050 so the lack of omph in the engine was of course noticeable. Today I'm thinking that performance isn't as important because I actually want to see what I'm passing, rather then blazing down the road trying to be the next big TT-racer.

What makes me think of the new Tiger 800 XC then.

Improved suspension, WP is in my book a very good manufacturer, Öhlins might be better but not many bikes come with that kind of hardware. With the reliability and performance of WP suspension, and the fully adjustable front fork I feel that the new Tiger came a little bit closer to being more dual sport.

Electronics, or rather the lack of, hence the XC and not the XCX. Having traction and ABS is nice, and if the electronics decide to ferk me over, well I learned how to ride without both systems so it wouldn't mean "trip over"

Mileage, well at 55 bhp and 390cc less it seems rather obvious that it'll give me more range between stops.

Tires, with 21/17 I won't be wanting for options when looking at tires like the TKC or Scout etc

I know it'll be able to go off-road, especially now with the WP-suspension. It's plenty comfortable to ride, agile but still with enough character and performance to make things rather entertaining when it needs to.

Reliability, Having had to Triumphs and not had any significant troubles I'm kind of liking them for being solid and good bikes that'll be able to carry me and my gear pretty far.

I should probably mention that I can trade my 1190 in for the brand new Tiger without having to put up any cash in between.

There, a rather lengthy post with my process of thought concerning what bike to go for.

Any advice, opinion or insights is very much welcome.

Ride safely
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Old 21 Feb 2015
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Sounds like you've owned quite a few nice bikes. Both choices very good for paved road touring. So, for all of Europe and beyond ... either one would be great, even on very ROUGH paved roads.

I own a 1050 Tiger (owned several other Triumph's going back to '95)
Never owned a KTM twin, only singles (Duke ll, 640, 300exc (2T))

I've spent time riding 950SE KTM and 990. Liked them OK ... but not as impressed as some are ... never rode either one off road. Both very tall for me. But the 950SE is very light for it's size. 990 feels heavier but handles OK.

I'm sure the 1190 is fun with all that power. I've ridden a 1200 Ducati Multi S, so have some idea regards serious POWER. Great fun!

But high power is not a requirement for a good touring bike. (as you've noted)

IMO, both the 1190 and Tiger 800 are quite heavy for serious off road travel.
Add 40 kgs. of luggage/racks/tools ... now add MUD ... and you're in trouble.

Perhaps you can avoid riding off road? Sure, just don't go to Africa, stay out of Mongolia and off the beaten path in areas of South America!

Avoiding Off road could be limiting? But with good planning, maybe you can do it and still feel you're seeing all you want to see?

One problem I see with heavy bikes (both over 530 lbs. (240 kgs.) wet and loaded) is what happens when you FALL. A heavy bike with lots of plastic, vulnerable radiators, delicate instruments/dash, may be disabled in a crash, or at least beat up badly.

Taking a new bike into rough territory means you are sort of "sacrificing" that bike. I've done this several times on longer rides into rough areas. Very hard of the bike if you like to go exploring and fall down a bit.

It's true that any bike could be damaged in a fall ... but a heavy, loaded up bike riding difficult off road is more likely to hit the ground and to sustain expensive damage.

So, if you stay in EU and on paved roads, either bike is good! The Tiger is better on fuel, but not really so great .... I think my 1050 does better than a 800 Tiger?

I do like Triumph's on the road for their SILKY SMOOTH motors, my 1050 is smooth, 800 even smoother. Nice!

For service at a dealer, you will have to plan ahead and know where you are going . KTM now have many dealers in Latin America. I don't know about other areas ... but KTM are GROWING. Triumph too have many dealers in places you would not expect ... like Thailand, where they are made!

Can those dealers really help you? Unlikely.
Other downside in certain areas is theft or loss of bike. When you ride a bike bike worth more than many locals make in 5 years ... can create some envy.

My DR650 Suzuki looks like a beater, is only worth $2500. No one pays it any attention. Just how I like it. If it blows up or has fatal problems ... I simply walk away. No worries. Would you do that with your $20,000 USD KTM?

Good luck!
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Old 21 Feb 2015
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Looks like you made the wrong choice on your 1190. Trade it in for the R model and be done with your decision. No gimmicks, 21/18, 5,5l/100km fully geared up, still 15k distance between service, pure travel fun. And take your wife along for chrissake! - but in that case keep the seat of the 1190T, which is better on the 1190R for two up.
If you want to be cheap on fuel, get a 15 year old BMW 650 Dakar, they run with some 3,5 liter or any thumper like the Yammi Tenere.

Need to fix your Africa Twin? Check out my step-by-step frame strip pictures at
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Old 21 Feb 2015
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I love the big KTM's. Reliability have improved a lot and they're not so finicky as once was. But there's not many bikes that can beat the Trumpy trpple for smooooth. I've been thinking myself about KTM vs. Triumph, but I was more inclined to 990 than 1190.

Just read about the 800XCX and me thinks that's the one for me.

My advice- go for a ride on both and choose the one that moves you. The rest is much of a muchness. Whatever you ride/choose, you need to look forward to get on it.
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Old 21 Feb 2015
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Location: Back into the hamster wheel again, in Oslo - Norway. Did a 5 year RTW trip/250 k kms, 2014-2019
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Have to agree with what Mollydog says. For touring around Europe on paved roads and even beyond - both bikes will probably be very good. Choose the one you like best. I have owned a Tiger 955 and it was a blast to ride. And smoothe as silk.

To be able to handle mud, serious ruts, stony tracks, eg serious offroading - forget about both of these models and look at something much much lighter.....

A bike of 230-240 kgs plus luggage offroad? Yeah you can run a marathon in army boots or biker boots, but it aint much fun.

It looks like many overlanders compromises and choose to ride on 650 singles. Not very heavy and still more than enough power and capability to be taken to where you want.

Just my 2 cents though....
In the end everything will be fine. If its not fine its not the end....
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Old 21 Feb 2015
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Thanks alot for you input guys, and gals .

I'm not honestly thinking of doing an RTW trip through Mongolia, Siberia and such on either the 1190 or the 800XC and have been thinking along the very same type of bikes that you bring up, thumper, 650ish and don't mind if it has a scratch or bump on it.

Keks, tell me about it. At the time I was very much more interested in the weekend run on some twisties and not really thinking I'd ever get to go on longer trips.

As it happens I've just started looking at the R version as a third alternative.

I'm just going to have to go try the 800XC out to see how it feels in comparison with the 1190. It'll be hard to kick the habit of that monster twin from Mattighofen, it is sooo good!

But insurance and the cost of my daily commute would like the Tiger better

Really appreciate your 2 cents folks, thnx a bunch
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Old 21 Feb 2015
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RTW on so heavy bikes alone? you must be strong and brave
If I had to choose between those two I'd go with better reliability rating.
good luck.
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Old 4 Oct 2015
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2 weeks ago I bought the KTM for some road based travels (round Scotland), covered a quick 1,000 miles in 3 days on my first ride. Must say I was very impressed and although bought on a whim it was a good one. very comfortable, lots of power when needed and this one seems to have gone through the accessories factory with glue all over it. It is the start of a long list of mainly road based trips.

I also have a DR650SE for the solo off road trips, my off road skills not yet up to taking the KTM off on much more than fire tracks and trails. I find once the head has decided on the type of bike and a few options, then let emotion make the final choice, you gotta live with it in the end.
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