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  • February 26, 2014
  • Gabe Ets-Hokin & Friends
  • Bob Stokstad
  • 60 Comments

MD Second Look: KTM 1190 Adventure

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It has been almost a year since we reported from the European launch of the KTM 1190 Adventure. You can take a look back at that report for a summary of the technical features of the bike, and our first impressions. Now that we have had a chance to ride a production version here in the United States, Gabe and friends provide their thoughts below.

Gabe Ets-Hokin: 44 years old (feels 4.4), Shirt Size: Extra Medium, Favorite Von Trapp: Georg

Sixteen thousand, five hundred dollars is big money for…well, anything, if you’re me. But some things are just expensive. There are no free lunches, or, in this case, even half-price lunches. But that $16,499 may actually seem cheap if you believe it takes the place of two or three motorcycles, saving you money on insurance, maintenance, registration, garage space, and the mental anguish that’s inevitable if your garage is packed with European exotica.

Yes, the 1190 Adventure is three, three, three bikes in one. Or more. Check it out: it’s got a 150-horsepower V-Twin from KTM’s RC8 superbike, and it has radial tires and super-duper brakes, so it’s an open-class sportbike, right? But wait, there’s more: it also has a very good adjustable windscreen, built-in hardbag mounts and a big 6-gallon tank, so it must be a sport-tourer, no? But hey! It’s got long-travel suspension, off-road styling and a 19-inch front wheel, so it’s an off-roader too, no? Now how much would you pay?

Okay, maybe it’s just two bikes in one—it does weigh in at 520 pounds gassed up, so it’s probably not as much fun offroad as a smaller machine (see sidebar), but it is an outstanding sport-touring and backroads fun-bike. In fact, reading online and print reviews of this thing makes me think KTM’s PR department is paying off magazine editors by the carloads—the fawning over the bike is a little embarrassing, guys.

But it is a very good motorcycle. What makes it so good? Maybe it’s that delicious motor, which lesser publications have measured at almost 130 hp and 80-plus ft.-lbs. of torque. It’s sort of lumpy and mildly buzzy, like a well-balanced Single, fitting KTM’s character. It’s also fluidly responsive in most gears and has that American V-8 do-no-wrong character. I also liked the slipper clutch, which made gear changes so easy it was like somebody else was shifting. The other guys played with different riding modes, but I just left it in Sport—it’s the most fun. But even in ‘Rain’ mode, where it’s limited to 100 hp, it’s still plenty fast for most street-legal applications.

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Or is it the suspension and brakes that make it so good? Well, the suspenders are really excellent, as I’ve expected from a company that isn’t lying when it claims “Ready to Race” and also owns its own suspension company. Not only is that electronically adjustable shock and fork plush, controlled and responsive, it’s really easy to figure out how to use, even when you’re moving and can’t access the owner’s manual, which is the thickness of a James Clavell novel. The radial-mount brakes are great—powerful but not oversensitive—and the ABS is smooth and transparent.

So is it the comfort, convenience and safety features that make the 1190 so memorable? They are manifold. The trip computer is info-packed (and programmable so your favorite info all appears on the same screen), giving you an optimistic range-to-empty estimate as well as outside temp, time, date, average speed and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t have time to fiddle with. There’s also an adjustable seat, handguards, tire-pressure monitor, centerstand, tubeless spoked wheels, traction control and on the 2014 USA version, magical-seeming bank-angle-sensitive ABS software that I should have reminded Surj didn’t exist on the 2013 Euro model we tested, but which he swears up and down he noticed anyway. Oh, and you get all that stuff at the base price, without having to figure out which $2500 “package” you have to explain to your spouse you need after already spending enough money to remodel three kitchens. It’s such a solid deal I feel guilty complaining about the lack of heated grips but seriously, where are the heated grips? (answer—they are optional)

Anyway, you probably are catching my tiresomely belabored point—the KTM is good not because it’s the fastest ADV—the Ducati Multistrada is—or the best looking, or best off-road. It’s a remarkably refined, developed and user-friendly product, the best I’ve experienced from umlaut-land. Good job KTM.

Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike Magazine, and a frequent freelance contributor to MotorcycleDaily.com.

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Surj Gish: 40 years old, shirt size: Muy Grande, Favorite Von Trapp: Selena (obscure lesser-known one, but I was totally into her before anybody)

It took me a couple days to really fall in love with the KTM 1190 Adventure—surprising because all I’d been hearing about this bike was how it was mind-blowingly awesome and the best all-rounder ever. Ever. All-rounders are my thing, so I was a little confused that I didn’t lose my mind over it immediately.

I picked up the bike from Gabe, along with a warning: “Be careful, you’re going to want one!” I rode it back to my house, thinking how it seemed like a perfectly good bike, but a little underwhelming considering it puts out 150 horsepower. The sound of the stock exhaust is also not very exciting; in fact, my wife said, “It doesn’t sound like anything.” Hmph.

Back in the garage, I spent some time getting to know the bike and realized it was in “street” mode, which mellows out the power delivery some. I went through the menus, put it in “sport” mode, with ABS and traction control on, and set the electronically controlled suspension to “one dude and a suitcase,” which I figured was about equal to me and the junk in my trunk—easy peasy. I’ve since heard a few complaints about the menus being “hard to navigate,” but let me say this: anyone who has a hard time with these menus probably shouldn’t be riding a motorcycle, or even using a fork and spoon at the same time.

In the morning, I rode into San Francisco via the Bay Bridge, my default real-world test: some lane splitting, some freeway, some funky surfaces along the way. The bike was again flawless, but no angels came out of the sky to proclaim, “Glory unto the KTM, for it is the greatest bike of all time!” I did notice that I was catching myself at what some (the fuzz) might call unnecessarily high speeds a little more quickly than usual. I also really liked the adjustable windscreen, which although not particularly big, did an excellent job of smoothing out the airflow and eliminating buffeting.

I know you’re probably thinking, “What’s wrong with this jerk? He’s so bored with this incredible motorcycle!” I’m with you! I was starting to wonder if there was something was wrong with me, so I called up one of my buddies and informed him that we needed to head out for the day so I could really ride the 1190. We rode for a while, and when we stopped, I confused us both by talking in circles about how I kept waiting for the bike to do something amazing to blow my mind with buckets of awesomeness, but it kept just being totally transparent and eminently rideable. What the hell—shouldn’t 150 horsepower of V-Twin feel more like fire-breathing madness than surgical precision? Where are the uncontrollable power wheelies and constantly smoking rear tire?

After a bit more yapping from me, we hit the road again and all the sudden, the big KTM and I clicked. Here’s how: I kept catching myself whacking the throttle open while exiting corners in an idiotic attempt to find the insane acceleration that I just knew must be hiding in there somewhere. So I put it in “rain” mode. Yep—I detuned it.

This adjustment allowed me to smooth out and find the sweet spot for cornering, and suddenly, I left my buddy behind. Not just a little ways back—I completely lost him. In an instant, the KTM was straight-up glorious. Even better: now that I had made a love connection with the bike, I pulled over, switched it back to sport mode and tore off, fully engaged with the machine and practically giggling inside my helmet.

Here’s what it comes down to: the 1190’s fueling and power delivery are so buttery smooth that it sometimes doesn’t even feel like it’s doing much, when in fact it’s really moving. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to realize how great it is. The electronics are incredibly refined—I rode it on some messy, gravel strewn goat trails and couldn’t get it to miss a beat.

I know it’s easy to dismiss breathless proclamations of “game changer!” and “best ever” because so often, such bikes just aren’t anything other than another competent bike. But this is different. KTM calls the 1190 “the world’s safest motorcycle” which sounds boring and lame, but not only is it safe, it’s also a hell of a good time to ride. Since it’s an adventure tourer, it’s also ready to roll out pretty much anywhere tomorrow morning, whether you’re headed to the office or to Alaska. It really is the perfect all-rounder.

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Alan Lapp: 50 years old (feels 80), Shirt size: XXL, Favorite Von Trapp: Rupert

When Gabe dropped off the big orange KTM 1190 Adventure, my excitement was palpable. I am one of the KTM faithful: I own an ’08 690 Enduro and an ’06 300XCW. I have wanted a 950 Adventure since they came out in 2003. However, a career in graphic design is a sentence of monkish privation for most, so I have never owned one. For long rides, I also have a V-Strom1000.

It’s important to mention the big Suzuki, because the big KTM is everything I wish the Suzuki could be. Powerful? Check. Quality, long-travel suspension? Check. Really strong brakes? Check. Comfy for long rides? Check. Luggage available? Check.

In short, the 1190 is awesome. The riding posture felt immediately familiar and comfortable. The bike is much slimmer between your knees than the V-Strom, and despite weighing 40 pounds more, the KTM feels significantly lighter, presumably due to a lower center of gravity. I was so surprised by the weight that I had to verify it from multiple sources: I simply didn’t believe it possible (not sure the 40 pound figure is correct as manufacturer claims are confusing … dry weight might be similar between the two – ed.).

On the road, the manually adjustable windscreen and comfy seat work well, inviting extended highway miles. The motor is velvety smooth, and extraordinarily civilized. It’s got the most obsequious electronics package of any I’ve ridden. Like the best servants on Downton Abbey, it operates unseen in the background with a gentle guiding hand towards the gentlemanly path for the best possible outcome. In fact, during the first 20 miles with the bike, I wondered if it had traction control at all. Twist the throttle to the stop, and it blasts forward with no drama whatsoever. You will only notice it when you deliberately try to misbehave.

Whether this skillful intervention is desirable or not is a question of your mission as a rider. If I had this technology in the early ’90s when I was roadracing, and the ability to maintain traction at nearly all times, I would have ruled my class! Heck, even if I had just the confidence-inspiring ride quality available from the on-the-fly electronically adjustable damping, I’d have kicked ass. The range of adjustment is amazing: touring plush to sportbike taut at the click of a button.

However, as a scofflaw citizen, I also like to do other stuff—wheelies and stoppies and spinning up the rear coming out of corners. Not because it’s fast—but because it’s fun. The electronics isolate the rider from these fun things, which should be trivially easy to do on a bike with 148 hp.

As bikes become more and more complex, I’d like to suggest to manufacturers everywhere that test bikes should really come with a written “quick-start guide” to bring testers up to speed on tinkering with the electronics.

I did grasp the menu structure (it reminds me of my camera, actually). I could change a number of settings to cause the bike to trust my riding skills more, but sadly, there is no “OFF” for the traction control. Irritatingly, none of the settings remain changed after you cycle the power with the key. If I pay more than $16,000 for a bike, is it too much to ask for it to remember how I like to ride? If my 690 is any indication, you’ll have to look to the aftermarket for this service.

I understand that manufacturers are, by nature, conservative. I also perceive that we consumers have put them in a bind: we vocally desire, and vote with our wallets for faster, more capable machines. However, just because we can purchase a ridiculously fast bike doesn’t mean that everyone who can afford one is actually skilled enough to operate it. So manufacturers put in these nanny devices, which, in liberal fashion, protect us from ourselves. This is the irony: the 1190 is so very capable, but we are so very protected from using it to its full potential.

Bob Stokstad: three score and 13. Shirt size: 17.5″ collar, 37″ sleeve, “tall” size (i.e., long waist). Favorite Von Trapp singer: Julie Andrews (heartthrob)

On photo shoots, I’m often asked if I’d like to try out the bike we’re photographing. “Nah, thanks anyways” is my regular response. I wouldn’t want to risk scratching an expensive piece of hardware.

With the KTM 1190 Adventure it was different. The predecessor of this model was one of the bikes I looked at ten years ago when I ultimately decided on a Triumph Tiger. It was time to take the risk and take this bike for a ride.

This ride was really quick, in the sense of short: down Redwood Road beginning at Skyline, all the way to the golf course and back. It’s a wonderful, curvy trip on a bike, so good that many years ago the police posted the best parts at 25 mph.

The KTM was ergonomically perfectly suited for me, very close in set up to my Tiger. So I was comfortable from the start. Because the suspension had been set on “comfy” it felt a little slushy in curves where the suspension was compressed. Just as with my own bike, I kept pointing my toes up because it felt like they were about to scrape on the asphalt.

Vibration: there’s a big difference between a Big Twin and the triple-powered Tiger. But it wasn’t an unpleasant difference. The KTM just tells you that you’re sitting on top of two very big pistons.

Handling: it’s confidence inspiring. In spite of the soft suspension setting, the KTM hugged the road and begged me to go faster. I was able to control myself, though with difficulty.

Power, torque, and acceleration: I couldn’t believe it! Twisting the throttle even a little produces a pull that shows these1195cc have been tuned for performance. Turning around at the golf course and starting back on that straight section I lost control (self-control, that is) and yanked the throttle open in first gear, upshifting whenever a red light flashed on the instrument panel. The big KTM took off like a scalded cat. I don’t know what gear I was in when I backed off, but the old juices were flowing like they hadn’t in a long time.

Of course, it’s not just horsepower or torque that determines acceleration – weight matters. The 1190 Adventure’s specs are 148 horsepower and 466 pounds (dry!—ed.). Perhaps 148 horsepower is enough that you don’t need to know anything else. But read on.

The KTM with a full tank of gas weighs about 520 lbs. Put me on it and that 148 horsepower is pulling 740 lbs.

My wife’s Prius, a small car known for good gas mileage, rather than excitement when the light turns green, weighs 3325 pounds with a full tank and me behind the wheel.

Do the math. To get the same high from her Prius as I got from the KTM 1190 Adventure, I’ve got to put 665 horsepower under the hood! I can’t guess what that alteration would cost. And who in their right mind would ever do it? But I can have the KTM fun machine for (only) $16,499.

My Tiger is almost 10 years old. So far, I’ve bought a new bike every 10 years whether I needed one or not. The fourth one could well be a KTM Adventure and I’d love to write an article explaining why.

Huge thanks to Tom and everybody else at Moore and Sons Motorcycles in Santa Cruz.

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60 Comments

  1. Manish Tandon says:

    First KTM for me. I replaced my 2006 R1200GS Adventure. Tested the new LC GS and didn’t like it as much as the 1190. KTM has done a pretty good job with this bike. Bought 4 BMWs before, including 2 boxers. Other than slightly better comfort, the new GS falls behinds this bike in all aspects.

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  2. John says:

    This is a cool bike, but way too much. Give me a 390 Adventure or, better, a new 500 twin adventure for a lot less and I’ll start saving.

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  3. SZR says:

    Just traded my 2008 R1200GS for one of these. Been riding Boxer BMW’s for 12 years (100K miles). The 1190 is an impressive machine in all the ways described in this article. The GS has gone water cooled (as so many legendary motors recently), So I wanted all the power from that added complexity. The 1190 gives it. The 1190 is quicker, faster, lighter then the GS, and by all accounts every bit as capable off-road. The BMW has shaft drive, better after market goodies, posh dealerships and excellent support. Cost of ownership is significantly less with KTM (longer maintenance interval by 50%). Comparably equipped the KTM costs about $2000 less. Austrian or German, they are both good, but KTM won me over with its power and sportbike handling.

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  4. billy says:

    How long will these type of bikes be the hot sellers?

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  5. Francois says:

    I took a test ride on a friend’s 1190 and I must say, I was not impressed. I like the R1200GS LC a lot better, which I tested at BMW on one of their demo’s – and I mean a whole truckload or more better. The KTM might have more horsepower, but the BMW feels a lot stronger and responsive and I found it a lot more fun to ride. I do not do off-road, but on the road, I think the BMW is much, much better. I will buy the BMW without blinking an eye if I had that sort of money. I even prefer the Triumph Explorer to the KTM

    But the same day, another friend who actually owns a R1200GS LC, rode the same 1190, and he likes it. He won’t trade his BMW for it, because he did not like it that much, and he is a far more aggressive rider than I am.

    I probably did not exploit the bike’s full potential, bit in the RPM / speed range where I ride and the way I ride, the BMW is still my choice, second choice the Triumph. The KTM is so far down on my list, that they have not even made bikes to fill some of the numbers.

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  6. red says:

    $16k+ and no beak, Shirley you can’t be serious. :)

    I’m sure in most/all quatitative measurements it kicks butt over all the other big adv-tourers- GS,S10,DL.. but I’m not in love with the looks, seems bland/plastic-y almost gen 1 vstrom. Maybe it’s the color of the test bike.

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    • joe says:

      it kinda has a beaklet

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    • dino says:

      And, stop calling me shirley…

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    • Provologna says:

      Your post is a superb example of why this is the only motorcycle site I visit. Your words state exactly my most powerful reaction to this bike, and KTM in general.

      I owned and loved my ’00 (first year model) R1150GS, which I sold with 37k on the clock. The GS was my favorite all time bike of over fifty owned. I’m age sixty this year. I test rode the second or third model year big bore KTM Adventure. It had virtually perfect ergonomics for me, but it died at idle in horribly busy San Francisco traffic, and would not start for quite some time. My GS was reliable as a stone throughout. I don’t trust KTM at all, and doubt I will.

      Anyway, you really crystallized my feelings about KTM cosmetic styling. I’m not a fan. Conversely, the latest GS look like what they are: the Rolls Royce of motorcycling.

      My perfect bike would weigh less than 400# fully fueled (maybe more depending on fuel capacity). I’m guessing acceleration wise, something with standing stop quarter mile time in the mid-12 second range @ 105mph would be adequate. Of course, decent wind coverage is a must, as is motor smoothness, great torque curve and fuel economy, and full touring accessories. 19″ front wheel with possibly 21″ option seems reasonable. BMW sets the styling benchmark, so it really needs to compare directly with that brand.

      Regardless how such bike might suffer performance wise with these 500# behemoths, I think it would easily outsell them all combined.

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  7. Dennis says:

    Looking forward to your ride-test of the Aprilia Caponord, similar in concept and coming in around 15,500.

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  8. Havre says:

    Hi! I rented this bike for two days at Tenerife this winter. Driving the roads of Tenerife, they are both very twisty and very biker friendly, putting the chassis to a good test. Coming from an KTM 990S i tell you these are very different bikes. The first i thougth it was a good bike, but it just did not thrill me any way, I was almost bored with it. The second day day i fell in love.. it drives almost like an supermoto on the twisty,s its comfortable on the highways, the combined brakes are impressing!! The engine is good, Trottle respond superb. I measured the gas i used, and its about 20/30% lower than my 990. I did notice the engine heat in lower speeds, and i understand some complain about that. I,m however told there is a heatshield that can be retrofitted. The saddle could be better in my Opinion, and of course there is an powerpart for that…

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  9. Drew says:

    Hey, Alan,

    You base your review on how disappointed you were in the 1190 because you couldn’t turn the traction control off. I could be wrong, but my information is that you could have turned it off, but you would have had to come to a complete stop before you can select the “off” setting.

    If I’m right, I’d like to hear what you have to say about the bike unfettered.

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  10. Silver says:

    Hooray for ADV riders! Now give us the SM-T version!

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  11. Mark says:

    The one bike on the market that might get to sell my Tiger 1050.
    Fast, comfortable, can handle all roads and a bit of dirt, 500 miles a day capable
    Now I just need $16k

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  12. KenRaleigh says:

    Why does nobody mention the 34″ seat height? Yet another new adventure bike that does not fit the average person. Too bad, that. If I can’t throw a leg over it, I don’t want it. Even if the bike can cook me breakfast in the morning.

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    • Surj Gish says:

      Heya Ken. I’m 5’10″ and the seat height wasn’t an issue for me—I was really close to flat-footing. This is in stark contrast an F650 Dakar I used to have that made me feel like a little kid dangling his legs off of a tall chair. The 1190 is admittedly not an ideal bike for really short people (like a certain someone who also rode it for this article, and did ok) but I’m the “average American dude” height and was totally comfortable with the seat height.

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      • Provologna says:

        I could easily be wrong. IIRC the average US male height is 5-9″. But more critical than height is inseam. Generally, KTM Adventure models fit me like a glove. I’m 6-3, inseam 34″.

        It occurs to me that maximum diameter of the thigh relates to fit on taller bikes. Also, all other things being equal (purely hypothetical, virtually impossible), the less is seat width (L to R) and the less is distance between foot pegs, the shorter is foot distance to the ground and the better is fit while riding.

        The only bike on which I have trouble swinging a leg over are racing dirt bikes and/or full trail bikes.

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        • mickey says:

          At 5’6″ I have no delusions that ADV bikes are for me. When I stand next to one, the top of the seat is generally mid rib cage. I think they are a fantastic idea, sort of like giant standards. I don’t expect every manufacturer to build bikes to suit me. I don’t know why everyone expects that they would. Happy for the guys that can ride them. Lucky bastids.

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    • Yoda from Idaho says:

      When it comes to these Adventure Bikes why do people cry that they have to be flat footed. Been riding for over forty years and cant ever remember being flat footed. I thougt your feet are suppose to be on the pegs and not on the ground. Im 6ft and if you feel you have to be flat footed on an Adventure Bike its the wrong bike for you.

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    • DaveA says:

      Since when is a 34″ seat height too tall for an average person? You are aware that 5’3″ isn’t ‘average’ yes?

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    • Dave says:

      At 6′ 2″ (33″ inseam, 260 lbs) there are precious few bikes that fit me properly out of the box without mods to seat, handlebars and suspension – and most bikes available today look stupid with those mods. I see nothing wrong with 34″; if it doesn’t fit you, there are plenty of other bikes that will – or YOU can modify the bike so it fits you, and I will drive it like it is.

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    • John says:

      I can do a 34″ seat height with a dirt bike, but on a heavy street bike, no way, too much work at stop lights.

      But maybe there will be a lower, smaller 500 or 800 twin. The 1200 engine no doubt replaced the 1000 engine with this in mind.

      But what I don’t undertand is why more small bikes aren’t…..actually small. The new Duke 390 would be the first KTM bike that I could comfortably ride. If an 800 engine has 85-90% of the dimensions of a 1200, why can’t the whole bike? 34″ x .9 = a more comfortable 30.6″.

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    • Roger71 says:

      I’m 5’7″ and had no problem riding the 1190 adventure or adventure R. Flat-footing a bike is not necessary. Keep the bike in balance when you start/stop and you can comfortably hold it with just one toe on the ground.
      Too bad I didn’t like the bike. Fast and competent bike, but felt no connection.

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  13. Blackcayman says:

    I love the idea of a KTM motorcycle. I love the tractable power of a Big V-Twin.
    I wish they would make an 1190 SM-T….. Really what I want though is an 1190 “SPORT”-tour

    a little more wind protection
    a street bike stance/suspension (for my 31″ inseam)
    17″ wheels and sportbike rubber

    After reading about how Yamahas have the least problems – I repeat my oft stated desire for a FJR-9 Triple

    what a broken record I am

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    • Bob L. says:

      Once again, Blackcayman…….I agree, it’s time for the Yamaha FJR-9 Triple!!

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      • Blackcayman says:

        Now that there’s two of us…we should contact Yamaha USA and tell them to make it!

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        • Bob L. says:

          I have a feeling, we’ll need to modify the FZ-09 to meet the needs. Wanna go first?
          Just needs wind protection (nothing hideous) and soft bags….good to go. Maybe.
          Might pull the trigger here soon. Local shop has several.

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          • Blackcayman says:

            Bob, I would require a major fork job up front to ride it the way I want to. Maybe even a front end upgrade like from an R1

            I have a feeling I’m not the only aging SportBike Rider who still wants a lightweight sporty handling machine with ST ergos…The Motus is calling but I’ve got two little girls to put through college yet so I need a more sanely priced ride that will still stir the motorcycle soul, not break the bank and that will provide trouble free motorcycling

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    • marloweluke says:

      I’m with you on this one. Today I googled “Yamaha FZ-09 fairing” and it came up with images for that search topic. One of the images showed exactly what I am looking for. It is a concept bike by Luca Bar. Exactly what we’re looking for. A real VFR800 beater.

      http://motorcyclesky.blogspot.ca/2013/07/three-cylinder-yamaha-tdm-concept-by-luca-bar.html

      Hopefully the attached link will work.

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      • mickey says:

        Nice concept bike. Yamaha should consider doing something like that.

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      • Blackcayman says:

        I hate to be a nit-picker…

        But I was thinking more of an FJR than a TDM. I would like more than bikini fairing. Look at a BMW F800 Gt for example…nice looking bike – but I would never own a buzzy vertical twin or the least reliable brand of motorcycle for that matter.

        Boom….That just happened (what my 6 yr old says when she sends a zinger)

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        • marloweluke says:

          The concept bike seems to be completely based on the FZ-09. I’m not interested in a parallel twin either. Triple all the way. My Tiger 800 almost meets all my requirements, but I would like 17″ wheels and more ground clearance. The half fairing shown on the concept bike works for me.

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        • Francois says:

          Least reliable? BMW? You do not know what you are talking about. I have a 2008 R1200GS, and after about 50,000km, not one mechanical problem. I had to replace the battery just after I got it, because the guy I bought it from did not ride it often enough – I do not understand why you buy a bike, and then not ride it. And the electronics that sit on the fuel tank, packed up middle last year and that was a cheap fix. That is no more problems you will get from your average Japanese bikes, which are known to be the most reliable. I ride my BMW every single day to work and back and if you want to call that unreliable, you might as well call a solid stainless steel table knife unreliable because it might start rusting in about 2,000,000 years from now. You read too many comics I think.

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          • Jeremy in TX says:

            He may read too many studies: BMW and Harley Davidson have been fighting it out for least reliable motorcycle brand in the US for at least 15 years now. I think it is JD Powers that does the study I’m referring to, but I could be wrong about that.

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          • Blackcayman says:

            Fran sew wah,

            Don’t shoot the refer’er – It was Consumer Reports that recently Labeled them that – Haven’t you heard??? Based on a survey of actual motorcycle owners who happen to be subscribers. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news

            I’m so glad that yours has been flawless though! Good on yah brother and happy riding.

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        • todd says:

          Get yourself a BMW K75S. You get a super-smooth triple GT bike with shaft drive and excellent ergonomics. There are countless reports of them being the most reliable bike people have ever owned. A couple years ago I picked up a mint condition, 20k mile example for $3,000 – with all the luggage and ABS and other farkles. I ride the thing daily and my Ducati languishes in the garage, I need to keep it on a tender now!

          I’m not quite sure what would have been better if I spent $14,000 more.

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    • John says:

      I am also a broken record.

      I would be torn between an FJR900, a Tenere 700, and a Triumph Tiger Cub 530 twin.

      A Honda ST800 or MG V7 Norge, also nice ideas.

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  14. motowarrior says:

    I’ve owned several BMWs over the years, including 4 GS models. I though the new 1200GS “Water Boxer” would be the perfect next bike for me, until I started reading about the KTM. They seemed to have solved almost all of the problems I have had with past KTMs and added some features I have never thought about. A buddy of mine just sold his BMW GS and bought this bike. I can’t wait to hear his opinion once he has a few thousand miles on the KTM. If this bike is even a tad better than the new GS, it’s got to be one amazing motorcycle.

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  15. Hair says:

    I love KTMs I really do. Over the last 10 years I’ve owned 7 singles, and 2 twins. Also during that time I’ve owned 6 boxers.

    My first adventure wasn’t an everyday bike. It didn’t manage the wind well. And in true KTM fashion it was both dependable and very unreliable at the same time. My second an 950SER was my favorite running bike of all times. But it also suffered from a total lack of unreliableness. Every thing from fuel pumps, electrical connections, bad water pumps to casting sand in the motor causing the radiator cap to fail. My KTM singles have made steady progress in the reliability area over the years. I am not testing the waters with 16K to see if KTM has made any progress with their twins. To state it more simply there are a lot of offerings in this market. KTM want to promote their “ready to race” culture. Maybe as they move into the daily rider market. The should be think more along the lines of a “ready to ride” culture.

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  16. Gandalf says:

    This new KTM turns me on however, there are no dealers within 100 miles or more from where I live. I had a new 1999 KTM 640EXC so I know about and appreciate their quality.

    Owning a 2012 Goldwing, a 2010 Honda NT700 and a new Kymco Xciting 500RI scooter, means something would have to go! That Goldwing is getting awfully heavy!

    Sam:)

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  17. Phil says:

    I love the bike. Test drove it three times. In every ride the bike got very warm. The Ktm rep told my dealer ktm is working on the problem. The article writer either didn’t ride the bike or got paid not to repot the problem.

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    • Gabe says:

      Ha! Where’s my check, KTM?

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    • Cage free says:

      Same here, I test rode them three times over a two day demo event and was very impressed by the power and light feel of the bike but even on a mid 70 degree day the heat from the left side was excessive. I hate to think about a 90+ summer day. Another thing that really dampened my enthusiasm was the cost of the factory extras that I would want. Adding hard bags, crash bars, heated grips etc to this bike add another $2k or so to the price making the base price of almost $17k into a $19k or more bike when done. Nice but not that nice IMHO. I wound up buying a Guzzi Stelvio. While not even on the same planet performance wise as the KTM it offers all the features and accessories I really wanted(standard) in a bike and is very easy to service yourself. With the incentives Guzzi is offering and some negotiation with my local dealer I was able to get the $15990. Stelvio for $12990 and couldn’t be happier (at least until I have to pick it up on a fire road)

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    • Surj Gish says:

      Yeah, I’m waiting for my check too. I think maybe once I noticed a tiny bit of warmth—not even “heat”. I’d heard this was an issue, but it was not for me, on the bike we had.

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    • Jean says:

      Its a high compression v twin engine. With that much performance, The motor is always going to run hot. You’re probably commenting on something you’re unfamiliar with. Maybe reframe the question for the authors: how does the engine heat compare to other hi performance v twin engine?

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  18. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am a big KTM fan, and I love adventure bikes. But this bike just doesn’t do it for me. In fact, none of the “premium” bikes are really doing anything for me. I appreciate the tech in this machine, the artistic beauty of a Rivale or the singular purpose of a Panigale, but I honestly think I am getting fatigued with expensive bikes in general. I don’t think I would buy any of them despite being both in the market for a new bike and a member of the income bracket to which these guys are directing their advertising dollars.

    I am much more impressed with the refreshing direction Honda is going with its fun-affordable new models or with what Yamaha manages to sell for $8K than the power and wizardry that over twice that price affords.

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  19. mickey says:

    Morning. Some articles I read and jump right in, others I read and ponder awhile. This one I had to ponder. It is obviously a great motorcycle, and if I was a younger, well healed much taller person it is possible it would give me a case of the wants, but as a short, older retired guys it is a bit much…a bit too tall, a bit too complicated, a bit too much hp and a bit too expensive…and the dealer network is a bit too sparse. I’m afraid for me, once initially set, If I could get on it which is unlikely ( couldn’t get on my nephews 690 Duke.) the suspension would never get altered again, the engine maps would never get adjusted again, so those two features are meaningless to me. Im sure I would find it’s muted 100 horsepower plenty as long as it would do freeway speeds plus 5 mph. For me it,s just too much of everything, overly complicated and overly expensive.

    Sounds like a lovely motorcycle for someone else though. My family doctor will probably buy one. He is loaded and will buy anything the magazines rave about ( currently riding a Ducati Multistrada. )

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  20. Larry says:

    Come one, put a few KTM die hards on the new KTM adventure bike and of course they will bang on. What about the bikes short comings? Engine replacements, air box design issues. No heated grips, heat, vibration! How many of these guys have spent any decent time on the other big selling Adv bikes? Of course its a good bike, but some more objective opinions would be a lot more interesting.

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  21. Brinskee says:

    It’s just not a good looker. Sorry KTM. I had one of your 950SM’s a few years ago. It was a hoot. But it was sexy. Afraid you missed the boat on this big girl.

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  22. Sam Jones says:

    …any “hot saddle,” hot inner thigh problems I’ve heard some chatter about..?

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  23. marloweluke says:

    Mr. Allan Lapp must be delusional if he thinks his V-Strom 1000 is 40 lbs lighter than the KTM. Some quick spec research shows an older V-Strom 1000 to be slightly heavier.

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  24. Krisd says:

    Where is everybody?…..I’m the first to comment

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