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Dirtmobile - A KTM 990 Build

sandalscout

Adventurer
I've not seen a KTM ADV (or ANY KTM for that matter) sell for only $1200. That's what I snagged mine for, and it wasn't even close to being a basket case.

Mechanical, sorry for cluttering up your thread, that is still an awesome looking bike. A local buddy of mine is planning on selling his 950 ADV and offered me a test ride. I am not sure what he is asking, and my wife would kill me, but I may go take a look at it.
 

Mechanical

Adventurer
KLR vs. KTM 990

Mechanical, sorry for cluttering up your thread, that is still an awesome looking bike. A local buddy of mine is planning on selling his 950 ADV and offered me a test ride. I am not sure what he is asking, and my wife would kill me, but I may go take a look at it.
No worries, hopefully my mindless ramblings will be able to help out.

I'm 6'2" - 235 lbs. - 32" inseam

I'm not really sure how helpful I will be. I haven't really had the chance to ride the 990 very much in the dirt. That being said, I'll just list some things I have found that are different about the bikes, as well as some reasons I switched to the 990. I'll try to keep you updated as the summer progresses.

It is hard to compare these bikes. They are very different approaches to the same problem. The KLR is a very capable budget bike. The 990 is a very capable performance bike. It is sort of like comparing a Honda Civic to a WRX STI. Sure, they both go down the road just fine, the difference is just a function of performance. That's it, both of these bikes will take you to the same place, and you are almost guaranteed to have a smile on your face when you get there, the 990 just has a little more bite.

Some notes about the KLR: My KLR was virtually bone stock. I put a set of Kenda 270's and some handlebar risers on the bike, but that was pretty much it. I know nearly every serious KLR guy is going to revalve/respring the forks, and totally upgrade the rear shock. I didn't do any of these things to mine. The stock 990 suspension is miles ahead of the stock KLR suspension, but I can't really give an honest comparison between a modified KLR vs. the stock 990.

Power - This was the main reason I switched to the 990. You can dump wheelbarrow loads of cash into the KLR, but you can't really do anything to give it a substantial power increase.
KLR power/weight = 35hp/428lb = 0.082
990 power/weight = 104hp/460.8lb = 0.226
These numbers say it all. You are sacrificing 32.8 lbs to gain 69 hp!

Torque - The KLR has a pretty torquey engine. Sometimes I like to be able to "tractor" around, sometimes I like to solve problems by twisting my right hand. The KLR and KTM shine in these areas respectively. The KTM finds torque at a slightly higher rpm. This isn't bad by any means, just different.

Suspension - The 990 has fully adjustable suspension. It is always really nice to be able to easily tune the bike for your riding style. I'm a bigger guy so I stiffened the bike up quite a bit. However, I think I'll still have to put stiffer springs in the forks of the 990. The stock 990 suspension is still miles ahead of the stock KLR suspension. More reviews on the suspension later.

Height - I don't have any problems reaching the ground on the 990. I think the seat is slightly higher than the KLR.

Weight - I can't tell any difference moving from the KLR to the 990. The KTM sits slightly higher, but I think the center of gravity is virtually identical.

$$ - The price difference of the bikes is just the beginning. I just spent $100.00 on 5 Liters of Motorex 10-50 full synthetic. There are cheaper brands of 10-50, but while the bike is under warranty I'm going to run what KTM asks for. Any brand of 10-50 full synthetic was pretty hard for me to find, but I live in the middle of nowhere. The aftermarket for the KLR is substantially cheaper than the aftermarket for the 990.

Street Performance - The 990 feels much more planted in corners. I broke in the bike by riding highways/back roads/interstate. The 990 feels fine at any speed, none of the exciting wobbliness the KLR gets from the beak. Wind/buffeting feel pretty identical.

Dirt Performance - I loved the KLR in the dirt. It was fun, capable, and fairly nimble. I always felt confident on the bike. I can't really give a honest review of the 990 until I get a good set of tires on it. Right now it is just really good a spinning the Pirelli. Barring the crappy tires, the bike feels very well suspended, and feels like it is going to be really fun. I think everyone is right in saying that the KTM is really just a large dirt bike. More on this later.

Maintenance - KLR maintenance was fun... recreational. Oil changes on the 990 are... an endeavor in motorcycle maintenance.

Initial Required Maintenance - This may be trivial, but should still be accounted for. It also may not be an issue if you are buying a used bike, but it seems that nearly every motorcycle has issues off of the showroom floor. KLR "doohickey" is about $140.00. The 990 needs the right hand mirror relocated ~$12.00, and the kickstand relocated ~$90.00 if you don't build the bracket yourself.

Fuel Range - On the KLR I would hit reserve at 185 miles. The fuel light on the 990 comes on between 140-150.

I'm sorry this review is lacking substance. I'll be able to provide something more comprehensive after I spend a summer on the bike.

Hope this helps.
 
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Having made the switch from the KLR to the KTM myself and riding a lot in MT, ID, and WY I can tell you the best mods I have on my bike are:
  • 2 into 1 exhaust with extra 2.1 gallons of fuel. It seems that I can't really can't go anywhere in MT and ID without using that extra fuel.
  • Skidplate
  • Steering damper - High speed and low speed, esp through creek crossings, makes you look like a pro
  • Knobby Tires TKC-80s
  • Quick change axles

dh
 

Mechanical

Adventurer
Having made the switch from the KLR to the KTM myself and riding a lot in MT, ID, and WY I can tell you the best mods I have on my bike are:
  • 2 into 1 exhaust with extra 2.1 gallons of fuel. It seems that I can't really can't go anywhere in MT and ID without using that extra fuel.
  • Skidplate
  • Steering damper - High speed and low speed, esp through creek crossings, makes you look like a pro
  • Knobby Tires TKC-80s
  • Quick change axles

dh
Thanks!

How many miles do you get out of the TKC-80 tires?

Which brand of steering damper do you have?
 
Just got back from a big trip, so sorry for the delay. I have the Scott damper which again works really well and worth the money. Tires....how long they last is inversely proportional to how sunny it is, how good the music is on the Ipod and how much that throttle is twisted. I have a friend on this board that can get 3K out of a rear and 5K out of a front on an BMW 1150...I've been about 3K on the front and as little as 850 on a rear. Normal rear is about 1500-2K if you're behaving. I might try the Heidenau in the rear this next time.

dh
 

Mechanical

Adventurer
Preventative Modifications

The stock KTM 990 has a few weaknesses which could result in very expensive repairs if a rock were to bash the bike in just the right way. The aftermarket has stepped up and provides fairly cheap solutions to these weaknesses. They are:

Right Mirror Relocation Bracket
Black Dog Cycle Works - http://tinyurl.com/9dfuff8

From stock, the right mirror is mounted to the front brake reservoir. If the mirror is hit hard during a fall the mount can break and can possibly fracture the brake reservoir, which costs about $200.00 to replace. To solve this problem, Black Dog Cycle Works makes a cheap relocation bracket which moves the mirror to the bar clamp for the front brake. It's cheap, easy, and there is no excuse for not doing it.

Mirror Relocation Bracket Installed - you can see the stock location in the background


Side Stand Relocation Bracket
Black Dog Cycle Works - http://tinyurl.com/8kcw4ef

From stock, the side stand is directly mounted to the engine case. Riders have reported that hard hits directly to the side stand can crack the case, causing the bike to hemorrhage oil. This doesn't sound like fun to me, and I'm sure the repairs would be costly and time consuming. I decided to use the Black Dog bracket, which keeps the side stand in virtually the same location as stock.

Installation is pretty simple, don't forget lock tight and a toque wrench.

Side Stand Relocation Bracket Kit




Side Stand Relocation Bracket Installed - Apologies for the dirty motorcycle.
 
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Mechanical

Adventurer
Handlebar Risers

Handlebar Risers
Rox Risers - http://tinyurl.com/cdmowgz

I'm 6'2" and the bars are far too low for me to comfortably stand on the bike for long periods of time. Rox makes some nice fully adjustable risers, which provide 2" of rise. I have been very happy with these risers, and they make the bike much more comfortable.

Installation is very easy. All of the cables are long enough when the throttle is inverted on the bars.

Handlebar Risers
 
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