KaptinKaos' 2013 990 Baja Build-up
Edited this post to reflect choices I've made for those who don't want to read the entire thread. Good thread though, worth a read.
A brand new 2013 990 Baja deserves some serious thought and time put into it's end product, so here goes.
Yes, my Google skills are great and yes, I have found an article on just about every mod and farkle that exists for this bike... But, I need informed opinions and unbiased, real-world knowledge on some very specific things that this particular section of ADVRider can help me with. I, of course, have formed opinions over the years about what I think is the "best" part for certain applications or what I prefer to use for fork oil, etc. However, instead of spending another 5 years adding on and tweaking and changing this brand spanking new 990 Baja, I figured I would ask for some advice out of the box about a few issues I have and parts that I am interested in getting, but have multiple choices. Plus, while I'm over here in Albania working for the next month or two I have a lot of time to cruise the webs and find what I need and order it to be home when I get back. So, will you fellow ADVr's help a guy out? :D
A quick blurb to help fill anyone in about myself. Mid-thirties, I know my way around a toolchest, have never taken any bike I've ever owned to a shop to have it worked on and very much driven to maintain and work on my own bikes as I need to know how when out in a desert or the woods, :) The Dakar saw much more off road in the last 6 years than pavement and the majority of the off road was moderately tight. I hope to keep riding the same spots and just add the 990's awesomeness to my longer travels. The Dakar struggled in places on longer trips with altitude and it's just a bit under powered in some of the higher hilly spots.
First, things that I have taken care of and am 99.9% positive I am happy with. These are things I've grown used to over the years on various bikes and I know they work for me.
Luggage - I've gone with KTM's luggage this time instead of another set of Touratech Panniers due to a few factors. Availability, price, and the fact that I am kind of fed up with Touratech, lol! I think the luggage will I've chosen will do well and if not, well... Such is life. When I ride hard I generally have the luggage off anyway either stored in camp or at home. If I'm travelling I'm a lot more cognizant of beating things off the bike as I've managed to do that often on the Dakar, ;) The bike also came with a pretty nice tank bag which I will use till I destroy more tan likely and a 50L rear bag. I use an old 80L Ortlieb bag now, but may opt for the smaller 50L now and donate the 80L to a buddy for his ADV use.
I went with KTM's hard bags (aluminum's not plastic) for my 50/50 rides and longer paved tours and a Giant Loop for offroad touring. I don't ALWAYS ride pure off road. I have friends that prefer slab and I'm pretty open minded. So long as I get to ride, I don't care what it is. Better than golfing or sitting at home!
GPS - Done and done. Unwired my Zumo 550 from the Dakar, attached some spades to the wires and plumbed it into the ACC2 spot on the 990. Easy peasy. It's still my first choice for a GPS after having a few Garmins due to the ruggedness and left side buttons. Haven't desired anything more in 5 years now so I'm settled on that piece of the puzzle.
I'm not going to fix something that isn't broken so the 550 is staying, :D Just cause it isn't new and flashy doesn't mean it sucks. It's perfect for my needs and I know all of it's functions inside and out including the base programming for it.
Pipes - FMF's on their way to my house. Fuel consumption is a big deal to me and price is also when it's as high as Akrapovic prices. Sure, you get what you pay for, but $1800CDN for a set of slip-ons is criminal. The FMF's have spark arresters in them and I shouldn't need to re-map thus keeping the fuel mileage intact. My dealer has told me they would if necessary though. If anyone can confirm that FMF's need no re-map that would be terrific. I haven't read anything yet that would suggest they do. Only issue I may have is noise. If they are REALLY loud, which I don't think they are, then I may have to consider the Remus ones with spark arrestors and removeable baffles. I figured I would start on the low end of the scale for price and being legal was more important than noise for now.
The FMF's are going to be equipped for the shakedown ride and then hopefully go to a good home in Utah. I might even deliver them personally! I have a set of wings that will go on just for the option of having some quiet on long road trips.
Now come the questions...
Bash Plate - I've had a Touratech bash plate on the Dakar for almost it's whole life. I have hit big enough rocks hard enough to throw me over the bars and haven't been able to destroy it... 4mm AL is tough stuff and I almost worry more for the frame and mounting points than the bash plate, lol! However, the Black Dog is looking pretty darn tough and with a small kick-out in front of the side stand it's seeming to be the winner by a small margin. It's not as purty as the Touratech one, but I might not have to wait 6 months to get it either, LOL! Touratech Canada has really fallen down with parts orders over the last year. Sucks... Can anyone chime in with any input on the Black Dog?
Went with a Weld86 bash plate and SS re-locator combo. Good deal from CJ and I prefer and plain aluminum bash plate so I can see dents and fractures when they happen.
Steering Damper - This is almost a no brainer, but seeing as I've never equipped one on any bike I've owned due to the lack of a need I had better ask for opinions, :) My primary choice here is the Scotts damper/triple tree kit. I find the 990 a tad twitchy for my tastes, but I don't want to be fighting it off road. From what I can tell I can adjust this one to have a very narrow sweep (20 degrees or less) which will help stabilize it at higher speeds on the highway and not affect it much when I'm out beating down trails. Sure, it's pricey, but it's the full meal deal and is basically everything I need in the box. Add to that it raises the bars up to a more desirable height for my 6'1" frame. I'm even going to order the 1.25" risers and I'll see if they fit with the stock lines, etc. If not, I'll modify from there.
Emig. 20mm offset, Rev I damper. Just cause I have it on doesn't mean I will use it all the time. I can set it to zero and not notice it there. The set up will also have a 3.25" riser which I will need for my height. Should work perfect for me!
Side Stand Relocation - Before I do this I need to ask if it's worth it if I intend to get the BD bash plate? Yes, it's mounted to the crankcase of the engine and yes, that gives me shivers and I might relocate it anyway. In my mind it's just a sound idea and should be done regardless due to the type of terrain I intend to ride this bike over... I'd rather not snap the lower portion of the crankcase off in a desert, :D
Yep, Weld86 :) Thanks CJ!
Foot Pegs - This one is always a personal preference and I'm going to ride the stock ones for a while to see how I like them. They seem to have an inward tilt which I don't like though and will probably end up getting some beefier ADV pegs like these.
Just going to use some extensions on the stockers for now and see how they are. I think the stocks are wide enough for me, just want some extra length to put the weight down on the outside foot when cornering in the soft stuff.
Bars - Already I can tell that I don't like the sweep of the stocker Renthals. I spend a lot of time standing up and find them to be a bit too swept back. Pastranas or similar fat bars are what I'll toss in there eventually as the build goes along. I put a set of Maguras on my Dakar that are almost identical to the Pastranas and have been very happy with them. They seem to make my hands sleep a lot less on longer sit-down rides also.
Nothing yet. Need to fit the triples before I can even see what the sweep is like.
Heated Grips - Yes, it's something I definitely miss as a Canadian that rides year-round... I didn't know how much until last week though, LOL! They don't have to be fancy, just rugged and dependable. I'll put them on before the snow flies this year again and probably the same time I swap the bars out after figuring out the steering damper and triple tree height out. Any and all suggestions here would be welcome as I've never really sourced up any heated grips due to having factory ones for so long.
Glue ons underneath stock grips. Perfect.
Windscreen - So far I like the stock screen. Not too buffety, but I'm pretty tall. My cruise speed is 70mph though so not too much need to adapt that for extreme speeds.
TF5 on it's way. Custom white to match the bike. Will be my touring screen. I'll probably hack the stock screen down to use for everything else.
Cruise Control/Throttle Lock - Never had one on anything other than a Harley I bought new in 2004... I may see some longer days of slab riding on a few trips I have in mind, but I'm not totally sold on it. I've used a slip on palm rocker type for a long time as it was all of $7 and I can put it on any bike. So tell me, what's out there that you like? I'm not sure even an electronic cruise is something I'd consider putting on the bike as I hate messing with electronics. A decent bar-end style throttle lock I would be more fond of though.
Just using my $9 throttle palmer. KISS principle, ;)
I will definitely be updating this thread as I go along with the various bits and build steps and please feel free to share any and all pics of those "make or break" mods you've done that concern the questions I have and especially things I have not mentioned. The more input I have the better my choices! This is probably my favorite part of owning a bike is getting it to the point where it feels like a home almost... I am currently overseas in Albania for a month or two working so now is the time for me to get some serious research done on this beast and all the choices I have. Once I settle on certain addons and farkles I can just order and and wait to ship home, lol! Cheers and many thanks in advance for all of your ADV help!!!
Joe, If you've never had or felt the need for a dampener on any bike before, why is it a no-brainer on this one?
Soft for me, because it can´t break!
Whatever you get should be fine. Even the standard could do ok. If gravel riding i would take whatever, just not the standard.
Hmm...i´ve ridden for years with one( on the 530 and 950), but i´ve only used it for soft sand riding and when i´ve started running with my new to me 17/17 setup.
21/18 and gravel/tarmac, I would use the money otherwise.
Yes. No questions asked, just do it.
Well, right up front- you've not given us much to go on regarding your intended use. "Moderately tight" off road is the most I got, and if that's the case, I certainly wouldn't choose hard bags at all.
So I'm unclear- do you ride a lot off-road? And if so, why the hard bags?
Further, if you're riding a lot off-road, suspension would be on the list, up fairly high, but you've not mentioned your height/weight. If you're right about 175-180 and ride on the road a lot, stock might get you by. But that information would help you with more answers here.
My list so far:
Simple bar risers
Renthal 608 bars
Weld 86 relocation and bash plate
G2 throttle cam
Symtec heated grips
Dunlops (but will likely go Mefo)
Cut down screen (should have done this before riding off the lot)
Giant Loops (Mojavi, Coyote, Great Basin, drybag + tankbag but not all simultaneously)
Extended fuel solution of some sort
Relocator. Yeah, I'm getting that response a lot. Seems like such a known issue that KTM should have addressed it by now, lol!
Cheers and TYVM for the input!
Skid Plate - Black Dog or Weld86, I have Weld86 on mine with his side stand relocator
Handlebar - I have RC high, Pastranas have the ends pointed up more which some like some don't.
Steering damper - I'd set the uspension right and ride the bike more before making a decision. It really depends of what you do with your bike. I love my damper during long rides, it really helps relaxing in windy, bumpy, whatever situations needing stability.
Cruise Control - I had a Kaoko throttle lock on my Previous bike and didn't like it as it locks the throttle so you have to fight the lock to gas it up some slopes or through wind bursts. I now bought a simple thing that clamps the throttle grip and rest on the brake lever. 20$ and it should keep the throttle up without preventing to gas it some more from time to time.
The 990 will be a true dual-sport bike. I will tour 50/50, tour off road and also ride it like a giant dirt bike. It will get used in every which way possible and every time I have the chance to use it. Even to get milk and eggs. Hard bags are perfect for groceries, :D
Height - 183cm
Weight - 160-165lbs
I haven't put enough kms on it to really play with the suspension. It started snowing the weekend I flew out here and didn't even get to try "sport"... :( I'm not sure I need more suspension in the bike. It's completely adjustable front and back including high speed/low speed compression rates. The only thing I will play with is the weight of oil in the front forks if I can't get the shocks to behave the way I want. Everything seemed pretty squishy to me on the factory "standard" settings, but I won't be able to report any findings in that area until I get back home and can ride it harder off road with multiple settings.
The high fender is something I've been looking at also and meant to add that it's on my list, but it's readily available where I live and can pick one up any time. I've filled a few low fenders in the past and sliding down a muck hill with a locked front wheel is not fun at all... LOL!
Cheers and thanks for the input! :D
Ah! That is helpful.
Yes, while the suspension is adjustable, it has a range- the adjustments are just tweaks. The spring rates are not.
Given the new infor, you're on track- or at least my approved track ; )
I agree on the damper issue and I'm really truly hoping my hunch is right and the bike was just set up way too soft. I'm gonna put the damper on the back burner until I get a thou more kms on it at least using multiple settings and possibly different weights of oil in the forks.
Yeah, my throttle rocker is just a small slip on bit of plastic. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best and if it ain't broke why fix it, right?
Cheers and thanks!
I think for soft luggage these are the best available now:
Can be locked to the bike and cannot be cut open with a knife. Unreal-world tested in Siberia.
A damper is not intended to fix "twitchyness". And the last place you ever want to use it is going slow in soft sand... high speed sand in another thing.
And suspension should be first on any off-roaders mod list... :thumb
I think I'm going to hold off on the damper kit and get some miles on the Baja before even thinking about it again. I would really hate to spend that kind of coin for something that takes away off road handling characteristics. For me it's more important that it handles dirt better than it handles pavement for sure. :D Thanks for the input!
P.S. - This is why I asked this, you guys know more collectively than I ever will!
I alos moved from a F650 dakar to the 990.
- I have the stock bashplate and have never had an issue and my bike has taken a beating.
-knobby front tire vs the trailwinds.
- I ride in the deep sand (baja) some and I wish I had a steering dampener. My bike loaded in the deep sand will saw back in forth wildly.
- I did upgrade the headlight to the euro housing and the 50w HID's. Well worth it but you may have more options than I did in 2008/9.
- I think you will find the front suspension too soft. Need bigger springs and re-valving or you will be hitting bottom all of the time. Offroad.
- get the higher front fender if you ride much mud at all. It looks better too (to me).
- do the CJ oil change hose mod soon.
I imagine that is a trip or two you will know better what you want/need.
Figure by 20K miles you will have to do the fuel pump, the water pump, sprockets and chain. Other than that it is all good.
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