Originally Posted by Whele
I have experience of both, having owned two 990’s and an F800GS. I have to say I really wanted to like the BMW more, but plain and simple fact is … the KTM has a bigger grin factor, is lighter on the wallet, except at fuel stops, is much more capable off road and is much more capable on a long tour.
My BMW had so many issues, head stock bearings, chain and sprokets life sucks, the motor needed new main bearings after on 22,000 miles, the on board computer information was unrelaible, the headlight sucks, all in all it was a real money pit. The bearings went just outside the two year warenty and BMW just stuck up a middle finger. In contrast KTM replaced the front wheel 4 moths out of warenty as the spokes were rusting.
The BMW is more suited to shopping trips than long tours, unless like Ewan, you have a support vehicle of spare.
I don't have neither, got an R12GSA, until now without too many problems - done 55.000km the last 2 years. But I'm thinking about moving on to something else, and for a very long time I had a keen look at the 990Adv., but the service cost and it's use of fuel made me take it off the list.
Currently I'm looking at the F8GS, yes I'm worried about the issues with the rear wheel bearings, and some of the other small interesting issues it have, but when one really look at it, BMW sell heaps of these bikes, and most of them do never really have any issues (except for the rear wheel bearings), the same with KTM most of them do not really have any issues (like yours), but when one read the forums one get to think that one hardly can take these bikes out on the street without having a service truck with you.
And both KTM and BMW really have an issue with quality control, if they could produce bikes which where of the same quality as the best of them, then we wouldn't have anything to bitch about....
So granted that neither BMW (R12 and F8 - earlier models where somewhat better made) nor KTM make bikes which are known for their stability without the buyer changes a few things after they get out of the shop. Then it comes down to what one really want, something which is a hooligan bike (KTM), or something which just gets you there without too much fuss (BMW).
So in general people can get unlucky and get a beast of burden no matter which brand they buy.
Just my 2c.