Originally Posted by ericGSsti
Lads I'm finally in the market for a KTM.
When I started saving it was for the purpose of buying a 950 adventure as I saw this as a good step up from the Africa Twin. I wanted light with a good fuel range and good off road for when I wanted to test myself.
Trouble is since I started looking other models have caught my eye and I'm looking for advice on my purchase now so I don't regret it. I know very little about these models really.
I went to look at an MY07 KTM 990 with 20,000 km the other day. Looks spotless and I could have it by Febuary with a bit more saving as it's more then a 950 obviously but I was on a rally with a lad that had a 990 adventure R and I see this as the one to have but it would mean more saving until around May/June and then I'd have to wait for one to become available here. Is the R model worth the wait in your opinion?
Now the next two model that showed themselves where linked to Noah's 690 enduro and the lad that now owns it.
First is his old bike that he's selling. It's a weight reduced 640 adventure with excel rims and high front mud guard. Nice but a bit dated looking. If it was a better bike I would concider it though.
The last in the mix is the 690 enduro with Rally Raid fairings and tanks.
This would mine a lot more saving though.
If it was you what would you go for?
So...based on my personal experience, I will share my thoughts:
A few years ago, I found a 2005 640 Adventure that the previous owner used as intended and maintained it very, very well. It had the back-dated 2003 front end with better forks (plus spring and valve upgrades) and the larger, single disc (better feel for off road use). It had the usual mods and improvements that you can read about in no fewer than 100 threads on the LC4. I absolutely loved this bike. It was nice and tall (I'm 6'3" and long legged), very versatile and absolutely amazing in just about every riding scenario apart from very long, high speed highway runs. In the city, I felt like I was riding on top of a race horse in traffic. In the dirt, the torque felt endless and the bike's weight was very, very manageable, even with a full tank of gas (lots of fuel, weight up high, etc.). It was an absolute tractor off-road; reliable, steady power, great handling from gravel right through to mud and soft sand...I ended up selling it because the 5 speed was limiting on highway runs and the vibrations were something I had to tolerate and honestly, they got on my nerves after a while - there were times it literally moved itself 4 feet across the road when I was warming it up. I took a bit of a break from the ADV bikes and focused on my road bike.
Less than a year later, I got the bug for another ADV bike and searched for a number of different bikes including trying to find something cool like a Rally replica (Africa Twin - why not? V-Twin, great chassis, touring capability, lots of room for me and gear, race heritage, etc, etc.). Of course, I didn't find any local to me and I didn't want a Transalp instead of an Africa Twin so I went back to looking at KTMs. I convinced myself that all I really needed was a thumper but this time with more power, less weight and counter-balancing. The KTM 690 Enduro seemed like the best choice given these requirements. I searched and finally found one - a 2008 690 Enduro with some good mods and "improvements". What this bike gave me was my 640 Adventure but with: less weight, much more power, a 6th gear and modern fuel injection. What I realized was: little to no wind protection, poor fuel range (it's a small tank), adequate suspension but nearly as competent as my 640 ADV's suspension and no centre stand. I installed racks and other things including an auxiliary fuel tank and what I found was: great highway power and mileage despite being a high revver, very good off-road, great power and performance in the city (like being on a race horse with steroids and caffeine). The bike was simply unreliable - fuel pump issues, fuel injection issues, idling issues, stalling issues, etc, etc - I just couldn't trust that I could go out for a long ride and make it home without towing it. There were two times when I actually considered setting it on fire on the side of the road and taking a taxi home. By the way, for two-up riding, it simply sucked. The chassis was never really intended t support two people and gear for any length of time / distance. Despite all of that, it was a very fun bike to ride and very, very capable off-road. Don't kid yourself, this 690 is no adventure bike; it's an enduro bike with adventure capability with the right parts and patience (and money). I sold it after sorting out all the fuel injection and electrical issues. The new owner is very happy because it is now very reliable and he doesn't expect to use it as an adventure bike.
So...now I bought my friend's 2004 KTM 950 ADV. Why? It's cheaper than buying a new 990 Adv and many would say more reliable than any of the fuel injected 990s (though I believe that by 2009, KTM sorted out the 990 fueling issues). It is much heavier than the 690 but doesn't feel much heavier than the 640 ADV did off-road. It is simply incredible for touring. I know that some people complain about the wind protection and most of those guys end up buying BMW GSs which are fantastic for highway touring but I have to say: the 950 Adventure is an absolutely amazing machine, especially for carrying lots of gear, two people, etc, etc. It keeps with sport bikes in the twisties and does very well for itself off road - mind you, I haven't done too much "single-track" stuff with it and it's a bit of a pig in tight sandy and muddy stuff but nothing that muscle and throttle don't fix. I literally fly down gravel and dirt back-roads, open grass fields and wide two-track areas. I do believe it is the world's best Adventure bike. Any issues that you would find are by now very well documented and sorted out, parts are readily available and it will run on anything; I'm convinced that it will burn piss if I ever ran out and was stuck out in the middle of nowhere. The stick gearing is very good, the suspension in any form (regular, S or R versions) all works very well. Heated grips, a better seat for comfort and some panniers are all it needs but if you want to tinker and mod, the sky's the limit.
Sorry for the long post and feel free to PM me for any other input, etc. Good luck with your search.