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Old 09-11-2011, 07:32 AM   #1
Pantah OP
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F800GS vs. KTM 990 Adventure

Hello all. I searched but couldn't find any comparo's. Maybe somebody here can help.

I have about 60k miles on my 2004 KTM 950 and want to replace it. I've had it since new and have ridden it all over the continent. I like it, but its pretty well worn and the 950's are pretty crude running compared to the new 990's.

I know I would be happy with another KTM, because they are much more refined these days. I like the way they handle, I want a 21" front wheel, spokes and tubes, center stand, 200 mile range and the suspension is very nice for hitting washouts and such you find on forest service roads. It takes a lot to upset the bike.

It appears to me the F800GS is pretty much the same motorcycle as the KTM Adventure. Maybe a little smaller and lighter, which for me would be a plus.

My present KTM is well farkled, but I want to keep my new bike totally stock. I want it quiet and functional for long days cross country and visiting more remote areas in the west.

Anybody here gone from a KTM to BMW800? How do they compare?

Thanks
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:59 AM   #2
ebrabaek
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This or`d to be fun........... Before buying the 8gs.... I was too considering the 990....... and while one can debate handling......capability's.....etc..... I will just share what was the deal beaker for me. On the ktm most of the mechanics is hidden by plastics, which has to be removed to gain access..... thus a simple oil change will take hours.....rather than the 30 minute it takes me on the 8gs....... Looks....which is a biased issue....never the less for me... I think it`s ugly...... 990 is costlier....... Then looking through the 990 forum....I saw other small issues...... But what I did not see....was the crap that has happened to the 8gs riders..... simply because the 8gs was so new....... The 8gs have had it`s share of issues as have the 990 with the fuel system...... If I had to do it all again.... I`d still end up with the 8GS...... but living through the recalls with the 8gs..... I`d say it does not have a lead in trouble free dispatch.......and you end up spending a few bucks on seat...and others.....so it is not much cheaper anymore....... All that said....
The look of the 990 and the oil change will still tip it for me...... But that`s just me. Best think for you to do is pour yourself a lot of espresso....and look through both forums.....and make up your own mind....... because simply put...we are all different.... and while some prefers the Austrian.....others will lean towards the Gerrrrrrrrman.....
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:37 AM   #3
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I can only speak for the F800, but a recent trip around Europe gave me regularly between 220 and 240 miles per 16l tank. One day involved 9 hours of non-motorway travel (regular changes of speed) and I only filled up once! Epic all day travel. I average 60mpg, and I don't ride that frugally!

I, too, read about issues with the bike, and was a little wary. I'm 9200 miles in, and only a headlight bulb has been an issue, so mine seems OK (it's an 2010 '30-Years' model). I did replace the seat, though, as mentioned above - a must in my opinion.

I think I'm correct in saying that the UK BMW off-raod skills school uses stock bikes.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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If you want to keep the new bike totally stock Im not sure the F800GS is for you. Coming from the KTM you won't like the standard suspension much, you will at least need to respring both ends as they are too soft, and the forks still won't be that great. You might also need to do something with the seat. I think you will also want some protection ... better bashplate, engine bars, hanguards. Finally in the miniminilist world I would add a boosterplug or accelerator module or similar thing to smooth out the bottom end power a bit. On the bright side none of this has to cost a fortune or be very difficult.

Further to the bright side the F800GS is lighter and thinner than the 990, has a better turning circle, uses a lot less fuel, is easier to work on and has far better fueling than the 990 I rode. It has less power, but if you can use all the power an 800GS has off road you truly are a legend. There is also a good ecosystem for the GS and you can get lots of information and almost any accessory or modification you can think of.

The farkling does work ... I often get on my 800 after I haven't ridden it for a while and can't believe what a nice bike it is!

There is also the Triumph 800XC. but that is generally accepted as being better than the BMW on road, but not as good off ... less ground clearance, more weight, less bottom end torque. If you believe the published maintenance schedules it is also harder to work on.

If you get a 990 you will at least need some protection for it and to relocate the sidestand. Throttle tamers and what ever else you use to even out the throttle response might be necessary as well.

As they always say test ride them all and see which one appeals to you the most. If I had to pick one of them now I would probably get another 800GS, knowing I wouldn't keep it stock. I might consider the KTM, but only if they have really improved the fueling over the one I rode ... after a brief love affair I couldn't wait to give it back!
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
Hello all. I searched but couldn't find any comparo's. Maybe somebody here can help...
Check out the comparison section here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=415604
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:37 PM   #6
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I think Ducksbane summed it up pretty well. I also thought long about the 990 and I still consider changing from my F800 from time to time. If indeed you intend to just keep it stock, you are in for an off road let down with the F800. Unless you ride very mellow stuff the stock F800 needs some upgrades to be really dirt worthy. I would say wheels, suspension, protection, and booster plug (or similar). Also maybe a change in the stock gearing. That said, with these changes, the F800 is indeed quite nice. Weight is still an issue for me any time I get into harder stuff and I wish the bike was another 50-100 lbs lighter. This alone has scared me away from the 990 as I certainly dont want more weight. But I do think the 990 has a better stock suspension so it may indeed feel better if not lighter in the dirt. The maintenence thing also scared me off the 990, although the F800 is not exactly perfect there either. I haven't seriously considered the Tiger as its lower and heavier appears to be less dirt worthy than the F800.
The 990 and the F800 are both cool bikes.

IMO : dirt capability (stock) 990 > F800
road capabilty : probably a toss up
maintenence (ease of and reliability) F800 > 990
looks : F800 > 990




The above are of coarse just my totally biased and unscientific impressions so take them for what they are worth. I am sure I would be very happy with a 990, but I have spent enough time and money on my F800 now getting it dialed in the way I like it I am going to stick with it for now.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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Great input all

I was having the same debate awhile ago... I'm going to join the F800GS ranks.
The local dealers for the KTM NEVER have anything to test ride unless I buy it first The BMW dealer has always given me a 1.5+ hr test ride (mid week).

That alone carries more weight than comparing the two on paper.
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Old 09-11-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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I owned an '04 KTM 950 before going to the F800GS. So, I can tell you exactly how they compare in minute detail. But, let's keep it simple with just the highlights.

If you want to keep it bone stock and plan to do some hardcore offroad riding, then no butts about it.....the KTM is your choice. Its heavy, doesn't turn well, and quite bothersome to work on (removing all the plastic, tanks, etc....to do anything), but its got a good suspension stock, and easy to convert the front end to a high fender. The KTM motor was more exponential in the powerband.....harder to tame and control in the loose stuff.

The F800GS is smoother, more linear motor, better fuel mileage, heavy but more nimble with great turning ability, whisper quiet, and a real dream to work on (easy peasy maintenance). But, the stock suspension SUCKS² You'll have to drop some serious coin to fix it properly. But after you do.....ooo-la-la....she's pretty sweet.

I didn't get along well with my KTM offroad and in the garage. It wasn't the most reliable bike I've owned. I'm loving my F800 in comparison....AFTER bringing it up to my personal specs. Seems like I've bought this bike twice, by now. Probably have. But I'm very pleased with the result. Do wish it had a bit more ground clearance.

Sound like you got along well with your KTM, so......

HF
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:49 PM   #9
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I've ridden both a lot (back to back to back) and I own an F800GS which I bought before the comparisons - never really considered a 990 because I just don't like the looks.

The 990 has quite a bit more power than the F8, and the suspension is certainly stiffer (probably better once you get it dialed in).

990's are bimodal. On some the fuel injection is in the "workable" category and on others it is a nightmare - jerky transition from idle to midrange, stalling, dying as you stop,... The bad ones seem to resist all attempts to fix either at home or at the dealer. I know of two people who have converted from FI to carbs at considerable time and expense.

As others have pointed out, the 990 is harder to work on. In fact, when you pull the fairings the wire and other routing looks ad hoc and chaotic. It is like the bike was never really finished by the factory. Even a simple oil change is a lot of work. The FI filters clog very easily, and cost $120 to replace. And on it goes.

The F800 is not perfect to be sure, and has had it's share of issues, but at least there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. The 990 is just not ready for prime time IMO.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex View Post
I've ridden both a lot (back to back to back) and I own an F800GS which I bought before the comparisons - never really considered a 990 because I just don't like the looks.
Wait what? Oh really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex View Post
I really want to like this bike, and like I said I have ridden a fair number of them. (BTW, I own four KTM's so I am not biased against the breed.) I have a bunch of friends in Chile and they all ride the 990 or 950.
About KTM 990.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex View Post
Nope. No trolling here. If it ran right off of idle I would have bought one long ago.
Again about the 990.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex View Post
Plus that, I think the 990/950 (especially 990S) looks killer, and yes it does leave the F8GS/R12GS for dead just about everywhere.

And yes, I can understand how folks feel about someone commenting on a bike that do not actually own. The only reason I was over here was that the 990S is the leading candidate for my next bike,...
Wait I thought you didn't like the looks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex View Post
It is inevitable. Arrrrggghhhh.... Maybe Ami will stop making fun of me?

BillyD is a superb forensic mechanic. He has vowed to get his 990S sorted. As soon as he does I'll probably pull the trigger. I just love the looks and feel of the bike.
But I thought you didn't like the looks.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:43 AM   #11
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When I went to the dealer to test a KTM 990, I got back and said it just felt too much of a dedicated offroad machine (albeit a heavy one!). He then offered me a test ride on a brand new F800GS. I bought the BMW on the spot.

Theres not a day goes by where I don't regret buying the BMW ....BUT I imagine I'd be even more dissatisfied with the KTM.

The Beemer is uncomfortable with the stock seat, has a ridiculously tall first gear so hard core offroading is out of the question in stock form which is fine because the suspension is shite for that anyways, the motor rattles more than my dead grannys teeth and it's stupidly overpriced IMHO. No, where the Beemer pics up points is it's ability in town over the KTM and it's astounding fuel mileage.

I have 7 bikes - I dislike the Beemer because it cost the most and delivered the least. I'm sure there's people here who swear by 'em but honestly there's no comparison to what you get with a Japanese machine - in quality, performance and value for money.

When I bought it, I made my bed and now I'll lie on it....... c'est la vie!
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by marcoma View Post
When I went to the dealer to test a KTM 990, I got back and said it just felt too much of a dedicated offroad machine (albeit a heavy one!). He then offered me a test ride on a brand new F800GS. I bought the BMW on the spot.

Theres not a day goes by where I don't regret buying the BMW ....BUT I imagine I'd be even more dissatisfied with the KTM.

The Beemer is uncomfortable with the stock seat, has a ridiculously tall first gear so hard core offroading is out of the question in stock form which is fine because the suspension is shite for that anyways, the motor rattles more than my dead grannys teeth and it's stupidly overpriced IMHO. No, where the Beemer pics up points is it's ability in town over the KTM and it's astounding fuel mileage.

I have 7 bikes - I dislike the Beemer because it cost the most and delivered the least. I'm sure there's people here who swear by 'em but honestly there's no comparison to what you get with a Japanese machine - in quality, performance and value for money.

When I bought it, I made my bed and now I'll lie on it....... c'est la vie!
Sell it! High residuals mean you'll get most of your money back. Then you can buy two KLRs, or three!
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoma View Post
When I went to the dealer to test a KTM 990, I got back and said it just felt too much of a dedicated offroad machine (albeit a heavy one!). He then offered me a test ride on a brand new F800GS. I bought the BMW on the spot.

Theres not a day goes by where I don't regret buying the BMW ....BUT I imagine I'd be even more dissatisfied with the KTM.

The Beemer is uncomfortable with the stock seat, has a ridiculously tall first gear so hard core offroading is out of the question in stock form which is fine because the suspension is shite for that anyways, the motor rattles more than my dead grannys teeth and it's stupidly overpriced IMHO. No, where the Beemer pics up points is it's ability in town over the KTM and it's astounding fuel mileage.

I have 7 bikes - I dislike the Beemer because it cost the most and delivered the least. I'm sure there's people here who swear by 'em but honestly there's no comparison to what you get with a Japanese machine - in quality, performance and value for money.

When I bought it, I made my bed and now I'll lie on it....... c'est la vie!
The closest I got to a KTM ride was to throw a leg over and hoist it up. It felt heavy and after looking at the HP and torque numbers, I decided for an old man on his first big ADV type bike, I should probably pass.

Some of my first impressions of the BMW were similar to yours and I was unhappy enough to bitch about here.

My first trip to Saline/Death valley on the stock bike, put the fear of Dog in me, a 65mph tankslapper will do that. Suspension that jarred my teeth, abrupt throttle that garnered me a bent rim. First was too abrupt and 2nd would not pull the grades.

I have about $1,700 in suspension fixes, Accelerator module, G2 tube, exhaust and a shock brace for peace of mind. It is a completely different bike.

It is still cheaper than a KTM. The engine in mine makes no odd noises. With added torque and ability to modulate the throttle, coupled with decent suspension, has made me forget the tall first gear.

Stock to stock there is no comparison, if you are talking about suspension and power.

A few mods and it is tough enough for me.
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:27 PM   #14
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I had the same problem as you back in March 2010. It took me a few months to do my "homework" and finally decide to put the deposit down on a GS 800. Yes, KTM was the better bike but not £3000 better (which was the price difference between the two), KTM has the better suspension but the GS was easily improved by fitting Hyperpro progressive springs. Furthermore, the GS is much easier to mantain with longer service intervals. Also, the fuel consumption was another thing that spoke for the GS. Now, after almost 1 1/2 years, two trips to the continent and with 11000 miles on the clock, I can't say one single word against the GS8.The only problems I had were a leaking rocker gasket and water pump which were replaced quickly and efficiently (both cases within three days from reporting) by my local dealer.
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:48 PM   #15
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1) OK - best farkle - hands down must-have mod for me was a GPR steering damper. OMG - completely different bike after that. It was a total pig before and I imagine your tank slapper story is not uncommon.

2) Answer to the KTM v BMW muse..... do like I did and buy an orange BMW


Check out the pig with a steering damper in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEJix3foLuQ
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