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Old 07-27-2013, 04:48 PM   #1
Tumbleweed ADV OP
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Are Adventure Bikes Heading in 2 different directions?



Large adventure bikes....small adventure bikes...all share theme: adventure.

Are adventure bikes 1000+ cc becoming TOURING on road bikes while bikes sub 700 cc are heading BACK COUNTRY for off road thrills and spills?

As I read more and more ride reports, it seems to me I find more people riding on machines that are sub 700cc in size...especially world travelers and those who are traveling solo...

While I thoroughly enjoyed my 1150 GSA for many years, last summer's trip on it on the Great Divide Ride got me rethinking my riding goals and strategy. I think I decided somewhere in New Mexico after my 5th 'pick up' to go lighter. Yup: lighter.

When I returned from Arizona at the end of that journey, I attended the KTM rally in September in my hometown. I took a 690 out for a demo ride. Wow! The bike handled like a sports car and the fun of riding a less cumbersome bike had me hooked.

Can a smaller, lighter bike replicate some of the comfort values I appreciated in my big BMW? That has been my goal in setting up my KTM 690 Enduro. This summer I am working to duplicate the positive features of my larger bike.


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Old 07-27-2013, 07:07 PM   #2
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KTM made the 1190R for you.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:08 PM   #3
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Interesting subject

I think you have a good point. I have the 990A and a Honda XR650L. Both are "adventure" bikes but the KTM990A is not for technical offload with my riding skills needing help to pick it up. I will be interested to see your evolution of the new bike.

Good luck!
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbleweed ADV View Post


Large adventure bikes....small adventure bikes...all share theme: adventure.

Are adventure bikes 1000+ cc becoming TOURING on road bikes while bikes sub 700 cc are heading BACK COUNTRY for off road thrills and spills?

As I read more and more ride reports, it seems to me I find more people riding on machines that are sub 700cc in size...especially world travelers and those who are traveling solo...

While I thoroughly enjoyed my 1150 GSA for many years, last summer's trip on it on the Great Divide Ride got me rethinking my riding goals and strategy. I think I decided somewhere in New Mexico after my 5th 'pick up' to go lighter. Yup: lighter.

When I returned from Arizona at the end of that journey, I attended the KTM rally in September in my hometown. I took a 690 out for a demo ride. Wow! The bike handled like a sports car and the fun of riding a less cumbersome bike had me hooked.

Can a smaller, lighter bike replicate some of the comfort values I appreciated in my big BMW? That has been my goal in setting up my KTM 690 Enduro. This summer I am working to duplicate the positive features of my larger bike.
Very good thoughts. I love my 950 to death. No way would I ever sell it. It takes me anywhere I want to go with amazing agility, and it's so much dang fun to ride.


Then one day I met this guy in town -- TrailGoat on advrider. We decide to go ride together on some trails by the river and gravel roads, me on my 950 and he on his 690R:


Let me tell you, that little bike of his was amazing in the tight stuff. We rode in the woods in trails that had been rutted by four-wheelers. I struggle, and he just zipped through without problems. We hit a little washout that was sandy. He just popped the front end up and over he went. I hit the throttle and spun the rear wheel before wrestling the big pig through. I got off-line and bumped into a stump on the far side, but no major damage.

Later that day we hit some gravel roads -- some of it very DEEP gravel. Again, his little, lightweight bike could easily take on the toughest of gravel riding without problems. We were about on par on the gravel.

Then we did a couple of road bits, and I easily had the better bike for that. Still, he kept up pretty well.

Ever since then, I've thought that I would really like to have a lighter version of the 950. I'm not at all interested in a 1200cc bike of any make. What do I need that for? I'd much rather a V2 700cc version of the 690 with a good rear frame, maybe with this styling.

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Old 07-27-2013, 07:40 PM   #5
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It depends on where you want to adventure...If your looking to go ride single track all over the world...1200cc aint the right bike, with that said if you want to connect all those trails with super slab and some fast roads than 450 aint really happy either.

It all burns down to the old saying there is no one tool for every job.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:23 PM   #6
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I don't understand 690's. Not knocking them, but doesn't a 525/530/500 exc do the same thing? For less? Maybe a tad slower? Excuse my ignorance on this one.

A friend of mine thinks with the 1190 coming to the states that there'll be a new lighter v-twin adv bike from ktm. One that will split the difference between the 500 and 1190. Something like an 800 adv.


I wouldn't mind if they did.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by grant22 View Post
I don't understand 690's. Not knocking them, but doesn't a 525/530/500 exc do the same thing? For less? Maybe a tad slower? Excuse my ignorance on this one.

A friend of mine thinks with the 1190 coming to the states that there'll be a new lighter v-twin adv bike from ktm. One that will split the difference between the 500 and 1190. Something like an 800 adv.


I wouldn't mind if they did.
Right, a smaller V-twin would be very cool.
Have you ridden a 525/530 on the highway? Not the whole world is single track. I've ridden the 525 and it nearly crippled me ... as bad as the 640.
The 690 by contrast is quite smooth up to about 80 mph. After that vibes creep in. The 690 is also gear taller ... so better road bike. But you pay some extra weight.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:17 PM   #8
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Right, a smaller V-twin would be very cool.
Have you ridden a 525/530 on the highway? Not the whole world is single track. I've ridden the 525 and it nearly crippled me ... as bad as the 640.
The 690 by contrast is quite smooth up to about 80 mph. After that vibes creep in. The 690 is also gear taller ... so better road bike. But you pay some extra weight.
690 isn't as high strung either, so you don't have the crazy service intervals. Based on the factory recommendations, you'd do an oil change every night on the TAT. Whereas on the 690 you'd only do 1.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:30 AM   #9
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I think adventure touring is all about compromise. What are you willing to give up for what you want and how your going to ride and where.

Another thought is with the 950/990 as your skill improves and are willing to commit the bike becomes lighter in a sense. Ok its still heavy but if your ride it like a dirt bike and are willing to and able to I don't think there is any better bike out there.

As soon as you pucker up it changes everything in a negative sense. The thing is the consequences can be so bad with the big ktm. I always trying to improve my skill level and find myself doing things I never would have years ago but also keep the mind set and talk to myself to remind me what I am riding and doing so I try to keep maybe ten percent back from the limit giving me a little cushion as these bikes go from feeling light to heavy really fast.

So what if I have to go a little slower in the technical stuff anyways. I am not racing I am out to enjoy my bike.

For a one do it all you couldn't take this bike and there is no better!
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:01 PM   #10
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Every bike Ive ever owned was an adventure bike. That includes a Honda cm450e! It's just different adventures thats all!
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Whec716 View Post
690 isn't as high strung either, so you don't have the crazy service intervals. Based on the factory recommendations, you'd do an oil change every night on the TAT. Whereas on the 690 you'd only do 1.
The 690 is still heavy though and really all you did was lose the Vtwin smoothness. I was hoping Aprilia or someone could perfect, say a 650 twin, that weighs in around the weight of the 530- 257lbs or so dry. That would be of interest.

Its just hard to have one bike that does it all. I thought about the 690 but really, would I take it where I take the 530(which I think is heavy), no probably not. So then wouldnt I really prefer to stick with the 950? Yes.

Just no good answers out there today.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by grant22 View Post
A friend of mine thinks with the 1190 coming to the states that there'll be a new lighter v-twin adv bike from ktm. One that will split the difference between the 500 and 1190. Something like an 800 adv.
Something like this?

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Old 07-28-2013, 07:31 PM   #13
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One needs to remember that the "Adventure" segment is mainly a genius marketing branding tool that makes us keep spending our money.
Since it is a constantly growing market every manufacturer with his definition of it and with his budget for r&d.
I too own an "Adventure" bike, its a great bike, but the longest ride i had on it was a 4 days ride.
On the other hand i spent 6 month riding India on Royal Enfield in the early 90s' and it was a great adventure. Circumnavigated Australia on a XT550 with a duffel bag strapped to the rear rack.
What you are seeing are trends dictated by the marketing departments.
The adventure is in your head not with our constant chase for the perfect "Adventure" bike and the perfect "Adventure" gear.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by nomad guy View Post
One needs to remember that the "Adventure" segment is mainly a genius marketing branding tool that makes us keep spending our money.
Since it is a constantly growing market every manufacturer with his definition of it and with his budget for r&d.
I too own an "Adventure" bike, its a great bike, but the longest ride i had on it was a 4 days ride.
On the other hand i spent 6 month riding India on Royal Enfield in the early 90s' and it was a great adventure. Circumnavigated Australia on a XT550 with a duffel bag strapped to the rear rack.
What you are seeing are trends dictated by the marketing departments.
The adventure is in your head not with our constant chase for the perfect "Adventure" bike and the perfect "Adventure" gear.
Spot on Guy! Plus ++++ 10
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:59 PM   #15
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I have a GSA and a 530 EXC....and I can tell you that I love them both for the jobs they are made for. The GSA is a very capable bike offroad - if you are willing to stay on the gas and keep it moving. Slow down and you're done. In the mud/sand it's a beast, but with decent tires it will go better than you'd think. There are two huge problems though:

First, if you are really "adventure riding" then having a 600lb behemoth just does not work. They fall like a brick and are a bitch to pick up on any sort of incline / soft ground. Anytime you want to do a water crossing or get into a spot where you need to cross over stuff, you really need to watch the weight. For instance, using local bridges or little boats - it's very easy to find out you just can't use local transport and then need to go far out of your way to get to the other side. It really doesn't help that people tend to overpack like manhattan women at a shoe sale on the big bikes either.

Secondly, there is the issue of crashing. Although to be fair, I will say the big KTM's are much better at taking the hits without so much damage compared to the BMW's. crashing on the big bikes can cause a lot of damage which costs a bundle to fix, and take more time to do the work on, generally because there's just more stuff that needs to come apart to do the work.

The 530 however, is just plain fantastic for serious trail work - that you need to ride too. I say that because ideally it would be great to ride a 200 on trails where the lighter weight and better maneuverability is just that much better. But I've done 200 mile days on it (mixture road / dirt) and its just a gem. The only thing I would do is get FI so I am not fiddling with a carb, but even then, that brings its own issues - so again, for true "adventure riding" I personally think a carb is an advantage. Also, it helps with the overpacking issues, you can pick it up yourself, it will out handle any big bike offroad and is very easy to work on.

For me, it's a clear delineation; the GSA is for my long rides/tours that gives me the option for some light offroad to get to out of the way places a true touring bike can't do, and the 530 for true offroading/camping/adventure riding. It's a lot faster on the road than people think too - but the small oil capacity limits the kind of riding where you'd be putting on high mileage highway riding.
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