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Old 07-27-2013, 05:48 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, 08:07 PM   #2
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KTM made the 1190R for you.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:08 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, 08:35 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, 08:40 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, 09:23 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, 09:25 PM   #7
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Great feedback!

All great comments above!

There is no doubt that nothing can beat the 1200cc on super slab. So how do we get that 690 to feel MORE like that 1200cc on the road? We already know it's awesome off the road. I believe we can get within shooting distance and improve the ride. How to keep those hands from getting numb.

To start this process? That 690 of mine shown above in pix has a better range than the 990 or 1150...better range except for maybe a GSA tanker.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:43 PM   #8
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I like the look of TrailGoat's fairing. Do you know what kind it is?



Regarding the 500 series, the 690 has a counter balancer that makes it incredibly smooth for a thumper. This is a major difference between the 500 and 690.

As to the 1190, I'll let you know how I like the ride as I plan to test drive/evaluate the bike in Steamboat at the KTM rally. Looking forward to it!

My latest mantra? Ride a bike no more than twice your body weight...unless you are taking steroids. A 690 is approximately 300 pounds and 75 horse power. (OK...so I could ride a 350 pound bike....so I load up with gear and farkles to make up the 50 lb? )
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Snips View Post
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.

Well said, after 11 years on my XR650R on the same top and bottom end. I got the 990r for two up rides. if I am not in a rush I can go any place on the xr. down side on the free way 63 mph feel ok and I can blast up to 100 mph but I feel bad running for hours at high rpm. with the 990r I can ride anyplace at 80 mph not feel bad ride 80% of the same stuff. slower in the tight stuff but I can do it.
Like most things in life compromise.

Make me a 800cc sub 300lbs 100 rwhp bike with a low first, second and a tall 6th. that would be sweet!
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:08 PM   #10
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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 07-27-2013, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbleweed ADV View Post
Large adventure bikes....small adventure bikes...all share theme: adventure.
"Adventure" these days has broad definitions. Small and large bikes provide a very different sort of experience, IMO. Call it what you will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbleweed ADV View Post
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...
the trend towards smaller bikes among RTW travelers is not new ... and the fact is much smaller bikes than 700cc ones have been in play for years. More and more guys riding 250's, some bought locally, some bought "In Country" somewhere as Indian and Chinese bikes are endemic throughout the "3rd World". And how many riding buddies or ADV members have cashed in the R1200GS for a DR650, KLR, DRZ400, WR250 ... or some other Anvil reliable generic Jap bike?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbleweed ADV View Post
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.
I think you're doing the right thing. Do the best you can ... but your 690 will never be an 1150GS on a 12 hour day running 90 mph carrying 150 lbs. of gear.

As you travel more I'm guessing you'll fine tune and alter your desires for bikes and travel style. Clearly, if doing more off road and exploring in the 3rd world ... the 690 is good.

I would look at what successful RTW riders are riding ... copy them!
Or just take off ... see how you do! Once out of the USA I have a feeling you're priorities will change ... and your race bike may start seeming a little ridiculous for where your going, your pace and conditions your riding in. When a local on a 125 in Flip Flop passes you in a mud rut ... well, then you know your bike is too big! (been there, had that exact thing happen! )
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:18 AM   #12
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I like the look of TrailGoat's fairing. Do you know what kind it is?
It's a lynx from Britannia composites
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
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It's a lynx from Britannia composites
Looked em up! Just what I need, took a ride over the cascades to the BMW rally last week averaging 70+ mph and would like more wind protection at speed. Plus they offer some lighting upgrades. Next upgrade the ktm seat!
Looking at seat concepts?
Almost there in the touring feel!
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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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, 08:17 PM   #15
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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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