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Old 07-02-2014, 01:41 PM   #1
Born1944 OP
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The old fart's new idea: a KTM 1190

Been sport-touring for a little while on my 18-y.o. Honda ST1100, and am considering a 2013 on-floor demo KTM 1190 Adventure from the local dealer here in far NW Chicagoland. Took it for a short test ride yesterday.

I am only 5'-8" but am quite comfy with the 31.5" seat height on the ST. The KTM I rode yesterday had its seat adjusted down, and I was OK with it at stops, even though it is maybe .5" to 1.0" taller.

The bike is much lighter than my ST and has a lower center of gravity, so it seemed far less tippy.

I've some questions for those of you that are KTM 1190 owners:

How reliable is this machine? I have been used to ultra-reliability from the ST.

Is there a decent aftermarket windshield that might add just a little more height?

Can the speedometer error be corrected so the digital gives GPS-like accuracy?

The seat seems a little uncomfortable when compared to the ST. Is there a good aftermarket seat that can work for me on 500- to 700-mile road days?
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Born1944 View Post
Been sport-touring for a little while on my 18-y.o. Honda ST1100, and am considering a 2013 on-floor demo KTM 1190 Adventure from the local dealer here in far NW Chicagoland. Took it for a short test ride yesterday.

I am only 5'-8" but am quite comfy with the 31.5" seat height on the ST. The KTM I rode yesterday had its seat adjusted down, and I was OK with it at stops, even though it is maybe .5" to 1.0" taller.

The bike is much lighter than my ST and has a lower center of gravity, so it seemed far less tippy.

I've some questions for those of you that are KTM 1190 owners:

How reliable is this machine? I have been used to ultra-reliability from the ST.

Is there a decent aftermarket windshield that might add just a little more height?

Can the speedometer error be corrected so the digital gives GPS-like accuracy?

The seat seems a little uncomfortable when compared to the ST. Is there a good aftermarket seat that can work for me on 500- to 700-mile road days?


Like most new model KTMs the first year model had some teething issues. Personally I would pony up for a 2014. There were numerous updates to fix issues. The only common lingering problem on the new bikes is a poorly designed airbox that MIGHT let dust in. Easily fixed with a foam unifilter. Mine has been trouble free after 6500 miles with the exception of a broken air temp sensor which was replaced in warrantee.
Mine has been ridden off-road quite a bit and it seems very robust.

Madstad makes a great windshield alternative that is very quiet. There is also plenty of options for aftermarket seats. I'm not sure about the speedo adjustment, I've always just taken the error into account, it seems all bikes are off about 10%
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:47 PM   #3
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So, what is on a '14 and not on the '13?

Dealer says he will discount down to $15k from $16.5, it being a demo and a '13.

Would the seat be too uncomfortable for a 500-mile day on the interstates?

Is there a design issue with not enough heat shield between engine and seat, that makes the seat hot?

I read there is less cush than there should be in the seat. Is a better aftermarket solution out there, one which would make long days in the saddle at highways speeds, a better situation?
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:53 PM   #4
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+1 what scudrunner82 said, get a 2014, not 2013. If you're determined to do a deal on the 2013 then you need to be fully aware of the list of problems on the 2013 that were "remedied" on the 2014, and get the dealer to prove to you that the 2014 compatible "fixes" have been installed. I won't list them any more myself ... because each time I try to help someone e.g. by repeating the "snags" list I get slagged of by a few nancy boy inmates. But you can send me a PM if you wish.

$15k is way too much for an ex demo 2013. Definitely go for a 2014 which I think are about $17k.
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:55 PM   #5
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I've done a 750mi. day (in the rain) on my R and the seat seemed fine. Unfortunately I do not think you are going to find Honda reliability with this machine. it is a lot more fun than a Honda though!!
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:05 PM   #6
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I've had many Hondas and not all were 100% reliable. One thing for sure is the KTM is three times at least more exciting to ride then anything Honda has at present and certainly a lot more than your ST1100 (sorry but it is!).

I found the standard seat on the 1190 rubbish so opted for the upgrade Ergo seat and it's pretty good for all day riding. Heat can be an issue if riding in hot climates but frankly the bike is a hoot and only has one or two infrequent issues like all bikes. Get one. A 2014 better.
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:54 PM   #7
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I sold my ST1300 (and a couple other bikes) to buy the 1190R, and just rode the KTM from western NC back to SW Florida a few weeks ago. I did all back roads, very little Interstate. I'm 6-2 and got along fine with the stock windshield, in the up position. The seat is not the worst stock seat I have ever sat on, but I may consider a Seat Concepts or Renazco down the road. I pulled in to my driveway with about 650 miles and have to say it was one of the most enjoyable, and comfortable, trips I have ever done between here and the mountains. I could have ridden a few more hours, but it was a pretty hot day and I was ready for the A/C and an adult beverage. I have done that trip many times on the ST, as well as my ZX14, and the KTM is the bomb. I'm riding it back up to NC in a couple weeks. I've found the ergonomics to be about perfect for me. Since that first trip I've added Rox Risers and took out the rubber pads on the pegs. When BD has the lower foot pegs available, I'll probably try a pair just to give me a bit more leg room. The seat was definitely NOT the limiting factor, YMMV.

The speedo error is a pita, it's the most inaccurate of all my bikes. I plan to ask the dealer to reset the front tire to "standard" or "1290" (19" or 17") the next time I have it on the computer. Right now it's set as an "R" (21") and is about 10% off.


FWIW, if I needed to ride the slab all day at 85-95 mph, especially with a passenger and luggage, the ST would be a better choice. But I don't do those trips anymore so the KTM suits me just fine.


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Old 07-02-2014, 06:59 PM   #8
Born1944 OP
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Hey, I test rode the KTM! I got a pretty good feel for what it is, as compared to my trusty ST. We have this: ST with about 95 hp and 635 pounds dry, versus the KTM with maybe 125 hp and less than 500 pounds dry. I knew I could stand it up if I wanted.

My goal is to buy new or used to improve my situation in sport-touring. I will rarely go on the gravel or dirt; scenic byways is my thing, but taken at the maximum the state cops will allow. The Dragon. The Beartooth. The Chief Joseph. All the little goodies up in my nearby area in SW WI.

But safety improvement is also my goal. Thus the ABS, the other stuff the KTM includes.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:14 PM   #9
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85 to 95 on the slabs? Pardon me, but do you carry a special get out of jail free card?

I tried that out in Idaho a week ago on I-15 south of Idaho Falls, bound for Jackson via the Snake river valley and the Jackson pass, and ended up having a deep conversation with a big tall Idaho trooper. $90.

The reason I want a dead-on speedo read is to stay legal. I was using my Garmin, but let my mind wander while looking at the pretty potato fields.

With the KTM, I would not want to clutter the already-small cockpit with any other doodads.

But 85? I know the toll road in TX that loops E of Austin, from Georgetown on down to Seguin, to bypass all the Austin-S.A. corridor traffic, has a speed limit of 85, but the TX troopers will only give you 6 over, max. I know. Trust me. There may be parts of MT that allow a faster speed, but I don't know of them.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:27 PM   #10
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85 to 95 on the slabs? Pardon me, but do you carry a special get out of jail free card?

I tried that out in Idaho a week ago on I-15 south of Idaho Falls, bound for Jackson via the Snake river valley and the Jackson pass, and ended up having a deep conversation with a big tall Idaho trooper. $90.

The reason I want a dead-on speedo read is to stay legal. I was using my Garmin, but let my mind wander while looking at the pretty potato fields.

With the KTM, I would not want to clutter the already-small cockpit with any other doodads.

But 85? I know the toll road in TX that loops E of Austin, from Georgetown on down to Seguin, to bypass all the Austin-S.A. corridor traffic, has a speed limit of 85, but the TX troopers will only give you 6 over, max. I know. Trust me. There may be parts of MT that allow a faster speed, but I don't know of them.
There are times here in Florida, on I4 and I75 that running 85 -90 is just going with the flow of traffic. Any slower and you are going to be passed dozens of times a minute. But even running the same speed as traffic can earn you a "certificate of achievement." I don't condone it, and I don't enjoy it. I can't afford a ticket. Running that fast is exhausting, both mentally and physically. For me, the trip is as much fun, or more, than the destination. I ride much slower, and prefer the back roads over the Interstate system. The KTM is perfect for that kind of riding.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:33 PM   #11
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With the type of riding you are talking about, you should look at the BMW.
And your ass is gonna be killing you after a 500 mile day on the KTM.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:43 PM   #12
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My goal is to buy new or used to improve my situation in sport-touring. I will rarely go on the gravel or dirt; scenic byways is my thing, but taken at the maximum the state cops will allow. The Dragon. The Beartooth. The Chief Joseph. All the little goodies up in my nearby area in SW WI.

But safety improvement is also my goal. Thus the ABS, the other stuff the KTM includes.
I personally don't think the KTM is the right bike for you based on your discussion. You value comfort, reliability (which can mean low service intervals and requirements), and high speed touring capability. The 1190 can tick some of those boxes, but other bikes tick them all.

I would aim directly for the FJR1300, either a new one with the fancy gadgets and tech, or a 2-3 year old well-farkled example for $10k with under 10k miles. Plenty of FJR owners migrated from ST1100's and have never looked back.

The FJR is reliable and has long service intervals. Properly set up with an after market suspension (or the new models with E suspension), and it handles amazing, much better than the slower feeling ST1100. Power is unreal. It handles like a much lighter sport bike, but is all-day-long comfortable.

The FJR community is amazing, awesome peeps, a great forum, tons of support (and tons of after market).DIY service is a breeze.

I bought the KTM 1190 R to go where the FJR could not (off-road), but not lose power or handling. I kept the FJR, it's that good and the better bike for long distances, but wish the KTM was half as easy to work on and service.

Again, not sure the KTM is what you are seeking if long distance, on-road, high speed touring.

davehg screwed with this post 07-02-2014 at 08:00 PM
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:11 PM   #13
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So, what is on a '14 and not on the '13?

Dealer says he will discount down to $15k from $16.5, it being a demo and a '13.

Would the seat be too uncomfortable for a 500-mile day on the interstates?

Is there a design issue with not enough heat shield between engine and seat, that makes the seat hot?

I read there is less cush than there should be in the seat. Is a better aftermarket solution out there, one which would make long days in the saddle at highways speeds, a better situation?
Does that demo deal come with a reach around?

You can get a new 2014 for around $15.5 k around here. Maybe less

I have done several 500+ mile days on mine. It's hard no matter what bike you're on but the 1190 is not that bad. Close to 9k on mine so no real advice as to long term reliability but so far so good. But I stand up, stretch, dangle my feet, and other crap as i slab it long miles.

I like my touring model and I ride in all the time on gravel and dirt.....no mud or single track stuff.....its a 500# bike
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:20 PM   #14
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The reason I want a dead-on speedo read is to stay legal. I was using my Garmin, but let my mind wander while looking at the pretty potato fields.

Well, I am not sure if you are distracted if even a dead on Speedo will help much. I have found myself distracted looking at scenery and looked down to see I was well over the legal limit. Otherwise the Speedo will only read faster than you are actually going. You will never get a ticket for doing even 5 over according to it. At highway speeds I generally run it about 10-15 over the limit which is probably only actually 5-7 over.

You could have a look at a Speedo Healer. I have no experience with them, other than being aware of their existence.

http://www.healtech-electronics.com/products/sh/

A 500 mile day on the stock seat is no problem at all. It breaks in a little after a few miles and becomes more comfortable. Maybe it's by butt that breaks into the new seat? Not sure, but it becomes more comfortable.

That said, I will probably put an Alaskan Butt Pad sheepskin on it.
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:55 PM   #15
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My location is gonna change from oh-so-boring NW IL, to just N of Denver, and so my riding situation is going to change from needing a two-day slabway ride to get to something interesting, to a 40-minute sprint over to the Boulder creek canyon gateway.

A little ride up to near Nederland, and whether L or R, things get high and crooked.

So maybe the ST should be retired and the KTM acquired. I don't know for sure.

On a recent trip out there property-shopping, I came across two ADV bikes coming back down into the metro area from somewhere above. One had a Stihl hung from the tail in a scabbard, with a small gas can strapped to it.
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