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Old 02-12-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
Hotmamaandme OP
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Question KTM 950 or 990 Longevity, dependability, reliability?

Hello KTM guys and girls, I will be honest, I am a BMW GS guy but I am lacking some off road excitement. I am thinking about a KTM adventure the big one 950 or 990, for my daily transportation. I am a bike only guy I ride an 1150 GS every day no car. I take trips on my bike Mexico, Canada, Alaska and the BMW is great but some times I just want to open it up and rip on the off road and do some single track. The GS will go most places I want to go but it has to be done slower than I would like and frankly it just doesn’t have the suspension for hard off roading. All that said can I get some honest answers and if possible unbiased opinions/thoughts about your KTM’s abilities.

How about a list of questions and those that would could you answer the questions that you have an answer to?

I haven’t really seen any high mileage KTM 950 or 990’s are they out there?

Longevity, dependability, reliability?

What about the water pump issues any real issues or just over publicized?

Can you ride it every day and not have to fiddle with it?

Will the frame take a heavy load like luggage and a passenger?

Will it go to Alaska and back or through Copper Canyon Mexico with mo worries?

How about fuel range on a tank of Gas? Some times on trips its 700 miles or more on the boring highway.

Is it comfortable for an all day slab ride to get some where and then have fun?

Will it go all the way around with mo major issues?

Lets start there and see what kind of response I get. If there are other issues I am not addressing post them for me. Remember I need to able to ride this bike every day and it be like a Swiss watch (I know nothing is perfect).


Thank you in Advance.
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:23 PM   #2
jalencar
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HI There.

I have a 2004 KTM 950, the silver model, fisrt year to come to US.

Mine is not a daily driver but I ride it to work about 3 times a week.

I have about 20000 miles on it now, I've been to Alaska, Continental Divide, Nevada Rally with Scot HArden to name a few.

MY bike did had the water pump problem, but that was something that happen on the first models if I'm not wrong.

I love that thing, Ruins like a champ, great offroad machine. I 've run it on the sand hill in west texas. take a look a some of the places. http://www.jpalencar.smugmug.com/Motorcycles

My will run aprox. about 260 miles on a tank of gas.

Let me know if you want any more detail.

Take care.

John
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:24 PM   #3
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The fact that KTM's appear to have more problems than BMW's and yet their owners complain about them less is very telling to me. I asked a buddy once why he thought this was and he said, "it's because when everything comes together and is working like it should the KTM bikes are just SOOOO much FUN that nothing else matters anymore"


I see a 950 Adventure in my not-too-distant future
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Slug





The fact that KTM's appear to have more problems than BMW's and yet their owners complain about them less is very telling to me. I asked a buddy once why he thought this was and he said, "it's because when everything comes together and is working like it should the KTM bikes are just SOOOO much FUN that nothing else matters anymore"


I see a 950 Adventure in my not-too-distant future
+1

I'm paying off my debts and starting a KTM 950 Adventure fund.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:35 PM   #5
rpilottx
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2005.5 950s

I have a 2005.5 950S and somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the bike. To answer some of your questions first I have seen a couple 950's with 50000-60000 miles and good dependability. I have just over 12000 miles on mine without a single issue.

The love/hate relationship is based on the fact I have ALWAYS wanted a GS but the closest BMW dealer is 250 miles away and I already have a 2004 KGT. The 950 is a blast and the fact that the only 950 dealer in New Mexico is 40 miles up the road is why I have a 950 and not a GS. If you don't mind doing your own maintenance, the 950 is fine. And I don't mean it is any more maintenance intensive then any other high performance machine. Unlike the latest version of the GS, there are no computers to worry about, just chain and carborators. I guess my biggest complaint is a fuel range of less then 200 miles(but it appears a 44 liter tank may cure that problem). Off road, it leaves the GS in the dirt so to speak but all the reviews say the GS is a better machine on pavement(wind protection and ABS mainly).

The waterpump is a known issue but my dealer(Badlands) says he has yet to replace one even on bikes with 30000 miles and I believe him. If you are worried, KTMTwins sells the complete kit for $90 bucks I think. Also, there are issues with the fuel pump and clutch (which seem to depend on how hard you ride). The fuel pump can be replaced with a unit from Napa(try that with your GS).

The only reason my 950 has not seen more mileage is because I also have the KGT and a 2006 640 Adventure. I want to get rid of one of the three so I have room in the garage but honestly can't decide which one to sell.

As far as long days are concerned, I took my stock 950S to Las Vegas in December, 2005, for a Jimmy Lewis school and rode one 700 mile day using the stock seat. Any problems I encountered were cured by a Renazco seat a month later. I did 2040 miles in 47 hours last summer on my KGT and honestly prefer it for long stretches of pavement(cruise control!) but am having trouble deciding on which KTM (950 or 640) to ride to Tierra del Fuego in the fall of 2008.

So that is how much I like both KTM's.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
MarkN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Slug





The fact that KTM's appear to have more problems than BMW's and yet their owners complain about them less is very telling to me. I asked a buddy once why he thought this was and he said, "it's because when everything comes together and is working like it should the KTM bikes are just SOOOO much FUN that nothing else matters anymore"


I see a 950 Adventure in my not-too-distant future
Zen,

Totally agree with you. I have had a sting of BMW's and none of them were any trouble. My 990 has been back to the dealer because it dumped it's clutch fluid and the back brake went spongy. I have also suffered a flat battery but wouldn't change it for anything. I love this bike, it's the most fun I have ever had on 2 wheels and I've been riding for 22 years.

Cheers

Mark
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:53 PM   #7
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Remeber what forums are about...

Forums are designed to allow owners to solve any issues that may arise. More often than not, and this includes all forums not just OC, we see a repeat of issues. I wouldn't be concerned about buying a 950 because of the issues presented in a forum. I'd be more concerned about the feedback and level of technical information available from that forum. If the forum is showing a high number of issues that simply aren't being resolved then that would make me second guess my purchase. Thankfully OC is not that type of forum.

If you go to the last page of OC and sift through the technical posts, ignoring the rants, you will see a few key issues with early 950's. Once addressed by you or a competent dealership you are as reliable as any other make or model in my mind.

The fact that you have riders like Antware with over 50,000 miles, touring Alaska and other parts of NA, with, and correct me if I'm wrong, no issues shows the robustness of the 950. Keep in mind his is an older model as well. 2004 or 2005. The updates required then have been done on more current models.

Remember forums are designed to solve issues so you have to expect to see them listed here. You have to sift through the malaise in order to get to the relevant stuff.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:26 PM   #8
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Troubles? what troubles?

My experience.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotmamaandme


I haven’t really seen any high mileage KTM 950 or 990’s are they out there?
Adv950 55 k kms and running strong.
Longevity, dependability, reliability?
Well that's an other issue! I own a 12-2003 so I will focus to the problems I think still exist from what I read here:
The safety starter switch at the clutch gets worn easily! Needs a small modification (a thin nail impregnated at its tip and works forever.
The rear brake gets too hot and boils the liquid easily. Mine got the rear brake rotor to crack twice but never heard anybody else rase the same issue, so could be me!
The cat exhausts get the motor too hot. Need replacing ASAP and they are expensive.
Fuel pump at 70k kms and water pump at 85k kms.
Clutch slave cyl failed 5 times on me. There is an improved version so there is hope! I have to say though that I am running my custom slave cyl. The 4 were replaced under warranty, but annoying nevertheless.
About cannisterectomy I cannot comment as it doesn't equip European models. I haven't removed any of the EPC systems. Read about starter mechanism problems but never experienced any.
What about the water pump issues any real issues or just over publicized?
Can you ride it every day and not have to fiddle with it?
To avoid weekly chain oiling you should go for auto oiler device.
Will the frame take a heavy load like luggage and a passenger?
No experience but read some subframes cracked in RTW travelers. My frame however got cracked due to motor vibrations. It was quite common on the 2003/2004 bikes. .
Will it go to Alaska and back or through Copper Canyon Mexico with mo worries?
I did a 10 k kms back in 2004 and the only issue was it needed its service a bit earlier, since it was dying when getting hot in traffic. Turned out to be an adjustment issue - too rich mix.
How about fuel range on a tank of Gas? Some times on trips its 700 miles or more on the boring highway.
Mine is really thirsty! I get the low fuel light at 200 kms in city traffic. In the open road I get close to 300 kms.
Is it comfortable for an all day slab ride to get some where and then have fun?
A better saddle is needed.
Will it go all the way around with mo major issues?
You should be O.K. with oil changes and maybe valve adjustments if their time comes.
Remember I need to be able to ride this bike every day and it be like a Swiss watch (I know nothing is perfect).
Riding it and enjoying it is sure. Swiss watch you cannot call it by any means! Even without water pump problems, you should be always on guard and listen to the bike. That is what most of us do and enjoy the adventures and the thrill. Good decisions.

Thank you in Advance.

gefr screwed with this post 04-05-2013 at 01:45 PM
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:11 PM   #9
Hotmamaandme OP
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Thank you and keep em coming

I guess my biggest complaint is a fuel range of less then 200 miles(but it appears a 44 liter tank may cure that problem). Quote (rpilottx)

Is this tank out for the US market?
Is the 990 with EFI any better on fuel consumption?

I really appreciate the response.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:49 PM   #10
cpmodem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotmamaandme
Hello KTM guys and girls, I will be honest, I am a BMW GS guy but I am lacking some off road excitement. I am thinking about a KTM adventure the big one 950 or 990, for my daily transportation. I am a bike only guy I ride an 1150 GS every day no car. I take trips on my bike Mexico, Canada, Alaska and the BMW is great but some times I just want to open it up and rip on the off road and do some single track. The GS will go most places I want to go but it has to be done slower than I would like and frankly it just doesn’t have the suspension for hard off roading. All that said can I get some honest answers and if possible unbiased opinions/thoughts about your KTM’s abilities.

How about a list of questions and those that would could you answer the questions that you have an answer to?

I haven’t really seen any high mileage KTM 950 or 990’s are they out there?

Longevity, dependability, reliability?

What about the water pump issues any real issues or just over publicized?

Can you ride it every day and not have to fiddle with it?

Will the frame take a heavy load like luggage and a passenger?

Will it go to Alaska and back or through Copper Canyon Mexico with mo worries?

How about fuel range on a tank of Gas? Some times on trips its 700 miles or more on the boring highway.

Is it comfortable for an all day slab ride to get some where and then have fun?

Will it go all the way around with mo major issues?

Lets start there and see what kind of response I get. If there are other issues I am not addressing post them for me. Remember I need to able to ride this bike every day and it be like a Swiss watch (I know nothing is perfect).


Thank you in Advance.
Mine's an early '04. I ride it a disproportionate amount of the time, considering I have 5 other bikes that run fine. I ride ~60,000 miles a year which I divide amongst all of my bikes. The 950 now has over 38k miles without a problem. I have ridden it all over North America and wouldn't hesitate for a moment to ride it anywhere in the World. There's a couple of 950 guys down in Punta Arenas right now. I get an average of 35-37 mpg, and I ride the living crap outta it. I have an aux fuel cell that I can mount in 5 min that allows me to double the range to over 400 miles between stops. Mine burns no oil between 5k services and I haven't had to change shims in the valve train since the first check at 10k miles. The chain gets lubed when I think of it. The first one lasted ~25k miles. I'm still on the original sprockets.

I put a little bit wider windscreen on for more protection at high speeds on the Interstate, and I had Bill Mayer build a custom seat for long days in the saddle. I routinely put in multiple 1000 mile days and have done a handful of 1500+ miles days without discomfort.

I ride mine every day and it hasn't let me down once, butt I have other bikes if it did. If you're looking for a Swiss Watch, get a Honda (butt be advised they're not as reliable as they once were). Maybe Rolex makes a m/c you could buy for like about $150k

There's no guarantee anything will work forever without a problem. YMMV, of course, and my experiences are my own and not necessarily indicative of the average owner's result.

-cp
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DISCLAIMER: All observations made in this post are mine and based solely on my own anecdotal experiences, and may contain large doses of facetiousness. YMMV, of course. You are "on your own", and I take no responsibility if someone tries anything in this post and gets into trouble with the law, damages their person or property, or goes blind. Take everything you read or hear "anywhere" butt especially on the Web with a large dose of salt.

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:26 PM   #11
nevgriff64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpmodem
I have an aux fuel cell that I can mount in 5 min that allows me to double the range to over 400 miles between stops.-cp
Hi cp..

Have you got any photo`s of your aux. fuel cell mate..

I`m planning a trip around Australia (15 500Ks) starting August this year and would love to see different options of carrying fuel before I fork out for the 44 litre tanks..

I have also done 8500Ks so far on my 05 950s and hasn`t missed a beat.. The best bike I have owned by a country mile..

Cheers Nev.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:36 PM   #12
cpmodem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevgriff64
Hi cp..

Have you got any photo`s of your aux. fuel cell mate..

I`m planning a trip around Australia (15 500Ks) starting August this year and would love to see different options of carrying fuel before I fork out for the 44 litre tanks..

I have also done 8500Ks so far on my 05 950s and hasn`t missed a beat.. The best bike I have owned by a country mile..

Cheers Nev.
I'm thinking of getting a set of the 44's to give me a 600 mile range
-cp

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DISCLAIMER: All observations made in this post are mine and based solely on my own anecdotal experiences, and may contain large doses of facetiousness. YMMV, of course. You are "on your own", and I take no responsibility if someone tries anything in this post and gets into trouble with the law, damages their person or property, or goes blind. Take everything you read or hear "anywhere" butt especially on the Web with a large dose of salt.

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Old 02-12-2007, 06:58 PM   #13
nevgriff64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpmodem
I'm thinking of getting a set of the 44's to give me a 600 mile range
-cp

That`s a very nice set up you have there mate..

Thanks for the photo..
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:47 PM   #14
SkylineKeith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotmamaandme
Hello KTM guys and girls, I will be honest, I am a BMW GS guy but I am lacking some off road excitement. I am thinking about a KTM adventure the big one 950 or 990, for my daily transportation. I am a bike only guy I ride an 1150 GS every day no car. I take trips on my bike Mexico, Canada, Alaska and the BMW is great but some times I just want to open it up and rip on the off road and do some single track. The GS will go most places I want to go but it has to be done slower than I would like and frankly it just doesn’t have the suspension for hard off roading. All that said can I get some honest answers and if possible unbiased opinions/thoughts about your KTM’s abilities.

How about a list of questions and those that would could you answer the questions that you have an answer to?

I haven’t really seen any high mileage KTM 950 or 990’s are they out there?

Longevity, dependability, reliability?

What about the water pump issues any real issues or just over publicized?

Can you ride it every day and not have to fiddle with it?

Will the frame take a heavy load like luggage and a passenger?

Will it go to Alaska and back or through Copper Canyon Mexico with mo worries?

How about fuel range on a tank of Gas? Some times on trips its 700 miles or more on the boring highway.

Is it comfortable for an all day slab ride to get some where and then have fun?

Will it go all the way around with mo major issues?

Lets start there and see what kind of response I get. If there are other issues I am not addressing post them for me. Remember I need to able to ride this bike every day and it be like a Swiss watch (I know nothing is perfect).


Thank you in Advance.
The KTM is great off road and I enjoyed my 950. I could not enjoy it for any distance on the slab. I planned all my distance rides via backroads, not that there is anything wrong with that. I no longer have my 950. I now have a GSA. That being said, I am considering getting a 950 super enduro for the really fun stuff that I know the GSA is not capable of doing. Alright orange crush, don't flame me, he asked, I told. I still loved my KTM and look longingly in the for sale section.

PM me if you want specifics.

Keith
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:05 AM   #15
MarkN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotmamaandme
Is the 990 with EFI any better on fuel consumption?
No, the 990 is worse. It also holds less fuel because the fuel pump is inside one of the tanks so you lose about 1/2 ltr. There is a long thread on this issue in OC somewhere.

Cheers

Mark
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