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Old 12-28-2005, 11:51 PM   #1
Donkey Hotey OP
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KTM 620/640 E/GS Adventure History

We have been collecting information informally in the flea market but knowing those posts will soon expire, it's time to collect it here for the archives.

At the 2005 KTM Rally in Ouray Colorado, I attended on my 1997 KTM 620 Adventure. At the rally, I spoke with Silver Bullet who told me that these were in fact, very rare in the United States. It seems the original low-pipe version of the Adventure was not very popular here in the US. He too had one but had ridden his 950 to the rally.

The rumored numbers knocking around were: 5 imported to the USA in 1997 and 22 in 1998.

There was another bike at the rally exactly like my own. We parked them side-by-side and joked about the numbers (not believing them). Out of curiousity, we finally looked at the VINs. They turned out to be 4 chassis apart.

Since then we have collected a number of other chassis to see if the quantities are true. If all of the US bikes were produced sequentially, then there are more than 100. However, there have been differences seen in early production bikes.


This brochure photo shows a pre-production bike. Notable on this bike are the non-production muffler hangers and the clear anodized WP Extreme forks.

Here is a breakdown of some of the yearly changes:

1996: First year of the 620 E/GS Adventure. World market bikes have a low-pipe exhaust with outlet stubs. No US market bikes except for some grey market imports. Clear windscreen. Clear anodizing on the fork legs.

1997: First year of US importation. Dark tinted windscreen, black anodizing on the White Power WP Extreme 50mm fork legs. World market bikes continued with dual exhaust with outlet stubs. To meet spark arrestor requirements, US Market got USFS stamped, twin Supertrapp mufflers. To meet emissions regulations, the US bikes also got the dreaded Edelbrock Quicksilver carburetor and a charcoal canister. The good news was that the rest of the world got the Dellorto PHM40 and correcting the poor starting and erratic low-speed running was as easy as ordering the carb and cables right out of the factory parts manual.

1998: Same as 1997 but rumored to have a different shade of orange paint. Has not been confirmed. The Edelbrock Quicksilver carburetor showed up again and most were turned into desk ornaments or sold to unsuspecting quad owners.

The motorcycles located and identified so far:

Year VIN Owner
1997 7847 Ignore Amos
1997 7850 BLU HWY
1997 7852 AntiMarket
1997 7862 Unknown owner in New Mexico (eBay sale)
1997 7863 Spudly
1998 8543 ChicagoMike (likely a Euro import)
1998 8575 Pokey66C23
1998 8681 Tom Warr
1998 8739 Dillon@ZenMoto
1997 8742 hondahawkrider
1998 8744 Geekventure
1997 8791 G-Funk
1998 8792 K9OFSTRIKEX
1998 8793 Strega
1997 8797 Unknown in Ouray
1997 8789 DesignerRider
1998 8798 Silver Bullet
1997 8801 Donkey Hotey
1998 8805 Sold in Los Angeles 2005 (unknown owner)
1998 8850 Unknown sold on eBay June 2008
1998 8855 DessertRat
1998 8857 mtbdemon
1998 8869 Chaos616
1998 8949 peasandcorn
1998 8953 DaddyBigDaddy
1998 8960 Alfredman22

The interesting thing is that they are NOT sequential. My personal bike could not be identified by the dealer and KTM North America had to be called to identify the year. Others have experienced the same thing. Many titles have incorrect years on them and it has been theorized that KTM built the bikes in one batch and titled them in the year they were sold.

The import quantities could still be correct since not all the US bikes were necessarily produced in sequence.

Another interesting gem stumbled on tonight that kicked off the authoring of this thread is this photo:



Yes, an orange Adventure with orange saddlebags, so what? Items not seen on any production models (at least not in the US):
  • Saddlebags (believed to be the rare factory bags)
  • High pipe exhaust (not used on the Adventure until 1999)
  • Oversized, rally style skid plate
  • Black engine (Adventure models had silver engines)
European model? Prototype? The stickers on the fork leg and the studio setting suggest a Euro model or at least a studio prototype.

Anything anybody can share? This is for the archive guys so chime in if you've got anything.
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Donkey Hotey screwed with this post 10-23-2012 at 02:58 PM Reason: Updates to registry
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:13 AM   #2
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#8793 is now my bike (thanks Mike) and sorry to say it is not going to remain stock!!!!
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Old 12-29-2005, 01:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJohnson
#8793 is now my bike (thanks Mike) and sorry to say it is not going to remain stock!!!!
Hey, ride the snot out of that thing! It's not like they'll ever be collectible. It's just interesting that so few were sold in the US and that KTM bothered to import them at all. It seems hardly worth the paperwork for so few bikes.

It's also a glaring reminder as to why we can't buy the Africa Twin and other Dakar styled bikes in this country. Transalp? Tengai? Elefant? TDM800? Popular bikes in other countries but the US market forgot them before the last units were shipped from the warehouse.
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:20 AM   #4
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Interesting stuff. Even in it's latter days in the U.S. market, not many Adventures were sold.

2001 = 110 units
2002 = 155 units
2003 = 178 units


Not sure on the 2004/2005's
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:36 AM   #5
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Greg, I have a 97 sales brochure...

That came w/ my bike- looks brand new (was wedged in the sevice manual) and if you have'nt seen one I'd be glad to share it w/ you ifyou'd like.
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:51 AM   #6
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This is an interesting thread.

I know Tom Warr and his bike is in excellent condition, well used, but also well cared for.

I have a 97 Adventure brochure I picked up in 97 and it clearly shows the bike you posted with the orange saddlebags. The weird shape is due to the fact that the saddlebag is designed to carry one front and one rear spare tire. The brochure also clearly states that the Adventure is not available in the U.S. I haven't looked at the brochure in quite a while, but if I remember correctly, it also has a picture of a bike with the low twin pipes.

Maybe tonight I'll pull it out of the archives and look it over.
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Old 12-29-2005, 09:57 AM   #7
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the saddlebags fit spare tires? How would that work, folding tires?

Perhaps the Europeans will find this thread and say something about those saddlebags.
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:25 AM   #8
dirtrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle
the saddlebags fit spare tires? How would that work, folding tires?

Perhaps the Europeans will find this thread and say something about those saddlebags.
If you look closely at the bag, you will notice two different sized shelves with what look like straps at the corners of each. The 21" tire fits the larger section of bag closest to the rider and the 18" fits on the smaller section towards the outside of the bag. Those strap looking things help hold the bead of the tire to the bag so the tires are kept round.

I know it's a terrible description. I wish I had a picture with tires installed as it's a cool idea.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC
Even in it's latter days in the U.S. market, not many Adventures were sold.
Wow, Chris, that's amazing. I figured they would have been in the 4-500's by then (which is still an amazingly low number). Any idea on the 99/2000 models (I also have a 99)? How confident are you in those numbers?

I have the brochure that came with my bike but it shows the studio photo of the bike with the clear windscreen and the drilled muffler bracket: no hint of the plastic saddlebagged bike. In fact, there is a small studio shot of what appears to be accessory aluminum bags. I'd guess the one showing the saddlebags was from a 1996 brochure? It's time for us to fire up our scanners and share some pictures. This is good
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtrider
If you look closely at the bag, you will notice two different sized shelves with what look like straps at the corners of each. The 21" tire fits the larger section of bag closest to the rider and the 18" fits on the smaller section towards the outside of the bag. Those strap looking things help hold the bead of the tire to the bag so the tires are kept round.

I know it's a terrible description. I wish I had a picture with tires installed as it's a cool idea.
Oh, on the outside! Gotcha...
Yes, its a good idea.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregCifu
Wow, Chris, that's amazing. I figured they would have been in the 4-500's by then (which is still an amazingly low number). Any idea on the 99/2000 models (I also have a 99)? How confident are you in those numbers?

I have the brochure that came with my bike but it shows the studio photo of the bike with the clear windscreen and the drilled muffler bracket: no hint of the plastic saddlebagged bike. In fact, there is a small studio shot of what appears to be accessory aluminum bags. I'd guess the one showing the saddlebags was from a 1996 brochure? It's time for us to fire up our scanners and share some pictures. This is good
The 01-03 640 Adventure front rim recall states that approximately 430 bikes sold in the USA are affected (as I recall). So that is three years worth!
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:43 AM   #12
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This is the bike that got me wanting a KTM!



I saw the picture with the tires mounted on that bag and fell in love. I have never seen these bags in person. I would probably freak if I did.


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Old 12-29-2005, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle
The 01-03 640 Adventure front rim recall states that approximately 430 bikes sold in the USA are affected (as I recall). So that is three years worth!
That's where I stole my numbers... off the NHTSA recall site.

Guess that explains why you rarely see yourself comin' and goin'....
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:52 PM   #14
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And if you estimated 110 bikes each year for 99/2000, the total in the US would be 685 US Adventures between 1997 and 2003. We all know that the 05 was a special order bike. Wasn't 04 also special order? So it's safe to say that there are fewer than 1,000 LC4 Adventures in all of the United States?
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Old 12-29-2005, 01:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregCifu
And if you estimated 110 bikes each year for 99/2000, the total in the US would be 685 US Adventures between 1997 and 2003. We all know that the 05 was a special order bike. Wasn't 04 also special order? So it's safe to say that there are fewer than 1,000 LC4 Adventures in all of the United States?
There was no 2004s sold in the USA. That is why I jumped on the remaining 2003s; thought my ship was pulling away from the dock!
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