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Old 02-20-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
Hytram OP
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Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Melbourne
Oddometer: 725
From A Vee to a 950Adv

I wrote this up for another forum, but I thought you guys might want a read, also going to post it into Orange Crush

Last week I got out on the new bike.. The KTM 950 Adventure S (it sounds sexy when I say it , it looks sexy when I type it ) 600kms on the Hwy, twisties, open dirt roads, fire trails and some 4wd tracks... one word.. WOW.

Seeing I rode and owned a V-Strom 1000 for the last few years there isn't much else I can compare it too.

On the Road

The engine isn't far removed from the Stroms, seeing they are both the same size (near enough) and both V-twins you would expect them to be a little similar. The KTM is carbed and seems to be punchier but I guessing this is down to my KTM having its gearing lowered as the Strom is a fraction higher in the HP/Nm stakes. KTM 1 Vstrom 1

The Strom is a comfier bike, both the standard seat and the Gel seat on the KTM are woeful, one is a concrete slab, the other is just shaped all wrong, An airwhark on the strom stock seat is about as good as it gets. The other ergonomics on both bikes are similar and adjustable with the right farkles so aren't really worth mentioning KTM 0 Vstrom 1

Suspension, on the road, the handling is similar but where the KTM rules in under brakes, the front USD forks have 245 mm compared to 160mm on the Strom but the amount of dive under brakes is simply amazing, there is none! Seeing I had the Suspension rebuilt and modified on the Strom about 6 weeks before I wrote it off, and the KTMs is 5 years old... the KTM wins hands down, well it should as it has WP suspension KTM 1 Strom 0

Braking.. again, not a hell of a lot in it, both carry twin pot callipers and twin discs up front, the KTM "feel" better, prolly due to the braided lines, but the pulling up power is about the same. the Rear on the KTM has lots more feel to it. Also with the anti diving front end on the KTM, the KTM wins KTM 1 Strom 1/2

The Strom seems to just fall into corners, you just think about turning and it does, could be from its top heavy nature and with all that grip its actually a nice thing , the Strom (207kg) is only 9kg heavier than the KTM (198 kg) but the KTM feels 20-30kg lighter due to its distribution of weight, on the road the added weight on the Strom is no issue KTM 1/2 Storm 1

if I was to take a trip around Australia tomorrow and do most it on Tar and a few unsealed roads, the Strom would be the pick, there isn't much in them, put the KTMs USD forks on the strom and you have a winner, a better seat on the KTM and then it would be better, but the Strom is a $7K cheaper bike, easier to work on and less maintenance.. the Strom is a great road package for the price

On the Dirt

you might as well leave the Strom in the garage

the KTM is Carbbed, the Strom is FI. Suzuki is supposed to have the best FI on the market, it does shit all over the system on the 800GS' but on the dirt the KTMs throttle response is millimetre perfect. Out of corners you can dictate exactly how far you want the back end drift down to the cm with just feathering the throttle, this was with a full D908 knobbie on the back too. It was just confidence inspiring. KTM 1 Strom 0

Once you add the right farkles (both need risers on the bars as I am 6"3), they both feel the same standing up on the pegs. Sitting down the KTM's seat is easier to get the weight forward as it is further forward and there is no tank hump to get in the way.. its really line ball KTM 1 Strom 1

Suspension... does the Strom have Suspension? The more you throw at the the KTM the more it says "MORE"! It just soaks up the bumps, Standing on the pegs the bike just stays completely level, you can feel it working underneath you, even under power and breaking the tyres find it very hard to lose grip (unless you go crazy), just a testimony of the suspension doing its job.. The longer swing arm would help too. Spending money on the Strom did improve things, but the 2 bikes are simply not in the same league here KTM 1 Strom -2

Braking, the greater feel in the KTM really does come into play on the dirt, again they just inspire confidence. Going into dirt corners at 80km and feeling the brakes work, the rear has the most feeling I have ever felt on any bike, it is just magic. KTM 1 Strom -1

Although the KTM is only 9kg lighter, because of things like the battery being the sump area, two side mounted fuel tanks the weight is carried low it feels so light. I flat foot the Strom but are on the balls of my feet on the KTM and at stand still, the Strom on a slight lean would be a handful and easily on its side, the KTM just seems to take a thump with your inner thigh and its stays upright. KTM 1 Strom -2

The KTM is just a joy on the dirt, I rode it a lot hard and quicker on day one than I ever rode the Strom after 3+ years. Even with a Michelin scorpion 80/20 tyre on the front not once over the 600km I did not once feel unconfident with the grip of the front end, I think the suspension and feel of the brakes help with much of that.

With the lower weight, 21' front end, Spoked wheels, massive ground clearance, beautiful suspension and the massive smile factor, the KTM is just one hell of a bike.

Over all

it all comes down to what you want and how much TLC you are willing to give

a road tourer that can do the occasional unsealed road, just put Petrol, water and oil into, you can not go past a Strom... they are that good at that..

But you want a bike that you really can take anywhere, that does so much so bloody good, but needs the valves checked every 15,000km and takes 3 hrs to do an oil change.. then the KTM Adv is for you..

the extra money, the extra TLC, is it worth it? I'll tell you in 6 months

2011 S10
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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Thanks for the write-up. Interesting perspective, since you have owned both and I am always eyeing the 950Adv.

I think the more I read these type of threads, the more I come to the realization I need a second bike for offroad. I could not give up the street comfort of the Vstrom (at least to me it's comfortable). I am concerned I would spend a chunk of change for the 950Adv and find I still struggle in the dirt with it...but that doesn't stop me from looking...or still considering one someday.

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Old 02-20-2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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Nicely done comparison.
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: NEPA Right at Base of Blue Mountain Ski Area .5 mi
Oddometer: 1,689
Thanks for the comparison. I too have been dealing with this same delima. I've had my 02Vee for 7yrs and 65K. We've done a lot of off road over the years but its always been a ton of work. We'll my fat ass isnt getting any younger and I still like to ride off road with Big Beasts so I have to make a decision.

I have a 450EXC my off road racing excursions but now I need a real Adventure Tourer who likes to go off road vs. a bike that can but doesnt really like it. Now my delima is do I go for the 990ADV or the 950SE?
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:06 AM   #5
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Centennial,Co./ Grand Lake,Co
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Great write up. I found similar thoughts when testing the bikes before I bought my Wee. And I chose the Strom (650) over the KTM for the reasons you stated. I wanted a 90+% street bike with little maint.
Decided the Wee had enough power, that I was ok with it,and the better economics worked.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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Location: Central Coast, Cal
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Nice write up. Although, I did it the other way. I went from a KTM to a Vee strom.

For me the KTM was a huge disappointment. The only thing, for me, that really shined on the KTM was the suspension. Otherwise, I thought the bike was not that impressive. I would have kept it, except it kept breaking down. After every ride of any distance, I would have to disassemble the bike to fix something that broke. Not to mention I thought it had the worst carburation of any motorcycle I've ever owned. Simply dreadful.

Not bashing the bike or your write up, that was just my experience. I hope your ownership experience goes better than mine.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:12 AM   #7
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3 hrs to do an oil change - WTF??? I can knock it over in less than an hour from shut down to start up. And thats with a beer to make things smoother. Practice makes perfect. As for the valves - after the initial break in period and 5k check they wont need much till 20k and every 20 thereafter. Ive got a 950A and personally wont go much away from it. It does everything I want and plenty that I dont. Enjoy the bike - its waiting.

For those who sit at home and dream-let them...Meoni
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