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Old 12-13-2013, 08:07 AM   #1
ballisticexchris OP
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KTM 1190 test ride R and standard

So yesterday I had the unique experience of getting a huge amount of street saddle time on both of these beasts. Got about 40 miles on the standard and 60 miles on the R. It was in gorgeous Temecula wine country.

1st off let me start off by saying I'm just a "C" rider at best and have almost zero experience with riding a true ADV bike. For the whole test I kept the traction control on and ABS engaged for safety.

There are 4 modes to choose from: Sport, Street, Rain and Offroad. I started off in Street mode. The seats were set in the low position. I'm 5' 9" 190lbs and have a 30" inseam. I was able to flat foot the Standard model and a bit up on my toes with the R.

First off was the standard model. Starting out on one of these beasts is a trip! You better be eating your Wheaties if you want to do slow maneuvers on these. The fuel injection is very "lurchy" with throttle off and clutch out. The smaller front wheel of the standard model did little to help. A lot of clutch slipping and foot dabbing for lock to lock turns for me.

Get it out on the road and HOLY COW!!! This is by far the fastest, best handling "road bike" I have ever swung a leg over. You can change to the different modes on the fly by simply scrolling through the menu and closing the throttle. I put it in Sport mode and it was like a true open class liter bike. It bumps the rev limiter in 3rd gear at just under 100mph. At 80mph in 4th gear the front end lifts off the ground if you whack the throttle. And this is with the traction control and safety features in the on position. IMO way too much power!! Sport mode is not for the throttle happy rider.

The rain mode was kind of strange in dry weather. Throttle response was very slow. I'm willing to bet it is a great feature in the rain. For 90% of my riding I just kept the bike in offroad mode. It was by far my favorite setting. I could actually ride faster and more controlled in this mode. Extremely smooth with no surprises.

This was the first bike I have ever ridden with antilock brakes. Wile I was able to safely slow down with one finger and light foot pressure at any speed, that was no fun! So I found some loose gravel on the pavement and grabbed a fist full of front brake. What a trip. No slide. Just a safe stop. When blazing along at 70+ mph and stomping just the rear brake, it's like a freight train no slowing. No brake sliding. You must use both front and rear you slow down. I'm on the fence with the antilock. I still think I could stop quicker with the rear disengaged from antilock.

Next it was the handling. No issues at all. In fact, through the twisties, I rarely had to use my brakes. Throttle, clutch, gear selection, and engine braking were spot on.

Differences between the standard and R model are minimal. Windscreens in all positions SUCK on both bikes. No wind protection at all. I'm sure the aftermarket has a fix for that. The R model required a bit more rider input in the turns and has no electronic suspension tuning. It's really cool that it has separate compression/rebound damping knobs right on top of the forks for quick adjustments.

The standard model has really really cool electronic adjustments for every possible riding condition you can think of. I think there are over 80 different settings!! You can even do the spring preload at the touch of the button! Unfortunately, the software for the suspension was not installed yet for the one I was riding.

Overall these are great bikes. But only for a special kind of rider. I'm not one of them. I cannot get my head wrapped around why anyone would need 150HP for everyday riding. Too much bike is an understatement. IMO, a lot of guys that get these will be "chest pounders" screaming LOOK AT ME, I have the fastest baddest bike around. OTOH, a very small percentage of guys that get these will actually ride them to their potential. Doing a trackday in sport mode, switching to knobbies for a day in the dirt, then bagging up for true cross country adventure.

Here are a few pics of the bikes:

They actually had my first bike ever on display!!



Electronic damping and spring preload of the standard model.





And me with a big smile. It was so much fun! Can you tell I liked the R model the best?



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Old 12-13-2013, 08:25 AM   #2
nvdesertrat
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I am trying to gauge when my 1190R will be showing UP here in NV. You got to Demo an R was it though a dealer or through a factory demo ride?
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:53 AM   #3
ballisticexchris OP
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Originally Posted by nvdesertrat View Post
I am trying to gauge when my 1190R will be showing UP here in NV. You got to Demo an R was it though a dealer or through a factory demo ride?
It was through the Factory Demo ride. IMO much better than the dealer cutting you loose. Not many guys showed up on this one. I was able to do as much, if not more "extreme testing" without worrying about getting a ticket or crashing into a canyon alone. The ride leader was taking us through some of the best twisties I have ever been on.

I see you already have a fleet of these big bikes. You will not be disappointed. I actually liked the R model better.

How in the heck do you balance one of these beasts at idle? My Ninja 650R was just as heavy and I could maneuver it just like a dirt bike at idle. Same with the Yamaha Tenere. That bike had way better fueling at idle and clutch out than the KTM. And as heavy as it was, I could do lock to lock turning with the clutch out in 1st gear no problem. Same deal with the carbed KTM Super Enduro. Very easy to control at slow speed.

IMO, It will take a special kind of rider to use this bike at it's full potential. I still think that KTM needs to get the fuel injection dialed in for the slower guys like myself. The good news is, a quick trip to a good dyno tuner and the low speed throttle fueling issues can be resolved. Too bad they can't take a lesson from Yamaha and have perfect fuel injection right off the showroom floor.
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ballisticexchris screwed with this post 12-13-2013 at 08:58 AM
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:07 AM   #4
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I was there yesterday and only rode the R model. I will probably go back today to ride the standard one. Im 6'2" and was flatfooted on the R so figured it was probably the best for me but after talking to my friend who rode both bikes and said he felt the standard felt faster and was better handing I gotta go back. Its got to be that the smaller wheels not only make it turn easier on the street but gear it a smidge lower as the gear ratios and sprockets are the same size on both models. I was very impressed with the bike, it really hauls ass, feels light, is very comfortable and fit me perfect. I can see this as a true only bike. I rode my 12 Griso to the event and on the way home noticed how my bike felt slow, uncomfortable, and very crude compared to the KTM. Damn it, I usually leave demo ride events glad to have the bike I came on but not this time. This is going to cost me.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:42 AM   #5
ballisticexchris OP
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Originally Posted by Mondo Endo View Post
I was there yesterday and only rode the R model. I will probably go back today to ride the standard one. Im 6'2" and was flatfooted on the R so figured it was probably the best for me but after talking to my friend who rode both bikes and said he felt the standard felt faster and was better handing I gotta go back. Its got to be that the smaller wheels not only make it turn easier on the street but gear it a smidge lower as the gear ratios and sprockets are the same size on both models. I was very impressed with the bike, it really hauls ass, feels light, is very comfortable and fit me perfect. I can see this as a true only bike. I rode my 12 Griso to the event and on the way home noticed how my bike felt slow, uncomfortable, and very crude compared to the KTM. Damn it, I usually leave demo ride events glad to have the bike I came on but not this time. This is going to cost me.
I suggest you try out the different modes. Big difference!!
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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Question

[QUOTE=ballisticexchris;22980829]It was the best bike at idle. Same with the Yamaha Tenere. That bike had way better fueling at idle and clutch out than the KTM. And as heavy as it was, I could do lock to lock turning with the clutch out in 1st gear no problem. Same deal with the carbed KTM Super Enduro. Very easy to control at slow speed.

IMO, It will take a special kind of rider to use this bike at it's full potential. I still think that KTM needs to get the fuel injection dialed in for the slower guys like myself. The good news is, a quick trip to a good dyno tuner and the low speed throttle fueling issues can be resolved. Too bad they can't take a lesson from Yamaha and have perfect fuel injection right off the showroom floor.

The 1190 demo I rode had awesome fueling . Did you find both models to have fueling issues? Just about every report I've seen commented on the fueling as being excellent. I hope my std . will have as good as the demo .
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:02 PM   #8
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Great review. It's weird. I haven't heard a lot of hype-filled glowing reviews on the 1190. Just a lot of "It's got a ton of horsepower" - nothing that really says "this is far better than the 990 and the extra $3,000 is justified"
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #9
Mondo Endo
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According to the 990 riders that were present today it is way easier to do oil changes on the 1190 and according to the KTM dealer rep that did a overview and features talk on the bike the valve clearance check schedule is three times the mileage of the old motors. I rode the standard model today and really liked it. The fueling on both models I rode was perfect, no flat spots or surging at any rpm, and again this thing really rips.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:08 PM   #10
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Dear Sir thank you for your very fine review, thoroughly enjoyed reading your perspective on the standard and 'R' 1190 Adventure.

In part this is what I will take away from your review:




Standard Model
  • You better be eating your Wheaties if you want to do slow maneuvers on these. The fuel injection is very "lurchy" with throttle off and clutch out. The smaller front wheel of the standard model did little to help. A lot of clutch slipping and foot dabbing for lock to lock turns for me.
  • This is by far the fastest, best handling "road bike" I have ever swung a leg over.
  • I put it in Sport mode and it was like a true open class liter bike. It bumps the rev limiter in 3rd gear at just under 100mph.
  • At 80mph in 4th gear the front end lifts off the ground if you whack the throtle
  • Next it was the handling. No issues at all. In fact, through the twisties, I rarely had to use my brakes. Throttle, clutch, gear selection, and engine braking were spot on.
  • Differences between the standard and R model are minimal. Windscreens in all positions SUCK on both bikes
  • I cannot get my head wrapped around why anyone would need 150HP for everyday riding.

  • IMO, a lot of guys that get these will be "chest pounders" screaming LOOK AT ME, I have the fastest baddest bike around. OTOH, a very small percentage of guys that get these will actually ride them to their potential..
This is what we need guys real world testing and riding of all age groups to get a real feel for what these bikes are all about.
When I take delivery if my 2014 EDS model I will also start a thread and write my own review.

Many Thanks for your review, good sir ....


** The big thing for prospective buyers is to ask yourself what is your type of riding, more road and less dirt, or more dirt and less road.
Then make sure you get the model that suits your daily needs and purposes..
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:16 PM   #11
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I was at Moto city today in Avondale, AZ getting a new rear tire put on my SE. There was an 1190 standard there and Geoff let me ride it. What a bike! Has the same sort of punch at 6-7000 rpm's that my multi does. Feels very light and balanced. Ergos felt good at stock settings. No risers, etc. The 1190 felt more comfortable than 2 years of modifications and lots of dough on the 990. The 1190 feels much more confidence inspiring than the multi. The multi feels very top heavy compared. BTW all street ride today mostly in sport mode. I weigh 165 lbs and had to lean forward to keep the front wheel down. This bike was a euro spec 2013 model. I have a dep on the R version and the multi is for sale.
I loved the bike. Seems like a great improvement on my 990 (which I love).
Geoff had prototype Jesse bags on the bike incl top case. Very solid. Can't say enough how impressed I was.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DRTII View Post
I haven't heard a lot of hype-filled glowing reviews on the 1190. Just a lot of "It's got a ton of horsepower"
This
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by veesquared View Post
The 1190 demo I rode had awesome fueling . Did you find both models to have fueling issues? Just about every report I've seen commented on the fueling as being excellent. I hope my std . will have as good as the demo .
I rode 2 different R models and 1 standard. Not one of them ran smooth from idle to small throttle settings with clutch out and trying to do slow speed drills. Everywhere else it ran perfect. But hell, when I lay down 16k for a bike, I want it to run perfect at idle and small rpm's. I guess you have to think about what you will be using this bike for. For me, I would want to be able to pick my way through a rock garden or a nasty switchback. I just can't see doing that on this bike.

It was funny watching the guys ride these things. Everyone (including myself) was whacking the throttle open and grinning ear to ear. When we came to stops and going back into the parking lot, it seemed like I was the only one who stood up and tried to do u turns, feet up stops and slow on/off throttle settings. None of the bikes worked for me at the slow speed stuff. Keep in mind I have very little experience, and a novice when it comes to these beasts. I'm trying the best I can to give the perspective of the "average joe" who will be buying one of these. I'm willing to bet that there are much more experienced riders that will not even notice the flaws that I found. I can't tell you how it was in the dirt as we were not allowed to go off the pavement.

FWIW, The Super Tenere felt near perfect messing around at slow speed drills and was lightyears ahead in road comfort. Of course it had nowhere close to the power. And I imagine with the right pilot aboard, and good suspension settings, the KTM 1190 would keep up with any sport bike on the track or adventure bike in the dirt.

Please don't misunderstand. These are great, super refined machines. Just too much bike for me. In fact, after speaking with a few guys who rode their 950/990's to the demo, I'm actually thinking of getting one of those if I get something used. If not, then it will be the Super Tenere for me.

I'm actually saving up as we speak to add to my collection of steeds a good commuter/adventure bike with a nice set of hard bags. I have sellers remorse getting rid of my Kawasaki 650R to fund my KTM300 refurbish project.

This is what I have for now to do ADV style riding:





And my single track weapon. My good old 05 KTM300, completely refurbished, compliments of selling off my Ninja 650R:



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Old 12-13-2013, 06:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hootowl View Post
Your first bike was also my first bike
How cool is that!! In fact a lot of guys were finding "their first bikes" in his collection.







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Old 12-13-2013, 06:24 PM   #15
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I tested those bikes today at the Doffo Winery. Plush! I like the R better as I have a '11 990 R and it just felt familiar. My 990 felt anemic after getting on these 150 HP bikes.
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