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Old 07-18-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
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Default 2012 KTM 990 SM-T Review


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2012 KTM 990 SM-T Review

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Old 07-18-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
Captain Steve
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Nice ride. I think it's more comparable to a V-Strom than a Multistrada though.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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I find it to be the analog multistrada, granted it has EFI etc. but no fob or other electrowizardry. The adventure plastic or aluminum bags mount right up too.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #4
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Default A few tweaks

It looks like it needs a few tweaks but overall a nice bike. The lack of electronics doesn't worry me much (less is more) but the inability to shut off the ABS is a little troublesome. It comes in at a good price point but the dealer network would be a concern for me. I still want one.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:18 AM   #5
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It looks like the European cousin of my DL1000. Actually a pretty nice midpoint betwixt the DL and the MultiStrada. I've probably spent more than the DL / SM-T price delta upgrade my Vee's suspension and brakes. It's better looking too, and has about 10 HP on the Vee. I'll bet the Vee's 90 degree twin is smoother though, unless they put in a balance shaft. But I have to wonder: will it go 50K+ miles with nothing more than an occasional tune-up, tires, chains, and oil like my Vee has?

You didn't mention (or I didn't see) wind protection/buffeting. You probably got a lot of clean air with the tiny screen, but was it above your shoulders or on your chest?
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:03 AM   #6
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As a former owner of a KTM supermoto, I would have love to have known the size of the gas tank. The original was pretty small, around 4 gallons. I recall being able to go around 130 miles before needing to find a gas station quickly. Wouldn't want to tour with those limitations, though you guys are reporting better mileage than I ever got. Also it's really not a dirtbike with lights in any respect. It would get around a supermoto course, but on loose gravel that 17" front wheel and steep steering angle sucked. If it's got a 5.5 gallon tank, and givi luggage options, I might consider it again. I don't consider KTM's to be high mileage bikes (perhaps because they don't really make them for that purpose), but maybe it would surprise me.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Spaceman View Post
It looks like the European cousin of my DL1000. Actually a pretty nice midpoint betwixt the DL and the MultiStrada. I've probably spent more than the DL / SM-T price delta upgrade my Vee's suspension and brakes. It's better looking too, and has about 10 HP on the Vee. I'll bet the Vee's 90 degree twin is smoother though, unless they put in a balance shaft. But I have to wonder: will it go 50K+ miles with nothing more than an occasional tune-up, tires, chains, and oil like my Vee has?

You didn't mention (or I didn't see) wind protection/buffeting. You probably got a lot of clean air with the tiny screen, but was it above your shoulders or on your chest?
I suppose the KTM could be viewed in that context, though it has a 17-inch front tire and comes stock with street rubber.

To answer your question: I made a small mention of the windscreen, but for my 5'8" frame, the wind went just above my shoulders. It's surprisingly pleasant considering how minimal the flyscreen is. -TS
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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From ultimatemotorcycling.com:

Tank capacity: approx. 19 liters/5gal - 3.7 liters/1 gal reserve
Weight (ready to race): approx. 192 kg/423lbs (without fuel)

I'm surprised that it is a relatively light-weight bike. With 5 gallons of fuel at 6 pounds each, that would add 30 pounds for a total of 453 lbs curb weight. That's not bad.

A V-Strom 1000 supposedly weighs 525 lbs. That's a pretty big difference.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:07 PM   #9
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Default 990 SM-T review

Nice job on the review. It's good to see one on such a kick ass bike that hardly anyone knows about. I can't believe that everyone who rides isn't drooling over this bike.

A couple comments to the remarks...

I've owned a DL1000 and now own an SM-T. Differences are:
*The SM-T weighs about 475 wet. The V-Strom weighs about 525.
*SM-T makes about 15-20 more HP.
*SM-T's components (brakes, clutch, suspension) really feel like top notch stuff, the V-Strom's feel like standard middle of the road Japanese bike parts.
*The LC8 revs MUCH faster than the Suzuki twin, it makes it feel like a tractor really... it has that hyper, itching-to-go light flywheel feeling. It's not as much fun to ride slowly as the Strom for the same reasons that make it more exciting.
*The V-Strom has a larger seating area. The stock DL seat sucks, but a Sargent is super comfy for like $300, I think. SM-T seat is smaller so it's limited in ultimate comfort, but they got the foam and shape right so it doesn't need an aftermarket seat - good thing, because choices are very limited.
*Mapping changes are super easy on the SM-T with a laptop, a freeware program and a cable you can make. You'll definitely want to turn off the O2 sensors for better small-throttle-opening fueling, and turn off the 2nd and 3rd gear power restriction. You can also load the Akra maps if you put aftermarket slip-ons or a full exhaust.
*If you want the V-Strom to remotely handle in the SM-T's league, you have to ditch the dual-sport tires and put sport touring tires on. I was very happy with the Avon Azaros I put on mine. There are several other ST tires available today for V-Strom/GS rim sizes.
*Luggage is a wash because you'll want (need) to add "real" luggage to the SM-T anyway. This is because 1) the stock bags hardly hold anything, and 2) the zippers suck and will break within a year of heavy use, and you WILL overstuff them due to their small size. SW Motech makes quick release mounts that can adapt to just about any maker's hard side bags and pop on and off easily, and the top cases KTM sells (made by Shad) mount directly to the luggage rack and only cost about ~$150. Personally, I just leave the 37L top case on and no side bags most of the time. I put on a pair of huge Givi E41 side cases for 2-up travel. They look goofy on the bike they're so huge, and in retrospect, for most uses a smaller pair would be more appropriate.
*On the SM-T, you will want better wind protection for highway use. The Givi windshield is WAY better than stock. After almost a year, I swapped the stocker back on for a ride and was instantly annoyed. I was fine with the V-Strom stocker. I hated the Cee Bailey the PO put on it.

I think the Multi is a better suited comparison than the V-Strom, not that I've ever ridden a Multi. The V-Strom is a great bike and excels in many areas, but it feels like a soulless appliance compared to the KTM. The SM-T has soul and character.

SM-T gas tank is 5 gallons, for the person that asked.

I'm going on 15K miles now, no issues. Change the oil every 5K, adjust the valves at 10K. Change the clutch fluid a little more often than normal, there is a known issue with clutch slave cylinders going out and keeping the fluid fresh helps.

Last edited by Rob-SV650 : 07-19-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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Question Sm-t

Great bike, maybe time to replace my 1150 GS. But.......has anyone checked the service intervals and valve adjustment schedule? How much are the initial service and 6000 mile costs? Six to nine hundred bucks every 6-7.5 miles would be a deal breaker for me. Touring bikes run up that kind of mileage in no time.
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