Originally Posted by Rastus
How did you like your KTM 990? I've just recently come across this bike.
For me it was a love/hate relationship with that bike, leaning more towards the hate side.
All in all it was / is designed as a big ass dirt bike. Seriously, and if you think not, just check out any Riceless vid or Neduro vid, and what they do with them. Though, those are 950s, but essentially the 950 and the 990 are the same bike. Though not all riders can do that with them, I certainly couldn't.
Suspension wise, you couldn't beat it. I love KTM suspensions and they're dialed for the dirt more than the pavement. The bikes are also light.
The main problem addressed with the 990's are the throttle and F.I. mapping / response. The "jerky" or "snatchy" throttle issue is well documented, and there's a number of ways to try and fix it. Why KTM has (or at least had) a problem with this is beyond me. The F.I. wr250 is as smooth as butter from what I hear, and my F.I. Tiger 900 and Capo are smooth as butter with no dead zone, no hesitation, and no snap into action issues.
With that said, I could not fix my issue, so I was not comfortable with taking my 990 off road. My carbed 640, hell yeah !!!!! - The 990, no.
So I gave up, and swapped the knobbies on the 990, to more of a 50 / 50 tire - the Heidi K60s - and attempted to use the bike for more of a touring bike, that if a smooth fire road presented itself, I could take it.
As far as pavement touring, due to the light weight nature of the bike, and the aqualine tanks - which acted as a sail, per se - the 990 was not really at home on the pavement. Wind gusts, that other bikes like my Capo, or an 1150gs, or a Honda ST1300, or Yamaha FJR, would really have no problems with, blew the bike and me around like a freaking rag doll.
So it didn't really have a place IMHO as a touring bike.
On the plus side - great motor, great suspension, great handling. But due to the above issues, for me, it really didn't have a place on the dirt or the pavement - so I sold it.
Could it do long pavement trips? Yes. Though depending on weather conditions, specifically wind, it definitely wasn't fun, and could cause a major pucker factor.
To date, I do not know if KTM has corrected their F.I. / throttle issue.
Now, 950 owners - which that bike is carbed - do not, and have not, had any jerky throttle issues, and the throttle roll is as smooth as butter. I've even read some threads where 990 owners gut their bike and remove the F.I. and put in carbs. It's a bit of an undertaking, but for those that have done it, they've reported back that the bike is as smooth as butter, so the issue is definitely related to the F.I.
Had I a 950, I probably would still have it.
So my time owning a 990 was not the best, and my review is not the best on the bike.
If I were you, I'd look at a 2005.5 or 2006 950adv over the 990. Even with the F.I. the mpg on the 990 wasn't better than the carbed 950. They're both in the 35mpg range. You get a big grin when you twist that throttle, so that's the compensation for the low mpg.
That's my .02 cents on the bike .......