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Old 07-20-2006, 08:26 PM   #1
wpbarlow OP
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950 Supermoto Chronicles

Clearly inspired by Eeyore's XB12X diary, I figured it would be neat to do something similar for KTM's 950 Supermoto. Though probably not as "interesting" to as many people as the Ulysses (I mean there really aren't anywhere near as many KTM bashers as Buell bashers ), I suspect there will be sufficent to make it worthwhile.

In additon to my experiences, I'd like others to pipe in with items they think would be interesting: whether it be modifications, accessories, suggestions, potential or trouble spots, etc.. Not to mention questions.

But first off- to save a lot of redundant posts- let me just say that

This is an absolutely kick-ass motorcycle

And to answer the big question- "how can a 450 pound twin in any way shape or form be considered be considered a supermoto?"

I don't exactly know. What I do know is that speaking as a Duke and Husaberg supermoto owner, KTM pulled it off. The bike feels and rides like a supermoto.

So, now that we have those key points covered, on with the show...

I knew I would be getting a KTM 950 around about now. What I didn't know was whether it would be an SM, an SE, or an A. Plenty of reasons to get any of them, and no reason not to get any of them. After thinking through what I really wanted to use it for (loosely defined as street riding, though that includes dirt roads and mild single track- the kind of riding I do every week) I was pretty much leaning to towards the SM. But I wanted to check out the SE first, just to make sure.

I got a call from my dealer, Hanover Powersports, last week saying they'd just gotten the SE and would have it prepped by Saturday, so I stopped in on the way home from a ride.

Now, the SE looks positively killer in pictures and I almost expected to fall in lust for the impulse buy. And it did look good. But the bike just didn't look as good in person as the pictures. The front end looked a lot more spindly, and the brake looked kind of inadequate for my street use. I put them side by side for a closer comparison.













Between how I planned to use the bike, the looks, and the seat height (real big difference) it took a lot less time to make the SM decision than I would have guessed last week.

I went to the dealer's today and after taking care of business and a run through on it (sag seemed close, so I left the suspension alone) headed out. My first impression was that the bike sounds pretty good with the stock pipes- something I could easily live with except that they get real hot because of the catalyzers. So I'll probably get aftermarket cans at the first service.

My second impression was that the bike felt like it was broken in already- clutch and gearbox action was buttery smooth, and the engine is pretty smooth and has a great feel to it. Front brakes are pretty strong- a real 1 finger deal with quick bite and rapidly progressive. Rear seems to be nicely dirt biased with a lot more pedal movement and more gradual engagement.

Very comfortable riding position and easy to move around, and well set up for standing. In the least surprising news category- the seat is hard

36 miles later, it was time to get dirty with the bitch







As an aside- you'll notice that the standard KTM tank bag is a pretty good fit.

I did a couple of uneventful dirt miles and the bike worked pretty well: remarkably similar to my Duke- only waaaay more power

I followed that up with some twisties just to get a feel of how it behaved. In a word great The bike definately feels motardish in how it behaves and likes to be ridden- very "together" and controllable.

I had to get home to do some stuff, so had to stop the fun. The highway riding part was tough- what with running up and down the rev range for the 15 miles or so. The bike is pretty smooth on the highway and the wind blast dwasn't too noticeable below 80 or so. The bike is geared high, so top gear isn't too useful; but it makes the lower gears pretty useful. Don't know if I'll get the 16T countershaft sprocket yet.

After I got home and took care of some things, I did a couple of standard things: battery tender & Widders wiring, and a handlebar mount.

Fair amount of room under the seat, but no compartment like the A




This Aerostitch sheepskin worked well on the Duke, so I'll give it a try




Last but not least for the day- a very important addition




because it holds this




That's pretty much it for the first day. I'll leave with some pitures








wpbarlow screwed with this post 07-21-2006 at 07:43 AM
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:18 AM   #2
Metal Doc
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Ooohh this should be fun
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:00 AM   #3
Jolly705
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Great write up! I can't wait to pick up the other one in the photo tomorrow
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:01 PM   #4
Red Roadster
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Congrats WP,
I have the better handling, much faster black version Right behind your battery, in front of the toolkit, you'll see a relay/main fuse block. The positive wire from your battery is hooked up to it. Move the little rubber boots aside, and check those screws to make sure they're tight. Mine came loose and caused a no-start condition. That's the only problem I've had in 2,000 miles.

Oil change was very easy on the SM, no tanks or plastic to remove.

I've got LeoVince cans on mine. Got'em from KTM Twins, 5% off and free shipping with your first order, they're the best deal I could find for the SM. Much lighter and cooler running, she's got a nice growl to her now when you're on the gas. Harley people can't figure out what the sexy sounding black streak was that just blew by!!

Keep the rubber side down,
Steve
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:13 PM   #5
Stephen
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You makes proud, Walter!

My license would be toast with that bike. It's in enough jeopardy on the Adventure. Whew.
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Old 07-21-2006, 01:11 PM   #6
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Congrats Commander ! It's a beauty !........................but what the hell is this ?

Promptly remove that butt ugly butt pad before my ADV shows up and kicks your SM's butt.
Not that I mean to butt in
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Old 07-21-2006, 02:35 PM   #7
robD
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Dammit!! Stop it now!

It's two weeks before I pick mine up....

In the very tasteful orange color. With Akra pipes too

-Rob
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:14 PM   #8
wpbarlow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DockingPilot
Congrats Commander ! It's a beauty !........................but what the hell is this ?
...Promptly remove that butt ugly butt pad before my ADV shows up and kicks your SM's butt. Not that I mean to butt in
Butt it's not only butt ugly, it's also butt friendly. No ifs, ands, or (quite naturally) butts

wpbarlow screwed with this post 07-21-2006 at 05:42 PM
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Old 07-22-2006, 11:10 AM   #9
FlowBee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DockingPilot
Congrats Commander ! It's a beauty !........................but what the hell is this ?

Promptly remove that butt ugly butt pad before my ADV shows up and kicks your SM's butt.
Not that I mean to butt in

Ewe!! That thing looks baaaaad. ... for some reason, I'm reminded of my first girlfriend.

Why not just spring for the KTM gel seat? Its only like $130 or so.
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Old 08-15-2006, 11:09 AM   #10
Sniper X
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Originally Posted by Jolly705
Great write up! I can't wait to pick up the other one in the photo tomorrow
Jolley! You buyin the superenduro or a 9fiddySM!!!
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:49 PM   #11
wpbarlow OP
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Thumb 1001 Miles

And a little over 3 weeks into ownership (no commuting, just fun rides).

Nothing much to report. The bike has stalled several (maybe half a dozen) times just idling in neutral. I can prevent it by increasing the idle a bit, but it sounds too busy then.

Great behaviour going into NYC tonight. Semi big traffic jam becase of a lane closure leading to the Holland Tunnel. Needed to thread (very nimble for a 450 pound bike) my way through the jam for about 2 miles. Hit 5 bars once, the fan came on, dropped back to 4 and stayed there the whole way. I guess having the motor exposed rather than wrapped up like an A model makes a big difference.


The bike has been (and done) everything I expected and wanted.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:31 PM   #12
Jolly705
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I have had a 950 Super Enduro for a month now

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper X
Jolley! You buyin the superenduro or a 9fiddySM!!!
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:35 AM   #13
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Great read, great write up.

Had mine for about 2 months now, maybe 1200 km on the bike. Does not sound impressive, but most of them were put on at the track. Only problems are a distinct lack of stability over 170 km/h (fixed by softening the rear to 17mm preload and sitting a bit further back on the seat) and posing more of a problem, the lack of ground clearance, especially with race compound Dunlops on board. If I take the peg rubbers off, the toes get a little closer to the ground, a big problem. I am trying to figure out rearsets for the bike, or at least a way to raise pegs an inch. Or if I keep dragging the pegs it may eventually wear the problem away altogether (I am half way through them as it is).

Bike is tremendous fun on the track, it could use a few more hp (say hello, Akropovics) and if I get really serious, maybe some 10mm caliper spacers and a set of 320mm cast iron rotors I have laying about from a Ducati 749R with a set of race compound pads.

Love the idea of the carbon Dymags, maybe a weld on post for a scotts steering damper too.

The hook is in deep. Although a 990 Superduke might have made a better track bike, the sheer level of astonishment achieved of the average R6 rider as you slide around them on what basically is a big dirt bike is worth it.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:42 AM   #14
gareth h
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I've been considering a SM for some time, but have been concerned about wind protection, however saw one on hols in France that appeared to have a screen. Anybody know if this is a one off or a readily available part?
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:45 AM   #15
robD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gareth h
I've been considering a SM for some time, but have been concerned about wind protection, however saw one on hols in France that appeared to have a screen. Anybody know if this is a one off or a readily available part?
I don't know about the availability of a screen, but, I ran a BMW F650GS Dakar for 4 years, and the tiny wind deflector above the headlamp on the 950sm (the black bit in wpb's photo above) is FAR more effective up to 90 mph than the Dakar screen. The buffeting from the Dakar's screen and mirrors used to make my neck muscles creak something awful after an a hour or so.... NOT been a problem on the 950SM. My experience only... Your mileage may vary... Don't run with scissors.... etc etc

-Rob
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