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Old 02-17-2008, 07:43 AM   #1
motogon OP
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V-Strom vs KTM 990 Adventure

Is anybody have experience with both bikes? Can you comment how they compare? From my observation they are very similar bikes, KTM just looks bit fancier.
I have V-Strom for last 3 years, I thik it's time for change. First idea was F800GS, but it's posponded. Now think about KTM.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:21 AM   #2
DLdeano
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I have never ridden an 990/950...but rode with a bunch last weekend, and I used to own a Wee.

The 990 is seems more capable off road, not sure it'd be possible to rally in the front of the field on a Strom as Gilkey did his KTM

The Strom seems more the choice for touring/street guys.

My .02, and worth what you paid.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:08 AM   #3
Gustavo
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I only have a little experience on a 990, but many more miles on a 950. The only thing I think these two bikes have in common (other than the obvious of having two wheels ) is that they both feel big, but in different ways. This is good if you are using it as a touring mount, not so good if you want to go off-road and are not a Jimmy Lewis caliber rider. Since you own a V-Strom, I wont go into what I like about it, just the differences or why I didn't buy a 950/990 despite the fact that I really like the idea of this bike. It may or may not be relevant for you, but may give you something to consider.

IMHO (and my friend who owns the 950 whole heartedly disagrees, so please keep in mind that this really is my opinion) the V-Strom makes a much better touring bike. The KTM seat is like a plank, wind management not better than stock V-Strom and the handlebar is positioned too high for comfortable long distance (it is, however, ideal for standing on the pegs when off-roading, much better than the V-Strom).

The KTM suspension is much better than what you get on a stock V-Strom. It makes a huge difference off-road. If you ride mostly on the street, there are some relatively cheap mods you can do to the V-Strom to make that difference not that significant. But, even with different springs and a Wilbers shock my bike is not nearly as good in the rough stuff as the 950 is.

Another clear difference is wheels and tires. The KTM uses spoked 21" and 18" (front and rear, respectively) wheels. This gives you a vastly wider range of dirt oriented tires to choose from. But it also means that you have to run tubes, which on dirt rides have an advantage but long trips, if you have a flat, can be a serious pain in the ass to fix by the side of the road. Also, this may be obvious, but those dirt oriented tires don't last. The 950/990 goes through a stock Pirelli MT90 A/T in less than 5K miles, and that's one of the less aggressive tire options.

You should read Orange Crush for owners opinions, but the two 990s I rode had serious drivability issues. The FI was so abrupt it was annoying after 15 minutes. One of my friends gave up on the bike after months of going back and forth to th dealer and sold it. I'm sure a good KTM mechanic that's up on the latest TSB will know how to set it up so it's more reasonable. The local mechanics here, unfortunately, aren't on that list. A related item is fuel consumption. One of the major gripes with the 950 was it's dismal fuel consumption (35 MPG isn't rare if you are having a good time). The FI was supposed to fix that, but reports now vary from 50 MPG (after some magic FI tuning) to the same 35 MPG for those who ride more aggressively. My guess is that if you got 35 MPG on a 950, you wont get much more on a 990.

I was looking forward to the 990, hoping that it would fix some of the stuff I didn't like about the 950 and make some of the other issues (like the maintenance schedule and time required) easier to ignore. Even with ABS standard, it didn't do it for me, I bought something else. But, maybe those are non-issues for other people and it is the bike for you.



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Old 10-26-2008, 09:14 AM   #4
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Soooo, what did ya get?
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:06 PM   #5
rpilottx
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I owned a 2002 DL1000 which I sold at 26000 miles and a 2005.5 KTM950S which I put 35000 miles on. I traded it in July for a new Tiger as I wanted something better for pavement. Weather protection is not the Adventure's strong point. The Tiger is much better on pavement and one can tell that it's 17 inch tires are designed for carving curves. However I miss the enduro side of the 950Adventure. Am even thinking about a 950SE.

Both bikes have great V-twin engines and are equally fast. I think the Strom is better on the highway (rode to Alaska and back, had to tighten a radiator clamp). The suspension on the KTM is definitely superior and if you are going out in the gravel, the KTM is the one to get. I was getting 43 mpg on my fully loaded 950 last summer on a trip to Montana. Why KTM can't put a fuel guage on a $15000 bike is one question I have for those Austrians. And fueling two tanks can be a pain in the rear with fuel overflowing in hot weather after the tanks are topped off. The VStrom is very top heavy if you take it off pavement. The ergonomics on both bikes were equal.

Reliability was about the same. Some say the Japanese bikes are superior but on my VStrom, that was not the case. It developed an intermittent problem which 4 dealers could not fix. Suzuki's response was to ride it until it would not start again(great if you are up on the haul road). My KTM was pretty much problem free but routine maintenance was a pain. Oil changes would routinely take 2-3 hours because you had to remove most of the body work to get to the engine. And valve checks are every 7000 miles.

Quality components on the KTM are better but retail is about $5000 more then the VStrom. Two up is probably better on the VStrom because the stock KTM seat sucks. There are lots of positive comments about the DL650 with a lot of riders liking it better then the 1000.

Hope this helps. If you plan to stick mainly to pavement or good gravel, it would be the VStrom ($5000 can pay for a lot of farkles or gas) and put a pair of Torrances on it (got 12000 miles on my rear going to Alaska and back). If you are more into rough terrain, then the KTM is definitely the one to get.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:47 PM   #6
79SouthJim
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I have a Vstrom and just started riding it offroad. It is every bit as hard as I heard it would be. My problem is I am now starting to think about my next adventure bike for down the road (trading up at some point). I had made the assumption the KTM 990/950 is the way to go. I am just basing it on what I have read and seen. I saw the thread comparing the BMW 800 to the KTM 990 and the person who bought the 800 seemed a little unhappy, noting the KTM's may have handled better on dirt. The KTM looks more like a dirt bike and the BMW looks more street to me, so I had assumed the KTM would be better offroad. I know, this is all assumptions. I went to the KTM dealer and the adventure bike they have on the floor looks more than capable (again more assumptions). Maybe because I am used to looking at my beast.

I guess all I am saying is when the time comes to trade my Vstrom in for a more dirtworthy bike, I am really hoping the difference in price will be worth it. I am very happy with my Strom on the street, but I would be willing to trade that comfort for an adventure bike that will do well in tough terrain. Maybe I should be considering a second bike that is a thumper. I think this debate will go on in my head for the next year or two. Until then, I will stay on that 600 pound beast on knobbies and make the best of it.
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:46 PM   #7
Denalidirt
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I own a KTM 950 A and I love it. Sure I can read all day about the problems with the bike but I have a problem finding them with mine. It runs great. I rip across dirt highways and wait for my friends on klrs, xrs,transalps and v-stroms. I can cruise on the pavement at 90 for hours. This bike is in Alaska and is perfect for all roads in this state. Im about to purchase a bike for the winter in Florida, thinking about the dl650. Thing is I know this is only a stepping stone for another KTM. The bike will do anything you ask of it.

and you will smile
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:12 PM   #8
JRobertson
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Talking

I have a 2008 KTM 990 S, Dr Dale has a V-Strom 650. Dale and I have been riding together for years off road and now yearly adventure rides. Dale does a very good job (better than me) of identifying the right tool for the job.
This past May we headed off to Utah, Colorado, Ouray, Silverton, Anamos Pass/Fork, Durango, Pikes Peak, Mt Evens... from Michigan, 5000 mi, 17 days.
Gustave opinion is very accurate. Dale and I both have purchased the correct bike. Our needs are different except for the adventure rides.
The 990 S is tall, very tall. You relay need to be 6 ft to ride it without worry. Cross winds where tuff for both of us entering Colorado. The orange KTM seat is stiff/hard but I wasn't uncomfortable, I like the feel of a dirt bike. The bike handles like a dream threw corners, on and off road, except its not as solidly planted as my old BMW RT 1150. But we cruised out west at 80-85 mph without a second thought, with a knobby on the front.
There is some talk about head buffeting, only in Highway traffic. Ergonomic are very good for a tall person, I will be lowering the pegs for off road.
The bike is very fast, great toque, fuel injection response.
I bought this bike to be my Adventure bike, supermoto, and dirt bike. It does it all very well, surprisingly well, but not as well as 450 EXC, or a Supermotard...
The KTM has some issues, all can be resolved here on Orange Crush. Some of the issues are: Cannisterectomy, Flapindectomy, SAS, and very hot silencers. One last issue is very important, your orbiculares oris muscle gets very sore from the gigantic smile on your face from riding it.
Some of my future adventures are the Trans American Trail, Continental Davide, and the Hatfield Mc Coy trail in West Virgina.

Sense I chose the bike with all the travel, Ill be the one to bring up the idea of while touring, loaded with panniers... it doesn't matter how well your bike handles through the whoops or single track, your loaded. Your not going to be riding whooped out sand sections at speeds.
Dr Dale will fill you in on more details.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRobertson
I have a 2008 KTM 990 S, Dr Dale has a V-Strom 650. Dale and I have been riding together for years off road and now yearly adventure rides. Dale does a very good job (better than me) of identifying the right tool for the job.
This past May we headed off to Utah, Colorado, Ouray, Silverton, Anamos Pass/Fork, Durango, Pikes Peak, Mt Evens... from Michigan, 5000 mi, 17 days.
Gustave opinion is very accurate. Dale and I both have purchased the correct bike. Our needs are different except for the adventure rides.
The 990 S is tall, very tall. You relay need to be 6 ft to ride it without worry. Cross winds where tuff for both of us entering Colorado. The orange KTM seat is stiff/hard but I wasn't uncomfortable, I like the feel of a dirt bike. The bike handles like a dream threw corners, on and off road, except its not as solidly planted as my old BMW RT 1150. But we cruised out west at 80-85 mph without a second thought, with a knobby on the front.
There is some talk about head buffeting, only in Highway traffic. Ergonomic are very good for a tall person, I will be lowering the pegs for off road.
The bike is very fast, great toque, fuel injection response.
I bought this bike to be my Adventure bike, supermoto, and dirt bike. It does it all very well, surprisingly well, but not as well as 450 EXC, or a Supermotard...
The KTM has some issues, all can be resolved here on Orange Crush. Some of the issues are: Cannisterectomy, Flapindectomy, SAS, and very hot silencers. One last issue is very important, your orbiculares oris muscle gets very sore from the gigantic smile on your face from riding it.
Some of my future adventures are the Trans American Trail, Continental Davide, and the Hatfield Mc Coy trail in West Virgina.

Sense I chose the bike with all the travel, Ill be the one to bring up the idea of while touring, loaded with panniers... it doesn't matter how well your bike handles through the whoops or single track, your loaded. Your not going to be riding whooped out sand sections at speeds.
Dr Dale will fill you in on more details.

As JRobertson said, he and I have been riding for years in the dirt, and recently some street/touring/adventures.

As to the original question, I always keep in mind how the bike will be set up for most of my travels. Are you going to ride it locally, or set it up for a "Long Way Round" style adventure? Because once you load any of these bikes up with panniers, camping gear and all that goes with a multi-day adventure, it's a significant equalizer. No doubt the KTM 990 has better off road capabilities, but it's gotta have the highest seat height I've seen on a motorcycle. JRobertson's over 6'2" and about 250 lbs. I'm 5'6" and 165. I think the seat height on the KTM is about 4" higher than the weeStrom. And...sure, you can get the taller KTM lowered, but now you've compromised the ground clearance and suspension travel.

I only have the experience of my personal DL650 and Jerry's KTM 990. The Suzuki has been completely flawless with only the recommended maintenance. Still has the stock chain and sprockets - still within service specs - after 20,000 fun miles. Valve clearance checked -all within specs. Replaced the stock tires with Metzler Tourance at 10,000 miles, and due for new rubber, at least on the rear. Jerry's KTM had problems. The stock front tire developed problems within the first 1,000 miles of ownership. Because the closest KTM street dealer is 3 hours away, Jerry opted to just replace the stock tire with a Continental TKC, which lasted through our Colorado trip. The KTM also developed a wierd fuel condition that stopped Jerry several times on the trip, usually at a very precarious situation...alongside a major highway. Calls to various KTM distributors and service centers provided no solution. At one point in Colorado Springs, he opened both fuel caps, and the gas was literally boiling out of the tanks..... We were also stranded in the Kansas City ghetto, and alongside the major highways....tearing the bike down to perform the Canistorectomy, which didn't cure the problem. Also stuck in a corn field in Indiana with the same recurring problem. We thought we were going to have to ask a friend in Michigan to drive down to rescue the KTM and trailer it back to Michigan. Ultimately we were able to nurse it back home. As I understand it, the problem was faulty quality control in the manufacturing of the fuel tanks, leaving some plastic shavings inside the tank which ended up clogging the fuel filter. It was quite disappointing for a bike Jerry had $14K wrapped up in. I was even starting to feel bad about giving him a hard time about my flawlessly running $6,000 wee Strom.

The KTM is a far superior off-road machine. Jerry has ridden with me and the guys on single track and dual sport trails that I wouldn't consider taking the wee-strom on. I use my Honda CRF-250X for dirt. Again, just remember that when they're loaded for travel, it's a big equalizer. The weestrom is actually more comparable to the big Boxer GS, often referred to as a "poor-man's GS." Which I don't find insulting, but quite accurate. The KTM is more off-road oriented than either the big GS or the DL650 or 1000. Jerry also has more money into his KTM than I have in both my DL650 and my Honda CRF-X. After a season on the 990, I think Jerry's found that something a bit smaller and more manageable might be more versatile.

Fuel economy was vastly different also. The KTM requires premium and averaged about 35mpg. The Suzuki averaged 50mpg. Same speeds, same roads. Jerry had to fill up at 130 to 150 mile intervals. I stopped topping up the Suzuki because I was just carrying extra gas, since I knew that Jerry would need to stop while I had 2 gallons left in the tank.

If you're over 6' tall and plan to do extensive, challenging off road adventures, the KTM is a serious consideration. If it's long distance touring with some passable dirt road and 2-tracks, the Suzuki is certainly capable.

It's really a matter of what scratches your itch.
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:08 AM   #10
JRobertson
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HA! I'm 6"3" and my bike was $13,999. He's always Fu*king with me. LOL
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:35 PM   #11
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This has been fun So are you guys still friends? I found in ridding both that the KTM was certainly better off road, but the strom was so much more fun. And much better at touring, especailly when you consider most touring is 90% street. And the low cost of operation is certainly a factor. I would have gone orange if i were doing lots more dirt with it. But I have a DRZ for that.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:21 AM   #12
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Well as OP I want to report back: I ended up with buying little used, half farkled 2006 V-Strom 1000. Price was very good and condition of bike was excellent. So ... I had no choce. No regrets.

I also tested Wee (borrow friends bike for couple days) and find it very nice bike but little boring for me. I love grunt of big V.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:46 AM   #13
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KTM 990 rider - Defending the honor.

Ok team....I had to step in. I just to to make the point that the 950 and 990 are VERY different animals with regards to known problems, issues and fixes.

The 950 had water pump issues, oil pump o-ring issues, clutch pilot hole issues, filings on the gas tank issues...all sorts of wierd and bizarre things that shouldn't happen (IMHO) to an Adventure bike. How can you go on an adventure when the bike has to be scrutinered before every trip. I know, I know, you should always check the bike before you leave...but ya get my point. Not saying the 950 was a bad bike, just saying KTM didn't really get it ready for the new trend in Long Way Round style riding trips....

The 950 has valve checks every 7K miles, but the 990 has valve checks at 1.5K, 8K, then 16K then 32K....and every 16K there after.

Oil changes are recommended every 4,500 miles....so you essentially get a free one every 2nd change. Oil changes are not a 10 minute affair, but once you've done it a few times it's really a 30 minute deal. You do not need to change the oil tank filter every time (that's where the body work removal comes in).

Re Fuel Injection: I honestly think people on the forum get caught up in hearing themselves type. Sure it's a bit twichy, but it's not unrideable or even annoying. Any one that trades the bike in due to the FI is not being honest about why they traded the bike in. I added a G2 throttle cam to my 990 and it's very smooth. Again, as smooth as the STROM, not sure....but 100% not enough of an issue to make me spend $$$ trying to work the FI.

Re Gas Mileage: Wow....so it started getting 35MPG with stock cans. Then I replaced the stockers with LEO's and changed the FI map to the much hyped Ackro Map. What a joke....MPG dropped to 20MPG. I changed the map back to STOCK and now I'm back to 40 round town...almost 45-50 on hwy rides. Sure, it's a bit lean but nothing to complain about....and besides I like the dirt bike sound popping.

Really can't compare the MPG to the wee-strom. You're comparing a 999cc motor to a 650cc motor, more wieght etc... It would be like comaping my RC51 to my buddies FZ600...totally meaningless.

I cut my stock screen down some and the wind buffeting is TOTALLY gone with my cut down screen. ZERO % wind buffeting. If I could figure out how to post a pic on here I'd show it.

Now...I'm 6ft 3 and 245lbs. The KTM works very well for me. My brother and buddy both have the DL1000. No doubt that the Strom is more confortable as a cruiser, but the 990 is certainly not uncomfortable. I wouldn't hesitate taking it a few thousand miles in a heart beat.

KTM, IMHO is much more off-raod capable. I think we all agree here. STROM is more capable on cruising, again, no arguments.

Best bang for the buck???? I guess is depends on what you are looking to do with your buck. Would I purchase a 950....probably not. Do I really enjoy my 990....NO DOUBT.

Jut my .2c....please don't flame me.

:-)
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:36 AM   #14
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Ok so I am the brother mentioned in the above posts and I am the owner of a 08 DL1000.

I wonder if you have considered the new 09 Aventure 990R. It comes with the new 999 RC8 motor and makes about 117HP which is a significant increase in HP and torque over the older models.

It is being hailed as the new bad boy. Just thought I would add this to the mix. I am also looking around at another bike and find this one very interesting.

There is a thread on here about it if you do a search, here is an independant review although not that detailed.

http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/Ne...?&R=EPI-105447

Oh and for what its worth I have riden my Bro's 990 and it's far more capable off road than my Strom, It is lighter with much better suspension. He does have the WP upgrade on his bike but it seems money well spent if you wanna do a lot of off roading. I do feel sure that on long highway rides I have more protection from the elements on my bike but they are different beast for different purposes that meet somewhere in the middle.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:17 AM   #15
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next adventure

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanb777
This has been fun So are you guys still friends? I found in ridding both that the KTM was certainly better off road, but the strom was so much more fun. And much better at touring, especailly when you consider most touring is 90% street. And the low cost of operation is certainly a factor. I would have gone orange if i were doing lots more dirt with it. But I have a DRZ for that.
Yeah, we're still buddies in large part because of Jerry's good nature. We're in the planning stages of our '09 adventure. Topping the list of options is the Trans Labrador Highway, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and possibly New England. I might consider a front TKC-80 for this trip, and possibly some additional upgrades to the front suspension. I've got a fork brace and Scott's steering damper (originally off my CRF-250X). Considering fork springs, oil and cartridge emulators. Depends on my budget.
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