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Old 12-11-2012, 02:37 AM   #16
Steveman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
are KTM reliability that bad? what typically goes wrong?
they can't be more expensive than BMW for parts...
will be doing all my own wrenching so no labor costs.
Well, that needs more explanation otherwise KTM fans will flame me
Maybe you realized that I am Austrian and I am not so far from the KTM factory. And honestly I am a fan, but I am also able to see things realistic. This comes with the years. In general the bikes and especially the components KTM uses are really good.

But nevertheless they had to make cuts in the past. And it is clear that these cuts affect the operational expenses (opex) a lot.
And if you ever will visit the factory you will be surprised that in the assembling you may hear different languages but no German. Meaning in the assembling line they have a lot of foreign laborers. Please belive me that I am not a racist and all I want to say is that there is a difference between workers earning 23 bucks per hour and those which are happy with 9. I work in industry since ages and this does affect quality.
Talking about quality I think that this is KTM's weakest point: a bad quality control. I have to admit that one of my best friends works for KTM and so I get some information others may not get, especially as this guy does handle customer complaints. He, as a KTM employee says that KTM is too arrogant vs their customers. They leave everything up to their dealers. If you got a good dealer you are lucky, if not you are screwed.

So if something goes wrong it is mostly not a big deal, but if you stuck out in the woods even small problems like a bad ground cable can be a mess. The engines, transmissions, suspensions, frames have outstanding qualities, no doubt. Never experienced a serious problem. But its all that small issues that are annoying. If you are interested I tell you what went wrong with my KTM's and you will be surprised that its been only minor things, but with the effect that I could not get the batsrads running away from home...

Parts are cheaper than BMW and if you are a good mechanic you will fix all the tiny problems in no time. This is why I have still two of them (and also I have a Beemer). Doing my own service and repair is not a problem for me but may be a no-no for others...

Cheers
Steve

Steveman screwed with this post 12-11-2012 at 03:28 AM Reason: spelling errors
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:30 AM   #17
Atreyou
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Hi there, for what it is worth I owned a 2005 BRP and a 2004 950S for two and a half years and rode them every single day in punishing Tanzania with not a qualified mechanic in sight. I took them on extended trips in the bush and rode the 950 unsupported through eleven countries in east and southern Africa. I pushed them very hard. I did my best to maintain them with tools I was able to bring into the country, and with the assistance of well-meaning local mechanics. I also surfed this website religiously for valuable information.

Nevertheless, they were never running as well as they could have and the suspension was never dialed in properly. I even found out that my 950 was sold to me with standard front suspension, which means I had been riding it with completely mismatched front and rear travel, which affected steering, bump absorption, you name it. Fortunately, Pyndon was able to visit me and sort both bikes out before I sold them and moved to Juba, South Sudan.

Despite my circumstances, both bikes were incredible performers and extremely reliable. For me it would boil down to this.

If you want something different and more powerful, go for the KTM. The Adventure is a shockingly good bike off road, you can jump it and I mean really jump it, roost the next county over and make yourself shit your nice Klim pants real quick. On dirt roads (with suspension dialed) you can ride 120 kph standing up, pinching the tank with your knees, one-handed like you are standing in line at a grocery register. It is insane. I dreaded long stretches of mud and sand on this bike though - especially when loaded. You have to be really, really good to not struggle a lot with it in those conditions. And of course, it would not be my first choice for technical single track.

It is much smoother for longer rides than a thumper. You can carry a passenger and so much shit on this bike and still perform off-road and then transition to scraping boots on turns in the mountains. It really is an unbelievable machine. I rode my 950 for 9,000 kilometers unsupported over the course of 4.5 weeks through 7 countries (Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia) with my GF on the back and about twice as much weight in luggage as permitted by the owner's manual. Searing heat, rain, dirt, rocks, silt - you name it.

As far as reliability, the fuel out here is horrible and the only oil available is car oil. The radiator had tap water in it. I was running a battery and voltage regulator from a Yamaha 660 (battery is about half the power). I never had the valves checked or the carb adjusted. I had put it back together after a horrific wreck three and a half months earlier. The deck was stacked against the KTM. Nonetheless, the only problem I had on this trip was a flat rear tire and a dinged up front rim. I rode the bike for a full year before taking it on another trip (solo this time) through Tanzania, Rwanda, a small part of Congo, Uganda, and Kenya. Three weeks, all conditions. Only problem was clutch slave cylinder busting off of the case on the last day due to my own stupidity (chain was way too loose). Some guys and I were able to weld and Macgyver things back into place and I rode from Nakuru, Kenya, to Arusha, Tanzania in a day, pulling over every 45 minutes to add two liters of oil.

Pyndon came over and rebuilt the entire engine with new cases, complete cylinder heads, and we added his race-tuned suspension from one of his bikes to bring it to full S height. At the time of sale, it was pulling like a train with full compression and the suspension was a dream. You could not sink this bike. I actually found it more reliable than my BRP.

Maybe I was lucky, or maybe my reliability concerns are much more spartan than those of others (engine runs, brakes work, bike rolls, it turns on, it is not falling apart on me), but I really found it to be an incredibly reliable bike. I bought it with 30,000 miles on it so many bugs may have been worked out by then. Also, when I received it, it had a Facet fuel pump conversion.

If you find a bike you just turn on and don't have to worry about, let me know! :)

Hope this helped!
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:12 AM   #18
Steveman
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Originally Posted by Atreyou View Post
I bought it with 30,000 miles on it so many bugs may have been worked out by then. Also, when I received it, it had a Facet fuel pump conversion.
See, thats what I am talking about
Thanks for your report, I am still a patriot
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:53 AM   #19
Atreyou
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Haha - yes, my reply should definitely be read in concert with Steveman's insider perspective. It was meant to complement, not contradict his assertions. :) The conclusion may be that if you find a used, sorted 950 Adventure, you might end up a very, very happy man.

I am not sure my post above would exist if I had brought over a brand new one!
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:22 AM   #20
Doug Matson
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I have had many XR's, DR's, 2smokes and what ever but my 03' KTM 450 EXC that I have had now for 10 yrs has been the best dirt bike i have ever had. Never let me down in the dirt, I just replaced the water pump seal because it was starting to seep, took 30 mins and cost very little. Even though it is a dual sport I don't ride it much on the street but it is not babied in the dirt. All my friends used to make fun of the e-start when i first got it and now they all have gone orange and none of them want to go back to what they were on. Pic of bike in it's element last week.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:42 PM   #21
tcskibike2008
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You want to replace your 650 for what use? Some people ride the 650 everywhere right down to tight single track. If you want to replace a dedicated trail bike the 950 may not be the best and you should go with something lighter like the KTM 500exc but if you ride some distance and some moderate trails then the 950 is awesome. I have owned a 2004 for 4 years, I ride it back and forth from work, 45 miles of varying road and then some trail rides with a friend that also has a 950. Its super fun challenging yourself on a big bike in the woods. As for maintenance; if you do your own wrenching then you can do anything on these bikes. There is so much info on them at http://ktm950.info/. When I found this page I was sold. The bike has only let me down once when the fuel pump failed. I did the water pump shaft as a preventive measure.

I have a 450 for the real trail ride days.

Buy a carbed 950 and read up, you will not regret it.

I bought mine at $6,500 and could sell it for the same any day.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:49 PM   #22
Steveman
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@ Doug: I dont doubt what you tell me about the EXC. the question is, if thats the right bike for him. Even if people - and especially in the US - hate to hear that, an EXC, SXF XCW is everything but not a bike to ride on pavement.

My 2010 EXC was a fantastic bike which I throwed in a canyon and it still brought me home afterwards. But it is a competition bike with less then one quart of engine oil, with a 30 day only warranty (at least here in Austria), with no radiator fan, designed to win enduro races and not for travelling. I knwo that the 500's can do 100+ mph but this does not change anything. A look at service plan says it all.

Thats my 450 after play'en in the woods:



cheers
Steve
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:47 PM   #23
el queso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
are KTM reliability that bad? what typically goes wrong?
they can't be more expensive than BMW for parts...
will be doing all my own wrenching so no labor costs.
I think the earlier 900 series bikes had their issues, but the late model 990s are very reliable. I would have no concern with hopping on mine right now and heading across the country or into the boondocks. The smaller KTMs are not unreliable but they are high performance bikes and need to be maintained as such, which means frequent oil changes, valve checks an the occasional top end. Ive got an 08 XCFW and Ive never had a significant issue.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:51 PM   #24
CollinsB OP
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I'm looking for more a plated/street legal bike....the 990's are interesting, but a bit "porky" for what I do. My riding is a mix of desert and single track, typically less than a 100 mile day.

The switch from the XR650R came about after taking a quick spin on a Husaberg 570. The "Berg" was awesome, but there's simply not much dealer support.
Malcolm Smith motorsports once had several on the floor, as of two days ago there was only one and it was a used bike! Not sure if they may have dropped the Bergs all together.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:08 PM   #25
el queso
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Husaberg is a KTM company and the bike shares many basic parts with it's orange cousin, so I'm assuming support is available for years to come. That said, they dropped the 70 motor this year and appear to be building massaged KTM based bikes

KTM Talk has a fairly active Husaberg sub-forum and the 570 seems pretty popular.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:01 PM   #26
jwalters
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I own both an XR650R and a KTM 990 Adv S. I'm 6'8" tall, so I feel your pain when it comes to egros on bikes. If I were you, I'd look for a used KTM 950 SE. Sort of the middle ground between the XRR and the Adventure bike. My Renazco seats are great for a bit more height on both the BRP and the 990 Adv too.

C-Zulu has the 950 Adv, CRF 450 and a KTM 950 SE (lucky lucky fellow), I think he rides the KTM 950 Super Enduro most. Just a real good all around bike that is a little easier to work on because of the tank configuration. And if you ever want to travel on it, you can set it up with luggage too.

A few weeks ago, we road together and swapped bikes half way through the ride, the XRR is like a toy compared to the SE. Power of the SE just never ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CollinsB View Post
Sold the XR650R (BRP) ....and now looking for a replacement. At 6'4" 220lbs, ...the XR650R was awesome. I'm just ready for a change.

Not too familiar with the KTM's, but looking for reliablity and something that fits me. It seems anyone who owns a KTM has a love affair with it. The Honda was crazy reliable and that for me is key... Im open to suggestions.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:54 AM   #27
GoNOW
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Just putting my 2 bits in on the reliability of the KTMs verses the big Honda's like the 650R or 650L.

Both of the Honda bikes have been made for near 20 years now, mostly unchanged. Problem spots have been worked out and those that have not, the aftermarket has fixed. They are also low power engines by todays standards. Around 35HP last I checked. They tend to last a long time because the engine is not stressed.
(As a side note, a CRF250 is making around 40HP)

The KTM are a much more modern design. Far more HP, and less years on them to work out the bugs. So don't expect claw hammer reliability. But you do get a much better performing bike.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:48 AM   #28
CollinsB OP
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If I were you, I'd look for a used KTM 950 SE. Sort of the middle ground between the XRR and the Adventure.
I should have mentioned, that I often use a carrier from the back of my vehicle to transport the bike....so going heavier than the XR probably not going to happen.....unless of course I run across killer deals on both a thumper and a bigger bike.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:53 AM   #29
dirtybikefrank
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I too had an 08 GSA and rode the piss out of it. Mostly off road including technical single track just for the challenge. It was just too heavy and wide for me. Bottomed out just about every big jump and didnt want to spend more $ on ohlins....Traded it for an 07 990 adventure and immediately wished I had the ktm for all the rides I took on the BMW. It's just an overgrown version of my 525. Gotta love a 100hp dirtbike.

Contrary to another inmates post you CAN ride the 525 on the street comfortably. I have hung in the mountains with sportbikes and been able to whip it into the woods when necessary. Truly a great dual sport bike. Yeah its a single so quit your whining about comfort and ride. There's a thread on here about some guy traveling the world with like 20k miles on his stock RFS with no issues. The older engines seem to be more bulletproof.

My suggestion for you is if youre only doing 100 mile days offload, find an 07 450 or 525 and forget all about that BRP.

Ride safe.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:36 AM   #30
Doug Matson
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If you ride less or about 100 mi and a mix of desert and single track and you haul the bike on a carrier then the 500 EXC would be perfect. I have a 950 and I would not take it on trails, I have my 450 for that, dirt roads ya but not the type of dirt that I have fun at. I hate to ride the 450 on the street even though I can. If you want a "Berg" Long Beach BMW had some the last time I was there. Another good choice would be a DRZ 400 I have a friend selling one that is like new for about $3500 and that is a bike you can ride on the street and dirt and they are good bike for tall people.
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