950 Supermoto Chronicles

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by wpbarlow, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    11,613
    Location:
    Central NJ
    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 :lol3 ), 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.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    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 :lol3

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

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    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 :D

    I followed that up with some twisties just to get a feel of how it behaved. In a word great :clap 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

    [​IMG]


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

    [​IMG]


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

    [​IMG]


    because it holds this

    [​IMG]


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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Metal Doc

    Metal Doc Duc addicted

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,446
    Location:
    Northeastern, TN
    Ooohh this should be fun
    :lurk
    #2
  3. Jolly705

    Jolly705 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,457
    Location:
    SLC
    Great write up! I can't wait to pick up the other one in the photo tomorrow :evil
    #3
  4. Red Roadster

    Red Roadster Roaming Redneck

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Meeteetse, WY
    Congrats WP,
    I have the better handling, much faster black version:evil 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
    #4
  5. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,202
    Location:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    You makes proud, Walter! :thumb

    My license would be toast with that bike. It's in enough jeopardy on the Adventure. Whew.
    #5
  6. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,975
    Location:
    Andover, N.J.
    Congrats Commander ! It's a beauty !........................but what the hell is this ? :huh
    [​IMG]
    Promptly remove that butt ugly butt pad before my ADV shows up and kicks your SM's butt. :lol3
    Not that I mean to butt in :rofl
    #6
  7. robD

    robD I wouldn't if I were you

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Wrexham, UK
    Dammit!! Stop it now!

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

    In the very tasteful orange color. With Akra pipes too :1drink :1drink

    -Rob
    #7
  8. Wannabee

    Wannabee Survivor of Reality

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,476
    Location:
    Portage ,PA
    :knary Boy , that thing makes me hot!
    I have been drooling over that bike , telling my wife that when she gets out of school next spring and i get some money freed up , one of those will be parked in the garage! Keep the info coming!
    #8
  9. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    11,613
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Butt it's not only butt ugly, it's also butt friendly. No ifs, ands, or (quite naturally) butts :lol3
    #9
  10. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,975
    Location:
    Andover, N.J.
    Yea butt........
    #10
  11. KAdriver

    KAdriver adventures on asphalt

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    835
    Location:
    Eastern PA
    Nice ride!!! Does it wheelie?:rofl

    You might want to cover the "+" battery terminal with it's boot....
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. FlowBee

    FlowBee Just me.

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,759
    Location:
    Stasis.

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

    Why not just spring for the KTM gel seat? Its only like $130 or so.
    #12
  13. priller

    priller -

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,988
    Location:
    wetlands, PL
    awesome! congratulations!!! :clap:clap:clap

    cannot wait to see and hear it. (does it mean you're getting rid of capo?)
    #13
  14. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    11,613
    Location:
    Central NJ
    #14
  15. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    11,613
    Location:
    Central NJ
    "it" doesn't mean I'm selling the Capo. But an A model may :evil
    #15
  16. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    11,613
    Location:
    Central NJ
    I don't know how well the gel seat works- I've heard various reports from "no" to "world of" difference; so I'm going to wait to test one as well as a couple of other options.

    This pad works ok- not great, but ok for a day ride.
    #16
  17. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    11,613
    Location:
    Central NJ
    I met up with some friends today for a break-in ride. Lots of twisties, elevation changes, paved, cratered, dirt, wet and dry. Typical NJ ride :D

    It's the kind of ride that I specifically bought the bike to do. I wasn't disappointed.:evil

    The bike is very composed under all conditions. I was especially pleased with the way it worked on the dirt roads we did- a couple of which were pretty bad and rutted. Suspension compliance is superb, and combined with spot on frame geometry numbers makes for a very confidence-inspiring ride- the bike hooks up better than any big bike I've ever ridden (other than the 950A). Imagine that- a KTM that works in the dirt :lol3

    I was particularly impressed with how it handled a somewhat long uphill stutter-bump section. Trying to go up this section fast on every other bike (and I mean, a lot of other bikes) always resulted in a high lurch juddery ride to the top, that felt like the rear suspension essentially checked out and went into hard tail mode. The SM just smoothly flew up it very calmly. Ditto performance on cratered pavement- very confidence inspiring and easy to make time.

    The Scorpion Syncs do thier part- providing exellent traction and feedback wet or dry, paved, gravel, or dirt.


    Aboout the only thing that wasn't very impressive was the gas mileage- about 32 mpg for two tankfuls :huh



    I'll end with some honorable dirty bike pictures :D

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. FlowBee

    FlowBee Just me.

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,759
    Location:
    Stasis.
    Nice chicken strips on the rear. :robin The bike will lean if you need it to.


    :wink: +1 on your comments on the SM. I'm 98% street, but I've taken mine down severely corrugated gravel roads and construction site packed dirt at speed. In those situations its better than any street bike I've ridden.

    On the street its more fun than any street bike I've ridden.
    #18
  19. rw4x4van

    rw4x4van East Coast Rider

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    561
    Location:
    NJ

    That bike is definitely you Walter....."Congratulations" :clap .......
    I'm sure you could pick up some gas mileage, if you take off those passenger pegs:lol3
    #19
  20. BCC

    BCC I know better

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,903
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    Nice bike, Walter. Congrats!
    #20