BMW 800 GS vs the KTM 990 S

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by KevinColorado, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. KevinColorado

    KevinColorado Been here awhile

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    My buddies just bought 2 of the 990's and I was wondering what the competition is...

    We do a lot of dirt with the pavement simply being a means to get to the next dirt road...

    I saw the BMW 800 GS and was wondering if it is as capable off road.

    I spent all last week keeping up with these guys on my minimally street legal CRF 450X... great in the dirt... but lousy on those long loops.

    So... one vs. the other... how do the BMW's compare to the KTM's if the riding is mostly off road???
    #1
  2. Warthog

    Warthog TeutonicChronic

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    I think the F800GS would do very well on light to medium difficulty dirt. It is lighter than the 990S, but gives up some suspension proficiency. Not as powerful, but no shortage of power; and of course, great for touring.

    Beyond that, I suppose it is preference and riding style.
    #2
  3. edteamslr

    edteamslr Been here awhile

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    I tested these two back to back a couple of weekends ago, on road and off road. My last bike was an XRV Africa Twin (Brits for you) so both bikes were going to be more powerful and better handling. The KTM feels like an overweight 'crosser offroad and a supermoto on road. The BMW feels very firm on road, like a normal roadbike with extra ground clearance, and still like a roadbike offroad. Even on road tyres, the KTM felt ready for dirt, the BMW just didn't. Both have razor sharp throttle response but the BMW was worse, especially the engine braking. They were both comfortable and the finish better on the BMW.

    I liked both but I'm now in the market for a KTM 990S (no ABS please)
    #3
  4. SQD8R

    SQD8R Eat squids and be merry

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    Just to confirm, was it the 800GS or the 650GS with the 800 c.c. twin motor? There is a performance difference.
    #4
  5. hogmolly

    hogmolly Dude

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    Nice review. Since off road bikes push the limits of suspension travel and power/weight, what was wrong with the BMW? What made it feel like a road bike?

    I've owned a KTM950 (great bike but unreliable). It was heavy but had great suspension.
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Moved to Beasts. F800GS threads reside in Beasts, not GSpot, as per the posted rules. GSpot is for the Boxer GS's.
    #6
  7. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer

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    The clincher for me was the KTM is apparently DESIGNED to fall down once in a while, the 1200 GS's opposed twin cylinders look very exposed indeed, way more $ than the 990 ADV's plastic fuel tanks if..........:eek1

    I suppose the 800GS twin is better......but those paved roads WANT 98 horsepower.
    <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
    #7
  8. hunting1

    hunting1 Been here awhile

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    motorcycle consumer has a great review in this months addition on the 800GS. They loved everything accept first and second gear and the 4.2-gallon tank. They stated that if alot of dirt was on the menue than switch gearing off the 650GS. I am looking at the 1200GS, 800GS, and the 990ADV as well. Luckily the 800GS is still not here, so the saving goes on. I finally watched the Long Way Down and after seeing them try and pick those monsters up, might have to keep that in mind.:ear
    #8
  9. kkug

    kkug Been here awhile

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    Does any one know who makes the supension components on the 800 GS?

    BMW
    Showa- Kyaba
    WP --That would be nice

    Other

    I realy would like to know so I can start planing to get it reworked.
    #9
  10. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    Marzocchi front, Showa back.
    #10
  11. jerdog53

    jerdog53 Crop Dusting Everywhere

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    :lurk
    #11
  12. kkug

    kkug Been here awhile

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    Wildman Thanks.

    Do they have adjustable Comp -Rebound damping front rear ?

    What do you think of the performance ?

    Do you do any off road ?
    #12
  13. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    I got to be honest, I've only got 211 miles on it; all on-road. Just been too busy. Last "gig" before the summer break on Tuesday/Wednesday this week then four weeks off including a trip to the South of France via the Pyrenees and returning via the Alps so will hopefully have some stories to tell. The rear suspension is adjustable but beyond that, you'd better to ask someone more technically-minded than me. Try this:
    http://www.ukgser.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148918
    #13
  14. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    I'm a believer that lighter weight and more suspension travel are the two biggest factors that make a big traillee better for dirt riding. Here's the stats:

    800GS: 392 dry, 9" front, 8.5" rear
    990: 439 dry*, 8.3" front, 8.3" rear
    990S: 439 dry, 10.4", 10.4"

    * Doesn't include ABS but the BMW probably doesn't either since its an option

    That's my spec-sheet-driving for the day.

    - Mark
    #14
  15. chas1969

    chas1969 Go! Far w/Less ADVer

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    I was at the BMW MOA Rally 1 week ago and no demos of the F800gs but one was there to look at.
    From the reviews overseas it is fantastic bike. The one major factor I like about the F800GS, S ST is the engine 50-60 mpg. KTM sucks down petrol 35-41 mpg. I think these days it is important to have a bike that gets better mileage than a car.

    Chas
    #15
  16. AdvSkier

    AdvSkier Been here awhile

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    One more bike worth looking at that might be better suited to your needs is the KTM690 Adventure. It has plenty of power, and weighs barely over 315lbs.

    I owned a 950, and while the bike was capable, something about wrestling a very heavy expensive bike around in the dirt kept me off a lot of trails I woould have easily ridden on a 690.
    The 990 fuel tanks are expensive and can break.
    I've seen good riders do amazing things on the 990's, but they bought the bikes to ride hard and were willing to pay the price.
    #16
  17. bretoneer

    bretoneer Been here awhile

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    "I've seen good riders do amazing things on the 990's, but they bought the bikes to ride hard and were willing to pay the price."

    This statement well sums up riding ANY of the big ADV bikes on or off road. If one is a very competent rider, rides hard, and is willing to pay the price, both in personal injury and damage to the bike, then just about any of the big ADV bikes can be handled like a pro on or off road.

    Dare I say for the majority of us mere mortals it is in the skill and physical conditioning department that holds us to lower levels of perfection when riding the big guys, especially off road.

    A great rider willing to pay the price of replacing machinery more frequently than the guy who wants to get 50-100,000 miles out of his ride can ride the humble DL 650 Suzuki quite proficiently off road, and do it far better than one of us lesser skilled and daring members riding a 950/990 or the 800GS.

    It's all in the skill, juevos, and budget if the bike is to be ridden hard and treated as disposable.
    #17
  18. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    I don't believe it has even been officially announced yet by KTM, so we're probably at least a year or two away from shipping, probably more in the US.

    - Mark
    #18
  19. Rider_WV

    Rider_WV Long timer

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    I talked to the KTM guys at mid ohio this weekend about a 690Adventure. I demo'ed the 690 Duke and loved the motor so I started asking about a 690A and the 3 dealers that where there and the demo crew all said that it was a long shot. They all said that sales were so low on the 640A's that it would take a huge market shift for KTM to release a 690A. I was bummed :( I cant believe the balls that 690 has. Its amazing for a single.

    So I rode the 990A. WOW was all I could say. Perfect motor, roll on power in any gear at any RPM. It felt light for a big bike, the brakes were excellent and it handled great. Standing up over the bars felt just like a dirt bike. I LOVED that bike and its on the top of my list right now. The reliability issues and upper 30's MPG's are my only concerns. I really need a bike with a better tank range.
    #19
  20. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    The 690 Enduro weighs that much. How would the Adventure version not carry any extra weight? And does the 690 Adventure even exist?
    #20