F800GS vs. KTM 990 Adventure

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Pantah, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    ITSATM, My personalized plate, meant to satisfy the gas station crowd who always asked, "what bike is that?". Instead they asked, "is it really tedious to ride a motorcycle?"(Tedium)

    A very good bike, that Yamaha still makes. I wished Yamaha brought back a new Tenere with current the 900cc motor. The similarities pointed me towards the F800gs.
    #81
  2. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    #82
  3. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Ok, cool it's so easy to loose tone and inflection. So that's why I put on my serious face. I'm changing back into my tuxedo tshirt now.

    I can understand that. The minute I saw the 950 I knew I was going to buy one.

    Interesting.

    People just figured you where a hobo on the klr probably where going to ask them for change when they came up to you :)
    #83
  4. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    There's probably some sad truth to that statement. I'm not sure what percentage of 25 year olds drive adventure bikes and supermoto's but i'm guessing I'm the minority.
    #84
  5. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    I've sat on the f800 bike twice, once at the Long Beach Bike show, and once at a local bike shop. And during this second introduction the owner (who was with a friend getting service on a Kawa KL650) exchanged looks and small talk. This led to us sitting on each others bikes and upon on his mention, we rode each other's bikes 1/2 blk through traffic and then on to the I90 expressway, a 5 mile straight stretch of freeway that's never policed. It was the same route I tested my first 950 on.

    You're right, it was technically a ride around the block. Not enough to give a full technical review, like what I'd expect to read in Cycle World by Ryan Dudek. And since my 950 was already ergo'd to me it was like going from a broken in baseball glove to a brand new one.

    Things that struck me immediately...seating was a slightly forward lean, seat felt narrow and bike felt low, "street bike low". Suspension didn't have that "kush" feel but cushioning felt positive. Engine sounded smooth and felt very "japanese" in a good way. Reminded me of the sound of an EX650, almost electrical, with minimal vibration. The bike felt easy to handle at those few traffic stops once my feet were off the pegs. Didn't like how my feet felt on the pedal at a stop though, almost tucked back. Motor felt smooth through all gears but felt tall. I got the bike up to 90 easily and the engine was smooth, but my shifting of the last two gears was early and bogged. I needed to wind it a bit more.

    I did have to watch as the guy riding my bike felt no etiquette toward me and wound my bike hard and was way out ahead of me. It was the first time I could hear the exhaust note from behind my bike... sounding very pitchy from behind. The brakes felt better on decel then on my 950. We both turned around and headed back on the I90. I gave it a bit more throttle which the bike handled smoothly after the initial FI roll. The stock exhaust note was nice. The bike was much quieter then my 950 when it was stock. The motor felt nicely balanced.

    We rolled into traffic on the way back which kept things pretty tame. The seat seemed to feel stiff to me, but so was my stock 950 seat which I replaced with a nice gel one.

    This is a pretty lame account. Not one I had much time to plan for either. It just sort of happened.

    But the guy who was riding my bike had a much greater impact from it then I had.

    Hi vocal impression of the experience was something like "Wow", with a grin. Then he made sure to point out how "tall" my bike was, intended to be his knock on it. I mentioned how smooth his bike was, even at higher speeds.

    We both noticed how much hotter the area around my motor felt compared to his, but that's normal... nothing in the range for concern. But point taken.

    We parted ways, but expressions say more then words and I got the feeling his adrenaline level was increased much higher then mine.

    I didn't not even think about seeing how much easier his bike would have been to pick up. It didn't feel much "lighter" in overall weight, but had NOTICEABLY lower center of gravity, so that would make a difference standing it up from a fall.

    But riding that f800 for the first time didn't have the same exhilarating feeling that I felt on my 950 test ride.

    This is not meant to be a "review" because it's as you say... a ride around the block. And as a review it would suck ass. So sorry for the waste of words. But, you asked for it. So there it was, from what I could remember two years back.

    However, I can positively say that the f800 felt WAY SMOOTHER during this on road biking experience then my 950 ever would be. The motor is very smooth, the exhaust sounding nice and contained, the brakes felt a bit quicker. That's a definite impression I took away from it.

    But I didn't buy my bike to be a city bike, this bike wasn't marketed to me to be a city bike and I wouldn't be shopping for a city bike if I was test riding this bike anyway. So, no... the f800 wouldn't have been what I was looking for. It would have confused me as to what it was trying to do for me. If I was looking for a "street bike", I would not go this route.

    You are right in the fact that most people don't take their bikes off road. So in that case, it would make sense if you didn't plan on doing much offroading, if at all. But that is just too foreign of a concept for me to prescribe to, "buying a dual sport looking street bike for intended street use."

    What most, if not all of the KTM Adventure owners found, was a nice surprise in the bikes on-road capabilities.

    My KTM 950 has become an obsession to ride, and I find myself making all kind of excuses to run errands on it. And I now ride it into work more then I drive the cage there. I think it was a big surprise for 950/990 owners as well as the factory- at how well the bike is as a daily driver. The secret was in the balance of the bike, the "kush" suspension and the feel of the motor. This was an added bonus, not what most of us even expected.

    To set the record straight on these KTM Adventure bikes... some people experience wind buffetting, those with taller upper torso that extend beyond the draft of the screen. I don't ( probably a similar body type to the designers and test riders), but there are simple fixes, altering the venturi at the screen line, either up or down.

    The bike is a lot of motor tucked under the bike, it generates a lot of central heat. It is manageable but there are simple aux fan kits that when easily installed minimizes the still heat issues. A permanent solution for under $150.

    The clutch slave cylinder problem was caused by the engine heat breaking down the simple slave bellow. These "gaskets" wear in time, not quickly. Replacements are easy or aftermarket slaves use a heat resistant bellow... another permanent solution solved for under $150.

    My carbs have incredibly ACCURATE throttle response. The carbs have definitive jet and float settings that were not completely mastered by the factory. This perfected information is standard info to knowledgeable KTM technicians and bike owners now. There's no excuse if your carb'd bike isn't running at peak performance at this day and age. The carb version of the KTM Adventure is a simple, solid design, although geared more for performance then fuel economy. But were talking about a $1.75 more per fill up. I find that cost is well worth the performance I gain rather then a concern for fuel economy. And my motor runs very smooth. For those carb'd bike owners who never had the opportunity to experience the newer setting dial in's, I'm sorry you missed out on this improvement.

    As was mentioned earlier, I am a "good reader". And ALL the information about any problems and their solutions for all of these bikes can be obtained by simple research prior to making any unsure of or risky decisions.

    This website has been incredible for all who take the time to research the nuances of the products out there, and THEN IMPLEMENT what you've uncovered.

    It's almost more valuable to have a product that's been used the most, with tons of feedback on potential problems and ingenious solutions... then to purchase a new product out of the box that's never really been tested before.

    One thing I always recommend to those looking for a new bike is to try to find a newer model USED, one that has had some break in time done where the previous owner worked out some of the production bugs... and also added some much wanted farkles along the way.

    This is a great scenario regardless of make or model.

    Pantah, good luck with your next choice and keep us all in the loop as to how things have worked out.

    But beware, there are some very exciting new motorcycles soon to be released that may be worth waiting for.

    Good luck.
    #85
  6. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Lots of us on this forum have serious experience racing motorcycles, and some of us did it for money. So when you post the imagery you did, it rings hollow if you know what I mean. None of the racers here would make such statements, because it doesn't even register. Your lecturing was a total disconnect of a newbie to motorcycling.

    Interestingly, many of the old farts you attack are ex-racers! Those boys did that thing and they relish every vision of when they backed that Mutha Scoota' in and claimed their rightful position in the pursuit of the checkered flag.

    Adventure riding is a great outlet for us old fart racers. Most of us are decades past our days of glory. But the truth is, we don't want to get hurt anymore. We all have been hurt. Every single one of us. On the other hand, we like the thrill of a few moments during a ride when things come together in that masterful way. Such a high!

    Try a few races. They have more noob friendly classes today (even with your Suzy). You will always be part of something special if you've tried racing at least a few times.
    #86
  7. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    Wow....2 years ago....I think you're memory of sensations is very good, DesertSurfer. I think you've described the F800GS performance down the street and highway very accurately. Other than, maybe a lot of front end brake dive (in forks) its quite accurate to what I experienced.

    First order of business for me was to unwind all the ergos and open up the riding stance, which I have done successfully.

    Absolutely no doubt mine 950 was truly exhilarating to twist the throttle on the highway. The grin factor was very big. I still get a similar thing on my F800, but for a little bit different reason. The smoothness of the 85 hp acceleration really makes me smile. That might be the "getting older" part of my equation.

    Its that grinning power rush, that seemed to work against me in the tight stuff....combined with what I thought was a pitiful turning radius on my 950, that I couldn't fix easily. The 950 wanted to fall inward into a full-lock, tight slow speed turn (heavily), whereas my F800 stays quite balanced in more of a neutral weight bias during same maneuver.

    To be certain, I have a smaller WR250R that I flog the single track with. But I keep finding myself out in the tight stuff on my long adventure trips....often solo in places I probably ought not to be. Is there corrective psyco-therapy for that behavior? :hmmmmm

    Maybe that's the underlying issue for me. Somewhere deep within, I realized I was going to get my 950 ship into a bottle that I couldn't squeeze back out. I feel more "solo-confident" on my F800. I think I'm less likely to get myself into bad trouble (read smoother more linear power) and pick it up, turn it around and vamoose when I realize what I've done.

    My 950 would unexpectedly die on me for no apparent identifiable reason. This became somewhat annoying and made me nervous about getting too deep on a solo excursion. It shook my confidence. I always got it going again, eventually, for no logical reason. Never did figure that one out....and I'm a fairly decent mechanic. The worst part: it was completely unpredictable. No identifiable pattern or diagnosible symptom. Fuel + fire = run.....I know....there are only so many pieces to the puzzle. I finally chocked it up to bad Kharma....

    HF
    #87
  8. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    It should ring like a joke cause it was. Call me a newbie if you want that's cool I'm personally never done learning and improving and I'll keep having fun doing what I'm doing.

    Once again, not attacking joking. In the my choice is always better than your choice sorta way that these threads always pull up.

    I don't have the DRZ400 any more. I've got a KTM 200exc, KTM 450 SMR, and a 950 adventure. The SMR doesn't have plates or lights and only see's track duty. The 200exc see's more than just trail riding, and the adventure is my anything else bike. The SMR will be seeing ESMRA duty.

    I'm currently looking at an sv650 to go ltw twins racing or some 600cc I4 for either supersport or superstock depending on what I can find.
    #88
  9. Aanarchy

    Aanarchy Long timer

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    Cool, let's go! All the hookers I know have two tits.
    #89
  10. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Good boy on all points except for the road racing part. The SV is cool, but that is actually for the old farts. They been there and done that. They show up and race those lightweight classes every weekend, and you'll never beat those mutha scoota's. They have it all figured out seriously. If you try that route, you'll probably buy a set of tires per weekend once you make 'expert'. $300 a pop.

    Road racing is very expensive if you are trying to compete. Maybe $1000 per weekend on a lightweight bike all in. If you bump to a big bike you will buy an extra set of tires, That is near $500 if you use Dunlop. $460 if Pirelli.

    The new AMA Pro rules are helpful. They use a spec tire and the spec tires cost only $375 per set. You get 7 rear tires and five fronts as a maximum. Not bad, compared to what they charge for the English versions in club racing (half second faster). I spent only $1580 on the New Jersey AMA round for tires, and I am proud of that savings. But we had mechanical issues, which ruined some of the track time, so we didn't buy the tires we could have.

    My guess is you are very inexperienced about motorcyles.

    PS: in any form of competition, beit motor racing or love, you never stop learning. That's the way life is. Glad you found some of that already.
    #90
  11. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    I have to thank Geometrician for this one... You see, the factory set the steering stops out extremely far. This was probably for crating and shipping. And most dealers didn't get all the info on the bikes, so they sold them where the bike had that weird limitation in turning radius.

    But that was easily figured out and the word passed on here. It was a very simple fix. A turn of a 12mm. about 5/8" in from where the factory set it.

    It was like a completely different bike for steering especially at low end. Again, I feel sorry for those who haven't experienced the bike with all of these subtle changes. It's amazing.

    From your post you said you have about $24K into your bike, I'd be curious on the difference the ergo's would make on that bike. As for my only putt on one...of course I didn't try any stoppies or that front end dive would have reared it head at me.
    #91
  12. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    $24K was a bit rhetorical....or would that be metaphorical?

    Don't you dare ask me to add it up! I might be afraid to roll it off the pavement ever again...:cry

    But, ho-chi-momma I like it now. :deal


    Back to the 950....regarding that steering stop, mine didn't even have a bolt. Just a frame nub. I bought it used. maybe the previous owner chunked it, I donno. Or maybe he welded extensions to them. :eek1 My 950's turning radius was very limited....stop to stop. I should have got out the dremmel and grinder. Keep in mind, I come from an Observed Trials background where we can turn handlebars 270 degrees! Warning: more rhetorical stuff.

    Comparatively, my F800 turns circles around it. :norton

    HF :thumbup
    #92
  13. grndzr0

    grndzr0 its Ground Zero

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    It is quite the turner... I was gassing up the other day and retardedly pulled up to the wrong side of the pump, so is spun it around, and some guy came came up and was in awe about how tight it could turn... But yea, its nice. I can do a continuous circle in the space of 2 parking spots.

    Ryan
    #93
  14. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Cool thanks for the info
    I don't know about very inexperienced, but i'm no expert. I think I get it done ok...
    [​IMG]

    #94
  15. charlie264

    charlie264 Long timer

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    :rofl
    I don&#8217;t understand how it happened; I was actually a half descent rider once, with balls and the ability to save them. Some of it floods back when I start to push it, but me not want to hurt anymore, me go nice and slow now.:lol3<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #95
  16. Whele

    Whele Adventurer

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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> I have experience of both, having owned two 990’s and an F800GS. I have to say I really wanted to like the BMW more, but plain and simple fact is … the KTM has a bigger grin factor, is lighter on the wallet, except at fuel stops, is much more capable off road and is much more capable on a long tour.


    My BMW had so many issues, head stock bearings, chain and sprokets life sucks, the motor needed new main bearings after on 22,000 miles, the on board computer information was unrelaible, the headlight sucks, all in all it was a real money pit. The bearings went just outside the two year warenty and BMW just stuck up a middle finger. In contrast KTM replaced the front wheel 4 moths out of warenty as the spokes were rusting.


    The BMW is more suited to shopping trips than long tours, unless like Ewan, you have a support vehicle of spare.
    #96
  17. Wicket009

    Wicket009 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Bainbridge Is, WA
    Wife is sending me on a quick shopping trip to pick up some milk and bread. Let me know if any other inmates need me to grab anything at the store. A few friends have graciously offered to follow in their truck for support in case the 800 is unable to complete the 5 mile round trip. If she is running good, I may push the limits and also stop at the Starbucks.
    #97
  18. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,459
    Location:
    Annapolis Maryland
    Starbucks does seem to be where I see most of the GS's adventuring too.
    #98
  19. Wicket009

    Wicket009 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Bainbridge Is, WA
    KTMeers too. At least I think that is a KTM. Couldn't tell with all that mud and dirt on the orange from hard core riding and jumping :evil

    Both are great bikes. Fortunately I have not had the mechanical issues a few on the site have experienced. A few modifications and the 800 has fitted me well so far.

    #99
  20. casperghst42

    casperghst42 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    218
    Location:
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands (in exile)
    I don't have neither, got an R12GSA, until now without too many problems - done 55.000km the last 2 years. But I'm thinking about moving on to something else, and for a very long time I had a keen look at the 990Adv., but the service cost and it's use of fuel made me take it off the list.

    Currently I'm looking at the F8GS, yes I'm worried about the issues with the rear wheel bearings, and some of the other small interesting issues it have, but when one really look at it, BMW sell heaps of these bikes, and most of them do never really have any issues (except for the rear wheel bearings), the same with KTM most of them do not really have any issues (like yours), but when one read the forums one get to think that one hardly can take these bikes out on the street without having a service truck with you.

    And both KTM and BMW really have an issue with quality control, if they could produce bikes which where of the same quality as the best of them, then we wouldn't have anything to bitch about....

    So granted that neither BMW (R12 and F8 - earlier models where somewhat better made) nor KTM make bikes which are known for their stability without the buyer changes a few things after they get out of the shop. Then it comes down to what one really want, something which is a hooligan bike (KTM), or something which just gets you there without too much fuss (BMW).

    So in general people can get unlucky and get a beast of burden no matter which brand they buy.



    Just my 2c.

    Casper