KTM 990 SMT vs Ducati Multistrada 1200

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by wynHand, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. wynHand

    wynHand n00b

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    I have to decide between these two. Advice from owners or anyone who have tested both will be appreciated. Thanks
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  2. bhkami

    bhkami Adventurer

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    What type of riding are you going to be doing? Do you have dealers close to you for both brands?
    #2
  3. bobobob

    bobobob badbadbad

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    <iframe width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QC4lYBlxItk?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #3
  4. wynHand

    wynHand n00b

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    80% commuting of about 40km a day
    15% touring (very seldom 2 up)
    5% (if at all) dirt roads
    There are both Ducati and KTM dealers, but no Multistrada to demo, only SMT.
    #4
  5. bhkami

    bhkami Adventurer

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    Drive to a dealer and ride a ducati, however far away you have to go. Only you'll know which you prefer. Both bikes are great, with the KTM being a little bit more raw. Also, do some research to see if a certain dealer has a history of negative reviews.
    #5
  6. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    Based on usage described, the MS seems more suited to the asphalt jungle. Just my useless opinion.
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  7. Roam

    Roam If you want to

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  8. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

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    The duc will cost more. Especially if you go for the s version.
    #8
  9. JJGeo

    JJGeo Been here awhile

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    I test rode both and preferred the SMT. FWIW, I'd say my useage breakdown is very similar to yours as well.
    • The KTM is noticeably lighter, and is easier to ride IMO. I weighed mine at 466 lbs with a full tank of fuel. The lightness, flickability, and super light (I mean really light) clutch make commuting and city riding very easy.
    • The MTS has more power in Touring or Sport mode, but the SMT has plenty (~105hp at the wheel) for all riding conditions, so no loss IMO. Both are excellent in this regard.
    • The KTM's throttle response is a bit more abrupt than the Ducati's, but I don't think it's bad. Some people are bothered by it.
    • The KTM's suspension is superior to the base model MTS, but not quite as nice as the Ohlins on the S/T model Ducatis.
    • The SMT comes with smallish bags, whereas only the T model MTS comes with bags. Both have aftermarket options.
    • The MTS probably gets better mileage. My SMT gets ~30 mpg in town, and ~40 mpg on the highway or twisties. I've heard the MTS's are getting mid-40s.
    Both are great bikes in the end, so you really can't go wrong. The SMT is a much simpler machine, without any ABS (2010 model, like mine), traction control, ride modes, electronic adjustable suspension, etc. I preferred the simplicity. The SMT also just fits me better (I'm 5'-9", with 32" inseam). It's a bit tall, but otherwise feels like it was custom made for me. I've ridden both back-to-back, and I was very happy to get back on my SMT...it's just more fun and easier to ride IMO.
    #9
  10. hillbillypolack

    hillbillypolack Grumpy Old Goat

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    After owning several Ducatis and a KTM, I'd favor the SMT. Here's why.

    No 'necessary accessories' like Termignoni tax to get the bike to run correctly. All Ducatis I've owned were so choked up they needed the Performance ECU as well as slip ons to reduce the stumbling. Last Ducati exhaust etc was close to $2400.

    KTMs just seem to have a no-nonsense way of being made which also seems to translate into their character. I'm not sure if the SMTs have a low off-idle stumble that was in some KTM models years ago, but they have been getting great reviews from the most critical publications (as referenced above).

    Last and possibly most important is that with Ducati's swollen gas tank debachle (ethanol absorbing water and in turn deforming the nylon tank material). I received no notification from the manufacturer on a fuel system related issue. This (as I understand it) communication is required through NHTSA if there is any potentially hazardous issue with the fuel system. Further, Ducati replacing the affected tanks with ones made from the same material is amateurish, negligent and makes no sense. Oh yes, did I mention they are fighting the lawsuit brought to them regarding this issue?

    So, if I were someone looking for a new bike. . . . I know where I'd be plunking down my money. And for some very good reasons.
    #10
  11. apessino

    apessino Long timer

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    You do know that KTMs use the same Acerbis tanks as the affected Ducs, that they are deforming just as much, and that KTM is replacing the affected units exactly the same way Ducati is, right? :D
    #11
  12. hillbillypolack

    hillbillypolack Grumpy Old Goat

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    Yes I do.

    Ask any KTM owner what they heard and from whom regarding their tank deformation. I can't speak to that, but I would like to know.

    When I own a bike and it has a quasi-serious fuel related issue, I'd like to know the Company is behind it and stands up to their responsibility. My experience with Ducati? No so much. I'm not exactly alone either.

    How did I hear about it? Ducati forums and internet related websites. Word of mouth etc. No direct notification from the Big D.

    However, I do know the same polymer and same supplier (Acerbis) is used by KTM. Since my KTM was made before the recent issue, I'd like to hear from a KTM owner on how they feel they've been made aware and treated of this issue. . . :ear
    #12
  13. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    I don't think the gas tank debate applies to the Multistrada, I was faced with the same choice but do more touring than commuting and choose the Ducati.... brilliant bike that deserves a test ride.
    #13
  14. tpulls

    tpulls Been here awhile

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    How is the KTM when it comes to cruising at 90 and vibrations? Could it make a decent touring bike? What are the service intervals on the KTM?
    #14
  15. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

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    I have a 990 adventure and the tanks do deform slightly, but the way they are installed it doesn't matter. Makes reinstalling a PITA unless you know what you are doing. Some ducati's have very tight tank tolerences which cause major problems when they deform. Some other brand bikes are impacted, but not as bad due to how they are mounted.

    You can help prevent the problem with some tank sealer from Caswell.
    #15
  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    I really want to like the KTM - its nearly the ideal bike for me, but it has two issues that annoy me. First the motor sucks compared to most other sporting twins and second its asthetics are completely uninspired. Its beyond me why KTM can't even match the performance and economy of a 14 year old Suzuki twin, much less modern stuff :huh 106hp and 30mpg from a liter twin? Is this 1995? A stripped down, no-nonsense version of the Multi (HyerStrada?) might suit me better, but I'm not crazy about fiddling with desmo valve adjustments. Sure even though the KTM motor doesn't match japanese stuff from the 1990s it'd still be fun to ride and a heck of a lot more entertaining than the even-firing german things, and you don't see too much of the bike when riding so I may end up with one yet. Fingers crossed that either the Duc will get a bit more stripped/focused or the KTM will get a major motor and aesthetic re-work sometime soon :)

    For what its worth I've ridden a 116hp twin and a 138hp twin (same model bikes, different internal motor work) and people who say 106hp is enough and more is of no use are just plain silly ;) You can definitely enjoy that extra hp if you want to.
    #16
  17. JJGeo

    JJGeo Been here awhile

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    I've had my SMT for about 14 months now, and not a word from KTM on the tank issue. I haven't noticed an issue yet, but I haven't looked either. If it isn't dead obvious, like it is for the Monster tanks, then I may miss it.
    #17
  18. JJGeo

    JJGeo Been here awhile

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    The motor sucks? Have you ridden one? It is friggin' awesome! I've never heard of someone saying the KTM 990 motor sucks. Adventure, Superduke, SM, SMT...the 990 LC8 is great in all, just tuned differently for each application. BTW...105 hp is at the wheel, not the crank. It may not be record breaking, but it's pretty good and suits the bike perfectly IMO. Superbike power in the SMT would be pointless.

    30 mpg is city riding. Admittedly not great, but is also due to me being ham fisted because it is so much fun to ride...I'm sure I could get a lot better. 40 mpg is typical for highway and twisties. Better would be nice, but 40 mpg is only a few mpg off from most other water-cooled twins.

    I'm with you on a stripped down MTS thouh...that would be nice. I'd like to see a Hyper with a small fairing, comfy seat, and larger tank...similar to how KTM tweaked the SM to get the SMT.
    #18
  19. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    JJGeo, Did we cross paths on 99 near the Aurora bridge Saturday afternoon? I was northbound on a white '11.

    My first tank was 30 on the nose and I'm halfway through my second. Most of the first tank was 4th gear or lower. I can live with it. I've got too many other things to think about when riding the bike...like staying attached to it.
    #19
  20. tpulls

    tpulls Been here awhile

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    JJGeo, can you comment on the 990 SMT vibes at high speed cruising? I'm wondering just how good of a sport-touring bike that it can be. Can you confirm the service intervals as well? I've read 4500 mile intervals, every other one being a major/valve check service.

    Thanks!
    #20