Should I do it

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by manybike, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. manybike

    manybike Omnipresent

    Jan 3, 2010
    North America
    I are all probably tired of hearing from us noobs..but here goes.

    Just sold my 04 1150 GSA, had my heart set on a 650 Dakar...just wanted something lighter and smaller.
    Then...I made a big mistake...stopped in at the KTM dealer after work and there it was...a used 06 950 Adventure with cases, Akro pipes, tank bag, corbin seat...not a scratch on it.
    Just a beautiful looking bike in my opinion.

    I'm in lust

    I was seeking a simple and light thumper, a change from my tanker GSA
    The 950 is just a little too tall..I would like about 1 1/2 inches lower..can be biggie.
    I have read many threads here but I still know bugger all about KTM's...this was not on my is now!
    Must improve windshield...looking at Aeroflow or madstad or combination of the two...I just hate buffeting and like to ride visor up.


    Used to own a Ducati Multistrada 1000DS so I know what quirky is all about (great bike by the way)

    I do mostly highway with a bit of back road...occasionally take the wife on day rides. Want to do a bit more off road but I always felt the GSA was just too damn big. I am 5' 9" with a 32 inch inseam...158 lbs.. Hulk Hogan I am not. I know the Dakars have a high seat height but they are also considerably lighter.

    But hell...that 950 is tempting! It's that almost black colour with the orange KTM letters and....shit...just looks, sounds and feels great sitting on it.
    Dakar or Adventure...aaaargh..what to do?

    Feed back...flames...opinions
  2. Nut Clutch

    Nut Clutch was Steve Lavigne

    Jun 1, 2007
    Go test ride it!
  3. motomuppet

    motomuppet Been here awhile

    Jan 26, 2010
    Do it. Trust me, I am from the internet. :evil

    Seriously. Test them you end up on the 950 though :D
  4. Scott Baja

    Scott Baja el semental rojo

    May 27, 2010
    Missoula MT
    The 650, if you ride a lot of pavement, will be to slow. You are used to large displacement bikes. :deal
  5. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

    Jun 5, 2007
    Knoxville, TN

    My dad sold his 50 mpg 990 :baldy to get a 690R. I've ridden both and if you do more highway than dirt that extra cylinder is nice. Plus I promise the seat is better for a passenger on the Adventure.
  6. grinns

    grinns Semper Fi

    May 4, 2010
    Rainy, Wa
    Nice, mine gets a consistent 40 + and 37+ offroad usually. I am to afraid to buy a new one cause I might get one of those dang 20mpg ones.
  7. pchGS

    pchGS Mark

    Feb 6, 2010
    Vancouver, WA
    just do it!!!! i've got a 32" inseam and was riding a seat concepts low seat. Worked great but getting on it was still a little high until it settled down. Mine was a regular ADV not an S or R.

    Ditto on the 'size matters' for the road anyways, it can chew it up! :D. I did a 820 mile day on my way back from Baja, that day unfortunatly was all pavement.

    It is also very capable of backroads and I took it through stuff that made me nervous, not the bike though. It did it without complaint or problems. Just remember though it is heavy and if you drop it make sure you know how to pick it up with your back to the bike. Makes it much easier.

    good luck on you lust! :evil
  8. Motard_Menace

    Motard_Menace Been here awhile

    Jul 20, 2008
    I was in the same boat as you a few months back. The Katoom wasn't even really on my radar screen. I was looking at Dakar's and the new Sertao's also had my eye. Then I stopped at a dealership that carries KTM and started checking out the 990 they had on the floor. Just sitting on it compared to the Dakar it seemed more svelte even though it was more motorcycle. Then I started to think that a single which I have had several just wouldn't be enough for what I was going to ask it to do. Which was going to be about 75/25 (road/off-road) so I started to look for a used KTM Adventure and eventually settled on a 950. No regrets now and I am glad I went with the twin, there is no replacement for displacement. If you intend on riding 75% or more street get the KTM or something comparable, the single just won't do it for you especially two-up. I know we all like to dream of the around the world rides when a single really is a great workhorse for those third world roads but in the end at home in the land of endless pavement and big roads the extra ponies come in handy.....thats my 2 cents anyway, good luck with your decision.

    p.s. I am 5'10" with about a 32 inch inseam as well and it is a tall bike but if you have some saddle time you learn to compensate and in the end I really like the height for in town. Gives a commanding view of the road around you and makes it easier for the cagers to see you as well. Kind of like riding the SUV of motorcycling......
  9. Hochtouren

    Hochtouren Improve until broken

    May 6, 2011
    Alberta High Country
    The boys are right - just ride it and you'll know it's the right thing to do. I very reluctantly gave up my 690R for the 990 and haven't given it a second thought - no regrets. Extra jug makes a world of difference on the slab. As for the weight, the big Katooms might technically be heavier, but they don't realize it/nobody told them, so they just behave like motocross bikes - kind of like the Jack Russel Terrier I had once that thought it was 4 feet tall...
  10. AdvGa

    AdvGa Long timer

    Nov 25, 2009
    Atlanta Metro
    Well when you look at the Specs and how it is built... it really is not that much lighter.

    The Seat Height is 34.3 inches If adjustable, lowest setting.
    Fuel is 4.57 gallons held up High... Adventure is more but held at a lower Center of Gravity.

    The Adventure, you can get 0-60 in about 3.5 Seconds and the 1/4 mile in about 11.5 seconds. This us VERY nice when you are on the Highway Jungle!

    Good Luck with your decision....

    ... I have NO issue with the Buffeting for myself.
  11. Dave70

    Dave70 Been here awhile

    May 15, 2007
    North West Sydney.
    Then you may tend to overlook the fact that 950 is essentially a 200kg, 100hp enduro bike with all the caveats associated with that style of motorcycle.
    To be honest, if I only had an occasional itch to scratch dirt wise, I'd be more inclined to go with a TKC 80 shod GS 1200.
    Comparable numbers to the 950 and far more civilised on the road. Being about 20kg lighter and 20hp up on your outgoing mount, it may be worth a look.

    Obviously though, you've discovered the GS range about as inspiring as watching dog shit turn white, so this may prejudice your decision.
  12. Casejeep

    Casejeep Been here awhile

    May 22, 2011
    Lake Powell or Flagstaff
    Id go for the 950.
    I have an F800 GS and i kinda wish i got a KTM. Ive had to spend alot of money to turn the BMW into the machine i want it to be.
  13. TheMuffinMan

    TheMuffinMan Forest Ranger Magnet

    Mar 31, 2010
    Denver, USA
    Dakar/Serato (whatever the new version of the Dakar is called)

    Lighter Weight (probably about 80-100 lbs lighter depending on aftermarket equipment)
    Vastly Superior Fuel Economy
    Better tire selection (and cheaper)
    Fuel Injection
    Seat height
    Easier to pick up
    Not as bulky and heavy
    Less maintenance then the LC8

    Stock suspension requires a good shock ($1100) + $300-400 for fork springs and cartridge emulators (in my opinion)
    Power might be a bit lacking for 2 up
    Not as good for long interstate runs at 75+ mph.
    After suspension which I consider a requirement for the Dakar the cost is nearly that of a used 950/older 990 adventure
    Some maintenance issues (but not as many as the Adventure)

    KTM 950 Pro's
    Long travel suspension for a moderate seat height
    Stock suspension is better then the 650 dakar stock suspension
    Better on the highway then a 650 dakar
    Low center of gravity makes it feel lighter then it really is
    Probably the best big bore adventure bike for the dirt

    KTM 950 Con's
    Tire choices suck (in my opinion) and tires don't last long
    Fuel economy (I get 38 MPG on the highway at 75mph, less off-roading and I don't accelerate like a demon very often people have gotten 30-35mpg with these bikes)
    Fuel tank range (5.8 gal stock tank) my fuel light comes on at 150 miles or so and I have ~1.1 gallons until I'm out at that point. Sucks when you're out in the middle of no where. Or if I'm off-roading my mileage goes down.
    Extra fuel carrying options are hinky and have problems or are really expensive ($1700 for safari tanks)
    Maintenance - Lots of known issues (fuel pump, water pump seal & shaft, clutch slave, among others)
    Farkles are expensive
    Did I mention maintenance?
    Dakar with upgraded suspension is nearly as good a KTM with upgraded suspension (valve tuning and respringing).
    Fucking heavy to pick up on the trail (most LC8's weigh about 520-550lbs depending on farkles.
    Clutch sucks in my opinion.

    I like my 950, I have a 2005.5 with the raised suspension and I have short ass legs (29.5" inseam). I look like a fool getting on the bike and out of parking spaces since I can barely get part of one foot down but I ride quad and rough jeep trails in the mountains and the ground clearance is very nice to have. If you don't like wrenching on your bike I wouldn't buy a KTM due to the maintenance and wear items. Fuel range is a big disappointment on the KTM.

    If you're going to lower a stock height KTM Adventure I'd almost say go with the Dakar. But that's just me.

    I almost bought a 650 Dakar instead of my 950 and if I did it over again I might go that route. But the decision is so close for me it's not worth it to sell the KTM and get the beemer.
  14. randel

    randel Been here awhile

    Jan 25, 2006
    Actually, F650 Dakar is surprisingly heavy, empty weight is 193kg or 425lb, while KTM claims that 950 Adventure is 198kg or 436lb (I know it's heavier in real life). Farkles will add about the same for both bikes, pannier racks, protection etc
    BMW has much better mileage, but also has only 14liter (3.8gal) tank, so range is similar. You can add 2-1 header and ADVtank (2gal?) to KTM for less than 1000$, I'm not aware of BMW's options (Touratech offers for $$$$).
    KTM has double the power (98 vs 48hp)
    Regular maintenance - KTM 7500km, BMW 10000km?
    I have had no issues with my 950SE during 40000km. Ihave replaced water pump seals once as a precaution at 30000km and replaced fuel pump contacts with electronics for 60€ same time.
    I have 2 friends with 650 Dakars - one has replaced fuel pump (300€) during our trip to Romania (has to cancel trip because that) and water pump in Belarus. Another had to buy new engine after he had total crank failure (oiling issues) in our trip to Murmansk and also had to return early from trip (on trailer).
    So I can't say KTM is less reliable, every bike may have issues.

    In my opinion they are very different bikes and only reason to buy 650Dakar is better fuel mileage.
  15. jclark83

    jclark83 Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2005
    I would go with the 950. I have a standard 02 1150GS and a 05 950 non S model in the garage. If you could handle the seat height of your 04 GSA you will be fine on the 950. Coming off the BMW the 950 will feel like a dirtbike on steroids. The BMW 650's never impressed me, too heavy and too little horsepower. The suspension on the KTM is light years ahead of the suspension on the BMW singles. Compared to your 1150 GSA it will seem like you are always working on the KTM. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
  16. KradmelderSA

    KradmelderSA Banned

    Mar 20, 2012
    South Africa
    I Have a BMW 1200, but rather than trade, I just bought the KTM 990 as well :D

    They are 2 different bikes.

    Pros and cons:


    comfortable, lots of power, nice to have extras like TPS, fuel range indicator, ESA, long service interval, uses standard 20W-50 oil, mot synthetics, so its much cheaper to service., good brakes and ABS. Flat power curve means less shifting.

    a bitch in sand and loose stuff, rattles go right through your body on corrugation, due to road bias suspension. kak clunky gear box.

    Summary. A good all around bike but not best at anything. If you only have one bike and do tar, pillion, and good quality gravel, this is the bike. The dakar has none of the pros of the 1200, and some of the same cons. The dakar is under powered and I dont see how its any better than a KLR.


    Shit eating grin when you ride, compartment to shelter your cell phone and camera in the rain, fantastic suspension, eats up gravel and head shakes, low centre of gravity and feels so much lighter than it really is. Great on highway as well.

    No gear indicator so you always working and concentrating, no fuel gauge so off road you have no idea the range you have left, expensive and frequent services. Tubed tyres means much more work for punctures and carrying more kit like a compressor (or a pum), tubes, tyre levers, valve puller. On long trips need to carry chain lube as well and a brush. Much louder and windier so on tar you need earplugs due to wind noise. Also vibrations on your hands on long trips.


    A real wow factor bike to ride, whose joy is worth all of its cons. Im in love:D
  17. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

    Sep 9, 2010
    Memphis Metro Area
    It's the exact same bike I have...farkles and all.

    No one can tell you in writing which one is best for you. Ride both and then decide. It'll be easy at that point.

    Good luck.
  18. Dagwood_55

    Dagwood_55 Long timer

    Jun 23, 2007
    The Ozarks
    I had a BMW 650 XChallange. Like it a lot, not too much fun on the tar.

    Now got a 990 S (with 32" inseam). Like it much more and dont regret it a bit.

    Would not go back, tho I would like to have both at the same time....
  19. Narsisco Lopez

    Narsisco Lopez Addlepated

    Jul 11, 2010
    Golden (Showers), Colorado
    I say, if it feels good, do it. But, I say that about A LOT of things :lol3
  20. manybike

    manybike Omnipresent

    Jan 3, 2010
    North America
    Thanks for all the replies

    I still have to try and get the KTM's service history. Sadly the bike is on consignment by the PO's wife due he passed away.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but is the 950 anymore service intensive than BMW's?
    After a lot of reading it seems the biggest issues for the KTM's were fuel and water pumps. Valve checks are about every 8k miles which is pretty much what most Beemers require.

    From all your experiences are the valves often out of spec with every check?

    I have read where there is a good fuel pump fix for about $100.00, I also looked at the coolant reservoir on the bike and it appeared to be low which may indicate a water pump issue, still have to check it out.

    Anyway..I have ridden a Dakar so I know what they are like, now I just have to ride the 950....which will probably force me to buy it!!!