Test Ride Thoughts: Triumph Tiger 800 vs KTM 990 Adventure

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by TwoWheelExplorer, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. AdvRonski

    AdvRonski They call me......Ronski

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    Damn, that's funny!
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  2. Rastus

    Rastus World Traveler

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    I know it's KTM's twin, but, what does the abbreviation LC8 stand for?
  3. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Liquid Cooled - 8 Valve ?? Best I could come up with. :ear
  4. BaronVonDarrin

    BaronVonDarrin Been here awhile

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    I ended up with a 17kmile katoom! 2005.5 with crash bars and pannier setup and slave and carbon and various other shit for $7300. Cool story bro's. This was after pining over the tiger for months nad stumbling upon my black beauty on craigslist. Glad I didnt buy the tiger, mostly because there is a 1200cc tiger coming out next year and I would be kicking myself in the ass. And because I have since fallen in love with the KTM... still not a fan of orange though :D
  5. DragonNester

    DragonNester Been here awhile

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    Along those lines, I guess that would make the RC8 a Refrigerant Cooled 8 valve logo:beer.
  6. Thnks4alltheFsh

    Thnks4alltheFsh Adventurer

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    Wow, glad I found this thread. I am having this dilemma currently. I'm looking to buy a new bike and am pretty much between a tiger 800 xc and a 990 adventure. I've ridden the tiger on pavement, was a blast and seems to fit me pretty well, but something in me wants to go with the 990. I haven't ridden one yet, looking to do so but the closest dealer (about 1.5 hour drive) doesn't seem to have a demo available and isn't very helpful. I've been in contact with another dealer about 3 hours away, but I may not be able to make that drive for a few weeks.

    After reading this thread, there are a few conclusions that looks like a lot of people agree on. Most people seem to agree that the KTM is better fitted for taller people. I'm 5'9'', so I am a little worried the KTM will feel to tall for me. Most people seem to also agree that the tiger won't have many technical issues if well maintained, while people are split on the KTM. Most people also generally agree the KTM is a clear winner off-road, though the tiger should be decent at most stuff, just not the most extreme. Anyway, I don't currently ride off the pavement much, but am looking to in the future. Looks wise, I agree that the KTM is a bit more desirable, but not by much and my wife seems to prefer the Tiger's look (though not sure how much that means).

    Bottom line, the Tiger seems to be the right choice, but I can't ignore the feeling that the KTM may appeal more to me. I guess I just need to ride one, whenever I can get up there.
  7. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    You should ride the KTM. It's a great bike, and it IS very tall ... and even taller once you up grade the suspension, which some owners do. See how that works for you. At 5'9" you are at the lower limit ... but should be OK once you're used to it. But two up and loaded ... the KTM can be a handful, especially slow going off road.

    One thing is clear ... if you haven't ever ridden off road, there are a few things you should know:
    1. you will fall down. :D

    Big, heavy ... and TALL bikes are not the best novice bikes to learn off road riding. If you stay strictly to groomed dirt and gravel roads you should be OK. Falling on either of these gems means BIG money.

    The other thing to remember is just how different the "character" of each bike is. The Tiger is a smooth, electric revver, more like an inline four. It has no where near the grunt and bottom end torque of the 990.

    The Tiger is fast ... just takes a second to get up and going and revving. Once it's revving ... it will catch the KTM (on the road). Also, it will out handle the KTM on the road. The Tiger suspension is more optimized for road riding ... the KTM favors Off road. (longer travel, plush)

    Off road, just the opposite. The 990 feels more secure on any off road track. It's at home there. But when you really know the difference is when these bikes are pushed a bit. Here the KTM is the clear winner. The Tiger will get out of shape, showing it's weight. (close to 500 lbs.)
    But as a novice ... you will probably never get to that point anytime soon.

    If you want to go off road ... I'd start out on something light, cheap and expendable to learn on. (like a 250 or 400 dual sport or dirt bike) In a year or two ... you may (or may not) want to move up to the big bikes.

    Really comes down to which bike seduces you. If you like low down grunt and Teutonic quirkiness, the KTM is your bike. If you like Formula One engine sounds and Super bike handing, the Tiger may be your bike. Very different bikes. I'd buy a 2nd hand KTM if going that way. One that has had a few things added and a few problems addressed. Buying new ... you drop a couple grand as soon as you push the bike out the door. :eek1 No used Tigers about ... or not many ... and no deals on demo's thus far.
  8. Supahflid

    Supahflid Wheelieless

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    Good points ADV G.

    A couple of thoughts on my 2011 990 since I've now had it for a few months:

    I have had lots of trouble with flat tires. Some of those troubles were likely due to under-inflated tires. Accordingly, I have kept the front and rear tire pressures closer to the recommended psi, which is pretty high for an offroad bike, but I suppose necessary because of the tire size and weight of the bike. You might imagine what it's like to ride over gravel and semi-loose material with highly inflated tires and it takes some getting used to.

    Of course, many of you are better or more experienced riders than I and it might not bother you, but, especially in the beginning it was very unsettling to me. To help me feel more comfortable, I've installed a Scott's damper and I am very glad I did.

    I was quite proud of myself after tackling our trip to Colorado and Utah. This IS a heavy bike, and I did have a few slow speed drops, but overall I am still very pleased with my purchase. We tackled some pretty gnarly (for me) trails out West, in particular the Top of the World in Utah and Black Bear in Colorado that fully tested my abilities; the bike did great and I have few complaints. (It should be noted that on Black Bear, there was a lot of feet paddling on "the steps"; I was terribly uncomfortable riding with both feet on the pegs down that steep bastard on the heavy 990). One of the most difficult parts of Black Bear for me was the sharp switchbacks; I've maxed out moving the stops in, but the bike still has a very small turning radius; better riding skills helps with this issue. So, I suppose my point is that even though I assert that the 990 is well balanced, it is still a heavy bike!

    Also, I have sort of had some "getting hot" issues. I'm still working on that though and I am not ready to say it's a big deal; although, I am very likely going to do the second fan install at some point.

    I haven't been keeping up with the 800XC issues, but I know that one guy at our local annual rally had issues with his shutting off abruptly.

    I think if one were looking to this thread for help in making a purchasing decision, I would take the sage advice that another poster (ADV Grifter?) made and that is to ride each one you are considering and make your own decision or in other words YMMV!
  9. TwoWheelExplorer

    TwoWheelExplorer Livin' the dream

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    I'm the OP. It's great to see the thread continue.

    After first posting this, I had to take a hard look at the kind of riding that I *really* do, and realized that I'm more often on long pavement rides than long dirt rides. That's factoring into my shopping.

    The KTM 990 platform is absolutely fantastic, I fell hard in love, and when I can have a multibike garage again, I'll have one :) It may not be the best fit for my only-bike situation these days though. Maybe that'll change. They're so dang fun to ride...
  10. Thnks4alltheFsh

    Thnks4alltheFsh Adventurer

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    Good points guys, Thanks. I should amend my last post, it was a bit misleading. I do have experience on dirt, mostly when growing up, many years ago. I would be very rusty, and I've never ridden bikes nearly this large off road, so that would be new. I'm pretty conservative about my skills, so I would plan to ride mainly hard packed dirt and gravel at first, and probably would never get to anything too extreme.

    I guess I was kind of hoping that someone would point out something that would exclude one of the two bikes and make this an easier decision. As I said, I have ridden the tiger, and plan to ride the KTM, just having some issues finding a ride since the nearest dealer is supremely unhelpful thus far. I'll make it happen somehow. I do plan on buying new. Recent circumstances are such that I have a bit of money to spend, and I plan to keep whatever I get for a long time.
  11. Supahflid

    Supahflid Wheelieless

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    Well, welcome to the club! I bet you most of us have struggled with this issue! I know I certainly did.

    It really is a tough decision and I think it boils down to preference. I can only speak from MY experience and that I wanted a bike big enough to ride on the interstate, if needed, but off roady enough to be useful in the dirt. We have to travel a lot of asphalt to get to any fun off road stuff here. Anyway, I couldn't see myself on a DRZ 4xx, 6xx, or the like, enjoying a ride on the interstate and in fact, I did own a KLR 650 and was not happy with it even after a lot of upgrading.

    It is possible to get a smallerish bike that handles well off road, but will likely be a pita on asphalt. It is also possible to get a biggerish bike that will handle asphalt mostly ok, but is a bit of a beast to handle off road. To me the KTM is the best of both worlds. It has plenty of power to keep up with any traffic and it will handle far better in the twisty stuff than I can ride it. It is a damn heavy bike to pick up, but it handles, imho, off road better than I can ride it. I was very much pleased with the performance of the KTM versus the KLR in higher altitudes, as would be expected. I don't mind the weight of the KTM off road for the trade off of comfort on road. If tight, single track is what you like, this is probably not the bike for you!

    So, I know you said you wanted to make a decision on one bike and keep it for a long while, but maybe you should think about spending a little money on a good smallerish used bike and then move up as you feel more comfortable. I dunno; tough question and I'm sure everyone will have different answers! Fun to yak about it though!
  12. Motard_Menace

    Motard_Menace Been here awhile

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    Funny this old thread popped up as I have also been in the market for a new ADV ride and looking for the past few months. One of my main considerations unfortunately is cost. I can pretty much get whatever I want depending on whether or not I want to make a payment (which I don't) therefore my budget is limited. Luckily I have a supportive wife when it comes to my motorcycle addiction but I have this damn conscience that won't let me get to crazy since I have a family to also consider and my riding time is limited which makes it difficult to justify having a toy in the garage with a payment.....:D Anyway I really would love to buy whatever I want but decided to try and be budget minded so that eliminated some choices. My focus was to stay in the 10K or under range which led me to look at primarily used rides. I narrowed the list to a used Tiger 800xc (if I could find one) BMW F800GS/older BMW R1200GS or maybe even a new BMW G650GS.

    With the above objectives in mind I have owned several dual sports orientated bikes including a DRZ SM, WR250X and a newer KLR. All competent bikes in their own right and some really fun to scream around on. My issue is that I need something with some giddy-up and long range ability. I really enjoy low end grunt. (Think freight train) Have owned several Ducati's (1098,Hypermotard and most recently an ST4) So I'm smitten by a twin. Had a Trumpy Speed Triple as well so I do have a soft spot for the triple.

    I hadn't really considered the KTM for some reason or other. Some of it was I wasn't so sure about the looks. I know many will say that this doesn't matter however for me design is an element I consider because I like to sit in the garage with a choice import and cigar on occasion and just sit back and observe. The KTM Adventure grew on me after some time and the design elements started to show through for what they are a purpose built rally type bike. Now I dig it.

    So with that said I started to consider the KTM Adventure after doing a little research. The maint intervals scared me a little but not enough to discount the bike. What was really grabbing my attention was finding some really nice KTM Adventures with lowerish miles on them for a very good price when compared to the big BMW's. Sometimes I wondered if the BMW was made of some mystic material or something finding 05's with 52000 miles for $7500+

    Well anyway I'm rambling now but I have found my latest ride a 2004 KTM Adventure 950 with just over 13000 on the odo and loaded with all kinds of farkles. Actually found it ride here in the flee market and will be picking it up next weekend for its maiden voyage. Can't wait.........its going to be a long weeks wait.......:D

    Good luck to everyone else who's looking for their next mistress.......:evil
  13. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    The '04 950 was really still in the "bad old days" for KTM. Go back into Orange Crush and read read read. Hopefully the PO has gone through and fixed the many areas left unsorted by KTM.

    Those early 950's had all the usual problems ... and more; water and fuel pumps being the main issues. Two 950 riding friends went though a couple motors each. They love the bike and both still have it. But both had extended warranties and got KTM to pay for all repairs. Very lucky.

    One newly rebuilt motor grenade'd (within 500 miles) due to improper parts and assembly by an incompetent KTM dealer. 2nd time round KTM sent a rep to the shop WITH the parts. He rebuilt the engine using several "new" parts. That was 3 years and 25K miles ago. Not one issue with that bike! So ... needs to be done right!

    Keep a sharp eye on the water pump, water level, temp. Keep oil topped up. Filters clean. KTM have upgraded some parts ... hopefully you're bike has some or all of the new stuff done by the PO.

    Wheels were also soft on early 950's. KTM have strengthened them now. Read all you can, do the up grades and all should be well. The basic motor and bike are very good.

    Good luck! :freaky
  14. Motard_Menace

    Motard_Menace Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tips. After talking with the owner it appears the bike is mechanically sound and well taken care of unless he is flat out bluffing but I don't get that feeling from him. The bike does have some miles on it so I will take care to keep an eye out for those known issues. Thanks again
  15. xcountry41

    xcountry41 Adventurer

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    Hi all ,spending more time here lately as I was preparing to sell my KLR and move on. I raced Motocross as a teenager and into my 20's then found mountain biking and road cycling and raised my kids racing bicycles. found myself in a motorcycle shop 20 years later getting a bicycle suspension fork serviced. was bitten by the motor bug and ended up with a KLR! what had really caught my eye though was a KTM 990 Adventure. just a little to much to soon for me to spring on my wife while paying university tuition for 3. Have been lusting for the 990 ADV for 3 years now and with the light at the end of the tunnel just sold my KLR. I had it set up with side cases etc. and want to do more incl. trips into the rockies, Alaska, fishing, mountain forestry roads/passes. Somehow (beasts forum) the tiger 800 xc caught my attention. did the research, (read Burren tigers thread) and tested one last Saturday. What a cool bike! seemed to fit me (5'8" longer legs shorter torso), sounded really cool as it had the Arrow pipe,very smooth power and plenty fast compared to my KLR. Did not get off pavement as it was a group ride with 4 others on mostly pavement restricted bikes. I think the 800 xc would need a little better tires for offroad before I'd want to go there. I fell in love with it anyway! Decided that I should at least ride a 990 before committing to the triumph so arranged a test ride today. Brand new, never ridden Blue/orange Dakar version.
    Went for a 1-1/2 hr rip into a nearby National park. Some freeway, rural highway with some twisties that turned to new fresh gravel in the middlle of the last turn, a little more broken pavement then freeway back. The KTM definately had more rip and snort . Gutteral acceleration and aggression but I did not equate it to more fun! It reminded me of a more refined more powerful KLR it seemed big and heavy , something you sat on and handled rather than blending with it. It was impressive but not enough to make an easy decision.The Tigers seat seemed more comfortable and wind protection seemed comparable. Cornering on the T800 xc just seemed more planted and connected. The triumph will end up approx. 1500.00 to 2000.00 CDN$ less expensive all said and done. Both will do what i want to do with them but in very different ways. my dirt bikin days must be over I guess and my adventure biking days starting cause I think the Tiger xc has grabbed me. Sorry for the long post but I enjoyed giving my .02 cent prespective. Can't wait to hit the roads to the campsite at Dust to Dawson next June(2013)
  16. lynch180

    lynch180 Adventurer

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    I have a Tiger 800 and cant wait for it too sell so I can buy a 990 adv R..........
    The Triumph is fun on a test ride but when you own one you realise it has no soul. It is the least fun bike I have ever owned!!!
  17. lynch180

    lynch180 Adventurer

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    Ergonomics of the Triumph suck along with a characterless engine.............why wont it sell:cry:cry:cry
    Have been riding a friends 990 and have fallen in love with her but cant get the wife to sign the divorce papers :wink:
  18. NHKTM990

    NHKTM990 Been here awhile

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    I have ridden both, and the Brit bike was an XC model. It is a great bike, but more roady than dirty. I agree about the cockpit position, it is kind of "you reach for it rather than it reaches back to you". Sort of sport orientated. The triple is sweet but that's a lot of weight up high both statically and relatively when they are all pumping. The thing about a KTM 990 it just touches your soul, your inner hooligan or adventurer. It I not the simplest, or easiest, but it is a whole lot of freaking awesome when your on one!:clap
  19. smj

    smj Been here awhile

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    Hey twowheels - this thread is old enough that you should have some feedback by now... I take it you bought the trump - how'd it work out for you???? I've always liked the look of the trump, didn't care for the look of the 990's... Ended up with a used F800GS, only to sell it and buy a 990 R! I never considered the trump for me, sat on it at the dealer and found it just felt small... But then, I wish the 990 R was a bit larger... 6' 4" with plenty of inseam, and a need for attitude and performance out of my ride.

    My observation is that several someone's need to make really high quality bikes for really cheap prices that a person with an average income can afford to buy! :happay That would just take all the drama out of this "which bike should I buy?" dilemma... Which every one of us knows all to well. :dhorse
  20. keener

    keener Speed changes you.

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    I was riding fast ans slow trails, sandy, muddy and rocky ones with my 950 , a gs800 anf a tiger.

    950 seems limitless. It takes what ever I trow at it. GS800 has better low rpm torque a is much better on gas but front suspension sucks which is a big deal for off roading.

    Tiger gets the lowest mark off road. Its like taking a Harley offroad. At a steep climb I zoomed up hill with my 950 my buddy made it up with his gs800 and worn rear noobies (TKC) but tiger with new TKC tiers front and rear just couldn't do it.Finally I rode it up with great difficulty and two people pulling with ropes. It felt too heavy and difficulty to stand up that may be improved if bar raisers are installed. I didn't ride the tiger on the road.

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