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A lurker in need (F850 vs 790ADV)

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Trirrad07, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. GuyM76

    GuyM76 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    London, UK
    I'm trying to make a similar choice to the OP. Rode a 790 Adventure S last weekend (no problem with test rides in UK - book ahead and you can usually take a new bike for an hour). It was a blast to ride on the road. Fast, agile, smooth. Unfortunately, it is a touch low for me at 6'1". My legs would get cramp after an hour on the motorway. They didn't have an R available. The S is in stock but an R would not be delivered until September sometime.

    The F850GS I hadn't really considered as I thought it is a bit heavy, not a 1200 and made in China but on reflection, I think I should test ride one as 90% of my riding is on road, I sometimes take my 12 year old son as pillion and I need more luggage capacity than my current Triumph Scrambler offers.

    I will test the new Tiger 900 Rally as I think it looks good, is a smidge lighter than the GS (and current Scrambler) and the triple is a good USP for the road.

    Off-road a lot of my local stuff is single-track so I should probably get a dedicated enduro but that blows the budget to pieces!

    Too many choices - I'm in analysis paralysis at the moment. Maybe I should go for the 790 R but I'm a bit wary of reliability issues...all the Triumphs and BMWs I have had have been near faultless.
    #61
  2. Wveniez

    Wveniez Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2020
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    In terms of the KTM, if you’re really going to be doing 90% on road, you don’t need the 790 Adventure R. It is very off-road biased in the ADV bike spectrum. Also, you can get the taller rally seat from KTM to increase legroom.

    I agree with your gripes about the BMW. Premium pricing for a Chinese made engine. I’ve been very disappointed in BMW for that move, so much that I’ll probably look elsewhere when it’s time to upgrade my F800 GSA. However, it’s still worth a test ride.

    Have you considered the Tiger 900 XR? It’s more road biased, and the triple will be more engaging on-road than the twin from KTM or BMW. Made in Thailand however, so no edge over the BMW on that front.

    There are so many choices with bikes these days. The important thing is to be honest with yourself with what you’re actually going to do. No reason to get an off-road biased bike if you’re going to be on-road the vast majority of the time.
    #62
  3. GuyM76

    GuyM76 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yes, this is very true. I reckon I would be more likely to do more off-road if I had the KTM R because it would give me more confidence. I suppose the real answer to that is to get some training!

    Anyway, we're lucky we're so well-served by the manufacturers' ranges, albeit we like to gripe about the short-comings of each model.
    #63
  4. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Ohio
    analysis paralysis! i love it! never heard that before, and now i'm adding it to my regular vocabulary!

    ultimately, i really liked the KTM, but it was just too small for two up riding regularly, and KTM is hit or miss with reliability. i love triumph, but they're horrible to deal with in the US right now. just picked my street twin up from a major service interval and had a nice chat with the service manager. the stunts they're pulling are bonkers, and it is having a trickle down effect to consumers. so while i'd love a tiger (and used to dream about having one!!), i'm going to pass because they're a pain.

    so for me it came down to the BMW F850GS and Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT. the latter of which i've heard is bulletproof, but doesn't have any character. it's just an A to B bike, no flash, no fuss.

    so BMW has an awesome warranty, the dealer is super close to where i live, i know the fellas working there and have a great relationship with them, and the insurance is cheap, comparatively to the bikes mentioned above. with the great warranty, i'm not so much worried about the chinese engine manufacturing and i trust BMW won't leave owners high and dry if some bad relationship develops between the US and China trade policy. so what's holding me back? while it is better than the Suzuki, the BMW doesn't have a lot of character and "fun" factor for me (it does have some! just not as much as the KTM or some enduro). i'm worried if i buy this bike and don't find trails to have fun on, i'll have regret on the purchase. tough call. i'll figure it out eventually!
    #64
  5. heatmizr

    heatmizr n00b-tastic

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    774
    Location:
    CLT, NC
    Take a look at gravelmap.com for your area. Looks like Eastern and Southeastern Ohio have a good amount of gravel roads tagged.
    Note: this sure is user sourced may not show all gravel roads. You can add ones not reflected!
    #65
    Trirrad07 likes this.
  6. K_K

    K_K Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Norway
    Since this is KTM vs BMW, I must admit that I have not tried the KTM.

    But I have been through the selection process.
    I wanted to trade in my -13 800GS for å newer model. I wanted the 21" frontwheel for easy riding on gravel roads, where the roads would be the type where you would also be able to drive cars, i.e no mud-bathing. And even if the KTM is lighter and more angled towards gravel roads, it's about the weight of my F800GS. And I can assure you, you don't enjoy lifting that bike many times a day.
    Also, since the roads that I planned to ride where available for cars, this meant that you have to consider meeting a car at any place. Hence, those fancy rearwheel drifts that we all dream about watching YT would be a certain route to an accident.

    This lead me to conclude that for my ambitions, the extra gravel ability on gravel roads offered by KTM would not be to my benefit.

    Then, I looked at the comfort bit, the ability to carry luggage, dealer network and parts availability. All this led me to give the F850 a testride.
    I also own a 1250GSA, and as everybody say that the 850 is top heavy and more difficult to ride at a slow pace, this was emphasized on my test ride .
    To my surprise, I found the 850GSA easier to ride slowly than my 1250. It did not feel top heavy at all.
    And when I rode it on curvy roads, my first thought was: "Now, why do I need the 1250 anyway". I found the China built 850 engine to be much quicker than the former Austrian made 800 engine (Probably due to change from a 360-360 to 270-450 crank). It's also a fairly longstroke engine, giving better low end grunt than any of it's competitors, and it revs quite happily.

    To sum it up, I ended up with the 850GSA, and never bothered to testride the KTM.
    #66
  7. Wveniez

    Wveniez Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2020
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    A 21” front wheel is definitely overkill for doing just gravel roads, especially standard car accessible ones. Any 19” would handle that without issue.

    I’m surprised you bought a heavier bike when one of your complaints for the F800 is weight. Especially with the tank much higher up, the F850 is harder to pick up than the F800. I definitely found the F850 less stable at a slower speed because of this(I did ride the Adventure model and compare it to my 800GSA).

    Goes to show how important test rides are because I found almost everything opposite of what is posted above, with the exception of the engine comments, which is to be expected with a different crank angle and an updated engine.
    #67
  8. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    Location:
    Ohio
    It seemed to me that if you ride with a pillion a lot and if you need space on your motorcycle, then you were stretching the limits of the KTM. It could do those things, but just not as comfortably as the F850. The KTM felt like a dirt bike. It was nuts (and fun!). My checklist of wants/needs just means the KTM would be up against its minor shortcomings whereas the BMW would be right in its element.

    To me the F850 is as little as I'm looking for in this particular bike. If I could go any smaller, I'd probably go KTM... So given that the BMW is the smallest bike that checks all the boxes I'm looking for, the top heavy argument and all that is pretty moot. Because the only alternative is a heavier bike, or something like a Suzuki V-Strom that seems only faintly interested in off road work.
    #68
  9. Wveniez

    Wveniez Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    You’d be surprised. BMW has a great warranty...until they don’t. There have been a few major defects that they’ve chosen not to cover. If you haven’t heard of the F800 rear shock bolt issue, it’s worth reading about.
    #69
    shuswap1 likes this.
  10. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    Ohio
    yeah... but KTM's warranty coverage is pretty abysmal as well (their own website says their warranty only covers the engine, swingarm, and suspension, but oddly doesn't mention their electrical system!). the dealers insist everything will be okay and taken care of, but you just have to trust them. so to keep comparisons as clean as possible, i mentally just had to trust the dealers that i'd be okay. from there it was just recognizing that KTM seemingly had a greater rate of part failures than BMW.

    once again, the motorcycle industry just does bizarre things that make being a consumer challenging. very different from cars where there's so much demand, competition, and regulation that this kind of stuff can't happen.... usually, ha.
    #70
  11. heatmizr

    heatmizr n00b-tastic

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    Location:
    CLT, NC
    Agree that 21" wheel is probably overkill for light off-roading. I am curious if a 19-in front would buy me more on the street than I would lose in those off-road rides...


    The couple times I had tip overs so far my buddies grabbed the bike and picked it up so fast I didn't really get a chance to try picking it up myself.
    I have watched some really good videos of techniques to pick up the bike, and since I'm stuck home all the time now I plan on rolling my bike into the backyard and setting it down and giving it a go... I'm very wary of it because I have hurt my back a couple times, so I will have to make sure I get it right.
    #71
  12. slider162

    slider162 Been here awhile

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    I think with warranty work, both BMW and KTM are going to come down to the dealer just as much as the manufacturer. My BMW dealer bought my G650GS Sertao back from me because of engine starting issues before I lemon lawed it. But you don't see those around any more either.

    Aside from a stingy test ride, anyone know what the OTD is on the 790? I don't see the dealer budging much on sticker with the way they are selling. $13,600 + $500 delivery + $500 cruise control + $250??? for the quick shifter?
    #72
  13. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,982
    Location:
    South Jersey... Close to the Pines
    I think most bikes are now in a seller's market either new or used dealer or private seller on the used as well. Due to Covid all production and shipments are delayed for most products and materials. Most dealers will not move off of sticker on new bikes and some are getting a premium if they can.
    #73
  14. Ayada

    Ayada Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    If you want to make the trek down into Illinois one of their dealerships is selling a 790 below sticker.

    Either of the two Wisconsin KTM dealers will be sticker price, $500 delivery, another $2-300 in wallet padding document fees, $230 for cruise control, $90 for the switch, $350 for the quick shifter, and $200 for the heated grips if you want them. There may also be additional labor for them to "install" the software, but I never got an answer for that and wasn't interested in hounding salesmen that had no interest in talking with me other than asking me where my checkbook was.

    That brings the total package to somewhere around $15k before you add tax.
    #74
  15. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    Ohio
    The above has been my experience with KTM, BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, and Triumph. Sticker with all the usual tax title license crud is the best case scenario right now.
    #75
  16. The Maz

    The Maz Clueless and lost

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
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    Location:
    Medicine Hat , AB
    In 2021 isn't the production of the 790 being moved to China?
    #76
  17. Wveniez

    Wveniez Been here awhile

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    I’m unsure but I think you’re right.

    Its a shame you that it’s getting harder to find a premium European motorcycle that is actually made in Europe.

    Premium domestic prices for exported production. With KTM production on the lower end models being in India, I suppose it was only a matter of time.
    #77
  18. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    So long as spare parts are kept in solid supply of EU and reliable trade partner nations, then I typically don’t care where the engine is manufactured. I think it’s a little unreasonable to think these big brands are going to allow a considerable drop off in quality. Is there going to be some? Maybe. But nothing insane.

    A Chinese manufactured engine, or India or whatever, really only tells me to wait for a 2nd or 3rd model year. At worst.

    I do have to ask tho: how do the Japanese brands continue to manufacture in Japan or the US without outsourcing or the price skyrocketing? I genuinely do not know.
    #78
    heatmizr likes this.
  19. Wveniez

    Wveniez Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    I think cultural influences on their business model and manufacturing processes play a large part.

    Willingness to accept lower profit margins to maintain a domestic workforce and superior quality control. If you’re interested in the topic, take a look at the NUMMI special on the “This American Life” podcast. While they make less profit per unit, they move more units than European brands. This also makes them more resilient to economic downturns.

    I would not buy a KTM engine made in India after seeing what they allowed with the RC390. The BMW engines made in China are still fairly new. Interested to see how they hold up.
    #79
    Trirrad07 likes this.
  20. The Maz

    The Maz Clueless and lost

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
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    Location:
    Medicine Hat , AB
    The g650 engine was built by Loncin since 2007
    #80