Decision time.... Africa twin vs KTM 790 adventure

Discussion in 'Parallel World (790/890)' started by scrapy, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,269
    Location:
    Star Tannery, VA
    :y0!I've run that slow under light load conditions in certain situations and the motor handles it fine. One tooth down on the front sprocket (15t) which is what I run yields about 10mph @ 2000rpm in first gear. If I need need a burst of power to clear something at that speed then obviously clutch work comes into play and RPMs are higher.


    I've never claimed to be particularly good or fast. So there is that...
    :muutt
  2. TrailTrauma

    TrailTrauma Nemophilist

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,239
    Location:
    Ontario .. Superior
    He probably has a rekluse...
  3. Noyah

    Noyah poser

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    828
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well to be fair, if you are going to run that type of terrain you will gear for it and voila... no clutch needed.
    shooter_t1 and Velociraptor like this.
  4. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,187
    Location:
    wren-tonne, WA
    I test rode a 790 S yesterday.. my 2016 Africa Twin is now up for sale and loan approved for when the 2020 R model arrives shortly.

    I think KTM hit it out of the park with this one. It has the same power output as my AT, but weighs 80lbs less, and handles oh so much better because of the lower CG and balanced design. The suspension on the S was way too stiff, but if you're riding mostly road, it will do well. I have ridden over 15k miles on the AT, and it has served me well. I've ridden it on track days, took first place in an ADV obstacle course, and have no problem keeping up (and passing) bikes like the KTM 1190 and Ducati 1200 Multistrada.. but the 790 handles soo much smoother, and tighter, and it's lighter weight and design engineering shows. I have a 2011 Six Days 530 for when i want to ride really hard offroad, but the 790 will take me places I wouldn't go on the AT, or had trouble with.
  5. funkymunky

    funkymunky Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Centurion, Sunny South Africa
    I recently traded my 2016 AT for a second hand 790 R. The difference is substantial, it is easier to ride, I almost dropped mine twice, both times, it was a easy save, if I had been on the AT, there is no chance I would have saved the drop, the bike would have hit the ground, no matter what. If I read my seat-of-my-pants meter, it is faster to speed, easier to control in the tough stuff and way more fun than the AT!
    braaap! and TrailTrauma like this.
  6. braaap!

    braaap! Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,168
    Location:
    Here and There
    Ah... Converts to the dark side!

    You AT blokes will all now have to swap out yer riding gear for new, color coded or matched gear - Ya hafta! It's in the fine print of the sale documents :)
    Seriously though, it's interesting to hear such positive comments from AT owners... Am glad that some find and make the transition so easily. The 790 is truly such a competent package all round.

    Welcome to the brotherhood!
  7. funkymunky

    funkymunky Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Centurion, Sunny South Africa
    Thanks mate! I am seriously considering selling my 690 now. There are only a few use cases where it will come out tops over the 790. For now i believe that the 690 will see very minimal usage....
    braaap! likes this.
  8. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,187
    Location:
    wren-tonne, WA
    yes.. I have done over 15k on my AT.. in some pretty rough conditions.. it's a great machine with fantastic offroad capabilities.. and here's the kicker, "for it's size". I think out of the box, it's the best deal going for a 500+ lb twin considering it's so much cheaper then the three letter brands; and can run regular gas, cheap to insure etc.. but yeah.. I too have had situations where a 80lb lighter bike would probably have helped a bit
    braaap! likes this.
  9. JETalmage

    JETalmage Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Oddometer:
    744
    Weight is certainly of paramount importance when it comes to actual off-road riding. And that's primarily why Adventure Bikes are not off-road bikes. They are, by original definition, somewhat more rugged and less finicky touring bikes ostensibly intended for touring in remote regions where road conditions are more "iffy." Since, as you say, " the importance of low weight while off roading is absolute," no 400 lb bike (let alone 500+ lb) is an off-road bike. Too many endlessly exaggerate and mix bike genres when referring to "Adventure Bikes."

    Too many also get way too simplistic and "absolute" with cliche' buzzwords. For example, everyone loves to toss around "low center of gravity." Have you ever tried to balance a broom vertically in your hand? Do you put the heavy end in your palm or at the top? Every Trials rider is familiar with that conventional-wisdom defying principle. Modern Trials bikes typically weigh less than even the fittest riders. Yet Trials riders "violate" the "low center of gravity" conventional-wisdom "absolute" dictum by riding standing up (i.e., raising the center of gravity) for better handling.

    Despite even KTM's marketing allusion to "low COG" regarding the 790s tanks, I'd love to see someone perform a comparison test including this criteria: Simply put an equal but negligible amount of fuel--say, a half gallon (i.e. 3 lb)--in both bikes before citing the familiar "lower COG" claim. Does the 790's advantage disappear? Does it suddenly feel more "top heavy" because it's not now carrying 30 lb of liquid down near the engine? (This is why bike weight specs should never include fuel. On any bike, the amount--and therefore weight--of fuel is constantly changing as it runs, and there is no law that one must always fill a large tank to the brim. It's certainly not always filled to the brim while riding.)

    Even "light weight" is not so simple. We commonly hear people claim that a bike "feels lighter" than its numbers indicate. A large part of that is because weight and bulk work hand-in-hand in affecting how cumbersome a bike is to handle off-road. And while that net effect is very real, it is largely rider-relative.

    A 690 Enduro is significantly lighter than any other Dualsports in its displacement class. Despite that, in my case its excessive seat height made it almost as cumbersome (fall prone) off-road as the DR650 it replaced, simply because of my 30" inseam. The bulk factor is relative to rider size, yet people love to make comparisons between Adventure Bike models' "off-road ability" while neglecting to consider the bikes' relative bulk or their own physical stature and reach.

    When I first saw and sat on an Africa Twin "in the flesh," the instantly disappointing turn-off was that it was as bulky as my former V-Strom 1000. That's because I'm 5'7", 165 lb. Even if they were the same weight, that was the deal-breaker for me, even when contemplating off-road use no more demanding than merely navigating to the hill top in the middle of my own familiar riding property.

    For many of us, the lesser bulk of the 790 is as much a factor of its greater nimbleness relative to the Africa Twin as the weight difference. To a 6'3" rider, that would no doubt be less a factor. But geometry is geometry. When having to take a corrective dab at the ground to avoid a tip over in an awkward situation, simple additional reach equates to greater leverage for any bike of a given weight.

    I'm not interested in pretending a 400-lb Adventure Bike is any kind of recreational off-road bike. I have a 500 EXC and a Honda-Montesa Cota for that. I don't even harbor any Walter Mitty fantasy of round-the-world touring "adventures" across third-world country borders. I simply prefer the practical Adventure Bike design and concept for my "big road bike."

    The 790 is the first full-blown Adventure Bike to come along to approximate the compactness of my beloved 990 SMT. The 790 makes at least the same power as the Africa Twin, with significantly less weight and bulk. But it still makes about 20 HP less than my SMT, which is about the same weight. The sacrifice of that steadily-building pull of the SMT straight from idle is an unfortunate but conscious sacrifice for something that clearly does handle more "dirt bike-ish" both on- and off-pavement.

    So in most general terms and smaller details aside: For someone of similar stature to mine, the 790 is deal-changing advantageous compared to the Africa Twin. But arguably, the taller the rider, the less so. No doubt many tall riders find the 790 cramped for its claimed primary purpose, somewhat rugged distance touring. For me, it's just right.

    That doesn't mean it's perfect. It's still enjoying "new model euphoria" just as the Africa Twin did when it first appeared. But it has its shortcomings, too, which I'd summarize as evidences of KTM "cheaping out" on some things (cable clutch; flimsy pebble-guard "skid plate") while "customer gouging" on others (electronic add-ons, the near useless design of the stock rack). I like it, but it is not the focused, elegant, motorcycling "purist" masterpiece the SMT is. Sometimes KTM seems to be becoming disturbingly more "Japanese-like." And that's not what I buy KTMs for.

    JET
  10. chippertheripper

    chippertheripper motorcycle junkie Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    9,924
    Location:
    s.e. mass
    this physics argument is flawed, and you certainly aren't alone in making it. a rider stands up to have more leverage over manipulating the motorcycle, not to raise it's center of gravity and make it easier. put that hammer on the table, is it easier to stand up on the handle? no. the higher the cg, the more stable a bike is at speed, but you lose flickability. there's a happy medium in there somewhere, and it's never an absolute.

    personally, I'm for more interested in a total package vs this data point or that.

    ahhh, winter.
    bobnoxious67 likes this.
  11. FlyLow

    FlyLow Just Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    144
    Back to school re. your physics conclusions.
    comradecasey likes this.
  12. FlyLow

    FlyLow Just Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    144
    Back to school re. your physics conclusions.
    comradecasey likes this.
  13. AdvRonski

    AdvRonski They call me......Ronski

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,210
    Location:
    Finally made it to Fruita!
    Back to school RE: Pretty much all of your conclusions.
    comradecasey likes this.
  14. marchyman

    marchyman barely informed Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,234
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Also, from a physics standpoint you change from an almost monolithic system (rider attached to the bike) to a system that is loosely coupled, or more loosely coupled for the pedantic. The rider can move in directions different from the bike. This lets you place the system COG OVER the contact patch. The location of the COG has more benefit than its relative height in loose dirt.
    shooter_t1 and TrailTrauma like this.
  15. chippertheripper

    chippertheripper motorcycle junkie Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    9,924
    Location:
    s.e. mass
    sho nuff.
    The bottom line for me is: it’s a really dynamic experience, one that sheer data points can’t encapsulate.
  16. TrailTrauma

    TrailTrauma Nemophilist

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,239
    Location:
    Ontario .. Superior
    Nice. :D

    That is the little ballet of movement I have been working on all season. It's humbling as hell, but as I get the hang of it and feed more throttle the dividends are well worth it at speed in the twisties. Also this is an area which some refer to as being weightless on the bike. Striving, in general, to find that sweet spot which keeps the rider feeling less of a tug from the bike to or fro, or side to side. And when you take a rider, such as is my case, with neuro-deficits in the upper extremities - every moment I am 'not' weightless is a moment I pay for as the ride progresses, and certainly for the next several hours or days. But when I can grip the bike adequately with my boots, and perfect that weightless ballet then it's remarkable the pace I can keep up for much longer durations .. compared to the month before, and certainly compared to previous yrs. I used to see my deficits as a f'ng drag, but this yr they became a useful tool - poor form is instantly punished, so from a biofeedback perspective the deficits, fatigue and pain are exactly what I need as a near instant warning system that my form sucked at that moment, and an incentive to crush the next corner with improved form. This is the season (on the 790) in which I evolved from being more of a passenger on my bike to being the rider. The bike moving under me, and across the terrain while my job was to constantly stay 'ahead' of the next force coming. Much like being on ice, and knowing a hit is coming and bracing into it to mitigate that hit.

    /ramble
    shooter_t1 likes this.
  17. jmarleau

    jmarleau Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Oddometer:
    460
    Well said.
    I'll bet I was not the only one that had to look up "pedantic".