F800GS vs. 990 ADV or enduro

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by garfield, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. garfield

    garfield Garfield

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    Would like to get my first adventure bike in the near future. I'd like to be brand loyal and get another KTM, (have had 8, still have 2) The maintainance on the 990 scares me a little. The BMW looks to be an option but I am unfamiliar with BMW. How does it compare, valve adjustments etc. ? I considered a V-Strom but I prefer Euro.
    thanks for any input.
    #1
  2. Denalidirt

    Denalidirt High Plains Drifter Supporter

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    KTM adv is by far a much better bike. I have a 950 adv. Once a year, 500.00 or less in maintainance if you have the dealer do the work. IMO if you can purchase the bike it's a no brainer. More power more versatility same weight much better bike. If you want to compair a KTM tow BMW look at the 1200gs. KTM will still put a bigger smile on your face
    #2
  3. lonerockz

    lonerockz Permanent n00b Supporter

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    BMW has more dealers so your more likely to find parts where your going. Taking off body panels on the 990 to do a Oil change sounds like a pain in the butt, but I guess you could adapt. F800 is relatively new engine people are still figuring out its weaknesses. KTMs eat water pumps like tic tacs. I would need the optional on board step stool to get on the 990R :lol3. You can probably get a deal on a 990, probably not on an F800.


    Steve
    #3
  4. spoof

    spoof on backwards

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    Sounds like a good choice to have to make. I doubt you can go wrong. I happen to have a new f800gs that I'm loving and I would say it is way more comparable to the KTM that the BMW 1200 in terms of weight, capability, agility, etc.

    Although a new model, there doesn't seem much to go wrong with the BMW--proven rotax powerplant... maintenace appears to be very easy, but there is the complex CanBus system.

    Especially if you are already a KTM guy, I sure as hell wouldn't be scared of the maintenance on the ADV. I would call them well-proved on this board. All indications are that the GS twin is going to be a good bike as well, but it's early days.

    And I would ignore the trash talking from both sides of the fence. Like a say, a pleasure to have these two choices.
    #4
  5. garfield

    garfield Garfield

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    Fantastic responses, thank you all. The 800 is a Rotax? I did not know. I had an ATK/Rotax, bullet proof.
    #5
  6. Bucko

    Bucko In a parallel world

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    The F800GS has a modified version of the Rotax twin that's been used in the R800S and ST models for the past 3 years or so. They tilted the cylinders back to almost vertical, moved the waterpump, gave it a shallower sump, and stuck it in a pretty good chassis. Depending on how/where you want to ride, it might be a great choice. Ride one of each if you can.

    Thanks to everyone who hasn't posted in this thread yet for allowing me to get a word in before the spit hits the fan on which bike is 'better.'

    Full disclosure: I own an F800GS, have friends with Adv950s and am put off by the maintenance and water pump problems. But the GS is new, so who knows what awaits? Right now, the bike is just what I wanted. And that's what counts.
    #6
  7. Dert Gerl

    Dert Gerl Been here awhile

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    I too am a KTM fan and own two of them, but went with the 800 and am very happy with it.

    My boyfriend has a 990 and it's been great to be able to trade and compare.

    We already both have a small bike for singletrack and a bigger bike for the dunes/baja and wanted big bikes that would be evenly matched and I think we found the right combo.

    They both have minor pros and cons but both excellent bikes that are very dirt worthy.

    The smaller size/weight of the 800 fits me better and I like the low center of gravity. At 5'7" it seems very manageable.

    I would prefer to have the 18" rear wheel like the 990.

    Electrical system on the BMW is not real DIY friendly.

    990 doesn't get the greatest gas mileage.

    Ride them both and see which one physically fits you better. You'll be very happy with either.
    #7
  8. zaner32

    zaner32 In over my head

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    In fall 07 I was in the same boat as you...

    I had my mind set on a KTM with some cash on hand to put a sizeable deposit. I went to a couple of local KTM dealerships, and noen of them were an "orange" level dealer, Just "Competition" level. That meant that they neither sold or supported the twins except the ability to order parts.

    None of the salespeople were interested in my money. The wanted to sell me the jackhammer LC4. eckkk. Me no wanna!

    I just got turned off by non returned emails and phone calls. I started lurking in the Orange section and that finally put the nail in the coffin of that idea.

    I went to the BMW dealer and asked about the supposedly F800GS coming down the pipe. The salesman said he couldn't say much of anything officially, but off the books, he said it was coming. He took my number.

    I got a call about this time last year and put a deposit down that same week after a bit of research.

    I gotta tell you something though.... BMW corporate sucks a big stinky monkey's a$$ when in comes to customer appreciation. The bike got delayed by fabricating excuses of the required amount of 650's in Europe, and changing the maufacturing schedules several times. At the local bike show, the BMW I calmly and politely showed my displeasure about the delay, and they basically said: go get your deposit back, the guy behind you will probably want it and will be willing to wait. WTF???:huh

    I rode the F800GS for a week before I had to put it away for winter, and I gotta say that it was worth the wait.

    Which is better for you?? It depends what you wanna do? If you don't mind wrenching, get the KTM. If you wanna ride, get the BMW.

    If you want to buy form a good company that looks after their customers, buy another brand.
    #8
  9. danceswithdeer

    danceswithdeer Space Wrangler

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    I too was in the same dilemma. I had three bikes last May (1 BMW, 1 Suzuki, and 1 Kawa) and wanted to get down to one bike for a while since I have three kids in college. After five BMWs (2 GS), I was leaning toward the F800GS. The KTM 990 was on the back burner, but I was still interested. After riding both and lurking about nine months on Orange Crush, I pulled the trigger on an Orange 990 Adventure.

    Here's why:

    1) The v twin mojo with an available Akra map. I rode both bikes back to back and the KTM motor was intoxicating. The BMW was a NICE powerplant but felt lean and kind of boring after the Katoom. I like the fact that the dealer can add a different map for different exhausts...and what beautiful music from the KTM.

    2) They both have tube tires, but the Adventure has the 21/18 setup which is far superior in the dirt...even on loose gravel and sand roads imho.

    3) ABS is standard and easily switched off on the KTM

    4) Way better stock suspension is standard on the KTM

    5) EWS on the Beemer (that's the system that keeps you from stealing your own bike) with only one $400 key supplied at signing.

    6) Better dealer support - In Wyoming, there are three "Orange Level" KTM dealers and NO BMW dealers. I'd bet that nationwide, the KTM dealers double (or better) the BMW dealers. Try finding a BMW dealer these days; they're rare and getting rarer while KTM dealerships seem to be on the increase.

    Besides, after fiver Beemers, I was ready for a change, and so far, I absolutely love honking aroung on that snorty V-twin...what a fun bike.

    Oh yeah, and one more thing, I got the 990 with heated grips and the crash bars for about the same price as the F800GS, so price wasn't a consideration.
    #9
  10. LarryC

    LarryC Adventurer

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    I also looked at the KTM and the BMW 800GS:

    I got the BMW for the following reasons:
    - I knew I would be on the road more than dirt. I came to the conclusion the BMW is better in this area. (Handling and design.)
    - MPG. It was the KTM guy who told me that the 800GS got about 50 MPG while the 990 got aroound 30-34.
    - Warranty. The KTM warranty was a year shorter than BMW.
    - Maintenance. I talked to guys in both service areas....and I taked to some KTM owners. Unless the BMW has major design flaws (which will come out later)....the KTM appeared to cost about 2 to 3 times more to maintain if you use the dealership.

    However, if I had the money....I would have bought one of each.... the KTM is a great machine. It took me 3 months of pondering before I bought.
    #10
  11. spoof

    spoof on backwards

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    Sweet.

    I don't know about "far superior" but I'll admit that 18" tire selection is nice to have.

    OK, it costs some $$$ on the BMW, but it is easily switched off and on

    Damn. Those KTMs do have nice suspension.

    I do worry about the EWS, although it appears to have been a bad batch early on. This general kind of system has been used effectively. It's actually not terribly expensive to carry a spare, and very light. BMW GS twins actually come with 3 keys--two standard and one emergency. Just FYI

    Depending on the region. But KTM is making great strides with dealerships. It's good to see.

    Change is not only good, it's inevitable:deal
    #11
  12. tmex

    tmex Long timer

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    Both brands are very good. However, a 180 to 220 mile range limitation is on the edge of what I would want in my ideal adventure bike. The BMW is easier to service, but I don't find wrenching on my bikes to be onerous in any case. All the KTM's and BMW's I have owned have been very reliable. It really comes down to personal preference. I am not a big fan of WP suspension or Marzocchi suspension. I am on a BMW trend at the moment, but could have just as easily added to my orange stable.
    #12
  13. The Griz

    The Griz Long timer Supporter

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    Myself, I've just always wanted a BMW. And ever since BMW released pics of the F800GS, I've wanted it. For a number of reasons. However, to address this thread:

    They're both very good manufacturers, and both make very good bikes. However, these are the reasons I'm not really into the KTM's:

    A lot harder to maintain. Harder to get to the inner workings. Even to do an oil change on the 990, you have to take some panels off. For most things, step one in the service manual on the 990 are: remove panels. And once you get those panels off, everything is so tightly packed together that you have to take multiple things apart just to service one item. They do typically cost over twice as much for service than BMW's for this reason. Also, I just don't like the look of the 990. Fugly in my opinion.

    To address this thread further. I don't think the F800GS and the 990Adventure are two bikes that occupy the same class/category. I think it's:

    BMW R1200GS Adventure vs. KTM 990 Adventure R (or equivalent)

    BMW F800GS vs. KTM 950 Super Enduro R (or equivalent)

    Historically KTM has always been focused on higher performance at the cost of lower reliability, more maintenance, harder maintenance, and higher maintenance cost. Historically, BMW has chosen to remain focused on a balance of performance and reliability, ease of maintenance, and lower cost maintenance. Hence why more people choose BMW when adventure riding long distances...say, around the world. And one more thing, BMW has more dealerships around the world, in more countries than KTM by a long shot.

    Either way, it's hard to compare bikes from the two manufacturers, being they're so different.
    #13
  14. MJS

    MJS Long timer

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    I was waiting for the F800, hoping it would be more dirt worthy than my 12GS and more civilized with longer range than the HP2. In short, I wanted a dirt oriented tourer. The 990 adventure sounds sweet but wasn't quite what I wanted. (I had ridden the 950 and 990 adv).

    Then I got a chance to ride a 950 SE. That was it, no more waiting for an 800. So for far less than the F800, I got a new SE, ordered some pipes, a Safari 8 gal tank and mounts for my HT boxes. And the SE comes with a real tool kit, parts manual and the owner's manual actually tells you how to work on the bike. Another factor was the parts prices between the two brands. F800 headlight $428, SE headlight $125. F800 side panel (faux tank cover) $400, SE tank cover $50. BMW charges way to much for plastic.

    FWIW, last weekend I switched bikes with a new F800 owner. I thought the 800 was a good bike, just uninteresting after the KTM. The 800 owner felt the same way.

    The F800 seems like a good bike. You will probably have to replace the wheels if you ride hard off-road. They are soft and prone to bending. Something I would factor into the purchase price, but I'm kinda hard on my bikes. YMMV.

    Best advice: But the bike that floats your boat. What I or others ride are our personal preferences, not yours. Then go ride. :D

    Cheers,
    #14
  15. PhilSpace

    PhilSpace The Ex-Gov

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    I have a friend that had a 950 and a 950SE, KTM rocks and the price was right, but I still didn't pull the trigger. It's all in where you live and dealer support. In my neck of the woods there were no good options, so I went with something I new I could get parts and service for. I also think that KTM's logistical support just isn't all that great.
    #15
  16. Bigem

    Bigem Long timer

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    They are different bikes. If you want to spend lots of time spannering, buy the 990, if you want to spend your time riding, buy the 800!! Whats the price difference over there. Its about $5000 dearer for the 990 here in Australia. BMW $16750 vs KTM $22000!!
    #16
  17. The Griz

    The Griz Long timer Supporter

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    Yeah, I don't know what these guys are talking about, the KTM's being cheaper than BMW's. I paid $11,500 OTD for my F800GS. The 990Adv I looked at was going for $13,800 before tax, title, and license!
    #17
  18. gybeman

    gybeman Been here awhile

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    It may be a Rotax design (maybe, the 650 single was), but the word is that Kymco had a hand in the building/assembly somewhere. (yes the scooter company) Not exactly something you would consider BMW to be involved in. I'm still waiting for a test ride of the GS, and to see how the clunking (and breaking) front ends and engine longevity hold out.
    If you are planning on doing any actual off road dirt riding, there is no question the KTM is in a league of its own. I'm only considering the BMW as an occasional dirt/gravel road burner to replace a street bike.
    #18
  19. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    And this word is from where, exactly (other than your imagination)? Got anything other than an internet rumor? :ear

    David
    #19
  20. earthroamer

    earthroamer Stuck in Pindadesh

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    Very funny:rofl

    You're totally uninformed. All Rotax Type 804 engines made by BRP Rotax, Austria.
    #20