KTM 950 Prep for a "Long Ride"

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by Sun Chaser, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    I've decided to set up a 950 up for a "long ride", like 6,000-8,000 miles, maybe up to Deadhorse, over 3-4 weeks. I am a newbie to this bike, learning curve nearly 90 degrees. Decided to take my pillion along who has complained the last two rides about my beemer seats and helmet buffeting. She's pretty good about not growling while riding, but I hate to beat her up again (just did a long 11 hour day on my stock Tenere 600 E, and she really howled that next day-seat/neck). If bike choice was up to her, she'd choose a Wing, but has let me delay becoming a recliner rider for the time being.
    Bike will see mostly highway, except for some 600 plus miles of high speed gravel. Will not need GPS. Am planning late June/early July run. Hoping to use the price difference between the BMW 1200 and the KTM to outfit the bike. Currently I plan to leave brakes/engine/suspension/drive train stock. Add Alum. KTM panniers, some lever guards, maybe safety bar from KTM. Maybe KTM tankbag and probably centerstand. I'm not sure stock tires will make the loop, so may go to a rock hard road tyre (most of the gravel will be high speed stuff, hopefully when dry up the Dalton).
    Any suggestions? The seat is # one to keep the lady happy, and when I tried a Corbin I could almost hear her saying, "No, not tonight honey." I think I can get a taller, maybe wider, windscreen special order, but since the pillion weighs in at 110 lbs wet, she is pretty well protected behind my bulk up front.
    I am interested in any and all suggestions.
    #1
    mattscott likes this.
  2. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,912
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Welcome to the board. Sounds like a fun trip.

    The 950 is definitely not designed to be the most comfortable two-up bike in the world so you are fighting a bit of an uphill battle, but I think that you could make it quite comfortable with a little effort. If I remember correctly, Wayne Weber uses his for two up riding quite a bit. He might be able to offer some helpful advice.

    It sounds like long distance comfort is the number one priority for your seat, so I would think that a custom seat from Bill Mayer saddles (http://billmayersaddles.com/october25homepage.html) or Russell saddles (http://www.day-long.com/) or Rick Mayer (http://www.homestead.com/prosites-rmcycle/mayercycle.html) might be your best bet. Be sure to specify that you want the seat built for two-up riding. You might want to try to find a top box that you could modify with a comfy pad attached to the front of the box to make a nice back rest for your wife. An Air Hawk seat pad is small and light and nice insurance against sore butts. Some folks swear by sheepskin pads.

    I think the stock tires would be your best bet for the trip you are describing. They would work fine on Alaskan gravel roads and would probably last the entire trip. The rear might be close to worn ridden two up after 5000 miles. You could order another rear tire and ship it to a motorcycle shop in Anchorage or Fairbanks and have them put the new tire on up there. The front should last with no problem at all. Would suggest that you have them put in heavy duty tubes and perhaps some "Slime" equivalent inside the tubes. Some folks around here have been touting Amerseal as the best tire sealant.

    You might consider installing some heated grips (Dual Star or others) and one or two accessory plugs like Powerlets so that you can use heated vests if it gets cold. This stuff is defninitely optional, but nice if you are just looking for comfort. Alaska can get cold and wet even in the Summer.

    Good luck and have a great trip.
    #2
  3. scooter_scum

    scooter_scum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    141
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    A couple of suggestions. The roads in Alaska are really harsh on chains. Plan on bringing an extra for the trip. Also put slime in your tubes, bring an air pump of some type. Also take a voltage regulator along. For some reason, long trips seem to knock them out.

    I'm kinda fond of the crash bars from www.twistedthrottle.com. They have the best protection for the body and would allow you to have "highway bars" to change your riding position.

    As you know there are multiple choices for seat fixes. I'm fond of the one suggested by a guy in CA. He said take a 9mm shell casing and drill plugs in the seat ~1" apart. Dig out the plugs to improve the comfort of the stock seat. I've yet to try it, but just picked up some 9mm shells to get started.

    I think you will find much more dirt than you expect with all the construction on the highway. Pick up a new copy of the Alaska Mile post - *the* guide to alaska roads.

    Good luck!

    steven "scooter scum" johnson

    #3
  4. Lucky Explorer

    Lucky Explorer Traveled the world

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2001
    Oddometer:
    344
    Location:
    Northern Arizona, usa
    Sun Chaser,
    I normally ride two-up and all over the world on Elefants and GS's. I think the 950 is the best, set-up bike yet, for adventure travel. While everything is a personal choice, and you always seem to find something new out there every year-my thoughts after several thousand miles on an S.
    Laminar Lip (I'm 6'4")
    ProGrips(rally or D/S)
    Bill Mayer and Africanqueens(Germany) seats Touring and dirt oriented. Your partner will love the Mayer, not sure why she didn't like the Corbin, as it is similer.
    Powerlet sockets for Vests and GPS (total-3, two dash and 1 sidepanel)
    KTM Tankbag( I usually prefer Marsee (didn't fit) but this bag really works well)
    Jessebags and rear luggage rack(for duffle as needed)I'm a Jesse fan, but others work.
    J&M intercom(this saves pilot back pain from punches and jabs!!)
    Centerstand is handy (tho a Quick Jack or Motion Pro post works)
    I am getting crashbars as I need them occasionally(!), and I mount water bottles on them(1 &1/2 ltr. bottles in LG. bottle cages or Enduro Jugs.)
    I agree with Kirk on the stock tires, tho his mileage and mine differ( I can't get 5000 miles on anything-even fronts) I do like this tire.
    I use Moose tubes (HD) but Dunlop and Metzler make them too.
    There are many other things I usually do: like enlarged skid plates, maint. free battery,handguards, lower pegs, handlebar changes,headlight covers, etc. but this bike is really set up.
    My bike is ready to return us to Ushuaia. Good luck and have fun setting it up.
    Allen.
    #4
  5. Wayne Weber

    Wayne Weber why are we stopping?

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,855
    Location:
    Golden CO
    Well, I love the stock seat and my wife realllly likes the stock seat, but we've only done 300 mile days so far (dual sport though with at least 30% dirt).

    Luggage is good, improve the stock tool kit, figure out how to replace the tubes, and learn a little about working on the bike (always a good idea) and you should be good. Fiddle with the bar position to make it work for you, I rotated mine forward, perhaps 20 degrees.
    #5
  6. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,322
    Location:
    Escondido Ca
    Everyone had good advice but be sure to get an Airhawk I never leave home without it
    #6
  7. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    Soooo, has anybody tried the alum. panniers offered by KTM? I lifted one of the Jessie boxes and found it to be quite heavy, and awkward. The KTM box looks like a nice square box, and maybe not so heavy?
    Good idea on the back rest for the pillion. Hate to add more weight with another box though. And the AirHawk looks nice, buy why are they so expensive? Anybody know where they can be had at a reasonable price?
    Do the mirrors vibrate excessively on highway?
    What has been rattling loose on these 950's?
    If the stock chain can't make 6,000-8,000 miles will a Scotoiler get it anymore life versus just changing chains?
    Anybody blown a fork seal or shock yet?
    If I add two Aerostitch electric jackets will the juice maker be putting out enough just at highway speed to keep watts up enough to have a happy battery next time I go to start it?
    Just some more newbie questions. Thanks for all the feedback. I am already making my list from the above.
    #7
  8. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,423
    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    Hey, this is JoMomma material. We don't want to hear about your "bulk up front" and whatever else it is that's making your pillion wet. Sheesh... :razor
    #8
  9. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,322
    Location:
    Escondido Ca
    I have 4500 miles on my bike and nothing has come loose and my chain has not even needed adjusting yet
    #9
  10. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    No chain adjustment and nothing shaking loose? That's promising.
    I saw a set of Happy Trails Alum. Panniers for 950 today. They look right, and mounts look like they are tough. Comes with little luggage rack too. Anybody else seen them?
    #10
  11. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,969
    Location:
    Bow, WA USA
    some people swear by bicycle shorts to prevent monkey butt, try it , if it works bring 2 pair , look into the cassier route. the alaska ferry is always a alternate return ( or BC ferries, princerupert to Van Is. etc....) , riding early in day will avoid a lot of motor homes
    #11
  12. johnvolkman

    johnvolkman n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Granite Bay, California
    I have some of the same issues. If you get some good setup ideas, please pass them on. I plan to ride to Alaska this June on my 950. The taller windshield would be a blessing. Do you have a line on one?
    Thanks

    JV
    John Volkman
    Volkman@BMCFraming.com
    #12
  13. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,322
    Location:
    Escondido Ca
    Hi John I wondered when you would show up on this site
    #13
  14. blownaway

    blownaway Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    273
    I saw the brand new Touratech windscreen spoiler last week at the US touratech distributor. It looked like it may help us taller riders, it wasn't more than about 3-5" high and the cool thing is it mounts via a compression clamp. You can take it on & off real easy :)
    #14
  15. Mack

    Mack Gone, but never forgotten. RIP, Mack...

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,797
    Location:
    Austin, Texas USA Native Oregonian

    1.) I'm running the KTM/Zega cases on my 640 ADV. They are, like most things Touratech, spendy for what they are, but that said, I'm pretty happy. The bottom spot welds make me a tad nervous, in a medium hit a few gave, but this only effects the possibility of water getting in, the bags still work fine. (I'll be repairing the box with rivets.) I wish I had gotten two of the 35litre bags, the 41litre is just too wide for my tastes. The do seem much lighter then other offerings. The only other gripe would be that for the price you shouldn't need to add the locks or liners.

    2.) I think an oiler would help. For this application I think I would be tempted to use the Hawke oiler, over the Scot.

    3.) Hard to verify, but I think the fork gaiters are a good preventative measure. Cheers, Mack
    #15
  16. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    I think I've a manufacturer who will make a mold for a taller screen and knock off a few if I sent him an original. I'd want it not only taller, but with an outward lip, maybe even smoked. Anyone else interested?
    As for the Zega Boxes, I like'em and they're much lighter than the Jessie ones. And yep, the 38's I'll go with over the 41's. I don't mind lining them. I usually just glue in some lightweight liner. Takes an hour, and keeps my stuff from turning black. The price hurts though....kind of like the Rolex over the Timex... I like the rivet construction: you can make repairs easier. I smashed a box (fell off) and figure with a six pack and hammer I can pound it close to square again...not so easy with the welded stuff.
    I should be heading up to Prudhoe Bay about the end of June. This year it was burning up on the lower end of the Dalton Highway (with a flashing sign that said Road Closed due to smoke - which I ignored), raining at the Arctic Circle Sign and Coldfoot, and lightly snowing in the Brooks Range...all in the same day. One guy I met going up impressed me as I was doing 90 to keep up with him (mph's) in the dry: he was on a BMW K 100 RS, about an '85/86 model. He made it up in one day, took his photo, then made it back down the next. Impressive was the snow section, slippery road like cow flop in India.
    #16
  17. rcniss

    rcniss Not that way!!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Jackson,Wisconsin USA
    Sun Chaser, If you get that taller screen made be sure to post some pics for all of us to see. I would be interested if it turns out well.

    Have a great trip to Prudhoe Bay!!
    #17
  18. Renegade6

    Renegade6 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    New Boston, TX
    I would be interested in a larger screen. I've considered buying the lamalar lip but, it doesn't look all that hot.
    #18
  19. GreyGhost

    GreyGhost Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Powder Springs, Georgia
    Hi, I have been lurking and getting a feel for the list. I plan on going from Atlanta to Deaddorse in July/August 05. I have my 950S on order and and will appreciate any input you'll have. I have the Alaskan Milemarker and a few other books to help the way. One way up will be about 5800 miles. On the way back we are looking at Valdez to Prince Rupert on the Inside Passage for a three day scenic rest and then home from Prince Rupert. I have been riding for 47 yrs and a lot of dirt when I was younger. Any help will be appreciated.
    #19
  20. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    19
    Has anybody ordered/received the KTM aluminum panniers yet? I'm leaning towards Happy Trails....but would like to know if the KTM gear is good/not so good or?
    How about tank panniers? I leaning towards Aerostitch ones again. Dual Star may have some out soon molded to the tank/tankbag like they have for the KLR.
    Anybody know?
    #20