KTM Ultimate Race/Merzouga Rally 790R Review

Discussion in 'Parallel World (790/890)' started by gearheadE30, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. gearheadE30

    gearheadE30 @LC8Adventures

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    I have not ridden the F850gs, and actually haven't even seen one in person yet. Quite a few 790s around here these days, and all the people who have or had F800s ether had issues and sold them and bought an Africa Twin or a KTM, or they aren't planning to upgrade. The general opinion is that the F850 is even less of a dirt bike than the already marginal F800 was, and since most of my riding group is off road focused, the BMWs just haven't proven to be popular.

    Haha found me! I have most of a thread written up offline as a ride report for the KTM Ultimate Race experience that I will start posting up soon, and have a bunch of pics of the 950 for that thread.


    790R Durability/Common Trail Failures

    A few things have popped up here and there on the internet about 790 problems. Overall, the bikes seem to be holding up very well with the only real durability bummer being the rear shock durability. Pretty good track record from what I've seen for a completely new bike, and the aftermarket is starting to catch up as well. The 790 is also proving to be mostly quite durable in typical trail crashes.
    • R model rear shock (confirmed). S models don't seem to have an issue. The R shock tends to fail around 2000 miles regardless of use, with the failure mode being sudden leakage. You typically notice the smell of shock oil hitting the catalyst before anything else, and eventually it will start thunking on rebound. As far as I know, there is no proven solution yet, aside from buying the upgraded WP Pro parts.
    • Clutch failures (unconfirmed). Probably similar to range of experiences people had with 950/990 clutches). From what I have seen, most of these failures have been from abuse. I have only seen one that actually looked like a surprise failure, which appeared to be due to insufficient oil flow. The outermost clutch few clutch plates and fibers didn't seem to be cooling adequately and showed obvious signs of heat. Seems to be fairly uncommon but we may see that the "meoni clutch mod" from the 950/990 becomes a popular change. One also looked like clearance between the input shaft shaft ID and the clutch release "tension bolt" part number 63532048104 was maybe too tight and not letting oil through to lube the clutch...but that was just from looking at wear patterns in pictures so it is hard to say. I'm calling this an open question, but it's worth saying that the clutches held up great in Morocco and the only problems we had were due to unusual abuse.
    • Fuel pump outlet elbow (not a design problem, but commonly broken off road). This isn't a problem per se, but it is very vulnerable under the left side plastic cover below the tank. The plastic can flex in, hit the elbow, and break it off. Trailside repairs have never worked that I have seen. I have now seen multiple failures even on bikes that didn't crash and just caught a stick funny or flipped a rock up. Possible that red Huskies have a similar part, which the aftermarket reproduced in aluminum. I recommend carrying spares or coming up with some way of protecting this part. Just towed a bike out with this failure yesterday, actually.
    • Rear brake levers bending (not a design problem, just common). Not well protected or hugging the engine (like the 950/990), and I have seen a lot of them get twisted up since they hang out in space. Carry a spare just in case.
    790S Suspension

    I rode with a guy on a 790S in some pretty serious off road/woods/rocks over the weekend. The suspension is not adjustable aside from shock preload, but it actually works surprisingly well. The S does bottom out more easily, but in many cases is just as capable if you aren't also trying to ride like it's a race. The suspension is also less harsh than the R in choppy rocks and such. I was surprised how good it was, really, and have no problem recommending it especially to people who are lighter or maybe have a shorter inseam, or who aren't going to treat it like a race bike. Even the S suspension is more capable than a stock Africa Twin or F800 in my limited experience.
    Nowwhat, elron, braaap! and 4 others like this.
  2. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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    Hey Bud...the Elbow coming directly out of the bottom of the pump?

    Thank you for the info
    gearheadE30 and braaap! like this.
  3. gearheadE30

    gearheadE30 @LC8Adventures

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    Yep, that one.
    Nowwhat likes this.
  4. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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    Gracias....just ordered one....

    Expensive little sucker....worth every penny 100 miles from the truck though hahaha....real expensive if a buddy needs it on the trail....
    gearheadE30 likes this.
  5. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Indeed. Just looked it up.

    Odd how things like this crop up. Having a spare sure won't hurt and it packs smaller than a radiator! I mention the radiator only because I crumpled the left side of mine pretty good (though it didn't leak), another inmate has done the same on the left side, and there is a fellow on FB that has crumpled the left side of his bad enough to spring a leak. Yet this is the first I've heard of that fuel elbow being an easy target. Better to hear it here and maybe have a spare on hand though.
    TrailTrauma and Nowwhat like this.
  6. gearheadE30

    gearheadE30 @LC8Adventures

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    Yeah it is... hopefully now that you have it you will never need it!

    Part number is 75007092000for those looking. I haven't seen the mating connector on the fuel line side fail, but it is a standard 90 degree quick disconnect and is a bit cheaper/less unusual. Part number 76007028000 for that bit.

    @windblown101 I have seen one radiator corner get hit and leak - bent the hose connection on the lower right of the radiator. Super unusual hit - ran into the luggage rack on the back of another bike. :lol3
    windblown101 likes this.
  7. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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    Easier fix is to ban luggage racks
  8. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    When I read about the first one here I thought it must have been a rare fluke. When I hit mine I still thought it was a rare fluke. When I read about the one on facebook I decided I'd remain hopeful it was a rare fluke! It does seem odd as the left side radiator is very well protected from a side hit at both the top and bottom by the gas tank. It takes a rock squeezing in between the upper and lower tank in just the right spot to tag the radiator and that's after if hits the side fairing hard enough to deflect it inwards a fair bit. The good news is two out of the three did not cause the radiator to fail! That little plastic elbow sure does look like it would snap easy if something managed to snake it's way in there. Adding it to my list of spares that will hopefully gather lots of dust!
    Velociraptor and TrailTrauma like this.
  9. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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    Munn racing still running 25 percent off when you enter through his forum....
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  10. braaap!

    braaap! Long timer Supporter

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    Maybe one of you cool guys might facilitate a 'group buy' on our behalf?... 6 x 75007092000 Hydraulic Connector.
    Save us a few bucks perhaps?