Unexpected Lust: 2008 KTM 990 Superduke

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by neduro, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. neduro

    neduro Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,299
    Location:
    Salida, CO
    My original motorcycle love was for sportbikes. I learned to ride on a CBR (no idea how I survived that) and I still get all googly-eyed around crotch rockets. The taut feeling of control, the unbelievable rush of acceleration, the thrill of deep lean angles- these are the things that once kept me up at night.

    Past rides have included a CBR 6s and 9s, a Ducati Monster and 916, a VTR1000 and an R1, and others I can't remember just now. I've been lucky to get saddle time on many more, both on the road and at the track (I'm the first to admit I'm not a great track rider, though, but I do enjoy it!), and I honestly thought from those rides that I'd seen what was available, and despite my love for them, I decided to swear them off a few years ago for a number of reasons.

    First, they don't seem appropriate, especially here in Colorado. If you let the motor climb onto the cam for a couple gears, you're going to jail. If you go around the sweepers that we call twisties at 7-8/10ths, you're gonna get a big ticket eventually. If you ride the bike how it feels like it was meant to be ridden, not on the edge or being stupid, just exploiting a little bit of the astounding mechanical competence, you are always breaking the law. I find that frustrating instead of rewarding.

    Second, my garage is generally a war zone of dirtbikes, mountain bikes, fabrication projects, and so on. Having a few acres of paint to be careful around feels like punishment, not reward. I hated having a bike that always felt like it needed special treatment when I wasn't riding it.

    Third, I broke my wrist pretty badly, and have had trouble getting comfortable on a set of clip ons ever since. I used to routinely log 6-900 mile days, the last ride I took on my R1 had me crying in pain at 150. 150 miles doesn't even get you to the twisties in CO.

    Finally, I'm not what you'd call a model of self control, and I find it almost impossible not to pop the occasional (frequent) wheelie, back into a corner, etc, you get the idea. You do these things on sportbikes and it is always with the knowledge that it's going to hurt if you screw up, and even if you get it right it might result in a performance award. Dirtbikes and Dualsports are much more forgiving this way.

    So when I was at the KTM Adventure Rider Rally in Idaho last week, and got the chance to take a spin on a Superduke, I thought I was immune to its charms. I thought I could head up the river to where we'd left a truck on a dirtbike ride, retrieve the van, and move on with my life.

    I thought wrong. Very wrong.

    [​IMG]

    Here I am at the end of that ride, apparently discussing wheelies with the KTM Rep...

    And here's what's in my garage now.

    [​IMG]

    Next post: why.
    #1
    Blakduk likes this.
  2. nedodjija

    nedodjija Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    678
    Location:
    Boise ID
    if you are hungry, you should not go grocery shoping.
    #2
  3. Wolfhound

    Wolfhound Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    390
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I rode a friend's one home for him from the dealership...and the rest is history!! Very soon after, I ended up with a white '08 model.

    I find it very comfortable at 6ft 1in, but more than that, it has improved my riding immeasurably and I have alot of confidence on this bike (not stupid confidence, mind you).

    The good roads for me are about 60 miles away. I agree fully that riding these bikes to anything approaching their limits can be ludicrously dangerous on the roads, particularly if they are only mildly twisty in nature. That said, there are some very well-surfaced and twisty roads that make me feel so good on this bike - these are the roads I ride as they are enough of a challenge for me but at the same time, they make me feel I am using enough of the bike's handling prowess whilst keeping the speeds reasonable in the event of a mishap.

    Enjoy and take care - Wolfhound
    #3
    staticPort likes this.
  4. Jarvis

    Jarvis DC GSer

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Oddometer:
    14,924
    Location:
    Washington DC
    :lurk Why?
    #4
  5. Dranrab Luap

    Dranrab Luap E-Tarded

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    39,149
    Location:
    Louisissippi Coast
    I'm glad I don't have a KTM dealer anywhere near me.
    #5
    AzB likes this.
  6. skortch

    skortch mmm... curvy

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,348
    Location:
    NoCo
    Sweet, congrats! That is one bike I keep coming back to, along with Street Triples and a few others. It seems like such a perfect ride in so many ways; weight, power, character...

    Personally I'll take the corners somewhat fast and slow down on the straights and have (mostly) avoided tickets. There can be plenty of enjoyment riding that pace (The Pace to some) while saving the faster riding for track days.
    #6
  7. omnivore

    omnivore SuperSportTourer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,013
    Location:
    Brantford,ONT,CAnada
    Congrats! That's my fav naked sportbike right now.
    #7
  8. neduro

    neduro Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,299
    Location:
    Salida, CO
    I'm leaned against the propane canister pictured above, sort of gobsmacked with the motorcycle I just rode. It's fast but in an understated way- impressive, but not in your face like an inline 4, which is good because the bike is satisfying to ride without needing revs (and the speed that comes with them).

    I start making excuses to myself.

    It's naked, so I won't mistakenly find myself at triple digit speeds.

    It won't beat up my wrist, look, it's got handlebars just like a real bike!

    Hardly any paint. Just park it near the wall and don't swing a 2x4 into it and it'll be fine.

    Did you feel that suspension! That is so many light years ahead of any streetbike you've owned, it doesn't bear mentioning. It sucked up the crappy pavement like a dualsport, but was controlled even when you flogged it. Amazing!

    Look at that thing, for christ's sake! It's fuggin' evil! You have to have it!

    And those brakes, my god, those brakes. Perfect. I have no words to describe them.

    A few gentle trackdays, get back in the swing of things and wear out a kneepuck or two. It'll be just the ticket!

    Besides, it'll get great gas mileage *...

    * When my mental dialogue starts thinking about gas mileage as it relates to motorcycles, I know I'm stretching the limits of reason.

    The other part of my mind fights back.

    You rode it 120 feet before you lifted the front wheel, and you started shifting wheelies before you got out of city limits. You are clearly not mature enough yet.

    You rode 30 miles to the van in less than 20 minutes. Low speed my ass!

    You need a streetbike like a hole in the head, you don't even like riding on the street!

    But here's what it all comes down to. The thing that motivates me to buy a bike, after all the back and forth internally and externally that comes with every purchase, is simple. I look at the bike, I see myself on it, I see myself enjoying it, I see a trip on which this bike is uniquely perfect, and if that vision is compelling, forget it. It's over. If not, I'll pass. Two visions came into my mind unbidden as I rode this bike...

    The first was of some curves I know on the backside of Mt Tam, and the San Francisco lanesplitting craziness I followed Jean-Luc through to get to them. This bike would be perfect. PERFECT. Nothing else that is as good on the fast stuff, could eat the bad roads with so much grace. Nothing else that likes the bad roads (my SE is a fine example) is much fun on the faster stuff.

    The second was of a road in the mountains of central Mexico that I was frustrated to ride on worn out knobbies last year, and kept thinking what fun it would be to ride a sportbike in a country where traffic laws are what you'd hope, and people wave you by anywhere they can. I could load this thing and a dirtbike in the van, head South of the border during the winter, and catch a few weeks of good riding, some twisties and some singletrack, and spend next to nothing doing it.

    The vision was compelling. A check was produced. The bike was taken. And that brings us current. I got it home and have commuted, ridden 2 up after dinner for an hour, and done little else.

    But it's coming, oh yes, it is. A Leo Vince exhaust system showed up today, along with a Kaoko throttle control and a 16T sprocket from Kurt @ Black Dog. I've got a trackday scheduled for Monday, then it will be time to sort out luggage.

    So now there's a smoking hole in my wallet where my remodel funds used to be, and a lack of space in the garage. I'm not complaining, who needs a house?
    #8
    Blakduk likes this.
  9. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,763
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Congrats on the SD. It's been an tugging at me for a couple of years-- the lustometer only deminishing (but never going completely away) whenever I'm riding my 950SM. I've ridden them back to back on a day in the twisties and it's amazing how much fun both are; different, but each an absolute hoot.

    SDs are getting to a price point where having 3 LC8s is starting to not look so decadent. And in orange it might confuse my wife just enough :lol3

    Now, if they can only get the SDR to be competitive with the 600s in Daytona Sportbike...
    #9
  10. lesman

    lesman Live easy, Brake Hard

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,023
    Location:
    Baja Okahoma
    If you have problems with your wrists...this ain't your bike.
    Test rode a Super duke...very fun, really fun
    Best brakes of any bike that I've ever ridden.
    One of the most painful or the most painful bike that I've ever ridden.
    I'm 5'10". This bike is made for someone very limber.
    If it hurts your wrists, elbow and shoulder pain will follow.
    Riding a bike is just an irrational experience. Enjoy the Duke.
    I rode a Hypermotard. Easier on everything and just as ridiculous



    Les
    #10
  11. heavyhitter

    heavyhitter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Good looking bike. When the Duke was first announced I pooped myself. I loved it. I am a big fan of nakeds. After seeing one dyno'd here in town, I was really disappointed. I supposed it has enough power for any sane person but I am insane.
    #11
  12. PeteN95

    PeteN95 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,646
    Location:
    Muk, WA
    Congrats, Awesome bike! I wanted one, but the bank account said naked SV1000 instead. I don't think I'll own another bike that doesn't have tapered dirt bike bars on it!
    #12
  13. Stobie

    Stobie Mr. Motivated Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,079
    Location:
    Stanley, NC
    I've been trying to talk myself into selling my SE to get an SD for over two years; but I know I'll regret letting the SE go, even though I mostly ride it on the street. Where I live, I would be much better off with a dedicated streetbike and a plated woods bike, instead of trying to do it all on a big dual-sport. The fact that my 'tard setup hasn't worked as well as I had hoped doesn't help.

    Here's a link to my whining.

    That surprises me. I'm 6'4", 230#, 46 years old, and out of shape, and I find the SD to be roomy and comfortable. Similar ergos to a 1st-gen FZ1, or maybe a Bandit. Roomier than my old R11RS.
    #13
  14. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,763
    Location:
    Central NJ
    62, 5'10, and er, not lithe and limber :lol3. I found the bike pretty comfortable on the ~2-hour rides I've taken. Not an issue at all for me.
    #14
  15. Stobie

    Stobie Mr. Motivated Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,079
    Location:
    Stanley, NC
    Oh yeah: congrats, Ned.:beer

    Be sure and check in at www.superduke.net . Great bunch of guys there, and tons of good info.
    #15
  16. XR6MOTO

    XR6MOTO Motorcycle addict

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    184
    Location:
    DC
    I LOVE my SD. I've owned lots of sport & dirt bikes over the years & this is by far one of the (if not the) funnest bikes I've ever ridden. No, it doesn't have the power of the current liter sport bikes but believe or not, it doesn't have to (for the street at least). I sport a huge grin on my face every time I ride it. Would I like more power? Sure why not but it doesn't make it any less desirable to me as it is.

    I find it way more comfortable than any of the sport bikes I've ever owned ('94 VFR included). The suspension has a pretty good range of adjustment that should suit most riding styles & weights.

    The bike is light, super flickable w/GREAT brakes. I find it's looks sexy. The only drawback with it is that it turns me into a miscreant every time I ride it :evil
    #16
  17. Yellow Pig

    Yellow Pig Allergic to asphalt! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,348
    Location:
    SoCal -T.O.
    So how does this

    [​IMG]


    compare to something like this:

    [​IMG]

    :wink:
    #17
  18. Playa Shark

    Playa Shark High Desert Prowler

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    546
    Location:
    Black Rock in Spirit
    Met you up in Riggins. Friend of Cullen in Reno. Bought my new, old stock '07 in July for a very good price. Love it. This is what I did this weekend at RFR. Although my riding may have sucked, the bike did not. Had it tunned with a PCIII. 105 rwh and 65 fpt. at 4400 feet.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Stobie

    Stobie Mr. Motivated Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,079
    Location:
    Stanley, NC
    :ear
    #19
  20. neduro

    neduro Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,299
    Location:
    Salida, CO
    Not much time, but here's a quick response:

    I haven't gotten to ride my SE since buying the SD (someone crashed the SE for me on the street, so 20x is in very small pieces right now :cry)... but here's my first thoughts:

    1) Off-road suspension does not communicate with nearly the same precision as road stuff. The traction is there on 19/17 or 17/17, but the feel is much less precise especially at higher speeds.

    2) Riding position is much more aggressive feeling on the SD- rearset pegs, lower bars, and a tank that define where your butt is. Knee down feels very natural on an SD and kind of contrived on an SE.

    3) The SE motor is plenty strong but somewhat flat above 6k. The SD motor just keeps building and rips to redline with considerably more fervor. The brakes on the SD are not even in the same league.

    4) The actual speed you go through a corner on the street is probably not much different. The feel of how you do it is way more sporty on the SD than it is on the SE- the SE kind of swims through, the SD carves through.

    5) After loads of time on ADVs and SEs, it's amazing how many similarities there are in feel on the SD. You feel right at home, even with all the above differences.

    YP: drop me an email if you want to ride it ever, you're welcome to... :deal (queue crack dealer line: first hit is free)

    Yesterday I installed a Leo Vince system, and I'm working on getting an Akra map in it this week. I meant to do a trackday yesterday but had too much work piled up, so that got bumped to Monday the 5th, weather permitting.
    #20