Why the 800GS and Not the 990, thoughts?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by 27rich, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. 27rich

    27rich Been here awhile

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    Hello all, currently I am riding an old super tenere and am being forced to up grade by the wife (bit rough I know), anyway am looking at either the 990 adventure or the f800gs. Am test riding both this weekend with a purchase to follow soon after. Anyway<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    What made you guys/girls go the BM over any other bike? Mainly 990 or 660 tenere (which looks cheep to me and is not really in the running but any comments appreciated).

    Thanks Rich
    #1
  2. puckinet

    puckinet Safety third

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    I went with f8 first i liked the looks of of it, the warranty was 3 years and they guys where I purchased from had a great rep for taking care of there customers. After riding both bikes I really loved the f8 over the 990 just thought it rode better then the 990 for they type of riding I do.
    #2
  3. Bayner

    Bayner Long timer

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    I actually may have gone with a Tenere if they were available in Canada... the 990's thirst was also a deciding factor.
    #3
  4. Wicket009

    Wicket009 Been here awhile

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    Like Puckinet, I live in the Seattle area. Dealer here is great and they really go out of their way. Recently had an issue with my F650GS single, which is out of the 3 year warranty. All parts and labor (about $500) were fixed free of charge and I did not even ask for them to cover it. Returned the loaner and they threw me the keys.

    I was set on picking up the 1200GS or 990ADV, but was encouraged by the dealer to try the 800. Was exactly what I was looking for in a bike for the style of riding I do. Tank could be a little bigger, but over all I have extremely enjoyed the bike. Accessories are overwhelming, which is surprising since it is a relatively new model. Good luck on choosing.
    #4
  5. GTMan

    GTMan Adventurer Supporter

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    I am also looking at both bikes and look forward to your impressions.

    I took the F8 for a test ride at a local dealer here in Fort Lauderdale. However, neither of the two KTM dealers in South Florida have any 990s in stock and I dont even know if they would provide test rides. So, I have nothing to benchmark it against.

    Coming from a hyper sportbike (ZX14) the F8's engine was a bit underwhelming, but I guess I would get used to it, especially on dirt where too much HP is overkill. Other than that, I really liked it...Still wondering what to do...I am hoping I can get to ride the Triumph 800 to see how that feels before I pull the trigger.
    #5
  6. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    Several things for me.... But what tipped the iceberg... was the time it would take to do an oil change on the 990.....ouch....sort of comical....well...to me at least..... I have ridden with several 990 riders...they love theirs.... Choose whatever bike you like the best.... and sniff around in the 990 section.....see what fun stories they have.... Good luck with your purchase....:thumb:thumb

    Erling
    #6
  7. JG55

    JG55 Almost Normal

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    I was scared away from the 990 due to maintenance issues, look at changing the oil,possible water pump leaking. Not as good of gas mileage, weight, finding parts. F800gs is great but has some wimpy spots; rear shock bolts, suspension, seat. I have found that if you ride the bike with the its design intensions in mind it is awesome. It is by no means a dirt bike! I have 2660 miles on the bike with out a hitch.
    #7
  8. 27rich

    27rich Been here awhile

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    Thanks to all,
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    Have looked into both and yes there are some simple maintenance that are timely on the KTM, however I usually ride around 10k a year so no major issue there (once or twice a year is ok, but can understand for those that do high kms) and both bikes suffer mechanical issue, eg BM suspension bolt, KTM water pump seals to name one for each. One of the things with technology now days is you find out about all the problems world wide instead of a chance run in with some one that may or may not have had a trouble free run with there bike. I think the internet is actually making the decision harder, more educated but harder, as now days you are informed about all the possible problems, where as in the past it was mainly just base on a test ride and if something did fail you would just repair it and blame bad luck.
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    Since coming from the old S10 I am sure the power will be good no matter, but possibly the 990 over kill in the dirt (I know what you mean though GTMan, went from a zx12r to a KTM 620 and the S10 both very slow in comparison).
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    I am lucky this weekend as there just happens to be a KTM ride day at the local dealer (KTM trucks around some bikes for people to try) other wise I would be having to buy untried (not really something I would be considering), only problem is the 5 min test ride around the block with a lead and tail rider to keep every one in toe, where as the local BM dealer has said yah take the bike for a couple of hrs and enjoy (no off road though).
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Anyway will let you know what I think after this weekend.

    Rich
    #8
  9. Ducksbane

    Ducksbane Quaaack!!!

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    I like the 990, but I'd had two BMW's before and the R1100GS I traded on the 800 was probably the best bike I'd ever had.

    I don't like some of the maintenance issues like the oil change, and I don't like things like the sidestand bolted to the crankcase.

    Compared to the 800 the 990 is 10 - 15 kg heavier and has a turning circle like a truck, it also uses a lot more fuel. In Australia there don't seem to be many KTM dealers that sell the twins. BMW is a lot bigger company with a much bigger cashflow, so I expect them to be around a long time.

    On the other hand the 990 has more power and better suspension and people seem to love them dearly. They are both good bikes, it just depends what you want. If you are a twenty five year old dirt riding God you should probably get the KTM, for everyone else the 800 makes a lot of sense too.
    #9
  10. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    Perception (wrong as it turned out) that modern BMWs are as reliable as those of ten years ago. I knew a few lads with KTMs who had problems with them, silly things like discs and chains wearing out in literally hundreds of miles. I guess I felt BMW was the big reliable tourers of old, whereas KTM was the more competition oriented, "screw the reliability, just make it faster" race bike marque.

    Cheaper insurance and running costs.

    More BMW dealers (and all carry the F800GS) than in the areas where I tend to travel and work. Some of the places that had KTMs seemed to focus on the smaller 100% offroad bikes.

    Oddly, I had some perception that I wouldn't be able to handle a 990 offroad, because it is perceived as so hardcore. With hindsight, in dirtbike terms the F800Gs is also a huge, heavy and over-powered lump, but is actually one of my favourite bikes for riding offroad. I've only ridden the KTMs up to 690, but I don't think I'd struggle with the 990 offroad now.

    Would I make the same choice if I could go back in time? I think I'd be less certain the F800GS was the clear cut winner than I originally was, but I'd still opt for it over the 990.
    #10
  11. switch

    switch Romanian Trailbiker

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    Reasons for 800gs over 990: Confort, reliability (long term), relaxed as opposed to aggressive riding style.

    Reasons for 800gs over 660z: Confort, better engine, better luggage capacity, much better to take a passenger on, much better on the blacktop

    Reason for 800gs over Tirumph Adv 800: mature model versus brand new model
    #11
  12. flubbyhog

    flubbyhog Been here awhile

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    Buddy had a 990 and had nothing but problems with it. Canister would plug up and wouldn't start, starter wouldn't engage the flywheel all the way and it would grind against it which just sounded expensive and it was so cramped to work on. I can't imagine changing the plugs on it. I think he told me it even had 3 oil filters and screens to check on an oil change. It's a nice looking bike, but way over-engineered IMO. Shows front tire diameter on startup....why? He's never looked back from selling it.
    #12
  13. lawyer1219

    lawyer1219 Pair-a-Dice

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    I currently own the Beemer. I had a 2005.5 950 adventure. Both are great bikes. Can't really go wrong with either. The KTM has significantly better suspension and power but somehow never handled as well as the Beemer. I attribute this to the lower center of gravity, better turning radius and general lighter weight of the Beemer. The KTM always felt rather "truckish" off-road for my tastes. No matter how I adjusted the suspension or what tires I chose, the front end never felt trustworthy to me. Seemed to me like it was always fighting traction with aggressive cornering. This limited the fun factor on fast forest roads, where I tend to ride these bikes. From a maintenace standpoint, oil changes were a pain in the ass on the KTM, but otherwise, it was mostly stone reliable for nearly 14000 miles. The Beemer is relatively new to me as I got it last fall with 307 miles on it. I was able to put approximately 1000 miles before the snow flew. Other than a slight injector problem, remedied with fuel system cleaner, I have had zero issues with it. Both have known issues that can be remedied or worked around. Decide what is right for you based on your intended riding. Be honest with yourself about how you will use the bike. It seems like a lot of guys buy bikes based on some unrealistic view of what they would like to do, rather than what they will do.
    #13
  14. puckinet

    puckinet Safety third

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    I felt the same way when researching my bike all the issues on the internet but just remember for every I love this bike you get at least 10 I had this problem. The internet seams to be a good place to tell evey one about the problems but no one talks much about how great there bikes are. Most likely because they are out riding them
    #14
  15. Bucko

    Bucko In a parallel world

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    Never considered a KTM adventure bike due to two friends having 950s and dealing with ridiculous amounts of work to change oil and getting crap mileage. Rode KLRs for years waiting for somebody to build a decent middleweight ADV bike and BMW did it first. I drank the Kool-Aid and I like the taste.:lol3

    Now you've got the 800 Tiger XC to consider as well, if you're into first-year bikes (I've got the '09 GS..what's that say about me?). Better rims, bigger gas tank...but I'll stick with my trusty GS8, thank you :D
    #15
  16. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    I liked my 950....at first. It was a carb version, which was uber smooth off idle. I never liked the FI 990 version....my good friend had. We just couldn't smooth that thing out.

    Anyway, I loved twisting the throttle on my 950....and looking at it. Beyond that, it was all a down hill spiral. Real PITA to work on. Pitiful limited turning radius. Top heavy pig. Torturous seat (much worse than my F800...which still needs improvement). Sucked gas like no tomorrow. My average was 35 mpg. And then, I began to have reliability issues. Let's just leave it at that....other than to say, "golly that 950 was hard to push".

    My F800 is all the things I loved about my 950 without any of the things I hated. Yes, the suspension feels a little soft....but seems to actually perform better than expected. The ergos had to be adjusted to my liking. And, I had to smooth out the FI off bottom (surprise!). All easily doable mods which have left me with a mobile, agile, & hostile bike I'm falling more in love with every week. She's been super reliable through 5,000 miles (well....after a rear wheel bearing issue, which I solved before it was a problem). Super easy to work on for maintenance. Low center of gravity with good turn radius. Easy to pick up. Easy to push around. And I think it really does handle better than my 950 (frame geometry wise).

    Personally, I think THIS is the one I've been looking for. This F800 is going to be my uber long-haul adventure bike. Grip it & Rip it: 85 HP and 53 mpg (avg)!

    HF :deal
    #16
  17. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    Dealer network.
    Warranty.
    Guys like me! LOL

    All nice bikes, ride them all AND evaluate the dealerships!
    #17
  18. matho...

    matho... Μιά ζωή OnOffάς!

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    I had the 990adv.I have the F8 now.Which of the 2?Difficult to say.Different way of having fun.My preferation is a 990 if you have no problem with the drinking,so drinking of that.Anywhere anystyle you will love to drive,to play.Sometimes shit happens with this KTM but who's perfect today eh?But...if you like a bike to do all the things you have in your mind,more quiet and relaxing(than KTM)then choose a F8 and enjoy.Too good for all,too good for making a smile that never will lost...:evil
    #18
  19. Ducksbane

    Ducksbane Quaaack!!!

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    Hey Joel ... haven't seen you post for a while ... Welcome back! :clap

    (If you've been away!)
    #19
  20. 27rich

    27rich Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the comments.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    Well just got back from riding both bikes. Here are my thoughts,

    With the KTM I could only get 3 x 15 min rides, twice on the 990 adv (akro exhausts) and one on the 990 adv R, whilst I was able to take the BMW out for nearly 2 hrs.

    Firstly, I felt that the on/off throttle response that some people complain about on the KTM was not an issue even in first gear ridding around, however all my riding today was on sealed roads. The BMW’s throttle I thought was about the same however I think that the KTM’s engine was more responsive due to the greater torque and power at lower revs, possibly a reason some my find it more aggressive on and off throttle (my thoughts only). The KTM’s engine was fantastic, powerful, responsive and all with the V twin vibration, I can understand HighFive ‘s comment about twisting the throttle its so addictive and I can see how people get shit fuel economy, alls I wanted to do was crack the throttle especially with the sound of the akro’s. The BMW’s engine was smooth and powerful but not in the same league as the KTM. Also it seamed to feel harsh around the 4k rpm although it only had 1300 kms on the clock compared to the KTM’s 3500kms which felt smooth all the way to near redline.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I felt the gel seat on the 990 adv was worse than the standard seat on the adv 990 R (however seat comfort was not something I took much notice of whilst twisting the throttle and for only 15 mins at a time, although I do remember feeling the seat digging into my thighs). Being a short arse I opted for the lower seat on the BMW which was actually comfortable for the 2 hrs that I was in it. Regarding wind protection the 990 adv had the KTM high screen and it did a fairly good job of keeping most of the wind away, however some still around the top of the helmet, with the standard screen the wind hit me around the neck height, however speeds were kept sain due to being in the city (60kph speed limit), standing ergo’s were good however the BMW felt narrower around the knees and just as good in the ergos, however the wind protection felt fairly non-existence, might as well be on a naked bike with the BMW, all the wind hitting in the lower chest and whilst standing it forces wind straight up the jacket, good for summer but lousy for winter. Brakes were both excellent on either bike especially compared to the old tenere.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Initial feelings of the KTM were it felt lighter than it looks and the 230kg (roughly with fuel) are kept nice and low, it actually felt about the same as the BM however you sit more on top of the KTM compared to the BMW of which with the low seat you sit more in.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Once riding (and it was a very short ride) I never felt completely comfortable or secure cornering with the KTM (again, they were short rides so no real time to try or get comfortable with the bike I guess, KTM’s fault for not allowing proper test rides). The BMW was just the opposite, I felt at home straight away and even with TKC’s (KTM had more road orientated tyres, but I can’t remember what they were) on I was hooking through corners like I was on a street bike that I had owned for years. The BMW never felt out of control and it just wanted me to push harder. Very confidence inspiring.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Basically I went into today with the BMW on top of my list and was really just ridding the KTM to scratch it of the list and to say I tried it but hated it. BUT oh that engine, it is so hard go past it. I am sure spending more time on the KTM would help in the decision however I don’t have that luxury. Both of these bikes are just fantastic, both bikes have there strong and weak points, and I am sure I could not go wrong with both, however when you can only buy one, which one? I guess its just a matter of which strong and weak points I can live with. Looks like I have some hard decisions to make in the near future.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Hope this might also help others who might be contemplating one of these bikes, however I will reiterate again that these are my opinions and the way I felt about these bikes and the ride of the KTM very limited.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>Rich
    #20