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I dropped in to my local KTM dealer today to look at a new small bike, and the salesman happened to be outside showing another customer a 1190 that was about to be collected by its new owner.

Unprompted, he handed me the key to the demonstrator and told me where to go (as it were!). He went through the various electronic systems on the bike, how they were set up and how to change them, and I was on my way.



The engine is silky smooth, and very willing with plenty of power and torque. The brakes were very powerful too, and it was very easy to ride it quickly.

I tried it in Sport, Road and Offroad power modes, and Sport, Road and Comfort suspension settings, and there was a definite difference between them. The Road/Comfort setting was probably closest to the standard 990 settings, and on rural Lincolnshire roads that did me fine.



As you'd expect with road wheels and tyres, it corners very nicely and is very easy to haul around as it's physically smaller than the 990.

However, having said all that, I was disappointed with it.

The first time I rode the 990 it had a 'wow' factor in how something so big could be as agile as it is, and it looked different to everything else out there. People would stop and ask what it was, and of course it was a dual-purpose bike with lots of off road ability.

The new one simply lacks character, and with the floating screen it looks like the BMW GS and the Triumph Tiger. There's nothing distinctive about it, apart from the graphics, if you can call them that, which look messy.

The seat isn't as comfortable as my standard 990 seat, and after an hour I could feel it. Being smaller, the riding position felt slightly cramped compared to the 990. I'm told that the optional comfort seat is... err... comfortable.

Something that seems completely bizarre is that it doesn't have always-on headlights: the bike chooses when to turn it on, and you cannot override it. I know there are the LED daytime running lights, but in poor visibility like mist, falling snow etc. I'd like to have the light on. From experience in cars, automatic lights don't come on when it's bright but the visibility is poor, but at least you can turn them on manually in the car.



Even the controls lack any sort of feedback: the indicator switch doesn't really move, and I was always a bit unsure if I'd actually switched them or not.

There's no red line on the rev. counter, just a red light that comes on when you've overdone it - by which time it's a bit late and you're on the limiter.

From the figures I've seen, it's heavier than the 990 (199Kg / 230Kg), and I don't know how well the glossy plastics and LED indicators would stand up to an off road tumble.

It reminded me of driving a BMW car: a masterpiece of technology and engineering, but lacking any character.

If I were in the market for a road bike, I might consider one: but there are plenty of alternatives that are cheaper and probably more engaging - possibly even the SMT.

I'd like to try the R version, ideally off road, to see if it can win me over but unfortunately the standard model doesn't really suit its 'Adventure' tag as it's just another road bike. It's a clever one, but it's a road bike none the less.

...but that's probably what most people are told they want by the bike magazines.



:frown:
 

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Excellent write up Gordo, I've not ridden it yet, becuase when I had a look at one close up it didn't inspire the ride me emotion at all.

Added to that I thought its looks are very generic and it just plain don't look like 13 grands worth of bike.

Maybe the R will inspire me when I see one in the flesh, but the jury is very much out at the moment.

Feels like a case of the emporers new clothes to me.
 
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1190

Nice one Gordo,
I looked at one in Leisuretrail two weeks ago when i hade my 990 serviced, tom asked me if i wanted to test it but it didnt inspire me enough to even do that, I sat on it and lifted it off the stand, no silly grin = no test ride.
If I was considering a road bike i might have been tempted but it doesnt refect what i want out of a bike so no thanks, plus i couldnt get passed that hidious exhaust
I have no doubt it will be a very capable machine, but too much wanga for what your getting me thinks.
Thanks for the report vey well put together.
Tez
 

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Excellent write up. I've also declined a test ride as visually and sitting on the bike static it just doesn't press my buttons. No matter how good a bike it is it isn't a direct replacement for the 990 and I really think that KTM have missed a trick here
 

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Nice write up Gordo

Comments are fair and I definitely have to agree with you on the looks of the base model bike - the graphics really just don't work and the colours don't 'excite' the onlooker. And on the road it very clearly feels like a 'road' bike - I think it sits closer to the SMT in they way it rides, rather than the old Adventure.

The 1190 does look better (in my opinion !) Difficult to comment on just how it rides yet as I have only done 30 miles or so on the R but it certainly feels more like the 990. Will provide a bit more feedback once I get more miles on it.

For the next few years I am unlikely to be doing much offroad work but will be doing a few long trips in Europe - so the 1190 makes sense for me.

The weight difference on the bikes is not as great as you say - the 990 is about 200kg wet (with oil/coolant but no fuel) and the comparable figure for the 1190 is about 210kg - the 230kg figure for the 1190 is fully fuelled.

One thought - most of us here use our Adventures in the way they were designed to be used. An awful lot of owners don't.........And the 1190 is really aimed at them, and all the other 'Adventure' riders who don't venture much further afield than the local Costa Coffee and to whom 'offroad' means a 30 yard gravel driveway ..................Certainly that is where we are seeing the interest coming from in the showroom.

Maybe there is still a place in the market for something like the 990 Adventure .....................................;););););)
 

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I collected my R yesterday. I can quite honestly tell you that it is better than the 990 in every single area. I've yet to take it off road.

When you say it lacks character, then you must mean tge 990's quirky faults. Everything has improved. It no longer has the snatchy throttle, the massive fork dive, the terrible brakes, the vibey low rev throb, the vague front end feeling on Tarmac..... If these improvements mean that it lacks character, then I'll happily live without that 'character'.

One thing I'm not interested in particularly is the different maps. I think it's a bit of a gimmick tbh. Sport feels fine to me, which is where I'll keep it! Other electronic upgrades are more welcome- fuel range, temperature, tire pressure, etc.

This bike rides better, feels better, looks better and is easier to live with than the 950/990, of which I've had both older bikes since 2004.
 

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Very good write up Gordo and I do agree with your comments , I also was surprised at the lack of Character or more to the point the nature of it's character which is more towards the BMW and Ducati etc. This bike is a departure for KTM from their past models in this sense because it really is not very distinctive for me and this is something I adore about other KTM models. I had a good look at the R last week and would never contemplate taking it Off Road but I guess it is sportier on the tour and Pebble35 will let us know. I was shocked when you say it lacks comfort as this is one of the main reasons one would buy the bike for long touring , maybe the seat just needs to settle in like new boots !!. I will not be doing any real off roading anymore for various reasons but I still decided to get a new 990 last month and the main reason for me is I need a rugged strong bike for the way it will be used : ) When I test road the 1190 It felt heavy and enormous to me and I realise it is only a few kilos heavier than the 990 but it just feels heavy to me and the tank and what is in front of you seemed hugh like other big tourers in it's class , but that is my feeling and we all feel differently !!. I hope it proves to be a good long distance tourer. I think KTM have got rid of the aggressive quirky looks of their past bikes as this bike is aimed at a distinctive market.
The Gentleman Tourer :smokin:
 

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I can share Gordos experience pretty much all the way. I went to my dealer yesterday and took the orange one out for a test spin...

What I have noticed first, the bike has no presence anymore. At my arrival a row of bikes where parked outside my dealers entrance. Starting with a blue 990 Adventure , then a black SM-T followed by a Super duke and so on. As the new one has no aura anymore I had to "spot the bike"....

Then I've noticed the graphics of the orange one. I have to say, I love the orange paint. It has a cool shine to it and is really a special orange. But! The 1190 in the graphics looks pink and with change of the light, angle of the sun, it even gets worse. Pink for god sake!!!

So Kevin explained the computer to me and off I went for a short test ride. Unfortunate I didn't have much time, as there was a queue... Quite so GS Riders came for a test spin. But it was OK as I on,y was interested in the Sport, Rain and Off road mode and couldn't care less about suspension settings as I have my R ordered with none of that nonsense.

So I take of on this brand new machine and same thing as in 2004 when I rode my 950 for the first time. I feel confident and comfortable in an instant. If other would be bar raisers it would be even better. The legs are a bit more open than by the 950/990, due to the way the tank is made. Other than that I felt OK.
The ride in lower gear is much more smooth than by the original. In Sport mode its hard to keep the front wheel on the ground. But its never difficult to control. It felt having a bit like two faces. End of the village, open road. 4 gear. I twist the throttle and the bike goes like the one I am used to - I twist the throttle a bit more - And there it is - I can really feel the 150 horses! I twist it another bit and there goes the front wheel - Off the ground, up in the air! The red light comes on. I close the tap, change gear in to 5th - same thing. I look at the speedo - It shows 100. I have to slow down as I approach the first corner and I have to slow down fast. No props at all. The brakes bite really well and anchor my down to a normal speed.

I turn off the road on to a parking lot. 30 and full on the brakes. I didn't even feel the Abs kicking in. I just know I never would have stood still so fast with my 950. I switch to Rain mode.
Its not as straight forward to switch to another mode as I thought. Select mode set. Then set again. Then I can choose the mode I want, set again and set. Then back and back switch to get back to the beginning. She tells me to close the tap for 2 seconds - done. I will ever manage this while riding - Well in the first few months that is until I know the button combination blindfolded- As that only should take about 5000 mapping changes.
Rain Mode smooth and gentle, but still sporty enough not to be boring. Enduro mode I was sitting on my 950 and street mode I didn't bother at all trying that one out.

Suma sum arum I liked it. Sport mode really let you forget that fugly end pipe for a short time. I don't like only one filler on the tank as now every time I have to Refuel I have to remove the tank bag - Why in the magazines ever tester complained about having to fill her up twice really is beyond me! Its so much easier to open taps then unstrap the tank bag. The indicator switch is a bit far away for me. To indicate right is no problem as you push that little knob. But to indicate left I have to kind of let go of my grip on the handle bar to reach the knob to be able to pull it to the left. As Gordon wrote, you don't know, if you indicate now or not. I had to recheck on the dash board.

Well, these are my findings n the short time I had her.

I've seen all three models now. The orange one is a nice orange but the pink really does not bring the Adventure across and the bike has no presence. The gray one really is gray. In every way. There is no aura no presence, no nothing. The R model is for me the best looking and the only model with a appearance. But still, it will take years for me to overlook that end pipe.
I don't know about the new GS, but so far, the BMWs I've ridden, none of them is so much fun like the new 1190. But I believe a true BMW fan will never buy a 1190 because she has no cardan.

There definitely is no wow effect like the original had. That "I want one" really doesn't happen. But now I know why: With the original I had the egg laying - whool - milk - pig. Providing me with all I ever wanted. After years the 950 not even had the presence and the aura, the WOOOW the first ride was indescribable. Plus it was revolutionary. Now KTM comes with something others have for years and try to tell us its brand new. And it doesn't stand out like a sore dumb anymore. Think of it like your 959/990 as the iPhone 4 - the new one is iPhone 5. Not much of a difference, no big surprises. No I have to swap for a new model.
And I believe there is where the problem lies. We all had so high hopes and expectations when kTM announced a new model, but in our eyes KTM failed to deliver...
 

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This conversation about new verses old has been going on for years with cars and motorbikes belive me I know.There is a saddnes at seeing our beloved 950/990 dissapering but that is the modern way

...All over the world on these forums blokes have been modding there bikes ..snatchy throttle ..bufferting...fuel range..not to mention the early silver 950 as a looker and more... KTM have addressed these things with the new bike and it comes down to the indicator swich is funny (I agree) and its got no red line on the rev counter??...

.With regards to electonics I bet you all have the latest I phone and a car with more technolergy in it than put the first man on the moon but you couldnt live without any of it....The genuine off road market is too small if KTM whant to remain a world leader they must compete...

..Lets hope we see an 800 ADV bike soon to satisfy every one..............
 

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For me it's not that there is anything wrong with the 1190, quite the opposite as it seems a hugely capable bike, it's just that it's not the type of bike I choose to buy.
If I were changing my 990 now I would be tempted to go for a Tiger 800 XC instead (if it wasn't for brand loyalty)
So yes perhaps the way to keep everyone happy is a KTM 800 Adventure!
 

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Really good write up! Saw one for fist time at Leisure Trail. Looks....uninspiring!
Thoughts..... Versys 1000 - if I were going to shell out hard earned cash on this kind of bike.
Action.....keep the great KTMs I I already own.
Who will buy....probably more than 50% of buyers will be new to KTM?
Future......could be some great classic sports tourer deals in a year or so when the bike mags have persuaded enough of the current owners they need a modern adventure bike thats isnt as good for adventures as the outgoing bikes:burnout:
 

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Another thing we all love about our 950/990 is the £300 plus dealer sevice bill every 4500miles.....
 

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First off I'd like to thank you guys for the interesting write ups, much more so than the journos! So I tip my Yorkshire flat cap to you.

I called in at Craig's (KTM Dealers) to pick up a few parts on Friday and the demo was parked up outside. I immediately strolled over to it and as I did I asked the mechanic who was working on another bike if I could have a sit on it. No hesitation said to go ahead.

First thing I noticed was it was much smaller than I imagined it to be (yes even me! ;) ) I thought the display was pretty good, but like a couple of you had said before I think it lacks a bit of road presence, maybe it would be different out on the road?

I got off it and went inside where I had a good mooch around the R model, paintwork and colour scheme is miles better than the other two options. The one I looked at still had to have the crash bars and the sump guard fitted and I noticed two holes in the engine case where I think (correct me if I'm wrong?) the sump guard will be fastened, if this is the case and the guard takes a big hit like the one I've got fitted on my 950 surely there may be a chance of it damaging the engine case??

The exhaust is still fugly and I'm not sure the Akro pipe will look much different? Big price tag for the pleasure I guess too.

I might take one out next week and see what the ride's really like, but first impression after seeing one in the flesh is that it's much better than the pics in the mags and on't net.

Justly two penneth.
 

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First off I'd like to thank you guys for the interesting write ups, much more so than the journos! So I tip my Yorkshire flat cap to you.

I called in at Craig's (KTM Dealers) to pick up a few parts on Friday and the demo was parked up outside. I immediately strolled over to it and as I did I asked the mechanic who was working on another bike if I could have a sit on it. No hesitation said to go ahead.

First thing I noticed was it was much smaller than I imagined it to be (yes even me! ;) ) I thought the display was pretty good, but like a couple of you had said before I think it lacks a bit of road presence, maybe it would be different out on the road?

I got off it and went inside where I had a good mooch around the R model, paintwork and colour scheme is miles better than the other two options. The one I looked at still had to have the crash bars and the sump guard fitted and I noticed two holes in the engine case where I think (correct me if I'm wrong?) the sump guard will be fastened, if this is the case and the guard takes a big hit like the one I've got fitted on my 950 surely there may be a chance of it damaging the engine case??

The exhaust is still fugly and I'm not sure the Akro pipe will look much different? Big price tag for the pleasure I guess too.

I might take one out next week and see what the ride's really like, but first impression after seeing one in the flesh is that it's much better than the pics in the mags and on't net.

Justly two penneth.
Akra for the 1190 is pricey - but it's still about £400 cheaper than a pair for a 990 ..........................

The OEM plastic sumpguard is largely cosmetic. Anyone who is half serious will fit an aftermarket one - the KTM option does not bolt to those mounting points.

Now go back and take it out for a spin !
 

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I swung by Premier Bikes yesterday while out for a solo ride. Spoke to a customer who's brought an "R" after a test ride (was trading in a 990 R). Asked him if he did any off road, which he didn't but just thought on road it was in a different class to the 990's. Andy and Darren said I could take their non R out for a test ride. I didn't because I thought if I did I would buy one rather than was not inspired to! I think the R looks fecking great, but finances don't allow. If I'd taken one out, wanted one and could not afford it, then I'd be gutted!

According to the guy who brought one the engine maps do make a big difference - "off road" was good for the rain apparently.

Anyone who thinks an extra 10kg (or whatever) over a 990 is soooo bad is missing the point because 950's/990/SE's etc are all too heavy for nadgery off road already :) If you are worried about weight go and look at the 690R - they are tasty :)

So either a) my mum's numbers come up on the lottery and I'd get a R tomorrow (well if they haven't all sold out), b) I'll wait a few years until the mortgage is paid off, c) wait a couple of years and see what 2nd hand prices look like.

Oh and according to Darren they are selling very well - more the non R than the R, so looks like KTM got it right - for those with niche needs it's up to you.

cheers

Markie
 
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