Sunday, February 22, 2009

KTM 990 SMT riding impression


Not exactly a Honda Goldwing, the 990 SMT is KTM's take what a touring bike should be


A supermoto tourer? That’s what KTM have done for 2009, with the new 990 SMT. And why not – we suppose there would be people who’re looking for a touring bike that’s lighter, more agile and more fun than, say, a K1300GT or a Goldwing. The guys at Motociclismo recently had a chance to ride the new 990 SMT and here are some excerpts from their report:

KTM have a particular way of building their bikes and the 990 SMT is no different. Yes, it’s comfortable, versatile and well suited to long journeys, but it also has that sporty DNA like all other KTMs. With this bike, with its wider range of capabilities, KTM hope to expand their customer base.

With the Supermoto Tourer, the Austrian company has managed to create a bike that offers great all-around performance. With 116bhp, it’s not extremely rapid, but the performance is still commendable – we assure you, it can satisfy the most demanding palates.

The 990 SMT is as agile as the standard 990 Supermoto, but is more comfortable, versatile and less tiring on longer rides. It even handles better, probably due to its lower, firmer suspension – the bike handles fast, flowing roads with great aplomb. In terms of styling, we think the 990 SMT is perhaps not as good looking as some other KTMs and comes across as a bit too ‘serious,’ but that is a matter of personal taste. The 990 SMT is probably targeted at a more mature audience, which may actually prefer the bike’s rather subdued bearing.

Like the standard 990 SM, the SMT is happy being ridden at a quick pace – it actually allows you to go even faster at most times – but unlike its cousin, this KTM is equally happy chugging along at a more relaxed pace. Because of its firmer suspension and reduced suspension travel, the SMT does not weave or wallow – it changes direction quickly and is easy to manoeuvre at low speeds. The brakes also work very well, showing no signs of fade even after extended hard usage. Overall, a very confidence-inspiring package…

Coming to the engine, the 990 SMT’s v-twin feels quite smooth and refined. It starts pulling hard from 3,000rpm and delivers an aggressive punch between 5,000-8,000rpm. The engine will actually rev all the way to 9,500 rpm though most of the time, you won’t need to push it that hard. The gearbox is also quick, precise and silent – no missed gear changes ever.

We liked the 990 SMT’s ergonomics, though the seat remains a bit on the higher side despite KTM having lowered it a bit. The riding position feels relaxed and bigger riders should be able to get quite comfortable on this bike. To conclude, the KTM 990 SMT was quite a pleasant surprise – it was good fun to ride and not one rider had anything negative to say about it. Just perfect.


...and here's the MCN guys having a go at the 990 SMT

2009 KTM 990 SMT: Tech Specs

Engine: Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, 8-valve, 999cc v-twin
Torque: 97Nm@ 7,000rpm
Power: 116bhp@9,000 rpm
Chassis: Steel tube trellis-type
Suspension: 48mm USD fork (front), adjustable monoshock (rear)
Price: 12,486 euros (US$16,000)

For the full article, visit the Motociclismo website here

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