2010 KTM 990 Supermoto T Road Test Rider Magazin KTM Reviews

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2010 KTM 990 Supermoto T Road

Rider Magazine

April 30,

photography by Brian J. Nelson, Wing and Lanny Fielder

2010 KTM 990 Supermoto T Road was originally published in the June issue of Rider magazine]

spending a day caning a lithe, KTM 950 Supermoto through the hills of Editor Tuttle was smitten Rider, December 2005). I can imagine him sitting around the campfire, savoring the sweet of survival and swilling cheap with certifiable British “That bike’s the business, . ”

KTM’s mighty ’moto across the border in early carrying the orange and black as the Austrian company’s only street model. But like a ops team, it was gone before you it, into the wind. Although Katoom Supermotos have available in Europe all along, we had to wait until 2010 for a batch. Rather than a model, KTM now offers Dr.

Jeckyl and Mr. the T model for fast-paced, lightweight and the R model for hard-edged street

What. Supermoto and touring? In the bike? Seems hopelessly a cruel kindness perpetrated to a cross-tabulated niche that exist.

So said the voice in my is until I threw a leg over the KTM 990 T ’s plush, 33.7-inch seat and in for a ride. The peppy V-twin me, with initial on-throttle giving way to a smooth, counterbalanced Upright with a cool smoky windscreen, tough-guy guards and stylish saddlebags, I was and in charge, immediately feeling an -like affinity for the beast me.

Light soon filled the hollow space between my Supermoto (fun!) and touring really aren’t at odds each other. They’re like chocolate and peanut

Although no one would race a T, the bike nonetheless benefits having been designed by engineers who spend their wrenching and racing. At KTM’s intro at California’s Laguna ( Rider . February 2010), self-proclaimed petrolheads talked “riding fun” in the same way that Rossi talks going fast.

They bikes they want to own and roll out of their garages on mornings with excited of laps at the track or day-long, rides. Light is right and are top-shelf, tailored to the particular of each model.

Mattighofen’s works gets a lot of mileage out of the 990 LC8 which actually displaces (Apparently, another firm had laid claim to “nine-nine-nine.” And when exclaimed loudly it folks of an infamous Austrian a funny mustache.) It powers the T and R, Adventure ( Rider . December Adventure R and Super Duke R. ridden all but one of these bikes, developed a fondness for the LC8’s blend of torque and liveliness. The V-twin is liquid-cooled, counterbalanced to excess vibration and has dry sump with dual oil pumps. Oil and changes are recommended every miles, and the process is much involved than on the 990 Adventure .

saddlebags are standard, and they waterproof stuff sacks. are easy to take on and off, but don’t hold much.

Like Manny Pacquiao, the small. Lightweight pistons, and connecting rods help the engine to a super featherweight 128 that packs serious 106 horsepower and 67 lb-ft of torque at the wheel. For the kind of sport I like to do, these figures are to ideal, snapping the 474-pounds-wet out of corners and lofting the front with a quick flick of the yet remaining civilized on the long home.

The engine felt smooth at cruising speed—the mirrors stayed clear—and the 2-into-2 exhaust system underseat mufflers was pleasant in and tone. Whereas the 950 Supermoto’s CV carbs delivered smooth, throttle response, the EFI-equipped 990 SM T was a tad at times, despite new cams and mapping aimed at improving throttle transitions and power

Not a serious black eye, but at low speeds and puckering at midcorner. adjusting the shift lever to a height, the six-speed transmission and clutch with adjustable facilitated gear changes minimal effort by foot and

Designed and built in-house, the steel trellis frame is yet weighs only 21.6 (down 3.4 pounds from the 950 Fitted with a cast-aluminum and swingarm, the chassis provides an skeleton for bombing through the cruising the slab or exploring the fire road. And the high-end WP provides the perfect connective Both the 48mm male-slider and the solo shock with reservoir are fully adjustable.

on top of each fork leg make it to adjust rebound, but adjusting or compression (low- and high-speed in the rear) requires you to dig into the SM T’s underseat toolkit. A generous of suspension travel—6.3 inches and 7.1 inches rear—turns a long of post-apocalyptic pavement into a And standard settings are sport-touring responsive but not harsh, compliant but not

The front four-piston calipers are and radially mounted for less squeezing dual full-floating discs. The rear two-piston is also fixed and squeezes a disc. Calipers are connected to the and pedal by way of steel-braided lines, and the master cylinder is of the radial variety.

Whereas the R-spec got Brembo Monobloc front and brake pads with the initial bite favored by track addicts, the SM T’s front are much easier to modulate the wide range of conditions it be ridden in. Good feel, reassuring: traits that are more important than the to do one-finger stoppies.

Those five-spoke Marchesini wheels are aluminum (the SM R has forged to save more weight), and are shod with Continental Attack tires. In the best tradition, long legs, handlebars, 17-inch wheels and rubber make the Supermoto T agile yet sure-footed. Switching “cruise” to “…” mode is and cornering clearance is endless, you choose to ride it like a or a dirt bike. (If the latter, free to remove the vibe-damping inserts from the cleated

AT 474 pounds full of gas, the KTM barely break the 500-pound with loaded saddlebags and a

Lanny Fielder agrees. a former AFM racer, veteran of the San Francisco Sunday Morning and owner of a KTM Super Duke. We his help with this and he came away a believer. days behind him, now prefers performance in a more package.

He says the hard-edged Super works best on smoothroads, but the T he’d gladly take Plenty of power, lightweight, handling and an ideal seating everything he wants in a bike, and of the new-fangled farkles he doesn’t.

than trading the dirt-bike for a small front fairing and the most obvious nod toward is the SM T’s standard semi-soft saddlebags. are incredibly easy to remove and and the hangers are unobtrusive when the are left at home.

Though they are practical and handy, zipping open like a and having two compartments: mesh on one for your lunch or dirty and a crisscross elastic strap on the side to hold your in place. But the zippers are frustratingly When trying to close an bag—c’mon, we’ve all done broke one of the two zipper pulls, and I that I had to be careful with no matter what.

And, the head on one of the spring-loaded latches popping off. More hardware along with waterproof zippers and lining be a big improvement. Securing a seatbag is thanks to passenger grab and a standard rear rack.

KTM 50 Supermoto

Not so most tankbags due to the plastic, peaked fuel tank, but KTM its own for $129.99.

Riding two-up, passenger will appreciate the well-padded seat and large handles. Managing Editor Carlson, who is taller than the female, had plenty of space to around. Head buffeting a problem, and when she ducked a bit behind me, the small fairing and my blocked the wind entirely.

The only downside was reaching for the handles and inadvertently getting two full of hot, underseat The metal guards only so much. Those pipes may be a for passengers in cold weather, but be a bane on hot days.

Sub-22-pound frame holds the 126-pound LC8 Dry-sump reservoir in front vulnerable.

Fuel economy, as depends on use of the throttle. Admittedly, I a lot of time riding the SM T aggressively, with it being so fun and all. At its it got 25.2 mpg and the low-fuel light and tripmeter kicked in at just 104 telling me there was just a gallon left in the 5.0-gallon But droning along just the speed limit on the freeway, it got mpg.

On such a comfortable, motorcycle, expect to be crestfallen the warning light illuminates only 130 miles or so. The instrument which has an analog tachometer with an LCD display, should a fuel gauge, perhaps in of the engine temperature bar graph (a light would suffice). LCD include speed, engine time, odometer and A/B/low-fuel meters, and the ignition is immobilized the specially coded key.

coming to the end of a road test often means that, as I this, I’m about to say good-bye to the of the story. The KTM 990 Supermoto T is one of those that I want to keep, away in the garage and, the PR rep asks for it back, just and play dumb: “I dunno it is.” Fielder didn’t to hand the keys back contemplating trading in his Super at the local KTM dealer), and Tuttle—even enamored with this than the original 950 Supermoto—said the 990 SM T be the ideal sporting machine to in his stable.

Occupying the light, nimble end of the spectrum, this fun-to-flog has all the essential ingredients but no filler, a few sensible concessions to comfort. And it that elusive, hard-to-describe found in few bikes. All of its parts together organically, as if it were an creature—a highly evolved, species—rather than just a

If only KTM offered an accessory harness that plugged the ECU into my … cortex….

KTM 990 Supermoto T Specification Chart:

Price: $13,998

Warranty: 2 24,000 miles


Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse V-twin

Bore x Stroke: x 62.4mm

Compression Ratio:

KTM 50 Supermoto
KTM 50 Supermoto

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