Adrian's KTM1190 R - Owning and Riding
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comparison. I do enjoy the feel of the V Twin engine, the power, the torque. Handling and road holding with TKC70 tyres is just about perfect, very
- The KTM is light, it only weighs 7kg more than my Tiger 800XCx using the scales I keep in the garage. The weight is also kept low so fully
fuelled the CofG is better than my 800XCx
- The engine is powerful and full of character. The KTM is seriously fast if you want it to be. From rest I can pull 100 yards on a BMW
GS1200WC. The engine is also well mannered so I can ride sedately.
- I seem to average over 50mpg using my corrected speedo, off road the fuel consumption does not fall too much. Much improved on a 990.
- On normal roads the brakes are very good, especially the front, powerful and progressive. Read Cons below about back brake fade.
- The suspension seems set for sporty riding so carving bends at 60,70 or 80mph is very controlled. Brake dive is also well controlled. No
signs of any weave at high speeds.
- The controls are easy to use, I like having the ability to set heated grips and the different riding modes on the move using just 4 buttons.
- The Drive modes work well, I use Rain when it rains and the Off-Road Mode with Off Road ABS works well.
- The gear box has tall ratio's for touring and the gear change is very light and slick for a big bike.
- The seat is comfy for a KTM and it stops me sliding backwards.
- Traction control works well in both Road mode and Off-Road mode.
- The Akrapovic silencer sounds superb.
- I have dropped the bike off road at slow speed and there is little sign of damage so the crash bars are designed to do the job.
- My KTM never missed a beat riding off road in up to 38 deg C.
- The KTM rider gets a lot of heat from the engine and rear cylinder, more than any of my Triumphs. Great in the UK on all but the hottest
days however when I venture abroad to southern Europe this bike will cook the rider on days with high temperatures 30 Deg plus. In town
and at low speeds on hot days I have learned to ride legs wide open like a frog.
- General servicing is good once you learn how to remove the panels. KTM Dealer Servicing is very expensive
- I really appreciate the extra wires in the wiring harness inside the front cockpit which enabled me to add USB Chargers, LED lights etc
- As supplied the speedo was hopeless - 12% optimistic, I had to spend £50 buying parts from Australia to make my KTM fit for purpose.
- The WP suspension on the KTM is less sophisticated than the WP on my Tiger 800. The ride at speeds over 60 is great and very controlled
but around town at 30mph the KTM thumps and crashes on potholes. It lacks any sort of rising rate geometry on the back. I think this
reduces traction on steep off road sections because I go stuck twice when my Tiger 800 made it the previous year.
- The finish on the cycle parts shows signs of corrosion e.g. the Allen bolts holding my brake sensors, caliper bolts, ABS ring bolts etc.
Generally the KTM does not have the same quality of finish as a Triumph, so I will have to replace a number of fasteners with stainless to
keep my 1190R looking mint.
- The rear brake overheats badly on steep downhill Alpine passes and boils after a few hairpins. Having ridden off road for years I do like to
use my back brake. I have switched the brake fluid to Motul 660 Dot4 which helps. The problem is both the catalytic converter and the rear
cylinder exhaust pipe cook the brake pipes and the rear master cylinder so on a hot day you start a steep decent with brake fluid already
warm. Also the diameter of the rear disc is quite small compared with bikes like a GS, this may be OK off-road but the disc is overworked on-
road. I replace my rear brake fluid every 12 months because it turns very dark a sure sign of overheating.
- My KTM has very little engine braking. I wished my Tiger 800 had provided more engine braking so I thought switching to a 1200cc twin
would be the answer, surprisingly no. On steep nadgery downhills I have to rely on brakes only, this is very disappointing.
- Setting off for Scotland I did not realise that my fuel gauge was stuck on Full and I ran out of fuel, it appears this is a common problem which
KTM have not fixed. I watched the You Tube videos and fixed my sticking fuel float by sanding rough edges off. Then after 3 months my
float lost it's buoyancy and read zero all the time, this was when I was 2,000 miles from home in Portugal so I completed the trip with a non
working gauge. Back in the UK I had to spend £63 on a new fuel sensor. When my fuel gauge says 150 miles to go I seem to have 80 miles
left. So far in 17,000 miles only half my trips were made with a reliable fuel gauge. I think this is piss poor, the fuel gauges worked on all my
Triumph's. Also a 14 year old could work out an algorithm to get the fuel gauge to calculate remaining mileage reliably. I fill up and my
instruments say 380 miles left, I have to ride 50 miles before this figure changes which is hopelessly inaccurate.
- The standard KTM handguards seem better suited to protecting against roost. I fitted Triumph handguards to improve weather protection.
- Working on the engine is difficult because it is such a tight fit in the frame. I had real difficulty replacing the spark plugs. Surprisingly a three
cylinder Triumph triple engine is actually easier to work on when undertaking a major service.
- The steering damper on my bike offers no resistance at all, it is useless.
- The KTM is a very hot bike to ride on a hot day, phew!
- KTM Dealers want £850 for an 18,000 mile service, all my Tigers were under £400 for the same service so I will work on my KTM and take
photos to prove it. Dealer servicing is way too expensive in my opinion.