Adrian's KTM1190 R - Owning and Riding
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Having owned and ridden Triumph Tigers for 15 years averaging over 10,000m per year I am in a good position to rate the
KTM1190R in comparison
- 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.
- On normal roads the brakes are very good, especially the front, powerful and progressive. Read below about back brake
- 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 modes on the move using just 4
- The Drive modes work well and the 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
- 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 but
venture abroad and 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.
- 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 is hopelessly optimistic, I had to spend £50 buying parts from Australia to make my KTM fit for
- 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 last year.
- The finish on the cycle parts show 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, the rear master cylinder and warm up the
rear caliper so on a hot day you start a steep decent with brake fluid already hot. 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.
- 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 (Some BMW GS's were recalled for a faulty fuel gauge). 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. I completed the trip with a non working
gauge, back in the UK I had to spend £63 on a new fuel sensor. So far in 10,000 miles I have only had one long trip with a
reliable fuel gauge. I think this is piss poor, the fuel gauges worked on all my Triumph's.
- The standard KTM handguards seem better suited to protecting against roost. I fitted Triumph handguards to improve
- Working on the engine is hard because it is such a tight fit in the frame. I had real difficulty replacing the spark plugs.
Surprisingly a 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!