KTM 950 (2004 Model) vs 990 (efi/abs model) review.
The bike is awesome, but you would expect that kind of comment from an owner as we become biased by the pleasure they give, however after 8 years and 60,000 km of varied usage of it, I still consider it an awsome bike.
I have ridden the new 990 (efi version with abs brakes), for a few days of both highway and dirt usage after a few years of riding my own bike, and because the newer 990 had taller (ie still original) gearing vs my bikes reduced gearing, this was the biggest single factor I noticed between the two models. The electronic fuel injection seemed crisper than my carburettored bike, however since I have had my bike re-jetted due worn needles, it has run equally well.
Regarding the requirement for new needles to be fitted, this was a bit of a surprise as I expected to go longer before needing them, as I am still running original exhausts. I experienced symptoms similar to fuel starvation/running lean prior to having them done, and raising the clips one notch only temporarily fixed those symptoms, however new needles have since overcome that problem. For those who farkle-up their machine from new with lightweight exhausts, the re-jetting is standard for that exercise!
The abs brakes work well on tar, but I prefer the non abs version for dirt, as there are occasions when locking up the back wheel is an advantage!
The Pirelli scorpion tyres that they come with are great on the road but I rate them an 80/20 road/dirt tyre. The Mitas tyres I have since switched to, are a 50/50 road/dirt tyre, and allow more of the bikes potential to be utilised while still giving good performance on tar. For serious offroad usage there are a few brands of full knobbies that are speed rated for bikes of this size and weight available now, though for a while they were hard to obtain in the rear wheel rim width this bike has.
The bike will sit on high speeds all day with no complaints, and will do it loaded with panniers, topbox, plus a pillion equally well! The fuel economy averages 16 km/litre under those conditions, but with conservative usage it will get as much as 22 km/litre.
Single (goat) track usage ie where one is mostly in 1st or 2nd gear all day, will cause fuel consumption to plummet down to 11 km/litre.
Shop around when it comes to insuring it as this can save you many dollars, due the fact that they are not highly represented in crash statistics(!), and as a consequence they are way cheaper than a fireblade to insure!
Both the 950's and the 990's are excellent machines and early foibles like fuel pump issues that some had, have long since been sorted.
Get one. You know you want to. You won't regret it!
I have loved it since new, and the longer I have it, the more I like it! It really does everything asked of it at a better level than I have ability to extract from it, so makes for forgiving riding!!
Nothing till it required re-needle-ing at 45K kms, and has been great since then. At 197kg it is too heavy for pleasurable goat track usage! The original seat is ordinary, but the gel-model seat is OK.
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