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RIDE Adventures Blog

Adventure Bike Review: Dave Diamond on the KTM 990 Dakar Edition

Posted by Dave Diamond on May 11, 2013
Dave Diamond went from being a motorcycle touring customer in Patagonia a couple of years ago (where he rented the BMW F800GS) to the guy that came home and almost immediately bought the KTM 990 Adventure Dakar Edition.  You can see a previous blog post here about how Dave's bike now turns 15% more horsepower than it did originally, and below are his thoughts about the bike and necessary add-ons overall.  Really though, is this commentary about a bike, or the motorcycle industry as a whole?

-RIDE Adventures, LLC

I own a 2011 KTM 990 Adventure Dakar Edition & I love it.  However, I've wondered why the Austrians never made some simple design improvements that were "discovered" by the aftermarket parts community years ago.   I'm a normal adventure rider not a paid professional tester, so how is it that it only took a 3000 mile ride up from Los Angeles to the 9th annual KTM Rider Rally in Bend, Oregon to discover some of these flaws for myself ?  
Let me first start with what I consider to be the most clever improvements you can make for the 950/990:
  •     frame mounted handle to help raise the bike onto the center stand
  •     bracket to relocate the side kickstand off the gearbox & onto the frame
  •     bolt-on larger footprint for the side kickstand
  •     racetrack worthy clutch slave cylinder for improved feel
  •     bracket to relocate the right side mirror off the fluid reservoir onto the handlebar
  •     KTM Foot Pegfolding mirrors
  •     larger foot pegs
  •     steering damper
  •     12vlt. power supply in the "glovebox"
  •     adjustable hand levers
  •     tubeless rear tire
  •     rear swing arm sliders
  •     12vlt. battery tender breakout cable & maintenance charger
  •     hand grip warmers
  •     metal radiator guard
  •     heavy duty bash plate
  •     rear brake reservoir guard
  •     folding rear brake pedal
These modifications will both improve your riding experience & make your bike better.  **The only downside is all this will cost you a bloody mint !!   

I'm fairly certain that if one of the major Teutonic car makers like Porsche or Mercedes found out about a design flaw they would certainly fix it in the next model year or recall the vehicle.  So what gives? 

KTM 990 Mirror Bracket:  I believe there are several factors at work here.  It could be that the factory thinks why "give" stuff away with the bike when they can make extra money selling accessories a la carte?  Or maybe they believe the bike to be fully tested & at a price point which is good enough for the average rider?  Is it that they see the importance in nurturing the aftermarket community because independent suppliers help spread brand awareness.  Perhaps they were too concerned with the future 1190 model to address any of the problems on the old 950/990?  Or maybe they feel that the Adventure is a bit of a cultish type bike anyway & that KTM customers just really like to customize?

KTM Kickstand Relocator: In my opinion, it's probably a little bit of all of the above.  I wanted to talk about it with corporate at the Rider Rally, but to my chagrin there was no representation from Austria.  Considering their racing pedigree I'm surprised they don't fit some of these parts standard.  My 990 model cost almost as much as the BMW, but bone stock it's relatively pedantic by comparison.

Don't get me wrong folks.  I'm not writing this article to be a "hater".  I'm a big KTM fan & identify myself as a true orange-man through & through. I just feel like there are a lot of potential customers who would prefer to pay a little more for their new bike to be totally decked out when it leaves the showroom.  Let's face it, with several choices of good Adventure motorcycles now available I think it would be wise for KTM to really go for it & make a true uber bike as a way to separate themselves from the other brands.

2013 R1200GS BMW: The Liquid Cooled Motorcycle Review

Posted by Eric Lange on April 13, 2013

If you enjoy surprises as much as I do, then a “thanks” goes out to BMW Motorrad for what they’ve done with the new liquid cooled 2013 R1200GS.


BMW Motorcycle Rentals: Why are so many rental fleets BMW?

Posted by Eric Lange on November 25, 2012

Have you noticed that BMW motorcycle rentals seem to make up the majority of the rental options around the world?  This fact is not without reason, as the BMW brand seems to grow with popularity each year. While this posting might seem like a paid advertisement by the German motorcycle manufacturer, we assure you, such is not the case.  In fact, we'd like to point out that their designs are far from flawless, and each model released each year seems to have been plagued by at least a couple of "routine issues."  In general though, we think that the BMW motorcycle options are amongst the very best, and here are a few reasons why:


BMW F800GS & Motorcycle Aerodynamics: Does your front wheel shake?

Posted by Eric Lange on October 24, 2012

"What is that shaking feeling coming from the BMW F800GS?"


2012 Triumph Tiger 800XC Adventure Bike Review by Damon Bourne

Posted by Eric Lange on September 28, 2012

From time to time, we're asking riders we know to chime and offer us a "behind the scenes" look at their motorcycles, products, and riding gear.  This particular post comes from Damon Bourne of Madison, Wisconsin, following his first trip on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail this past weekend:


The 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure bike is here! Well, almost...

Posted by Eric Lange on September 19, 2012

(Photos courtesy of motorcycle.com and ktm.com/se)


Dual Sport & Adventure Riders want lower seats. Your options?

Posted by Eric Lange on June 20, 2012

The world of Adventure Motorcycle Riding is exploding these days, but not everyone can find an "adventure motorcycle" that fits their size or riding ability. 


RIDE Adventures article featured in South African newspaper

Posted by Eric Lange on March 28, 2012

The RIDE Adventures blog post pitting the KTM 990 Adventure against the BMW R1200GS has gained such popularity on the web that a South African Powersports Newspaper has asked to copy it for use in one of their issues!  In fact, it was just printed and is now on the stands in the Kruger National Park area, Nelspruit (Lowveld Region) of South Africa.


The BMW F800GS vs. KTM 990 Adventure: Which bike is better?

Posted by Eric Lange on March 21, 2012

The BMW F800GS vs. KTM 990 Adventure: Which bike is better?

Following the success of our previous blog comparison of the KTM 990 Adventure vs. the BMW R1200GS, it only seems natural that we now share our un-biased opinion on how the reputable KTM stacks up against one of BMW’s more recent designs: The F800GS.


Motorcycle Parts Review: Horsepower gains on the KTM 990 Dakar

Posted by Eric Lange on March 13, 2012
In late 2011, a motorcycle tour through Patagoniagave us the chance to meet Dave Diamond along with a great crew of other riders.  This 18-day tour through the Andes Mountains of Chile and Argentina actually sparked new interest in dual sport riding for Dave, and he returned to Los Angeles and bought a new KTM 990 Adventure Dakar Special Edition to compliment his existing Ducati 998s.  Dave rode the BMW F800GS in Patagonia, but for a handful of reasons, opted for the Orange option after doing his research.

After putting on the "dream farkle package" of skidplates, laser-etched custom levers, carbon fiber protectors, custom wheels from Woody's Wheel Works, and a shopping cart full of other goodies, Dave quickly dove into the subject of "MORE POWER" with the KTM, and has achieved over 12 horsepower gains through some basic steps outlined here:


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