What used to be the KTM 950 Supermoto is now the 990
Thanks to a revised engine, with capacity increased from 942 to 999cc. Despite its mighty power, this motor weighs a flyweight 58 kilos. It must be stressed that the old bike was phenomenally good. Truly. It was one of our favourite bikes, mainly because it was just such damn great fun. So, given that it didn't really need improving, what's the new bike like?
More power is rarely a bad thing, and that's our assessment of the 990 Supermoto. You get 16 extra horses, and that's a fair chunk for a bike whose predecessor was already a rampaging mentalist. “How demented is it?” ponders Simon, and promptly concludes “Off the fucking scale.” If you are riding on bendy B-roads, especially if the surface is bumpy, then there is very little the KTM won't be able to keep up with. What's more, you'll probably be having heaps more fun than mates on their supersports bikes, tap-dancing on their gear levers. Indeed, this is a bike that can satisfy very experienced, fast riders. When Chris Moss admits, “It's a hell of a lot better than I am,” you know a bike is very, very competent. OK, so the 990 isn't particularly comfortable or forgiving, but it's not designed to be – this bike is unapologetic about taking you kicking and screaming by the seat of your pants. The midrange delivery is quite lumpy, but that mostly just gives the bike more character.
The KTM works as a complete, no-compromise package; the WP suspension is high-calibre, as are the Brembo brakes. It doesn't completely lack practicality, either, and you don't need to be a supermotard supremo to have fun. “For all this riotous fun, the KTM has loads of leg room,” notes Simon, “the bars make cornering ridiculously simple… and it'll go for miles with its big, 19-litre tank.” Oh, and if you don't like the bold-statement, supermoto styling, then there's something wrong with your eyes!
•Engine: 75-degree V-twin, 8v, l/c, 999cc
•Compression ratio: 11.5:1
•Carburation: Keihin EFI, 48mm throttle bodies
•Power: 127bhp@10,300rpm (tested)
•Frame: Chromium-molybdenum trellis
•Suspension: (F) 48mm USD WP forks (R) WP monoshock
•Brakes: (F) Twin 305mm discs, Brembo four-piston calipers (R) single 305mm disc, twin-piston Brembo caliper (braided hoses)
•Wheels/tyres: Cast aluminium / Pirelli Scorpion Synch (F) 120/70 - 17, (R) 180/55 - 17
•Fuel capacity: 19 litres
•Dry weight: 191kg
•Contact: KTM UK (01280 709500)