Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport 2011 KTM 990 SM T | Preview

2011 KTM 990 SM T | Preview

2011 KTM 990

The last decade has seen a significant shift in motorcycle trends. Perhaps most visible is the emergence of user-friendly sport machines intended for long distance, yet capable of a certain degree of off-road.

Catering to this growing segment KTM continues to evolve their 990 SM T for the European market, and for 2011 it’s finally offered in America. Taking a cue from BMW, Ducati, and Yamaha (all players in this increasingly important category), KTM has taken one of their big bore Supermoto machines and infused it with elements that make it a more well-rounded distance tourer.

KTM firmly has the adventure rider in its targets, ensuring the SM T has equivalent specs to go up against the BMW GS, the Ducati Multistrada, and the newest entry into the class, the Yamaha Tenere.

The key to the KTM is a big-bore engine-in the form of their proven 990cc, 115 hp V-twin-combined with agility and light weight for spirited performance, yet set into a package that renders a comfortable ride and can venture off the beaten track.

New for 2011 is a dual-channel ABS system developed by Bosch, intended to aid braking (especially in wet riding conditions), which can be switched off for off road riding. For brakes the 990 is equipped with dual 305mm discs mated to 4-piston Brembo calipers on the front and a 2-piston unit grabbing a single 240mm rotor for the rear.

To enhance its off-road capabilities the 990 SM T has been graced with 7.7-inches of ground clearance (critical for any wandering off the pavement) and a relatively light weight of (claimed) 437 pounds dry.

KTM signature WP suspension components grace the front and rear with the 48mm diameter forks providing 6.9-inches of travel up front and the single shock granting 7.3-inches of travel on the rear.

Signature trellis frame, made of chromoly, cradles the DOHC, 75-degree liquid-cooled V-Twin powerplant, which is fed by a 48mm Keihin throttle body.

KTM is using years of Supermoto experience and combining it with their impressive off-road knowledge to manufacture a motorcycle that combines sportiness and durability with comfort and diversity.

The result is a motorcycle that provides functionality without sacrificing the fun factor. The 990 SM T, fitted with soft luggage, an upright seating position for long-range comfort, and a small fairing to protect the rider, promises to be a master escape machine capable of bringing a smile to even the most discerning rider.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

Harley-Davidson Gift of Riding H-D Riding Academy Contest

There is no better gift in the world than turning a non-rider into a motorcyclist. Of course, it takes more than best wishes to...

2021 Suzuki 650 V-Twins: New Colors Sneak Peek First Look

It’s always interesting to check into Europe’s latest to see what might appear on dealer showroom floors in the United States. We look at...

2021 Honda Rebel 500 ABS SE First Look (5 Fast Facts)

After an upgrade last year, Honda has more plans for the now-midsize Rebel. There is now a 2021 Honda Rebel 500 ABS—an accessorized version...

Sena SRL2 Review: Bluetooth Communications for Select Shoei Helmets

The Shoei Neotec II is a sweet upgrade from the original Neotec, and it incorporates many improvements. Nic de Sena reviewed the Shoei Neotec...

2021 Ducati Diavel 1260 Lamborghini First Look (12 Fast Facts)

It is virtually impossible to go wrong when combining two iconic brands, such as Ducati and Lamborghini. With the two marques owned by the...

Classic Superbikes by Frank Melling Book Review: Motorcycle History

Frank Melling is an old-school moto journalist and former factory racer. He lives with his wife Carol on a beautiful farm in northwest England....