Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport 2013 KTM 990 SM T Review | Quick Adventure/Touring Ride

2013 KTM 990 SM T Review | Quick Adventure/Touring Ride

2013 KTM 990 SM T Quick Ride Review

Supermoto is not the first thing that comes to mind when considering a touring bike. However, KTM is not averse to thinking outside of the box.

The 2013 KTM 990 SM T takes the Austrian supermoto platform and turns it into a lightweight touring bike that is highly sporting, and has some off-pavement capabilities as an added bonus.

Bristling with high-end pieces, including KTM’s short-stroke V-twin, WP suspension and a chromoly trellis frame, the SM T has the unmistakable ergonomics of a dirt bike.

The seating position is fully upright, and the center section of the bike is narrow. Although supportively wide, the seat is firmly padded, giving you a solid platform to move around on when blitzing through canyons.

Yamaha Super Tenere & KTM SM T | Touring Cali's Desolate Triangle

That’s not to say the 2013 KTM SM T is all about hard-core performance. Those ergos work for long days in the saddle, and to make it more touring friendly, we dipped into the KTM accessory catalog and added sidebags and a taller windshield (as well as putting a Rider Tail Bag from Cycle Case on the rear rack) for the bike shown here. Set up in this way, the SM T is a superb getaway machine, ready to rack up 1000 miles over a long-weekend.

Six speeds and tallish gearing keeps the SM T comfortable on the freeway, and the motor will run the speedometer right up to triple digits before you know it.

Going slowly on the KTM is a bit more of a challenge, as the fuel injection is a bit notchy and the bike has punchy power down low. Remember, it has a supermoto legacy, so the accent is going to be on acceleration rather than perfectly smooth throttle response.

Sport tourers who don’t need a lot of protection or luggage capacity will be intrigued by the possibilities. Yes, the bike can be backed into corners, and such inappropriate fun as wheelies and stoppies are there for the asking. It is simply a blast to ride, and the cleverly designed sidebags can be removed in seconds (literally) and it takes only a couple of minutes to return to the standard flyscreen.

Out of the ordinary, in both its mission and level of performance, the 2013 KTM 990 SM T is touring for the sporting at heart and the aggressive in nature.

Photography by Don Williams


Helmet: Arai XD4 Explore Orange

Communication: Scala Rider G9

Eyewear: TAG Heuer 5103

Jacket: Firstgear Kilimanjaro

Gloves: Firstgear Ultra Mesh

Overpants: Firstgear HT

Boots: Sidi Discovery Rain

2013 KTM 990 SM T Photo Gallery

Kelly Callan
Kelly Callan
Kelly is an avid two-wheel commuter, enjoying the frenetic energy of Southern California’s freeways on the wide variety of test bikes passing through the UM garage. Partial to singles, she’s equally appreciative of twins, triples, and fours, and enjoys sporting canyon rides or off-road riding on weekends.

2021 Indian Chieftain Lineup First Look: 3 Big-Inch Baggers

There are three baggers in the 2021 Indian Chieftain lineup, with just a few changes to the motorcycles this year. There are new colors,...

2021 GasGas Trial Lineup First Look (8 Fast Facts: 3 TXT Racing Models)

The first GasGas motorcycles of the Pierer Mobility AG and Bajaj Auto era have arrived. Those who were expecting wholesale redesigns of the line...

Lieback’s Lounge: This Will All Pass [Thoughts on Simic and Motorcycles]

There is a menace in the air Of tragedies in the making. These lines are from "Late September," written by the American minimalist poet Charles Simic....

Racing Classic Motorcycles: First You Have to Finish by Andy Reynolds [Review]

Author Andy Reynolds’ new book, Racing Classic Motorcycles: First You Have to Finish, is about a man livin’ the classic motorcycle racing dream—with some...

2021 BMW R 18 Test: City and Country Life with the Big Boxer

Let's say we hop into Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine and set the date for October 1936 and Berlin as a location. With us, we...

Harley-Davidson Tremont Shoes Review: Urban Motorcycle Footwear

In the on-going debate over how much protection is enough, the correct answer for each of us comes from within. Some riders would never...