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.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 WilliamsRIDING STYLE 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
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!