KTM 950 Supermoto Review
KTM 950 Supermoto R
Forget the fact that the tank will only take you 200k’s before you need to fill up, or that the seat is apparently made out of some type of wood that takes insane pleasure in reducing your arse to a painful throbbing piece of meat after 20 minutes in the saddle. These items pale in comparison to the sheer joy and hoolaganistic fun I had whipping about the town and surrounding countryside on this bike.
With the KTM 950 Supermoto R, finally someone delivers on the supermoto promise – combining agility, low-down woof and rugged can-do with kilometre after kilometre of reliability, comfort and the higher speeds of a top-quality road bike.
The KTM is a big capacity V-twin bad boy that can shake its tail at sportsbikes in the twisties. The Supermoto’s DOHC, 75-degree V-twin is the same carb-fed heart that powers KTM’s own 950 Adventure giant traillie so perfectly. The short 1510mm wheelbase, together with the radical 64.6 degree steering head angle, guarantees an extremely sporty riding experience.
Over the two weeks it was parked in the MTN garage I managed to rack up something like 2500km on it, mostly because it was so much fun to ride, the other bikes parked there didn’t get much of a look in!
The Supermoto’s bits and bobs are, I have to say, excellent: WP suspension, Magura bars and Brembo brakes. Thanks to KTM’s long involvement in off-roading, the motor’s super-reliable, replacement plastics are cheap and the finish isn’t dimmed by the rough and tumble of day-to-day riding.
Yes, it is a tall drink of water, standing 875mm to the seat, but this oompa loompa had no problems getting a leg over. It’s smooth, pops easy wheelies and will rattle on to a top speed on the indecent side of 200kph. There’s heaps of stomp too, making overtaking a breeze, as well as pulverising any corners you come across.
The extremely compact LC8 engine weighs an anorexic 58kg, making it the lightest Twin in the 1000cc class.
The stable chromium-molybdenum frame, weighing only 11kg, is a real lightweight as well. The frame is lavishly lacquered in KTM orange, while the triple clamp, swingarm, engine brackets and footplates are all black anodised parts.
The new tank and seat unit have been adapted from the Super Enduro R model, supporting a sportier stance and placing the rider up to 40mm closer to the front wheel. But despite the ballsy buzz about the R, the riding stance is still very comfortable and you feel you could ride to the track, hack about all day, and still be up for the long trip home. And that’s precisely what I did, riding it down to Taupo for Triumph’s first ever Tri Day held recently.
The day dawned wet and, as it was my first time on a track, I was feeling a tad bit apprehensive. I needn’t have worried. The first session was a case of tip-toeing around in a downpour to get a feel for the track, the corners and entry and exit speeds.
The KTM didn’t miss a beat, feeling right at home.
As the day progressed and the weather fined up, the lines dried out and I was able to push the bike a little more. And that’s where the Supermoto came alive. Not only was the KTM fun and friendly, it was sporty without being hectic, and I found I had ample headspace to learn the track and play about a bit. As the day progressed, the tractable trailie continually surprised me with its agility.
Time and time again, I barrelled into a bend, pushed on those wide bars, and the bike dropped steadily and effortlessly into the corner.
Handling-wise it was perfect – good feel through the bars, and no matter what I did it stayed upright. Didn’t quite have the experience to be able to back it into the corners, but under heavy braking and then powering out of them I could see and feel where this beast would impress the hardest-riding moto-men.
Given the choice, I’d take the Supermoto’s brother, the SuperDuke, on track every day of the week – it’s a no brainer. But given that the Supermoto R was so much fun, and more compliant than I’d imagined in such extreme circumstances, I was literally dribbling at the thought of riding it in the real world. And I still am – pass me a bib.
New or used, the KTM 950 Supermoto R represents good value for money.
As a flexible, feel-good option there’s little to touch it, especially if you’re tired of cramped sportsbikes. Think of it as a BMW GS with a huge set of tesicles and you’re almost there. I want one.
Type 942cc, liquid-cooled, single cylinder, four-stroke
Bore x stroke 100mm x 60mm
Power [email protected]
Torque [email protected]
Clutch Wet multi-disc clutch, operated hydraulically
Frame Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder coated
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