QUIKSPIN: KTM 990 SM-T - Super Tourer

25 March 2013

The 990 Supermoto T forms one half of KTM’s big bore 990 SM fleet, the T indicating that this particular ride is destined for touring, while its R sibling has a slightly sportier flavour.

Don’t let that fool you though, because the 990 SM-T packs one heck of a punch in the engine department, also proving surprisingly nimble in the handling stakes.

In the 990 SM-T’s styling you can see its touring nature from the outset, although its sporty side isn’t hidden too far beneath the KTM Power Part panniers that came fitted on our testbike.

While capable of going the long haul, the 990 SM-T isn’t an all-out tourer from the ground up, featuring naked bike styling with large shrouds, plus a sizeable windshield and hand guards.
It’s not as sharp as its R brother, the T has a great balance between long distance cruising and short, sharp joy rides.

Combined with the engine’s light weight of 58 kilograms and the chrome-molybdenum frame of 11 kg – plus the remaining various components – the SM-T hits the scales at a claimed weight of 196kg, which is just seven more than the R model.

It’s got a short wheelbase at 1540mm, with a steep steering rake of 25.4 degrees, making it sporty in its handling character, albeit still stable when riding at speed.

You’ll find its ergonomics comfortable with the gel seat that’s also comfy for a passenger, while the high-placed motocross-style handlebars mean you’ll feel in control at all times.

The WP 48mm upside-down forks are firm but handle bumps accordingly and offer good front
tyre grip in corners, while the WP monoshock also makes for a smooth ride on bumpy surfaces while also providing good grip on corner exits.

As for braking, the twin Brembo 305mm disc brakes with four-piston callipers are immensely
powerful, with the Brembo 240mm, two-piston rear brake consistently strong.

With a seat height of 855mm and a ground clearance of 195mm, KTM’s 990 SM-T makes for a
very suitable all-rounder that you’ll find enjoyable to ride on the road or dirt.

As soon as you accelerate on the 990 SM-T you’ll be surprised by the outright grunt that it’s packing in the 999cc, twin-cylinder, DOHC, LC8 engine.

KTM claims it’s got 85.7kW with 97Nm of torque at 7000rpm, and I wouldn’t argue with those figures after my time with the bike.

There’s power from the very bottom of the range as soon as you accelerate, which is applied in a smooth fashion thanks to its Keihin EFI system.

Pick any one of the six gears available and the engine will pull accordingly on most occasions, although using a bit of clutch when changing up through the transmission will help shifting.

The LC8 base engine is shared with the likes of the 990 SM-R, Super Duke and Adventure range, offering a broad spread of power that will be sure to help you raise a smile with every throttle twist.

Its fuel tank expansion from 15 litres on the R model to 19 litres on the T makes for KTM’s most touring-based bike available on the market.

Configuration 75? V-twin
Cylinder head DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Capacity 999cc
Bore 101mm
Stroke 62.4mm
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Ignition Transistorised
Cooling Liquid
Fueling EFI, 2 x 48mm Keihin throttle bodies
Type Six-speed
Primary drive Gear
Clutch Wet
Final drive Chain
Frame material Chrome-molybdenum steel
Frame layout Trellis
Rake 24.4?
Trail 109mm
Wheelbase 1510mm
Suspension WP
Front: 48mm, USD, fully adjustable,
160mm travel
Rear: Monoshock, fully adjustable, 180mm travel
Wheels Five-spoke, cast aluminium
Front: 17 x 3.5 Rear: 17 x 5.5
Tyres Dunlop Sportmax
Front: 120/70ZR17 (58W)
Rear: 180/55ZR17 (75W)
Brakes Brembo
Front: Twin 305mm discs, four-piston radial mounted
Rear: 240mm disc, two-piston caliper
Weight 196kg (dry, claimed)
Seat height 855mm
Max width Not given
Max height Not given
Fuel capacity 19L
Power 85kW @ 9000rpm
Torque 97Nm @ 7000rpm
Top speed 225km/h (est)
Plenty of power
Smooth EFI system
Good comfort
Wind protection
Suspension a bit firm
Gearbox slightly notchy