The 2004 KTM 950 Adventure has the air of a street bike, but those looking to have a good time off-roading need not turn away: the Adventure line of bikes has everything an off-roader desires, with a few unexpected improvements as well.
KTM, the company that designed the Adventure line, is an Austrian company that produces top-quality, light-weight dirt bikes. The 950 Adventure bikes of 2004, like most of KTM’s previous bikes, come with street-spec tires, which contribute to the lightness of the vehicle. Although KTM has produced dirt bikes for several decades now, a surprising new change gives it an even more appealing drive: the 950 Adventure series was designed with a 75-degree, V-twin motor called the LC8 and is accompanied by four valves and a set of twin overhead cams. These additions cause the Adventure bikes to rise up to the 942cc displacement level, but to most bikers, that can be overlooked due to the 100 horsepower that it lends the vehicles.
When it comes to off-road biking, bikers are seeking the thrill of adventure; safety is often not at the forefront of the mind. However, the aptly named Adventure series still considers safety to be a priority, which is why KTM continues its tradition of using Brembo brakes. Two twin-piston calipers cling to the dual 300mm front disc brakes. In the rear, a single 240mm disc brake with an accompanying twin-piston caliper to slow it down is found.
The lightweight street-spec tires are Pirelli MT90s, or Scorpion A/Ts. The difference between these tires and actual street-bike tires are in their wider grooves, which create the greater traction requisite for driving on off-road terrains. Many skilled bikers, though, may not be convinced of the efficacy of such tires in an off-road situation, fearing that they may not be aggressive enough to match the power and gusto of the novel engine design that is the 950 Adventure line’s hallmark. However, those who have ridden the bike in off-road terrains agree that the Adventure bikes work well even with the lightweight tires. As any off-roader knows, what matters is the feel of the bike: if the rider rides it as he would any other, heavier bike, he will see that it stands up to expectations. The only terrain in which the Adventure line bikes might fall short is when riding in sand, because heavier tires are needed for greater traction. Otherwise, it drives just as well as any heavier dirt bike.
Lastly, the appearance of the 950 Adventure bikes is of some importance to dirt-bike enthusiasts. With the aforementioned thin, DOT-approved tires that lend to it a sleek physique, it does indeed look more like a street bike. And like most street bikes, it does boast a chrome-moly steel frame. The frame does not extend all the way down and around the body of the bike; instead, it reveals the motor in order to add to the dirt-bike aesthetic. Sitting at a 34.6-inch seat height, the bike has a suspension travel of nine inches. The chassis is 48mm and placed up at the front, and there is a hydraulic preload adjuster in the rear. A characteristic not before seen in KTM’s bikes is the rear suspension linkage that connects to the swing arm.
The 950 Adventure line, with its versatile bikes that can be both street- and off-road friendly, will unfortunately be used primarily on the streets due to the apprehensions of bikers who wish to use it offroad but do not trust the tires. However, riders should know that the bike, with its powerful engine and thoughtful safety machinery, is a joy to ride even offroad, where riders with some experience can enjoy the light weight, speed, and power of a truly adventure-inspiring off-road dirt-bike.