KTM 990 SM-T | Doin’ Time

Mods: SW Motech centerstand, Givi windscreen

By Marc Cook, Photography by Kevin Wing, Marc Cook

WRIST: Marc Cook
MSRP (2013): $13,999
Miles: 8,408
MPG: 38
Mods: SW Motech centerstand, Givi windscreen

For the most part, I've avoided diluting the pure joy served up by my KTM long-termer with frivolous add-ons, which has taken a serious change of character and more than a little self-control. But now I've broken through. Praise to the Internet!

Since I haven't done a lot of hard maintenance on the bike, its lack of a centerstand hasn't been a huge problem. I have a set of swingarm spools in place, and my trusty Pit Bull stand is always at the ready to hoist the back for chain adjustments and lubrication. So far, I've adjusted the chain just three times. The SM-T has a tendency toward chain slap when slack gets beyond a certain point, so I tend to keep the chain very slightly on the tight side of my preferred range, which is generally looser than most owners would tolerate.

But a centerstand is just too handy to ignore, so I ordered up an SW-Motech unit (twistedthrottle.com; $245) that goes on with no modifications to the bike. Two sturdy brackets bolt to the frame and through the lower rear engine mount. Altogether, the centerstand weighs 8.1 pounds with hardware and brackets, and it's fair to say the hardest part of the installation was getting the finger-biting spring installed.

Even better, the centerstand is a functional win: easily deployed and providing a steady perch for working on the bike, lubing the chain, and loading luggage. It also stays clear of the asphalt at what might be called a brisk street pace. A half day following young Zack on a Ducati Hypermotard SP up and down State Route 22 from Borrego Springs had me dragging my toes but never making sparks with the centerstand. Score!

Next up, windscreen fun. I've felt that the stock KTM piece offered a good balance between appearance and coverage, with reasonably little turbulence as the result. Always curious, I ordered a Givi D750S windscreen (giviusa.com, $148), which bolted right on. It's 5.9 inches taller than the stock piece but slightly narrower above the flare-out for the mounting points. In stock form, I found the screen too noisy; it left the airflow to break right at the top of my helmet. Because I own a wicked-good bandsaw, I trimmed 30mm (1.2 inches) from the screen's height. Ah, that's better. The slightly shorter screen moves the airflow separation point so that most of my daily helmets seem quieter. I might try removing a little more material, but the problem is that you don't know when you have the height perfect until you overshoot.

An update on the Continental ContiTrailAttack 2 tires mentioned in the last installment, then. I remain impressed with these skins, mainly because it feels like KTM's engineers did their thing with a Conti-specific profile in mind. (Conti's Sport Attack 2 tire comes standard on the SM-T.) The Katoom's steering is perfectly weighted, light but accurate, on the TA2s while grip is more than sufficient for the street. Alas, I've been riding in a historically dry California winter, so I can't say much about how they work in the wet. I believe the TA2s are slightly squirmier at the edges than the standard tires, even though they felt great on the 1190 Adventure I rode in Tenerife. Then again, the Adventure has lean-angle-managed traction control to protect these 90/10 tires where the 990 puts that duty right back on the rider. Plus it's likely our asphalt acts a bit differently, too.

Soon I'll be at the next major maintenance event at 9,300 miles, which includes a check of valve clearances, a change of spark plugs, and replacement of the air-filter element. It almost sounds like fun.

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