Motorcyclist Comparo: Sumo Supermoto

Large, Powerful And Not Exactly What They Seem

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

2007 KTM Supermoto 950 R
Price: $12,998

Though drawn-out by sporty-bike standards, the 59.5-inch wheelbase beneath KTM's steel pipe-rack skeleton is 4 inches shorter than BMW's mammoth Megamoto. Though derived from the 950 Adventure chassis, the SMR's swingarm is shorter and steering geometry is tightened up for the pavement.

The 48mm WP fork and remote-reservoir shock are fully adjustable top-drawer pieces, but the perfect setup can be elusive, especially if you're anywhere near 200 pounds. Once dialed in, they strike an effective balance between compliance and chassis control.

While the Adventure and Super Duke get the latest 999cc fuel-injected 75? V-twin, the old carbureted 942cc version holds its own. It's the only one here with a radiator. Dry-sump lubrication wraps an oil tank around the forward exhaust header.

Dual radial-mount four-pot Brembo calipers grab a pair of 305mm floating rotors up front, followed by a 240mm rear rotor and twin-piston Brembo caliper. It's a potent combination. And with more power than feel available at the front lever, sometimes too potent.

Tech Spec
Engine type: l-c 75? V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v
Displacement: 1170cc
Bore x stroke: 100.0 x 60.0mm
Compression: 11.5:1
Fuel system: (2) 43mm Keihin carbs
Clutch: Wet, multi-platevTransmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular-steel trellis
Front suspension: 48mm WP inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Single WP shock, adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 305mm discs
Rear brake: Single Brembo two-piston caliper, 240mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Pirelli Scorpion Sync
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Pirelli Scorpion Sync
Rake/trail: 25.4?/4.3 in.
Seat height: 34.3 in.
Wheelbase: 59.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 3.8 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 449/426 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 87.6 bhp @ 8000 rpm
Measured torque: 58.9 lb.-ft. @ 6500 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 11.56 sec. @ 118.29 mph
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg): 39/29/34 mpg
Colors: Black, orange
Available: Now
Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 mi.

KTM North America Inc.
1119 Milan Ave.
Amherst, OH 44001

You sit closer to the pavement than on BMW's Megamoto, and the bar is closer as well, but the refreshingly neutral layout leaves plenty of room for tall types. The 950 is still something of a stretch for anyone under 5-foot-8.

Based on the 950 Adventure twin, the SMR spins up quicker than its all-surface cousin. Thanks to more efficient intake and exhaust plumbing, it lays down better power and more of it. Delivery is dead linear with no significant jumps or dips.

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