KTM 990 SM-T | DOIN’ TIME

Long-term test update: New tires (again!), Honda mirrors and an SW-Motech GPS mount

WRIST: Marc Cook

MSRP (2014): $13,999

MILES: 12,874

MPG: 37

MODS: Michelin tires, Honda mirrors, SW-Motech GPS mount

All in all, a fairly quiet month for the KTM. I ran out of time before the press launch of Michelin’s new Pilot Road 4 tires to validate my wild guess that the Continental TrailAttack 2 rear tire would make it to 6,000 or 6,500 miles. At 5,400 miles, I measured tread depth, which averaged 2.5mm at the shallowest point, so there was still some life in that tire.

Honda mirrors are visibly better than the stock KTM bits. Details, details.

Between “re-tiring” the KTM, I made a couple of smaller modifications. First was to try something else for mirrors. The stock items were okay but a little wide and blurry at some highway speeds. I’d had good luck with mirrors from a Honda NC700X on my Kawasaki Versys, so I transferred them here. Not cheap at $150 for the pair, including necessary hardware, from your local Honda dealer. (Worried about high KTM parts prices? Don’t be. The stock mirrors are $87 for the pair.) But the Honda pieces are narrower, clear, and stable.

SW-Motech’s GPS mount works better than the RAM ball/arm setup used previously.

I also changed the mounting scheme for the Garmin zumo 390LM I’ve been running. Previously, I used a RAM ball mount on the handlebar clamp, then a short arm, and then a flat plate to mate with the Garmin’s cradle. I liked the adjustability, but the setup was plagued by vibration. Not so with the SW-Motech Detachable Vibration-Damped GPS Holder (twistedthrottle.com; $78). This setup uses all four handlebar-mount bolts and locates the GPS perfectly between the top of the tank and a level that keeps it from blocking the instruments. It’s also, as the name implies, better at blocking vibration, which has to be good for the GPS.

Finally, the tires. As this is written, I haven’t put a lot of miles on the Michelins, but so far they feel fine. Not as “sprightly” as the Continentals, with slightly slower steering response (more like the Bridgestone T30s) and marginally increased ride harshness compared to the Conti TrailAttack 2s I was just using. It’ll be interesting to see how the Michelins wear.

On the maintenance side, it appears the graphite ring (gasket) between the rear exhaust pipe and the rest of the system is starting to leak, which I understand is a common problem at this mileage. I’ll tackle that next month. At least the part is cheap, just $13.

Honda mirrors are visibly better than the stock KTM bits. Details, details.
SW-Motech’s GPS mount works better than the RAM ball/arm setup used previously.