Considering an SMT

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Irn-Bru
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Considering an SMT

Post by Irn-Bru » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:18 am

Hello lads, doing research on the next bike and ended up here, been reading through Kev's guide and looking into common issues etc. Initially I thought the 990 SMT was a solid bike and engine but seeing more and more problems for them come up. Clocks, binding front brakes, squealing back brakes, oil leaks, high oil consumption etc. :shock: Then you see people reporting absolutely no problems at all in 20,000+ miles. The biggest worry for me was on another forum I read a new owners post about his SMT, his last reply in a thread was how he loved his bike and would be very active on the forum, I saw he had 8 posts in 4 years so that was strange, I clicked on his last ever post and it was about how the front brakes locked up on his 2013 SMT and he came off the bike a few months later :shock: So now I'm a bit worried, I was attracted to the SMT for mainly it's supermoto-ness but also being able to tour, I wanted to travel around Europe at some stage if I get on with the bike.

Before this I was after an 1190 Adventure but I think it's a bit too focused on touring for my needs, plus they are pricey.

Anyway, that aside I currently own a Suzuki DRZ 400 SM & KTM 690 SMC, the DRZ will be sold soon though.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by arg » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:16 am

Unfortunately reading forums you will see all the faults, because we're too busy riding them to post yes it's all lovely, it only when we start having problems we start posting.

Faults you mention
Clocks misting or digits fading - yes, clocks mist occasionally, take em to bits and leave them in the airing cupboard over night. Fading digits, solder the pins to the LCD to the holder, not an issue again.
Binding front brake - service them once a year unless you use them in salty conditions, then monthly.
Squealing back brakes - use bendix pads improves it but you need to use the brakes hard regularly to stop them glazing which also causes squeals.
Oil leaks - never had that problem unless you damage a seal during oil change.
High oil consumption - Mine gets topped up once between services.

I've just been to Poland and back on mine without any issues. Now on 31 thou miles.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by jhalfhide » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:30 am

They're brembo brakes. Same used on other bikes. Poor maintenance can lead to brakes binding unless its warping discs but these discs are a lot better than the newer, cheaper discs on modern machines.


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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Gimlet » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:43 pm

The LC8 990s are some of the toughest bikes around. They just require easy and common-sense maintenance and they're one of the most DIY-friendly bikes around for home servicing. I've never heard of brake problems except when caused by poor maintenance and that's an owner not a bike failure. If the rear squeals service it and use brake paste on the pads. Its an easy fix.
There are small niggles. KTM seem incapable of making a clutch slave. They are a weak point (and still are. My 2016 1290 SDR has had to have a new slave under warranty at 6000 miles - which was done without quibble). But again its an easy fix and if its out of warranty you fit an Oberon slave. Bearings are often poorly greased in the factory - or they are susceptible to water ingress. My head races were rusted up at 7500 miles. But again, its easy and inexpensive to put right. Water pump gaskets can leak. So you fit a new one..
The earlier engines do use oil. By design. I believe they changed the pistons in 2012 (so a dealer told me). Its not a big deal. You just use the correct grade of oil and top it up occasionally.
Clutch master cylinder seals can go. There is a very easy to fit repair kit for £30 and I believe an aftermarket resleeving kit if the bore wears. If you really have to replace the M/C, like many KTM parts, they're a lot cheaper than most other European marques. The swinging arm fills up with water through the rear shock spindle. So you drill drain holes and keep your bushes greased and use anti corrosion spray.
The dash can mist up but its easy to remove and unlike Ducati panels, for example, you can take them apart and fix them and make them waterproof again.

They're all petty issues that just require proper maintenance and a little bit of owner commitment. The basic engineering and design is fundamentally sound and they are bikes which have been designed to be fixed not thrown away. KTM are good at supporting their out of production models. You can get everything. The independent workshop I use for servicing has been working on 990s from day one and they've had many bikes through their hands that had clocked up over 70,000 miles without any major problems. Buy with confidence, do your bit and you can't go wrong.
If you want horror stories take a look at the Multistrada section on the Ducati forum..

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Irn-Bru » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:21 pm

Thanks for the replies lads, good points have been raised :) I've started semi-looking for one now, although the original plan was to wait until late December just due to having an extra years NCB to lower insurance a bit, but a bargain might pop up which negates that saving I suppose. That's what I like to tell myself anyway. There's a local one, 11 plate abs, leo pipes, around 18000 miles for £5.5k which is priced nicely but mileage is quite a bit higher than I wanted and it's orange, really want the black and white one. Not too bothered anyway, got plenty of time, winter is coming and all that.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by markbdaniels » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:21 pm

I too like the SMT, so this was some good info. Thank you.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Gimlet » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:05 pm

Irn-Bru wrote:Thanks for the replies lads, good points have been raised :) I've started semi-looking for one now, although the original plan was to wait until late December just due to having an extra years NCB to lower insurance a bit, but a bargain might pop up which negates that saving I suppose. That's what I like to tell myself anyway. There's a local one, 11 plate abs, leo pipes, around 18000 miles for £5.5k which is priced nicely but mileage is quite a bit higher than I wanted and it's orange, really want the black and white one. Not too bothered anyway, got plenty of time, winter is coming and all that.
Iron-Bru, I have a black and white SMT for sale. Its a year older than the one you're looking at, only slightly lower miles and it is going for a higher price, but its in excellent condition, its had all the top grade uncorking mods done and to a very high standard including a custom remap by one of the best tuning shops in the country and it has the option of luggage.
I know you'll think I would say this but condition and service history is more important than mileage. Mark Brewin who remapped mine said the engines can still be tight at over 10,000 miles and mine would probably gain 1 or 2 bhp by the time it got to 20,000.
Its a long way from you but here it is:
http://www.ktmforum.co.uk/bikes-bits-sa ... -sale.html

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by jhalfhide » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:07 pm

Irn-Bru wrote:Thanks for the replies lads, good points have been raised :) I've started semi-looking for one now, although the original plan was to wait until late December just due to having an extra years NCB to lower insurance a bit, but a bargain might pop up which negates that saving I suppose. That's what I like to tell myself anyway. There's a local one, 11 plate abs, leo pipes, around 18000 miles for £5.5k which is priced nicely but mileage is quite a bit higher than I wanted and it's orange, really want the black and white one. Not too bothered anyway, got plenty of time, winter is coming and all that.
I've just purchased one with higher mileage than that. Don't be put off. I do about 13k miles per year so mileage doesn't bother me so long as it's been maintained.


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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Irn-Bru » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:56 pm

6 hour+ drive so thanks but no thanks :lol: Just going to wait for a local one to pop up, in no hurry 8-)

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Irn-Bru » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:34 pm

Another fault I saw, weak sub frame to the point it can snap :shock: Seems that 2011 models got a revised design but still have other flaws that can cause failure. Does that mean a touring bike can't safely carry a top box or luggage on the rack? And does it affect carrying a pillion? :?

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Gimlet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:03 pm

I've carried hard panniers, tail pack, roll bag with full camping gear no problem at all. Don't know of any sub frame issues. It was completely stable and pulled the weight with no effort too. The seat isn't that roomy if you're going to load up the pillion seat with gear, that's my only reservation. But that's on a personal thing other people manage. If I was touring regularly or going long distance on it I would fit an aftermarket seat such as a Renazco but I wouldn't worry about the subframe.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by jhalfhide » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:53 pm

I went 2013 to make sure everything was taken care of. Early models did suffer with broken sub frames if top boxes were overloaded or mounted so they 'bounced'.

As Gimlet said, it's not so much what you carry but how it carries it. A top box can bounce and cause a constant push/pull on the sub frame. A roll bag has a lower centre of gravity and does not cause this issue. Or just get a later model and know they redesigned the sub frame.


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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Gimlet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:27 pm

I hate top boxes. Weight too high and too far back and can cause stability problems for solo riders.

I carry a 30L soft tailpack on the rear rack which carries clothes and lighter weight stuff and also gets used as a day bag when the rest of the luggage is off. Medium weight and valuable stuff goes in the panniers, heaviest at the bottom. Too much top weight in them make the steering odd. It won't turn and won't turn then suddenly turns too much. The heavyweight stuff goes in the roll bag on the pillion seat. It works well.

The Trax and the KTM hard panniers attach at the back to a bracket that is fixed to the rear plastic fender behind the number plate. The fender is a little more flexible than is ideal so the panniers need to be evenly loaded or they'll sit lop-sided and rock up and down in bends. Load them correctly and there's no problem.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Thirdway » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:58 pm

If I was in the market for a new bike then I think the better option is a Yamaha 850 Tracer thingy s/h but with reworked suspension.

The SMT is a very characterful bike and, apart from the rotors scalloping due to the previous owners neglect it has been faultless. It's great fun, but thirsty and a bit finicky. The Yam could be safely left rotting in the shed, or miss a couple of services and it wouldn't miss a beat, but the SMT isn't that kind of bike. It needs to be ridden hard, cared for and serviced properly.

The Yam will do 200 miles on a tank and never use any oil. The SMT will do 150 with a bigger tank and get through half a litre of expensive oil every 1000 miles. The Yam would be less characterful, but still a hoot.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Nordic09 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:39 pm

Actually, Yamaha Tracer was in 40 000 kms test in local magazine, and motor was shot after the test period. It was sent back to Yamaha for analyse but no feedback to Mag. Lower spec materials due to price? Problem was in head,valves, and in cylinders.

Anyway I bought SMT after 2 Triumph Street triples and was first quite disappointed of some worn out parts and bad vibrations after 20k, but after deep investigation of this forum and replacing the parts, and changing the map, the bike is very nimble to handle and has perfect suspension and brakes, not like Tracer where you are close to good but not there. Because there is still not similar bike in market (nimblicity, weight, capability in city and on travel, power, quality of parts..) I plan to do the upgrades, and keep it for long time.
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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Thirdway » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:27 pm

Were you on the Street Triple forum ?

I had a Street previously and wanted something similar but with passenger capability.

I've not heard of any issues with the Yam, but every bike has a one off. The suspension needs to be changed on the Yam. My mate has one with a set up by reactive suspension in York and it's fast with him onboard-another ex street triple owner.

I'm not going to pan the KTM as I enjoy it, but it's a bit marmite. Its easy to recommend it, but it's not as accessible as a multi cylinder bike for most riders. That of course makes it more involving, but lots of riders aren't looking for involving, they like an easy bike without any edges. The SMT has many, many edges-from the annoying fuel cap, the flighty throttle, the raw vibrating engine, terrible fuel consumption, expanding tank, poor wind protection, reliability issues and plank like seat. You don't get to 'like' KTMs, it's either love, or utter hate. :lol: I love-now-but it wasn't exactly love at first ride.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Irn-Bru » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:28 am

Tracer doesn't float my boat, the suspension doesn't help it's case, yamaha need to sort that out it's all people moan about on them.

GXSX 1000 F interests me, punchy engine but nothing like an SMT I'm sure.

Do they really burn 500ml per 1000 miles? Surely that makes them a 2 stroke :shock:

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by jhalfhide » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:17 am

I've only spoken to one tracer owner. He said he rode around for the first few months, telling anyone and everyone about how good it was. That soon wore off and the cheapness shone through. Novelty wore off and he got rid.


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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by Thirdway » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:15 am

Irn-Bru wrote:Tracer doesn't float my boat, the suspension doesn't help it's case, yamaha need to sort that out it's all people moan about on them.

GXSX 1000 F interests me, punchy engine but nothing like an SMT I'm sure.

Do they really burn 500ml per 1000 miles? Surely that makes them a 2 stroke :shock:
They do early on. Mine is using less and less oil as the miles rack up. The bike reminds me of my 1100GS. It started off running quite tight, used oil, didn't rev freely and had a gearbox like a tank. However at 30K miles it got really nice, still used a bit of oil but far less than early on. I think this is par for big Euro twins.

Suspension on the Yam can be sorted for a grand or so. Again this is pretty much how it is with all bikes. I can't say the SMT is perfect for my weight. It is however reasonably simple to have it worked on because it starts off with decent components. It's not necessary to buy a new rear shock or pay for complete internals, just a valve/Spring change.

However, having accidentally put it into neutral on a steep cobbled street I discovered the suspension was better than I thought, it was the throttle that was making it feel choppy-this is why it isn't an easy bike to ride, a nervous rider will tie it in knots on a bumpy road. It has to be braked hard, chucked in with real comittment and fed a good dose of throttle. It just doesn't do smooth, or neutral throttle. Once it gets shifting then it's like a highly addictive drug. My mate following me on his Street nearly crashed trying to keep up. It's sublime when the rider is on the case.

I haven't ridden the Tracer, so until I do will have to reserve judgement. Can't afford anything at the moment anyway so it's a good job I'm enjoying the KTM and its running well. It was never a 'dream bike' though, it was a practical decision to get rid of a Ducati M1100s (which wasn't a practical tourer) and a slightly unreliable ST4s that hurt my neck after an hours ride. I would have preferred the Multistrada, but it was just too tall and wide even compared to the SMT I struggled to get my tip toes down securely, it was also too expensive and high maintenance.

I've not had a Suzuki since returning to biking 18 years ago, never fancied one, they are all a bit budget. Looked at the BMW thing, but not convinced with reliability of BMs these days. Recently looked at the new Africa Twin, but it was low on power, also at the naked R1 engined brute-but that's just a faster street triple and the street was fast enough.

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Re: Considering an SMT

Post by jhalfhide » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:27 am

Thirdway wrote:
Irn-Bru wrote:Tracer doesn't float my boat, the suspension doesn't help it's case, yamaha need to sort that out it's all people moan about on them.

GXSX 1000 F interests me, punchy engine but nothing like an SMT I'm sure.

Do they really burn 500ml per 1000 miles? Surely that makes them a 2 stroke :shock:
They do early on. Mine is using less and less oil as the miles rack up. The bike reminds me of my 1100GS. It started off running quite tight, used oil, didn't rev freely and had a gearbox like a tank. However at 30K miles it got really nice, still used a bit of oil but far less than early on. I think this is par for big Euro twins.

Suspension on the Yam can be sorted for a grand or so. Again this is pretty much how it is with all bikes. I can't say the SMT is perfect for my weight. It is however reasonably simple to have it worked on because it starts off with decent components. It's not necessary to buy a new rear shock or pay for complete internals, just a valve/Spring change.

However, having accidentally put it into neutral on a steep cobbled street I discovered the suspension was better than I thought, it was the throttle that was making it feel choppy-this is why it isn't an easy bike to ride, a nervous rider will tie it in knots on a bumpy road. It has to be braked hard, chucked in with real comittment and fed a good dose of throttle. It just doesn't do smooth, or neutral throttle. Once it gets shifting then it's like a highly addictive drug. My mate following me on his Street nearly crashed trying to keep up. It's sublime when the rider is on the case.

I haven't ridden the Tracer, so until I do will have to reserve judgement. Can't afford anything at the moment anyway so it's a good job I'm enjoying the KTM and its running well. It was never a 'dream bike' though, it was a practical decision to get rid of a Ducati M1100s (which wasn't a practical tourer) and a slightly unreliable ST4s that hurt my neck after an hours ride. I would have preferred the Multistrada, but it was just too tall and wide even compared to the SMT I struggled to get my tip toes down securely, it was also too expensive and high maintenance.

I've not had a Suzuki since returning to biking 18 years ago, never fancied one, they are all a bit budget. Looked at the BMW thing, but not convinced with reliability of BMs these days. Recently looked at the new Africa Twin, but it was low on power, also at the naked R1 engined brute-but that's just a faster street triple and the street was fast enough.
Multistrada is good... very good. Reliability is shocking though. I'm coming from a multi, back to a KTM.


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Old: 2007 Yamaha R1 (Sold)
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Old: 2008 Ducati 848 (Written off... whilst parked :roll: )
Old: 2007 ZX6R (Written off... elderly driver)
Old: 1996 ZX6R (Sold)

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