Pointers for a SMT buyer

Here be mechanigeeks. Anything technical that is not a teething problem.
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Eukol
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Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Eukol » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:26 pm

Hi everyone - I want to buy a 990 SMT as my next bike. I'm coming from a Husky Nuda900R, which I wrote off last year but have always liked the SMT - and it's time for a new bike.

I'm after the ABS model and was wondering what I need to look out for when buying
1) what mileages are the SMT good for? Can I confidently buy a (well maintained) SMT with 20K kms for example?
2) What are common failures to check?
3) anything else?

Thanks and cheers, Gene.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by jhalfhide » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:46 pm

Ok... let’s take these one by one...

1) These engines are pretty reliable. People have hit big miles on them. I purchased mine with 20,000 miles on the clock and have no worries. There are a couple of common things with this engine/model but all are cheap failures that can be self rectified.

2) common things are things like checking the rear subframe on pre 2011 models as the later models were beefed up to deal with the stresses caused by a bouncing top Box. Fuel filters can get clogged but you can buy a spare for not a lot from a forum member or he sells on eBay. The only other thing I can think of is the water pump seal which was also improved on later models. Again, a cheap fix at home with plenty of info online.

3) buy it and do the airbox mods. Oh my


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Now: 2013 KTM 990 SMT
Old: 2010 Ducati Faultistrada 1200s (Broke)
Old: 2007 Yamaha R1 (Sold)
Old: 2009 KTM 990 SMR (Stolen)
Old: 2008 Ducati 848 (Written off... whilst parked :roll: )
Old: 2007 ZX6R (Written off... elderly driver)
Old: 1996 ZX6R (Sold)

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Gimlet » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:07 am

Swinging arm fills up with water on all model years and need drain holes. Sorted in five minutes at zero cost.

Headrace bearings often poorly greased and can fail in under 10,000 miles. Test ride the bike. If the steering is weird and feels like the front tyre is half flat, that's probably what it is. An easy DIY or inexpensive dealer fix. (Use good aftermarket bearings Toyo etc).

Clutch slaves on all KTMs including the very latest models are rubbish. At some point they'll leak fluid or admit air or both. Never fit another KTM OE slave unless its a warranty job. Cut your losses and fit an Oberon. Easy DIY or inexpensive dealer fix. £100 for the Oberon slave.

Master cylinder seals can perish. If left unattended the piston bore can wear and then it needs a new MC. A service kit is available for about £35. Its simple to DIY install, particularly if you have an Oberon slave fitted beforehand because they are easy to reverse bleed. SMTs should have their hydraulic fluids changed every other service or once a year. Check the condition of the fluid in any bike you're considering. Its mineral oil and it should be clear. If its black the hydraulics have probably been neglected.

As JH says the water pump gasket can leak but also the hose connections are prone to leaking. Often they only require removal, cleaning and reattaching with new clips. Check where any coolant leak is coming from. If its gathering on top of the water pump housing its probably just leaky hoses.

Fasteners are prone to corrosion. Check those low down and out of sight. If its running the original exhaust system the studs and nuts that secure the cans to the Y pipe are notorious for rusting away. If you plan to retain the OE exhaust check the condition of these. Also check exhaust manifold studs. All fasteners can be kept rust free with proper care. ACF50 and elbow grease are your friends.

Throttle response can be very sharp. Some bikes are worse than others. Removing the SAS and having the ECU remapped completely cures this on any bike. In fact a good tuning shop will set your throttle response as soft or sharp as you choose. Remap average £300-£350. But if you're doing it you might as well replace the catted exhaust cans and restrictive airbox at the same time. Transforms the bike. Total uncorking cost (new cans, Foam/DNA airbox, SAS removal and remap) £1000 -£1500 depending on which cans and airbox you go for.

SMTs are tyre-sensitive and need their suspension set up correctly to unlock their sweet handling. When its right, its a thing of wonder. When its wrong it can be hideous. The suspension is very good quality but if it doesn't feel right or its horrible it usually means someone who doesn't know what they're doing has twiddled, made things worse and given up. Make sure fork seals are not leaking and budget £150 for new fluid and a pro suspension set-up.

Rear brake is prone to squeal. Check condition and general cleanliness of calipers. I've found Carbone Lorraine are better pads than Brembo. Service the calipers regularly and use Wurth brake paste on the back of the pads.

All LC8 990s use oil. 1 litre every 1000 miles is not uncommon and doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the engine. Riding the bike full-bloodedly and letting it rev will prevent the bores glazing and avoid excessive consumption. Make sure its fully synthetic 10-50 oil.(10-40 will disappear at an alarming rate). I used 10-50 Castrol 1 Racing on the recommendation of an independent KTM workshop.

Dash can leak and mist up. It can actually be stripped and reassembled but check the rubber seal isn't hanging out and use a bit of sense when washing and you should have no problems.

Lights are shite. Seat's a bit wooden. Touring screens are useless. Better off with the small original or a Palmer screen - the only after-market screen I know of that actually works (and works extremely well but at a price).

Can't think of anything else. Lovely, old-school analogue bikes. Tough, simple, dependable, well-engineered and a hoot to ride when set up and maintained correctly. Check the bike's been properly looked after and if not owned by a twat, buy with confidence.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Eukol » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:15 am

Cheers, awesome info.

I loved my Husky Nuda (swear it even saved my life once - an "if I had been on a lesser (suspensioned) bike" scenario) but parts are now getting thin on the ground so I won't get another one. Mine was a gem, but like I'm reading about ktm 990's, some people got duds (vocal minority). Pity it was based on BMW's F800GS - that guaranteed the Nuda's demise (plus the Terra/Strada 650).

Anyway, KTM are going to release their own version of the (parallel twin) Nuda (the 790 Duke and spin-offs) - they knew they had inherited a good platform - just had to wait until the Nuda was erased from public's memory before 'unveiling' their own version - unfortunately the Nuda is developing a keen following as the word gets around - 2nd hand values are still very high. I've always liked KTM, so I'm OK with it - interested to see the direction the 790 platform takes.
Last edited by Eukol on Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Eukol » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:20 am

..oh, and I know what you mean about the suspension. When I was buying, the KTM dealer put me on a second hand one to test - whoever owned it, had set it up like a motocross bike with a really soft rear end - OMG it was terrible, and it put me off the SMT for a bit before I realised what had happened. In the meantime Husky ran out the Nuda R for $3500 off the price, so the choice was a no-brainer.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Gimlet » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:34 pm

The suspension specialist who has set up all my bikes commented on the quality of the SMT's suspension. He thought it a lot better than that fitted to my 2016 Superduke. Three things you should do with an SMT: shed as much superfluous weight as possible, stop feckin about if you don't know what you're doing and get a professional to set up the suspension, fit some sticky road-going sports tyres.
And then ride its knackers off. Few things compare.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Eukol » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:06 am

Yeah, I'm amazed at the conservative thinking of the biking community about what makes a good performance bike. A race-replica/sports bike makes sense on the racetrack and ... well nowhere else. A good super/hyper-motard will out gun them on everyday roads (and some racetracks) - plus you'll be able to do a crap load more miles in the saddle - not to mention aceing it in traffic with better vision and low speed control. It's a no brainer.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Thirdway » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:27 pm

I would add:

Brembo front rotors can become uneven as a result of sticking Pistons. The brakes need serious attention and cannot just be ignored like Jap brakes.

Tanks can expand because of modern fuel, not detrimental, but can make it near impossibile to refit the tank after maintenance.

Fuel cap is prone to jamming, it can be butchered to make it a better.

The seat is like a plank after 100 miles, but that's common with many bikes.

Bolts can come loose because of vibration. Check every hole around fairing to make sure they are all there.

12v socket is not the most robust thing. Mine has disintegrated twice. Still working though.

Chain adjusters can seize up. Check they move.

Some have had issues with side stand switch. You can buy an eliminator which will plug in if things go wrong.

Had mine for 3 years, no plans to sell and no issues except bad rotors. Do the oil changes properly using the correct grade oil. Clean the brake Pistons regularly and be scrupulous. Get a pro to set up mapping and disable the 02 rubbish or the throttle will be very jerky. Fit an Oberon slave. Replace tyres before the profile goes-I like the M7RR as the best option. The Palmer screen makes life a bit more pleasurable at cruising speeds. Fit crash bars, it suits the bike and saves pain. Make sure the chain is set to manufacturers instructions-the temptation is to tighten it up and every mechanic and rider will query the saggy chain, but that's how they are supposed to be. A gel pad can help with the backside, but it isn't a miracle cure and quality is variable. Tail lights will go after a few years, they are a pain to fit and more pricey than you think as they don't use traditional caps.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Winterwolf » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:59 pm

You mentioned chain tightness... I'm sure it's supposed to run pretty tight?... Doesn't the handbook say chain should be set to around 0.7cm slack?

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Gimlet » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:08 pm

I'd rather run a chain quite a bit slack than just a little bit tight, especially on a bike with long travel suspension.

A lot of people seem to run chains too tight these days. Its extremely bad for the gearbox and drive train.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Magic Wand » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:26 pm

Winterwolf wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:59 pm
You mentioned chain tightness... I'm sure it's supposed to run pretty tight?... Doesn't the handbook say chain should be set to around 0.7cm slack?

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NO!!!
It says that 7 mm should be measured from the under side of the swinging arm to the tightened chain upper part! And of course at a given point; that is almost exactly where the mount bolt (hole) for the chain guard is placed on the upper side of the swinging arm. The hole most rear on the swinging arm.
Swing arm.jpg
/M

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Thirdway » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:56 pm

^^^ what he said.
It looks a frightening amount of slack when set properly. Every bike mate and mechanic says 'should that be like that' ? To the point it gets tiresome explaining that it's set perfect and the bike needs it because of long travel suspension.

Those that set it 0.7mm up/down movement are courting disaster-worn out chain sprockets, worn out final drive/gearbox bearings, or worse still a snapped chain.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Winterwolf » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:19 pm

Cheers for the clarification... The swingarm is coming off over winter for a proper clean and grease. Will make sure I put it back on properly.

So to just check.. There should be 7mm gap from the bottom of the swingarm (where the chain guard bolt hole is) , to the top of the chain?


Just me being dense probably, but didn't catch the meaning in your last post.

Cheers
Fin

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Thirdway » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:39 pm

Bike on side stand. Find tightest point. Press bottom run of chain hard up against swing arm and there should be 7mm between top of link and swing arm at mid point.

There is a diagram on the bike, take off seat and it's on the airbox cover near the tank.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Winterwolf » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:33 pm

Thirdway wrote:Bike on side stand. Find tightest point. Press bottom run of chain hard up against swing arm and there should be 7mm between top of link and swing arm at mid point.

There is a diagram on the bike, take off seat and it's on the airbox cover near the tank.
Cheers... That's cleared that up... Bikes confined to the corner of garage while I'm screeding the floor . Will check later in the week

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Thirdway » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:07 pm

I see you are in Newcastle. If you are still struggling, then pop around to my place when you get the bike back on the road and I can check it for you.

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Re: Pointers for a SMT buyer

Post by Winterwolf » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:04 pm

Thirdway wrote:I see you are in Newcastle. If you are still struggling, then pop around to my place when you get the bike back on the road and I can check it for you.
Image


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