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Endurance test KTM 950 Adventure

The mill rattles…

…but it holds. Despite constant rattling noises, the KTM 950 Adventure survived 50,000 kilometers. But in the end it got really tight again.

Does it hold or does it hold? Tea
Opinions in the editorial team were divided when the huge KTM two-cylinder enduro was added to the fleet at the beginning of last year.

The numerous fans of the lively V-drive were looking forward to many kilometers with the exciting sports equipment. Skeptics, on the other hand, suspected that such a radically constructed engine could never, never, survive the targeted 50,000 kilometers without serious problems. Especially since the LC8 is the first large Austrian motorcycle for asphalt operation.
The professional pessimists received confirmation that the first ailments occurred shortly after the start of the marathon. After 7800 kilometers-
The head gasket of the rear cylinder blew through. Which wasn’t an isolated incident.
The workshop made every effort, replaced the head gasket, planned the sealing surfaces. Some time later it turned out that it was only the wrong coating of the cylinder head nuts that prevented an even tightening torque and thus led to this defect in most of the 2003 and 2004 models. Better coated screws permanently solved the problem with the test machine.
Shortly afterwards she died KTM twice within a few days at the side of the road with the same defect: The fuel pump went on strike. Annoying for the pilots. In both cases the transporter had to move out to retrieve the stranded tanker. Although this is an atypical error, the same fuel pump does its job reliably in different Japanese machines.
In the further course the Adventure bathed in its own oil several times. Initially because the small sealing ring on the oil pressure switch on the cylinder head had cracked. Then the switch itself was the reason. And finally broke up
two hose clamps on the neck of the oil tank. Quite banal causes. Maybe MOTORRAD had caught a Monday machine?
Could be, because in terms of mechanical noise development, the 950 was not exactly one of the quiet walkers. It rattled here, rattled there. In front
In particular, machines that were being tested in parallel from 2005 onwards ran much more smoothly mechanically. On the one hand, this can be traced back to improvement measures by the Austrians. On the other hand, until shortly before the end of the test, the workshop overlooked the fact that the endurance tester had a wrong clutch basket that was long outdated.
With advancing age, new tones enriched the sound spectrum. Especially after the start, it usually took a few seconds for the oil pressure to reach the timing chain tensioner. Even if, according to KTM, there cannot be any damage, the rattle did not exactly calm down. The causes were searched for during the inspections. Without success. Only recently did the Austrians offer new locking screws for the chain tensioners? too late for the long-term test machine.
But there had to be other reasons for the unhealthy background noise. Because already at halftime of the distance
The engine rumbled at times scary when idling, especially after moving it at high temperatures under full load. The author remembers driving on the freeway in the summer of 2004, when he temporarily interrupted the journey after a break for refueling, worried by loud knocking. The next day the rattling was reduced to normal again.
However, the list now sounds more dramatic than these ailments were experienced in practice. The KTM was very popular because of its great handling characteristics and dynamic drive and was in use practically non-stop on tours and trips. So she wound down the 50,000 kilometers within a short time. The average consumption was 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers within tolerable limits. Anyone who savored the performance must expect ten liters. Nevertheless, the 22-liter tank allows longer journeys.
Especially since you can endure it quite well on the optionally offered gel bench. The rather tough series counterpart, on the other hand, only found favor with hardened drivers. During the last 20,000 kilometers, the 950 was driven with homologated Akrapovic silencers. The absorption dampers provide more sound and an even better response of the
already quite snappy engine, and they save a few kilograms in weight. It is important that the carburetor setting is adjusted. Which turned out to be complicated. Since the workshop was unable to synchronize the carburetors, the machine came to the importer for a thorough check.
The KTM 950 Adventure cannot be called tire-killing, every 7,000 to 10,000 kilometers it had to be freshly soled. In the absence of an alternative, only the standard Pirelli MT 90 was used. A good enduro tire with good grip, good-natured behavior in the limit area and fantastic accuracy. Only in wet, cold weather was the adhesion limited. Ace
The chains also proved to be sustainable-
sentence, at 27,000 kilometers was the first
Exchange due. And the second lasted until the end, but would now be ready for replacement. The low wear on the front brake pads is almost unbelievable. And that, although the brakes shine with excellent deceleration and thus perfectly rounds off the sporty character of the engine and chassis. Only after 45,000 kilometers did the KTM receive a new set. The only criticism of the stop-
pern were sometimes violent squeaking noises, but these had no effect on the braking performance.
Kilometer 44,600: The test machine knocks and rumble frighteningly. Should disaster be brewing? Fleet boss Gerry Wagner immediately brings the large enduro to the inspection that is due anyway. In the workshop, in addition to modifications to the oil pump, the work that is due, such as the valve clearance, is corrected. With short-term success. The two-cylinder sounds a little healthier afterwards. A little later, however, the rumble increases again when tester Georg Jelicic unwinds the last kilometers. In the end only with the greatest caution after the noises have reached unbearable proportions and the performance drops noticeably.
How close the death was imminent only comes after the engine has been dismantled
to the fore. Dramatic cracks in the two exhaust valves indicate overheating in the area of ​​the rear cylinder. A few kilometers full throttle and the two-cylinder would have blown Georg in the face. What went wrong? The assumption of the KTM technicians that something atypical has happened seems credible. It is conceivable that the mechanic at the
set the wrong valve clearance in the last inspection, especially since he complained in the workshop report that the valve clearance was too large. However, this is practically impossible with a dohc motor with bucket tappets if the contact pattern of the cams and cups is perfect. Unfortunately, proof can no longer be found, at best some evidence.
As a consolation, that’s for the time being
every damage is a guarantee case. KTM has extended the warranty period to three years from 2005, which also applies to the 2003 and 2004 models. A reconstruction
would definitely be an expensive proposition. But at least the optimists were right, the Adventure managed the long-term test distance? if only just now.

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Endurance test KTM 950 Adventure
The mill rattles

Balance after 50,000 km: condition

Cylinder head: exhaust valves burned at the rear, camshafts with minimal pitting, oil loss on valve stems, bearings in good condition with a few scoring
Cylinder: Traces of overheating on the rear cylinder, piston clearance at the front and especially at the rear too high, piston rings with little wear, cylinder linings good, but wear limit reached
Crank drive: bearing in good condition with few scoring marks, main bearing play on the right too large
Power transmission: gearbox in very good condition, very light tracks on shift forks, clutch linings with little wear (replaced at 31,000 km)
Chassis: very high quality paintwork, surface coating in very good quality
good condition, no rust and almost no corrosion


Operating costs over 50,000 km
21 liters of oil at 15 euros at 315.00 euros
7 oil filters at 10.20 euros 71.40 euros
3 air filters at 30 euros each 90.00 euros
4 spark plugs at 12.50 euros each 50.00 euros
2 sets of front brake pads at 46.50 euros, 93.00 euros
3 sets of rear brake pads at 56 euros at 168.00 euros
1 chain set 240.30 euros
Brake fluid 11.50 euros
Small parts, lubricants 71.16 euros
Seals 50.65 euros
Inspections and repairs 1878.52 euros
Tires (including assembly, balancing, disposal) 1293.00 euros
Fuel 4004.82 euros
Total cost 8337.34 euros
Acquisition cost 12,690.00 euros
Loss of value 4,790 euros
Estimate (dealer selling price) 7900 euros
Costs per kilometer (without depreciation) 0.17 euros
Cost per kilometer (with depreciation) 0.42 euros

Maintenance and repairs

Front and rear tires renewed, Pirelli MT 90 km 7635
Cylinder head gasket replaced and cylinder head planned (guarantee) 7813
Cylinder head screws tightened, fuel pump
exchanged (guarantee) 12681
Rear brake pads renewed 16443
Front and rear tires renewed, Pirelli MT 90 16542
Petrol pump repaired (contacts cleaned and sealed) 22619
Clutch push rod and rear brake disc replaced (guarantee) 25086
Rear tire renewed, Pirelli MT 90 26 009
Chain set, rear brake pads and grinding rail renewed 27305
Steering head bearing (guarantee) and clutch replaced 30930
Fork guides exchanged 30950
Carburettor synchronized, secondary air system repaired 34136
Front and rear tires renewed, Pirelli MT 90 37 660
Hose clamp on the oil tank exchanged (own contribution) 39299
Hose clamp on the oil tank exchanged (own contribution) 41 251
Carburettor cleaned, electrical contacts of the reserve lamp cleaned 42670
Rear tires, Pirelli MT 90, and front and rear brake pads
renewed, clutch basket replaced 44600
Clutch slave cylinder exchanged (guarantee) 48182
Front tires renewed, Pirelli MT 90 48 600
Torn sealing cap sealed (own contribution) 51211

KTM takes a stand

…to leaky head gaskets.
The cause was scattered friction-
cracks on the cylinder head nuts that lead to a
irregular preload. This fact became 2005 in production
optimized, and there is now one
Instructions for dealers, which also solve the problem for 2003 and 2004 models.
…to residues in the cooling water.
It is possible that particles remained in the cylinder head after grinding the cylinder head at the dealer. On the other hand
Particles of the powder coating can also come off.
…to the burned exhaust valves of the
rear cylinder.
Such a damage pattern can only be explained by insufficient valve clearance. A look at the dealer documents showed that the valve clearance was reduced during the last service. This indicates that the mechanic has made a mistake because the valve clearance usually needs to be increased. Such a problem did not occur in my own endurance runs even after 80,000 kilometers.
…for increased play of the rear
Severe delay indicates thermal overload, which is clearly a consequential damage to the burnt exhaust valves. The normal wear of the rear cylinder / piston is actually somewhat higher, but within narrow limits.
…to improve the mechanical
Background noise.
A new clutch cover with a damping weight is now available (can be retrofitted for all models). also
a two-part, tensioned drive wheel
the multifunctional wave the game
balances between the tooth flanks. Tea
In engines from 2003 and 2004, the timing chain rattling that sometimes occurs after the start has been minimized by new locking screws on the timing chain tensioner. Older machines can be converted to the 2005 version.
…for increased play on the right crank-
shaft bearings.
Tea affected plain bearing turned out to be very stable during development. In the case of an engine overhaul, the effort is low
Manufacture as new. In the present box, the bearing shell would surely have covered the same distance again despite being undersized.
…scoring on bearings due to impurities in the oil.
The recognizable grooves come from the
Run-in phase of the engine. During this period, abrasion must be removed from the engine oil, but this does not odd its function.

Reading experiences

I was spared technical problems.
Rusting spoke nipples were replaced without any problems. Touring comfort is okay with the gel seat. The engine only runs properly with semi-legal modifications (airbox, 16-tooth pinion, Akrapovic). And the fan has only been more quiet since installing a radiator grille instead of the radiator protector. Continue to find
the fuel consumption of 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers is too high. For a successor model, I only want an ABS. I could do without smaller wheels, less suspension travel and injection.
Eduard Kraus, Sachsenheim
I’m still very excited about this bike. Registered in May 2003, it now has 31,000 kilometers under its belt. Conversions: lighter Akrapovic silencers, 16-tooth sprockets, main stand. The wind protection is still good even at top speed. And the KTM is even packed full
fun with pack sack and side pockets. The chassis doesn’t sag or break when jumping, as happened to me with the R 1100 GS. Only the tight turning circle and the large seat height are noticeable negatively. In autumn 2003 I made a trip to Africa from Cape Town to Mombasa (almost 8000 kilometers). The driving dynamics are just great, regardless of the surface. I’ve never had such fun with any other motorcycle. Refill 0.75 liters of oil, repeated tire patches ?? then nothing. The Metzeler Karoo had left after 1500 kilometers.
Michelin Desert are not quite as stable, but more durable.
I didn’t have the many small problems like with your long-term test. Tea processing quality is great down to the last detail. The plastic coating of the frame and add-on parts has proven itself. There is still no clatter in the fairing or engine. It’s a shame that the MOTORRAD endurance test has to give the impression,
the LC8 is an immature motorcycle.
Thomas Stock
I bought my Adventure in October 2004.
Great price, main stand, bench from the 2005 model, first three
Free inspections. After the winter break, the engine did not pull at zero degrees and damp weather: KTM wants to retrofit carburetor heating free of charge. Fork pushed ten millimeters through, making the 950 manoeuvrable and nimble without becoming unstable. Wind noise is within limits. Passenger on the first trip enthusiastic about the seating comfort. First rear tire (Pirelli) was at 5700 kilometers
due. Steering stop at adjusting screws adjusted to maximum. Hepco & Becker carrier attached, no swinging up to 200 km / h. 16-speed sprocket installed. Low oil consumption. Gasoline consumption 5.5 to 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers. Refueling is not a problem if you hold the nozzle straight down. Processing, tools, operating and repair instructions couldn’t be better.
I’m looking forward to the ABS. A weight under 200 kilos would be nice.
Stefan Hartmann, Kisslegg
My experiences with the 2003 KTM 950 are up to 4000 kilometers? because then I wrecked it in Scotland ?? mostly positive. Nevertheless, it had shortcomings: constant travel jerking, slapping in the chain at low speed, brakes squeaking at the front. During a long journey, the heat protection film between the exhaust and the seat came off. Immediately after starting very unpleasant noises from the engine; oil pressure too low. When refueling you have to be careful not to
to spill everything. Little steering angle. I wait until
February 2006 when the Adventure finally came with ABS, 990 cm3
hopefully gets a little more pressure and injection. Despite the shortcomings, I think the KTM Adventure is a great motorcycle.
André Leue

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