Summer 2008 – KTM660 2004 Review

Posted: 2008-10-17 in Supermotard

Bike Usage

I got the bike on a very cold day in March, and since done a further 6500 km’s on the clock which now points to 15500km in total.
The bike is ridden 1/3rd’s of the time on back roads and street, and the rest of the time its on the track. Before me the bike was mostly mountain roads, the owner upgraded to the 990.

Me

I am a worn bike owner. I do all my own maintenance (except tire changes), like MX, enduro riding and love motarding at the local medium sized track.   

Maintenance

Maintenance is like any bike maintenance, it needs to be done or it cost a little more each ride.
So I check most fuids after each ride as well as oil the chain.
I change oil every 2000 kms (only a quick engine oil change), I do a proper oil change and service every 4000 km’s as per the manual and so far I have only adjsuted the valves twice, the second was totally unnessasry but I had the top off.

Probably my biggest issue is the tuning, occasionally the bike will complain, so far it has eaten 3 plugs, each one died with little warning and took a lot to nurse the bike home.

General Feelings and Comments

The gear box is a little noisy, but only in neutral. When compared to two other KTM 660 it seems normal.

The stock exhaust is quiet decent but should have the little metal disc removed: drill around the spot welds and then pull like crazy with pliers you’ll break the welds.
I do have an complete aftermarket exhaust system, this required re-jetting when dynoed the back wheel said 70hp, but due to the local track restrictions it is deemed to noisy.

The factory suspension settings seem surprisingly spot on for street. I do click the rear one harder when on smooth tracks.

The clutch is fine but I would have loved a slipper clutch, it “chatters” a lot when coming into tight hair pins from a high speed. The newer 690’s have them stock and I can understand why.

Feels good to ride, the front wheel is lively. Easy to control if the back is spinning.

Track Days

After writing this review I stopped riding the bike on the street, I now trailer it to the track. I would have done this earlier but my car didn’t have a tow ball.

I found street riding great fun but it is seriously hard not to be a idiot, also it is unconfortable. So I would not recommend the KTM660 for travelling distances greater than about 20km’s, you’ll hurt by the time you get off it.

On the medium sized tracks (straights less than 180kph) the bike comes alive. The two main tracks I ride at are around 2km long and quiet tight.

In the straights you get creamed but that expected, a 200 hp R1 is hard to compete against. BUT and a big butt, tracks have more corners than straights and this is where the Supermotos come alive. You can out perform most bikes when braking and nearly all bikes when cornering , this is where you gain ground.

The feeling of beating newer, expensive, powerful sports bikes is really gratifying.

Conclusion

Although on paper it sucks, in real world with the restriction removed it is a destroyer. It even beats the shitty KTM640 and 625 hands down. The lightness is refreshing and reminds me of my MX days. I don’t feel I have to upgrade its just think that in 5 years of R&D buy KTM should produce a more refined SMC KTM, I just hope they haven’t lost site of a ready to race bike concept.

Will I keep it? Well the new KTM 690 SMC look mighty nice, although a little heavier than the 660 and same power, but the slipper clutch and electric start has its perks (I have been stuck more once).

Overal Rating:

Tight Tracks 70%. Lighter super motard will kill you
Medium Tracks 90%. No slipper clutch
Large Tracks 75% Too slow
Daily Town/Street 80%. Kick start makes it a bit annoying
Curvy back road 98% You will still be legal and ripping up the corners
Cruising 25%. Uncomfortable, rough and your head sticks out in the wind
Off Road 50% The torque makes up for a lot, it can jump and take on rough ride quiet well. Its basicalyl the KTM SX anyway
MX Track 20%, Too heavy
Maintenance 85%. Very cheap, plastics are also cheap to replace.

Other Comparisons

Aprilia 550 2007 model with many expensive parts on it. Reminded me of the KX250, short responsive wheel base, very light and hard to get a true reading from the front of it.
The 550 was more more responsive under 70km/h than the KTM660 and it felt it would have handled much better on tighter tracks.

 

Side note:  Oils ain’t Oils

I change my oil very frequently and use a semi cheap, semi syn 20w/50 oil. I have two arguments from this.
The first is that expensive oil and cheap oil don’t really differentiate that much at the start of there life time. Over time the additives to make the oil viscosity change over heat slowly degrade. This is where expensive oil is much better than cheap oil. It breaks down and looses its properties much slower than expensive oil.

The second reason is that by changing the oil frequently I get a chance to check for things that shouldn’t be in there, like metal and water. These are removed and I also remove most of the carbon build up in the oil (expensive and cheap oil both gets this issue). This is probably the same reason race teams change oil frequently, although there budget allows for top of the line oil my budget doesn’t.

Cheers

Choco

Helping make companies rich sinse 1994.

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