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Author Topic: MTS 1200S vs. KTM 990 SMT (by me)  (Read 15881 times)
Triple J
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« on: May 23, 2010, 01:57:01 PM »

I went and rode the new MTS1200 yesterday…a white S-sport model (so lots of carbon, and no bags fitted). It was about a 20 minute test ride, some highway and some surface streets.

I also own a 2010 KTM 990 SMT, which I’ve had for about a month now. This was released in 2009 in Europe, but 2010 is the first year here in the US.

I think these bikes are direct competitors, and are the most similar to each other in this class. Sure, Ducati is going after the GS crowd, but the GS and MTS1200 don’t have as much in common as the MTS and SMT. The Triumph Tiger is there also, but isn’t nearly as nice as either of these bikes (after test riding one).

So, first the bottom line:

SMT - $13,998

MTS1200 - $14,995
MTS 1200 w/ ABS - $16,495
MTS 1200S - $19,995

Engines:

The MTS has the re-worked Superbike 11 degree 1198cc 90-degree twin, while the KTM has the LC8 990cc 75-degee twin. The KTM’s motor is essentially the same as in the 990 Adventure, and the 990 Superduke…although tuned a bit differently (cross between the two from what I'm told).

For outright power the Ducati wins hands down if in the higher power settings. I was told the MTS dynos around mid 130s hp, whereas the SMT is just shy of 110 hp. Don’t know on torque, but the Duc surely kills on that as well. However, the SMT is no slouch at over 100 hp to the wheel…and it is smoother and revs faster than the Ducati. Having never ridden a 1098 or 1198 before, I was surprised how “lumpy” the engine felt compared to my old 848, or even the new 1100 2-valve motors in the Hyper. There is also a decent amount of vibration in the MTS that I didn’t expect.

Power difference was noticeable between the Sport/Touring and Enduro/Urban modes on the MTS. The softer delivery was particularly noticeable when starting from a stop. I couldn’t tell much difference between the 2 high, or 2 lower power modes though. Honestly, it seems to me that 2 modes would be sufficient. Traction Control did not kick in, so no thoughts on it.

Both are nice motors, just depends if you really want high horsepower, or lower power that is smoother and revs slightly quicker.

Comfort and Ergos:

Seating positions on both bikes are very similar and comfortable. The KTM’s bars are a tad higher, and the MTS’s pegs are a tad higher…but both were pretty similar. Both seats are comfortable, the Ducs being wider and flatter (the demo did have the Duc Performance comfort seat). I’ve done a 350 mile and a 250 mile day on the SMT and find the seat decent. I suspect the Ducs would be a bit better, but hard to tell on a 20 minute ride. Both have room to move a bit.

Wind blast was OK on both bikes. The Duc did have what looked to be a Ducati Performance touring screen, whereas the KTM was stock. For reference I’m 5’8 (and a half  cheeky), with a 32-inch inseam.

My main complaint in this category was with the Ducati, and it’s my main complaint with the Ducati --> the stock bars are wide…I mean really wide. They seem to be the same as BMW 1200GS or a Guzzi Stelvio bars. I absolutely hated them, and would replace them with something more normal before leaving the shop if I were to buy one…something like the old Multi bars (or the KTM bars). I have no idea why Ducati did this…bars that wide just don’t fit a light, sporty bike like the MTS IMO.

Weight and Size:

The MTS is noticeably heavier than the SMT when at a stop, or with slow speed maneuvers. It isn’t quite as noticeable when moving. I’m not saying it is heavy…just heavier. KTM claims the SMT is 432 lbs dry (everything but fuel). Ducati claims the MTS-S is 423 dry (not specified, but I suspect no fluids at all). I don’t know…the SMT feels much lighter.

The MTS is also wider than the SMT, mainly where your legs wrap around the tank. In fact, it felt like the widest Ducati I have ever ridden. The SMT feels more like the old Multi in terms of width.

Both bikes are very close in height, but the MTS feels taller due to the width at the front of the seat making it a bit further of a reach.

Suspension:

KTM has WP fully adjustable – Ducati demo had the electronic Ohlins. Both are very nice. The WP feels as if it’s one step up from the standard Ducati adjustable Showa suspension, but just a tad short of the Ducati Ohlins suspension (like I’ve experienced on the MTS1100s models). I like it very much so far, on everything from the highway, to streets, to the twisties.

I was a little disappointed in the MTS1200 suspension. The Sport mode was very harsh on our crappy roads. Touring was barely less harsh. Enduro & Urban were better for where I rode, but no better than my KTM’s WP. This is all adjustable though…so that could well be it. It didn’t feel as nice as the Ohlins suspension on the MTS 1100s model that I’ve ridden. The electronic suspension was neat again, but I’m not sure 2 modes wouldn’t be sufficient…maybe 3.

Controls & Brakes:

The KTM gauges are very simple…large analog tach with a large digital speedo next to it. Same as all recent KTMs. Odometer, 2 trip meters, and outside temperature. No fuel gauge, just a low fuel light.

The Ducati was more complex. Digital everything, including the tach. Tons of features that I didn’t get into though. Everything was easily visible, and switching between power modes with the switch integrated into the left turn signal button was very easy.

The KTM clutch is light…I mean really light. Very nice in traffic. The MTS clutch is light for a Ducati, but still kind of heavy. Heavy clutches don’t bother me, but a light one is nice.

Both bikes have radial Brembo brakes. Ducati has ABS (optional or on S models). ABS is not available on the KTM. Both are nice, strong, and have good feel. The KTM has a stronger initial bite which takes getting used to. I never used the ABS, so no comment on how it feels.

The KTM has quick power delivery when the throttle is initially opened. Not too quick or on/off (like I’ve been told the Superduke R is), but it does take a bit of getting used to. The Ducati is a bit smoother…especially in the lower power modes, where it even felt a bit sluggish.

Accessories & Miscellaneous:

Both bikes come with handguards. Ducati’s also house the turn signals (so don’t break them)  Shocked.

The KTM comes with small “hard” bags, which aren’t waterproof, but have liners. Not great, but good enough for the touring I do. Bags are extra on the Duc, or included in the $20K S-touring model. I’ve read that people think they’re flimsy…I don’t know, I liked my MTS1000 hard bags a lot though. For that price, I hope they are great bags.

The KTM comes with an actual tool kit…complete with a beer opener. waytogo The Ducati comes with, well, a Ducati tool kit (as far as I know). KTM also lists all of the motorcycle’s torque specs in the owner’s manual…Ducati does not, but they should. Undecided

Conclusion:

Which is the better bike depends on the buyer I think. Two different approaches at a similar motorcycle. KTM took the simple route, while Ducati opted for techno wizardry (no doubt to lure the GS crowd).

IMO the KTM is superior in an urban environment, due to its lighter weight and narrower width. The Ducati might be better on the highway, but the KTM does fine as well and might be just as good. I know the KTM rocks in the twisties, as I’m sure the Duc does as well. I suspect both would do well on fire roads also.

In the end I can’t see how the Ducati would be a lot better than the KTM at anything though (to justify the price). It is no doubt a very nice bike, but so is the KTM. I really expected to be blown away by the Duc, but I just wasn’t. Honestly, a well sorted MTS 1100S isn’t blown away by the new Multi either…so long as you’re not completely focused on horsepower, and can deal with the odd looks. Anything over 85 horsepower at the rear wheel is unnecessary in a street bike IMO…fun, but not needed. I may change my mind later, but that is how I feel now. Late model versions of the original MTS were much nicer than the early versions…maybe this will happen again with the MTS1200.

I do wish the KTM was available with ABS, but the traction control and electronically adjustable suspension are no biggie for me. If I was going to get a MTS 1200, I’d probably just go for the base model with ABS…which is a $2,500 price increase over the KTM. I can see that if someone just likes the Ducati better, but I can’t see spending an extra $6K over the KTM for the S model…that’s just me though.

Two different approaches that produced two very nice bikes. I will say for sure that I would take either of them over a Triumph Tiger (which I rode), a BMW 1200GS (which I briefly owned), or a BMW F800GS (which I rode and hated).

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Triple J
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2010, 01:57:45 PM »

Damn...longer than I thought. Sorry.  Lips Sealed

For reference on the looks:

MTS 1200 S (stolen from another thread)  cheeky


My KTM 990 SMT with white panels, crash bars, and skid plate
« Last Edit: May 23, 2010, 02:56:29 PM by Triple J » Logged
Scotzman
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2010, 04:34:12 PM »

I haven't ridden either model (MTS), but to save the 5-6G's, I figured I would go with the base model as well. I've lived thus far without electronic suspension etc, so....
Great comparison waytogo
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 08:07:34 AM »

I have ridden the KTM and I am seriously considering it as an upgrade from my Cagiva Gran Canyon. My only complaint with the KTM is how pogo-ey the suspension was on it. Now granted, this was one of the fleet of test bikes off the demo truck and I think it was set up for any fatass off the street to ride in general, and wasn't as plush as I would have liked. Otherwise, ergonimically, I couldn't see any other real reason why I wouldn't go for this bike. The MS, to me, looks like waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much technology and money for what and how I would be using the bike for.
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 09:01:52 AM »


The MTS has the re-worked Superbike 11 degree 1198cc 90-degree twin...




Wow.

That's a narrow V.

 Tongue



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DRKWNG
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 09:39:29 AM »

I have ridden the KTM and I am seriously considering it as an upgrade from my Cagiva Gran Canyon.

Pah!!  KTMs are over-rated. 
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Triple J
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2010, 09:47:11 AM »




Wow.

That's a narrow V.

 Tongue





I take it you missed the 90 degree part at the end?  Tongue
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2010, 10:59:25 AM »

Out of curiosity.............where does the KLR650 we just acquired fit in here?


more in line with the KTM Adventurer and GS crowd?
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2010, 11:18:23 AM »

did they not show you how to adjust the suspension settings?

They are "4 modes" but each can be adjusted much further. Its not a strict 4-mode setup. You should have been able to easily make the suspension more compliant regardless of the mode originally selected. Kinda bummed your dealer didn't show you how.

Also, I find the MTS1200 motor to be very smooth. Perhaps you might have preferred the "progressive-150" mode rather than the "balls out 150" mode.
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Triple J
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2010, 11:43:23 AM »

did they not show you how to adjust the suspension settings?

They are "4 modes" but each can be adjusted much further. Its not a strict 4-mode setup. You should have been able to easily make the suspension more compliant regardless of the mode originally selected. Kinda bummed your dealer didn't show you how.

Also, I find the MTS1200 motor to be very smooth. Perhaps you might have preferred the "progressive-150" mode rather than the "balls out 150" mode.

No, they didn't show how to adjust the suspension beyond the 4 modes...not for a test ride anyway. they probably don't want everyone screwing up the settins on every test ride. I agree that any suspension issues I felt could for sure be corrected with adjustments (which I think I said above).

The lack of smoothness had nothing to do with the power delivery. The power delivery was very nice and smooth...and I actually liked Sport Mode. The motor just felt lumpy to me. Like I said, I've never ridden a 1098 or 1198...just an 848. It may just be how that engine feels. It may also have been more noticeable since I rode my KTM to and from the test ride...and I'm used to how that motor feels. It wasn't a big deal...just wasn't expected.
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Triple J
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2010, 11:44:55 AM »

Out of curiosity.............where does the KLR650 we just acquired fit in here?


more in line with the KTM Adventurer and GS crowd?

Yes...but a budget version with way less power.
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sally101
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2010, 04:36:54 AM »

I am 450mi in on my MTS1200. You can read the review in the below link.. Specifically I compared the Engine and Suspension with my Monster S4Rs.

I don't mean to troll the OP, I liked his review, but those dealer "test rides" are a joke.. Especially with something as complex as this bike. 20 minutes on slab and surface streets isn't enough.


http://www.multistrada.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20969
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Sally101 <----- Still Not a Chick
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2010, 05:04:23 AM »

Give this man an MTS for a few days. I think that Ducati designed this bike to be able to compete with all of them, which means that it probably does every function pretty well. In the MCN review they compared it to, IIRC, 3 other bikes. The MTS didn't win any category, but came in second every time. So for someone that is looking for a bike that does everything well, then it's agood choice over having to buy 2 different bikes. If you just use it to tour, or just for enduro, then the prize takes it out of the competition. I only know a few people that would actually use it as it was intended, so I would generally recommend to look at the cheaper options.
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2010, 05:11:37 AM »

I want to see how well it crashes before I give it any credit as an enduro. Anything you can't just pick up and keep riding is not suitable for offroad.
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2010, 05:53:01 AM »

I want to see how well it crashes before I give it any credit as an enduro. Anything you can't just pick up and keep riding is not suitable for offroad.

I have not even put it into Enduro mode and I hope I never do.
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