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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’m seriously considering an 890R (as well as the MT-09). I enjoyed the demo rides of both. I prefer the narrowness, engine character, handling and looks of the KTM.

I’ve also owned both brands (3 Yam’s and 1 KTM). The Yam’s were bullet proof.

However, I had to get rid of my 2017 Super Duke 1290R after 25,000 miles due to numerous electronic and mechanical issues including: Replaced front master cylinder, replaced clutch switch, replaced left switchgear three times, moaning front brake rotors, fob not recognized, TFT spontaneously resetting its date and time, and finally over $1,000 out of pocket to replace a leaking radiator.

I really enjoyed the test rides I’ve done of the 790, 890 and 890R, but I’m worried about getting another unreliable bike. I keep seeing reports of the 790/890 engines still having repeated oil and water leaks, counter shaft seal leaks, gasket leaks, etc. My nearest KTM dealer is quite far away.

What have people’s experience been with the 790 & 890’s…especially those who’ve owned the bikes for at least 20,000 miles.

Thank you very much!


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Not sure many would have 20k+ on an 890 R, 790 might be a different story. I have like 7500 on my 890 R, and all I had was that initial countershaft seal issue, which was fixed under warranty. Otherwise it's been smooth sailing.

Japanese bikes are going to be more reliable on average, but nothing is really guaranteed. My R1 needed a new cam chain tensioner, and it took the dealer a while to even acknowledge the issue (despite a service bulletin being issued) and do the work.
 

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I'm exactly on the same boat, and to be honest, if I was going to ride the bike 20K miles or more, I wouldn't even consider the KTM. But since I'd only put 10K at best, I'm still considering it. Unfortunately, I'll have to buy blindly, whichever bike it is. May I ask you were do you live, that you were able to test-ride both? That's awesome. Since I need a trailer to use the bike, and I don't have it yet, I'm continue to wait, and buy the newest possible bike when the time comes, especially if it's the KTM. Hopefully the newest builds don't have those mechanical issues anymore. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm exactly on the same boat, and to be honest, if I was going to ride the bike 20K miles or more, I wouldn't even consider the KTM. But since I'd only put 10K at best, I'm still considering it. Unfortunately, I'll have to buy blindly, whichever bike it is. May I ask you were do you live, that you were able to test-ride both? That's awesome. Since I need a trailer to use the bike, and I don't have it yet, I'm continue to wait, and buy the newest possible bike when the time comes, especially if it's the KTM. Hopefully the newest builds don't have those mechanical issues anymore. Good luck.
Southern California. Life is short, and I really enjoyed the 890R overall more than the MT-09. My 1290R was the MOST fun bike I’ve EVER had, but also THE biggest headache. However, life is short, and i’d rather spend my time riding, than having it wrenched on.

I put an average of close to 1,200-1,500 miles/month on my bike, so I don’t want to feel I have to limit my riding because I’m worried about problems cropping up.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not sure many would have 20k+ on an 890 R, 790 might be a different story. I have like 7500 on my 890 R, and all I had was that initial countershaft seal issue, which was fixed under warranty. Otherwise it's been smooth sailing.

Japanese bikes are going to be more reliable on average, but nothing is really guaranteed. My R1 needed a new cam chain tensioner, and it took the dealer a while to even acknowledge the issue (despite a service bulletin being issued) and do the work.
I just don’t get how KTM can have the engineering skills to design exciting performance bikes, but yet they can’t seem to figure out how to keep the fluids inside the engine. That’s seems pretty basic to me.

Even if the issues are quickly a and willingly covered by warranty, it’s a hassle, as my nearest KTM dealership is over 70 miles away. I wasted a lot of time and gas trailering my Duke to and from the dealer.

My last bike was my first Harley, which didn’t leak a drop, and was very reliable…compared to my “Ready To Repair” Super Duke

I’m very surprised to hear about your R1. Maybe as the bikes get more complex they get less reliable. Possibly we need less tech and more reliable bikes.


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I just don’t get how KTM can have the engineering skills to design exciting performance bikes, but yet they can’t seem to figure out how to keep the fluids inside the engine. That’s seems pretty basic to me.

Even if the issues are quickly a and willingly covered by warranty, it’s a hassle, as my nearest KTM dealership is over 70 miles away. I wasted a lot of time and gas trailering my Duke to and from the dealer.

My last bike was my first Harley, which didn’t leak a drop, and was very reliable…compared to my “Ready To Repair” Super Duke

I’m very surprised to hear about your R1. Maybe as the bikes get more complex they get less reliable. Possibly we need less tech and more reliable bikes.


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Funny enough, the newer (2015+) R1s had transmission issues, initially.

Anyway, I figure you gamble a little bit on a Euro bike, but if you enjoy it, take the chance. It's worth it. If your bike isn't your commuter workhorse, at worst you miss a few weekends or something, right?
 

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I really enjoyed the 890R overall more than the MT-09.
It wasn't the SP, correct? I honestly wouldn't buy the regular MT-09 or 890 (for different reasons). If I can't get my hands on an SP when the buying time comes, it'd search for a fresh 890R. But still waiting for at least one comparison of both bikes (SP vs 890R); hopefully before I buy. With all reviews of both I've seen, they're very close for sure. The SP equally equipped as an R (tech + cruise packages) is 2+ grand less here in the US, but with so few (and ensuing mark-ups), both cost about the same out the door, for what I've seen so far. A nearby dealer still has an old (but new) 890R they can't sell since December. Plus 2 890s. All 2021s. Go figure. Not a lot of demand for them around here.
 

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I just don’t get how KTM can have the engineering skills to design exciting performance bikes, but yet they can’t seem to figure out how to keep the fluids inside the engine. That’s seems pretty basic to me.
Because it isnt actually basic. Theory and practice aren't the same. Test environments and real world arent the same either. Theres also hiccups for training and tooling setup on new engines where your factory has to be trained to quickly and properly perform every task for assembly in a reliable way.

Every engine you've ever seen went through thousands of adjustments by a team of technicians and engineers during its development and early production cycles. Its virtually impossible to capture every problem and fix it on a year 0 production run.

Your harley engine was likely one which harley has been making for a long time, so things like seals and mating surface design are sorted out. HDs are also really basic, low performance engines based on very old design. We can talk about the basic electrical stuff HD flubbed back in the day, if you like. :)
 

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Most of the issues I've read about are due to PARTS (and therefore vendors), not engineering. Manufacturers seem to always go with the lowest bidder, but that's not a wise decision, especially with engine parts. And some of the engineering issues, like too large tolerances, are not really their fault, but again, the bean counters. The closer the tolerances, the more expensive to manufacture. Now that profits are the #1, #2, and #3 priorities of most manufacturers (at least the publicly traded ones), it's a matter of choosing the least bad :). And that typically happens around the 2nd or 3rd year of production. Once problems are sorted out, they cheap out on parts, choosing new suppliers, and the cycle starts all over again. It never ends. Ha ha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone very much for your feedback. I really appreciate it!


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You will hear of issues for pretty much ANY bike once you start looking around for them so i wouldn't let it worry you excessively.
Obviously you must have your heart set on one of the two you have mentioned but at the risk of playing's devils advocate i personally would get a Triumph 765 Street Triple R/RS.
The MT is ridiculously outclassed by the Triumph in every way (i've spent alot of time on both) and are happy to eat up all the miles you can throw at them.
The 890 is more torquey down low and feels fun because of it but certainly not up to the same standard as the Triumph in pure sports riding situations.
Just some food for thought perhaps and please excuse my blasphemy everyone. I am a motorcyclist, not a brand snob.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You will hear of issues for pretty much ANY bike once you start looking around for them so i wouldn't let it worry you excessively.
Obviously you must have your heart set on one of the two you have mentioned but at the risk of playing's devils advocate i personally would get a Triumph 765 Street Triple R/RS.
The MT is ridiculously outclassed by the Triumph in every way (i've spent alot of time on both) and are happy to eat up all the miles you can throw at them.
The 890 is more torquey down low and feels fun because of it but certainly not up to the same standard as the Triumph in pure sports riding situations.
Just some food for thought perhaps and please excuse my blasphemy everyone. I am a motorcyclist, not a brand snob.
How does the low and mid-range torque of the Street Triple compare to the MT-09?

Most reviews I’ve watched or read say that the Triumph is more like a Moto GP bike, in that you’ve got to rev it up high to get the thrust. I prefer torque over HP, and don’t find a lot of shifting to be fun.

I don’t have my heart set on either. I’m open to alternatives. I’m even considering the Triumph Speed Twin. My buddy let me ride his for the day. However, he’s changed the suspension and wheels, chain & exhaust.

Thank you!


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How does the low and mid-range torque of the Street Triple compare to the MT-09?

Most reviews I’ve watched or read say that the Triumph is more like a Moto GP bike, in that you’ve got to rev it up high to get the thrust. I prefer torque over HP, and don’t find a lot of shifting to be fun.

I don’t have my heart set on either. I’m open to alternatives. I’m even considering the Triumph Speed Twin. My buddy let me ride his for the day. However, he’s changed the suspension and wheels, chain & exhaust.

Thank you!


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Short answer. The RS is definitely peakier than the MT09 but despite this and the cube disadvantage is still faster, whether dragging from the lights or, in particular, in a winding road.

The full answer:

I owned a 2018 RS (1st Gen of the new 765) and you have probably seen many reviews where writers have stated the R is the better real world, day to day bike.
I would probably agree with this, although i have never actually ridden the R.
The torque on the R comes in much sooner so it's more tractable and requires less gear shifting.
I got the RS because pretty much everything it had over the R were things i would have bought anyhow so it was a no brainer.
I had my Panigale at the time and bought the Stripper to commute on. Serious overkill for a commuter i know, but my particular Pani was pretty unique and i just couldn't bring myself to rack up thousands of km's on motorways on it going to and from work.

Anyways, the Stripper was just too much fun and an absolute weapon on a winding road.
I ride with some pretty serious fellas on the likes of Ducati 1198SP's, latest model Ducati Street Fighters, Panigales, KTM RC8's, current Gixxer thousands etc. You get the idea.
On the really fast stuff (in excess of 160km/h) they have me as frankly hanging on to the little Striple at those speeds takes effort and focus away from me to be willing to push much harder on the road.
Anything under that and i could eat them for breakfast, which i can tell you never got boring.
For such a small lightweight bike the Triumph has Brembo M50 brake callipers and an adjustable ratio radial mater cylinder and just gobbles pretty much everything else up under brakes.
It revs to twelve and a half grand so yes, it likes to rev. But it has over 4000rpm where it's really on song and pulling hard so while it's kind of peaky it's not hard to be "in the zone" and is really easy to get on the gas on corner exit.

For sure when you're riding with guys on bigger bikes they can just wind it on and romp away and if you want to keep pace you will have to kick it down a gear or two.
But in the twisties your corner speed and corner entry speed is much faster and the initial jump on corner exit is just as fast as well so it takes a while before they can reel you back in and only then if you haven't got to another corner in the mean time.

So yes, you will do more shifting but (remembering i also owned the Ducati at the time) it's not super annoying or over the top.
On the commute i never found myself hunting for a different gear or anything and it was easy to live with but for sure you need to rev it if you want to make some serious forward motion. Just doddling around in traffic though it never bothered me.

As above though, the R has the torque come in significantly earlier so i would suggest riding one of those (or both) and seeing what you think.
The build quality is excellent and fit and finish is the benchmark for all other manufacturers as far as i'm concerned.
The amount of high mileage Triumphs i see for sale indicates to me that stacks of people keep them for ages which says something about reliability.

You can probably tell i really loved my Striple and had no intention of parting with it.
A funny situation led to me test riding a 2021 SDR for a mate and i giggled so much and got such a good deal on the trade in that in the end, i couldn't say no to the big KTM.

So anyhow, sorry for the long winded reply but maybe some of my thoughts and impressions might prove useful to you.
For what it's worth i still miss the Street Triple and have no doubt i will end up putting another one in the garage again one day.
 

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MT09's have a VERY common cam chain tensioner failure, and broken clutch baskets. There were a couple of other recalls but that info is easy to track down, and I don't think either of these made the list so might be harder for some to find out about. Both fixes were a bullet proof one and done, and aside from that I loved mine. Exhaust valves got tight at the first service interval but didn't move after that. I put 45k on the first model year, and there's another guy on there with over 250k on the original engine.

I test rode the new speed triple 1200 RS (when I was considering the 1290R i ended up with) and had ridden the older speed triples as well (buddy had one). The MT09 is definitely more at home in low/mid range than the triumph. I absolutely loved the my mt09 cause it just felt like it was always ready to do w/e you asked it to do... up until about 80 mph then it got winded.

That being said... I'd have a bad taste in my mouth too if i had to deal with constant repairs over the span of just a couple of years. I'd be hard pressed to give the brand another chance after that if it were me!
 
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The MT is ridiculously outclassed by the Triumph in every way
With the much improved 2021s, that statement is not true anymore, by at least 1 indisputable fact: The Triumphs DO NOT have an IMU (cornering ABS, slide control, etc), which was the reason I didn't consider it. And not sure if it has a bi-directional QS (maybe it does), but it'd be another major detraction if it doesn't. Anyway, I've taken several track school camps over the years, so I consider myself an above average rider, and so far I haven't needed such help, but you never know. I like to corner aggressively, so I welcome all the (electronic) help I might need, so this time, I want such a bike. And also cruise, for when I need to shake the vibes quickly between curves. The 765s had early issues with the stupid immobilizer, and so did the KTMs, but that seems to be behind them now. My 2 choices are the MT-09 SP, and 890R with tech and cruise packages. I've always owned liter+ bikes, the last being an MT-10, and now want something lighter/nimbler, with fully adjustable suspension F/R (the R misses front preload), and all electronic features, including cruise. Not many choices (just those 2). I do like the SP already comes like that from the factory, but super hard to find.
 

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With the much improved 2021s, that statement is not true anymore
Well, we can agree to disagree :)
Of course it all depends what you want from a bike which is why they make so many different ones hey ;)

I'll be honest i am not a fan of much of the tech that bikes have these days, but that's a discussion for another thread perhaps.
The 2020 onwards Street Triples do have up/down quick shifters for those who struggle to master gearbox usage but i believe you are correct in that they do not have a 6 axis IMU, something that matters to you (which is fine) but for me i consider absolutely worthless (which is my preference).
The newer 765 RS' also received a little increase in midrange torque and power.
The Triumphs do come with a slightly premium price tag however (at least here in Australia) and without having checked the pricing on a current model Empty9 SP i know in the past at least their price point certainly made them good value and a compelling option to consider.

We are very spoilt these days. There are not many "bad" bikes on offer from manufacturers which allows us to be a hell of a lot fussier than we once were in the past.
 
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