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This has been driving me nuts since they launched it..I still only have 1000 miles on my bike because of the long ****e winter where I am, but after reading up on these older version bikes, some riding, and lots of confusion, I wished I had waited for the new one, my original plan..The new bike seems to cover everything I don’t like about my model year and was planning on “fixing” over this winter..The ‘19 stock engine, to me, is nothing like I expected. There was so much talk about it’s torque and “hold on for your life’ acceleration, that when I Ist rode it, I thought something was wrong..hell, my 300 xc-w feels faster and more intense..I’m not knocking the potential engine performance, but after studying all these confusing upgrades that no one seems to have a better answer than the other, I’m getting to the point of, why start dumping all this money into this bike just to get it to proper performance?..I mean, these bikes are expensive and for all the complaints of low and mid range fuel/throttle problems, I’m starting to regret this purchase..just getting a straight performance fix from the forums has become so frustrating..don’t even get me started on the harsh, hard, suspension and a TFT screen that constantly blinks night/day..so yea, I’m feeling remorse only because of having to put more money into this bike when I don’t have a lot to throw away..
if our bikes are so “great”, why would have KTM redesigned the complete bike?..The test reviews are starting to come out and there all saying “much better than the old version” in all categories! Anybody feeling me?
 

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I’ll give you my take, FWIW, and then my reasoning.

If you want the new one for improved engine performance mainly, I would stick with the old one.
While it might be slightly improved, I don’t think that it is a huge leap or earth shattering from what I can tell. Of course that is all just from online reviews.

If you want a much improved handling bike with greater stability and you do track days and/or aggressive street riding on a lot of twisty roads, it may be worth it.

And of course $$ plays a big role in the deciding factor.
Probably gonna pay close to MSRP for the new one and take a deprecation hit on the old one.
Plus all of the fees and taxes you’ll have to pay twice.


As far as handling, I owned a SDGT so it does carry a bit more weight than the SDR, but chassis is essentially the same as the SDR.
Disclaimer, I don’t ride on the track and I know there are plenty of better riders than me, but I’m also not the slowest.
I ride in a group that likes to move it and I am always up near the front hanging with the leaders.
It is not a bad handling bike, but when you are riding hard through curves and leaned over hard it does get a little squirrelly and affects your confidence a bit.

When I bought my current bike, a modded MT10 it really amplified to me just how much better handling it is (granted in its modified form is probably 50-60 lbs lighter than the SDGT).
It is basically has an R1 chassis that has had an R1 rear shock added to mine and the suspension set up for hard riding.
It handles the same corners as I rode with my SDGT with more speed, more stability, and more confidence inspiring.

This was one of the “complaints” of the first 2 gens SDR, at least by those who took it on the track. And probably why they really focused on improving the handling through the frame and suspension changes.

As far as the engine performance, it does have a specific way it likes to be ridden.
I know there is a big discussion going on in another thread about the SDR vs SDGT engine. But they’re both fast.
A while back there was a thread by a member, without much drag racing experience who took a stock SDGT to the strip and turned in a 10.15 in the 1/4 mile, his time slip is in the thread.

I came off a Honda 919 when I bought my SDGT, that had most of its torque available from way down low. When I first got the SDGT, like you I was a bit underwhelmed.
Until I figured out what it liked. You really need to be at 5500 when you whack the throttle and expect insane acceleration.
If you are below that you are in too high of a gear that even once you hit the big power still won’t feel as mental as had you downshifted and ran it in the lower gear up to red line.

For example, one of my favorite things to do, behind a string of 3 cars at about 50-55 mph, hit a straight and pass them all.
If you are in 4th gear (sub 5k rpm) and do it you will be let down.
If you are in 3rd gear (around 5500 rpm) and whack it, you will rocket past them, shift up at redline through 4th and into 5th. And will be going 120+ by the time you’re around the lead car.
 

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Anybody feeling me?
the 17-19 is a picture perfect.
the 2020 is a muscled look, even better with rider on..............
the suspension better
computer better
its gonna hold extra thousands over its older counterparts
 

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Discussion Starter #6
And of course $$ plays a big role in the deciding factor.
Probably gonna pay close to MSRP for the new one and take a deprecation hit on the old one.
Plus all of the fees and taxes you’ll have to pay twice.
Thanks..all good points..
Whatever I do, it's gonna cost me more money to have a bike I'm happy with..It's my fault for not researching more. Never again.
 

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Maybe try for a test ride (or book in for a KTM track day ride) before committing to the change.

Has your 19 R had a service with any updates yet? Maybe it has a software glitch or needs an update?

Your 19 SDR should only need some suspension tweaks, if any, to be fine for your weight etc... it has identical gearing to my SDGT, which is quite tall (but I changed that to suit my conditions), but no impediment to huge acceleration unless in too high a gear and too low an rpm.

The 1290's have really good fueling from stock.... nothing like the jerky throttle on my Aprilia 1200 from 2014..... but even that eventually settled down after trying to toss me over the bars on mountain roads when it was new and tight:( (later reported as RBW cable adjustment issue.... took a long time for the tech's to learn about that).

The dash playing up may be an indicator of possible ECU fault with your SDR. It should go like a rocket, like everyone else's..... mine did straight off the dealers floor...... I'm used to fast bikes (FZR1000, CBR1100XX) so I know what they should feel like and the SDGT (R) should be way faster than everything except the latest RR spec super bikes like the S1000RR/GSXRR etc. But just like them, it will not be happy with low rpm and wrong gear situations.

Could your 19SDR be in limp home mode for some reason?

Something must be out of adjustment or set wrong somewhere as the 20 won't be that much different..... it was revised so that it can pass Euro 5 emissions without losing anything that the prev model had, but it gets the RC8 frame as part of it's refresh regime.

The next refresh might be a capacity upgrade, but that'll be a few years away..... the 19 GT upgrade over the gen 1 GT's were a 3yr tweak for emissions, + market freshen up, but not that much of a change. The 20 SDR is a bit more but the magazines will always say the new model is 'way better than before' when it won't be that much 'better' than a well sorted earlier SDR.

You shouldn't have to throw any money at it - if there is something not set/adjusted right (or faulty) with it, you have warranty.... Some forum guys just have to find another 10-15% (it's in their DNA), so they head to the dyno, but the SD1290 already packs a genuine 150hp at the rear wheel in stock trim..... mods are just personal preference, but an SDR should obliterate any 300xc or other single cylinder plugger.

(y)
 

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My 2015 Ktm1290sdr is standard except for 02 eliminators, 16t sprocket and DNA airfilter about $150 worth. My bike will power wheel stand in third and fourth easy, on track days I have to be right over the front coming onto the main straight because it wants to wheelie down the straight. Coming out of third gear corners and your on the back wheel before you know it! I don't need anymore power or am I selling this bike anytime soon. 😁
 

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Not enough refinement or difference for me to part with my joy vs the cost of switching. Unless you're sitting in dumpsters of cash and it "ain't no thing", I think it would be a foolish choice to swap a 19 for a 20.... which with so many minor changes I'd consider it a "first year bike" with time bomb issues and recalls just waiting.

as a matter of fact, one of the comments I read on motorcycle.com about it was how they even saved weight on the engine case itself, making it the bare minimum.

no thanks. My bike has plenty more smiles per hour than I could ever logically take advantage of as it is. I'll keep my 2018 at least another 3-4 years before I peer over a fence
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Not enough refinement or difference for me to part with my joy vs the cost of switching. Unless you're sitting in dumpsters of cash and it "ain't no thing", I think it would be a foolish choice to swap a 19 for a 20.... which with so many minor changes I'd consider it a "first year bike" with time bomb issues and recalls just waiting.

as a matter of fact, one of the comments I read on motorcycle.com about it was how they even saved weight on the engine case itself, making it the bare minimum.

no thanks. My bike has plenty more smiles per hour than I could ever logically take advantage of as it is. I'll keep my 2018 at least another 3-4 years before I peer over a fence
I’m glad everybody likes their bike. I’m obviously alone on this. But after dropping 18k on a bike that in my opinion needs more mods than I expected, having to spend more hard earned money to get this bike up to par has not made me happy..I expected more, not a lot more, but at least close to what I imagined from an 18k bike. Whether the 2020 is the answer, we don’t know yet, but they certainly have addressed all the issues I have problems with. And I’m just mad at myself for not waiting on it. Whatever. I’ll put more money into this one as it’s not worth the hassle. Thanks.


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Not to offend, and not sure exactly what you are looking to get out of it, but if you are looking for the insane rip your arms off torque to start at 2k rpm instead of a bit hire up in the rev range; I’m not sure that can be accomplished with this engine.

I think it is just the nature of big V-twin that produces great torque but also great HP.
I’ve obviously never ridden the 2020 but it probably has very similar shaped power curves/delivery, probably just a touch smoother and slightly higher numbers relative to where you are in the rev range compared to the 2019.
In other words, the seat of the pants experience will feel similar relative to where you are at in the rev range and how you are riding it, all things being equal.

The big muscle cruisers with huge torque but low HP probably give you that huge pull from very low rpms but then stop giving power at what 6k rpm, so you sacrifice top speed and continuing to pull wildly way up into high rpms like the SDR does.

You are also comparing it to a single cylinder, 2 stroke, lightweight dirt bike. I don’t know much about dirt bikes but aren’t those know for wild torque basically from idle, with way less weight.
I don’t think the SDR will replicate that sensation.

The normal mods (decat, flash, PC5, etc) will likely add smoothness and power down low but it will add it relative to the power being added throughout the rev range.
So the riding sensation is likely the same (never did it to my SDGT, so others who have could speak more definitely about it).
You still will feel a huge pull starting at 5k rpm relative to what you are getting down low, even though the total power throughout will be greater than in stock form.

I would be interested to hear from someone who has done those mods if they make the 2k-5k range insane like a stock bike at 5k or really just add relative power as compared to the rest of the rev range and smooth it out for cruising at those speeds.

If you haven’t already, maybe take it out and do a couple of specific runs on a nice straight road with no traffic.
Start in 2nd gear at 5500 and then a run in 3rd gear at 5500.
You can obviously roll on smoothly, but quickly bury the throttle, all the way max throttle.
Run it to redline in all the gears quickshifting through 4th until you go into 5th, and more if you want.
Full throttle! Shifting at redline!
If that doesn’t excite you, then I guess it probably is the wrong bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If that doesn’t excite you, then I guess it probably is the wrong bike.
Thanks for the informative reply..maybe it is the wrong bike for me, juss sayin..I've been used to riding crazy 2 strokes..maybe something lighter and more nimble..The 890R is coming to the US next year, that might be what I'm looking for..:oops:
 

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Cheers mallai,

The 890R reads like it's a weapon, but don't forget the bike press always say the latest model is the best ever (and they are often correct - but they always say it)...... it's still a 4 stroke parallel twin so it's got to be a revver to make it's 110hp peak.. (the SDR has over 150 at the rear wheel or 175 at the crank in stock tune and weighs <200kg wet)... the 890R is coming off a well sorted base (the 790R), prob weighs about 180kg wet, but it's no 2 stroke animal with a violent power band etc.

All the SD's are much wilder than standard road bikes - that's why we bought them, KTM took a different path to the Japs who went with 8/900cc tame specs for newbie riders, instead of 1300cc+ for us power junkies with money!...... it only took a 20min test ride for me to know this thing had what I liked (light weight, bulk horsepower, big fuel tank).

It doesn't 'need' any mods from standard, but you know how it goes, 3years down the track and I want a different sound track, maybe even dabble with a de-cat just because I can ...... but the bike goes hard in stock trim...... My GT has the goods over a Ducati Multistrada in handling and power....... Your SDR should be rubbing tank sliders with more expensive Ducati sports models, and holding it's own.

The SDR should be wilder than my GT, with a bit more top end (but slightly less low-mid range), shorter wheelbase and lighter weight. Your 19 should be a full on animal, unless there is something 'not right' with that particular bike - and that can be possible because not all dealerships are good at pre delivery or technical knowledge. There have been cases where KTM tech's have stuffed up software updates and caused issues. Software.... can be brilliant, can be a headache..... maybe call a dealer and get yours checked before the warranty expires.

Your 19 should be like a wild stallion, always wanting to break away from the pack and gallop off into the hills. Most owners just put a 16t front sprocket on because they also commute to work in traffic, otherwise it's easy to pull the clutch at 3k rpm for traffic lights. The SD will take over 3000miles to loosen up, but it should still feel like it wants to go hard from brand new, and you should give it 6-9k rpms to finish off the break in miles...... things happen fast over 9000rpms...... :D.

PS The engine really is very close to a WSBK V2 in that it has a minimal weight crankshaft, probably uses long con rods for ultra short stroke and max torque, has ultra short piston skirts, titanium valves for high rpms and runs 13.1 or 13.6 to 1 compression ratio - pretty severe specs for a bike that also commutes/tours...... needs to be ridden accordingly.

Remember those WSBK V2 Ducati's that Carl Foggarty rode..... they idled at over 4000rpms because they couldn't run at lower revs! Ducati had to do that to compete against 4cyl 750cc engines! Luckily the SD's are not that souped up and can still handle normal road duties (y)(y)

Best wishes from a soggy water logged east coast of Aubloodystralia..... :LOL::LOL:
 

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Cheers mallai,

The 890R reads like it's a weapon, but don't forget the bike press always say the latest model is the best ever (and they are often correct - but they always say it)...... it's still a 4 stroke parallel twin so it's got to be a revver to make it's 110hp peak.. (the SDR has over 150 at the rear wheel or 175 at the crank in stock tune and weighs <200kg wet)... the 890R is coming off a well sorted base (the 790R), prob weighs about 180kg wet, but it's no 2 stroke animal with a violent power band etc.

All the SD's are much wilder than standard road bikes - that's why we bought them, KTM took a different path to the Japs who went with 8/900cc tame specs for newbie riders, instead of 1300cc+ for us power junkies with money!...... it only took a 20min test ride for me to know this thing had what I liked (light weight, bulk horsepower, big fuel tank).

It doesn't 'need' any mods from standard, but you know how it goes, 3years down the track and I want a different sound track, maybe even dabble with a de-cat just because I can ...... but the bike goes hard in stock trim...... My GT has the goods over a Ducati Multistrada in handling and power....... Your SDR should be rubbing tank sliders with more expensive Ducati sports models, and holding it's own.

The SDR should be wilder than my GT, with a bit more top end (but slightly less low-mid range), shorter wheelbase and lighter weight. Your 19 should be a full on animal, unless there is something 'not right' with that particular bike - and that can be possible because not all dealerships are good at pre delivery or technical knowledge. There have been cases where KTM tech's have stuffed up software updates and caused issues. Software.... can be brilliant, can be a headache..... maybe call a dealer and get yours checked before the warranty expires.

Your 19 should be like a wild stallion, always wanting to break away from the pack and gallop off into the hills. Most owners just put a 16t front sprocket on because they also commute to work in traffic, otherwise it's easy to pull the clutch at 3k rpm for traffic lights. The SD will take over 3000miles to loosen up, but it should still feel like it wants to go hard from brand new, and you should give it 6-9k rpms to finish off the break in miles...... things happen fast over 9000rpms...... :D.

PS The engine really is very close to a WSBK V2 in that it has a minimal weight crankshaft, probably uses long con rods for ultra short stroke and max torque, has ultra short piston skirts, titanium valves for high rpms and runs 13.1 or 13.6 to 1 compression ratio - pretty severe specs for a bike that also commutes/tours...... needs to be ridden accordingly.

Remember those WSBK V2 Ducati's that Carl Foggarty rode..... they idled at over 4000rpms because they couldn't run at lower revs! Ducati had to do that to compete against 4cyl 750cc engines! Luckily the SD's are not that souped up and can still handle normal road duties (y)(y)

Best wishes from a soggy water logged east coast of Aubloodystralia..... :LOL::LOL:
Agree, in a straight line there won't be much between 19 model and the 20. Have you rev your bike hard past 7,000rpm in sport mode yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
All good points and well taken..

The problem I’m having is directly related to what I paid and what I’m getting. It all started when I had to cough up another $500 US for software upgrades even before I got out the door. A week later I had to pay another $125 to have them turn on my grips, which I bought and installed. They were slightly pissed that I didn’t have them do the whole procedure.. “ya know, we normally don’t do it this way and we’ll have to make sure you installed them correctly before proceeding” right.. f you too..

After doing my 1st oil change, I couldn’t reset the mindless service light ( I know the procedure, seen it done, and done it many times on my 390). I was charged $75 to have it turned off! Of course they entered in the record, “customer did his own oil change”

And now after 1000 miles of riding, I realized the low end just felt wrong and uninspiring. (I’m well aware how fast this bike is in the upper ranges especially when pinned and in the proper gear for beast speeds..it’s more than I’ll ever need)..so then I realize (from these forums) that if I want a smoother engine, I have to do upgrades or live with what I have..arghhhh! Air box, decat exhaust, flashes, dongles, PC 5, Bren tuning etc; my head and wallet are spinning..

The suspension is downright harsh and uncompliant and there’s nothing I can do about it..uneven, bumpy and rutty pavement is a nightmare..At this point, I’m questioning buying an $18k bike that’s not worth 18k in my opinion..the TFT screen is a blinking joke AND there’s no replacement for it..plasticky outdated controls? 18k bike?

So what does KTM do? They rebuild the complete bike with new design, tweaks, chassis, controls, suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, TFT etc; it really tells you how they feel about the gen 2..

Now that I’m the black sheep enemy of the forum, the complainer who’s never happy, that’s wrong..I take full responsibility for making the purchase and not doing my due diligence..I do like the bike and with a few mystery upgrades I’m no doubt gonna love and enjoy it..but my devotion to KTM has turned the corner..now I know..thanks for reading and listening..






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I feel what you’re saying.
When I bought my SDGT, I had the same concern about the low end power.
I was coming off a Honda 919 that made 60 ft-lbs to the rear wheel, but around 50 was available at 2000 rpm, and I lowered the front sprocket 1 tooth.

I initially was concerned that a bike putting 90 ft-lbs to the rear wheel just didn’t feel that inspiring down low. I thought the 919 felt quicker when initially twisting the throttle.

I even posted about it shortly after joining the forum, post #6.

Eventually when I figured out how it liked to be ridden, I just enjoyed it for how it was designed and had a lot of fun with it.

As far as the handling, I did have the SDGT with the semi-active electronic suspension and I am guessing that really makes a big difference in comfort for street riding. Not to mention the adjustability to stiffen it up on the fly when you want to ride harder and/or hit a curvy road.

I also have way less experience than many riders and this was the nicest bike I had ever owned. So to me I thought the handling was great.

The handling is good, but after now owning my MT10 that the previous owner had modded for more power, better handling/riding and better braking; I now see just how much room for improvement there was (and I know there are bikes that handle even better than the MT10, but the R1 chassis does make for a really nice handling bike).

I think KTM was probably just responding to the feedback they were getting about the handling/stability when designing the 2020, like all manufacturers (in all industries) do.
If you go back to reviews of the Gen 1 and Gen 2 when they first came out, they were pretty much all praising them just as heavily as this Gen.
But the same thing happens with cars, constant improvements over time.
It sucks when you just bought the previous model year though.

I tried to own my SDGT budget oriented, bought new-old stock at a steep discount, didn’t modify, and had the old electronics so no additional purchases needed.
But I can see how all the add-on costs would be frustrating.
 

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Also, sounds like your dealer is sh-t.

Mine encouraged me to do my own first oil change since their tech was going on vacation and it would be a week and a half before they could get to it, and wanted me to be able to ride it during that time.

When my QS was turned off after some warranty work, took it back in and had it back on in 15 minutes.
And the tech gave me, wink wink, an auto blipper. I know there are several threads where I talked about it, and some skepticism.
Was never an option on the first Gen SDGT.
But it had one after the software re-install.
 

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IMHO, you only need one mod to have the beast you expected. You need a reflash tablet. Which is a bunch of money, but a pipe is also a bunch of money and gives you nothing that you can feel. I race drag bikes. With a reflash ( I highly recommend Bren) the 1290 feels like a drag bike.
Something that all the other mods do not address is the Throttle by wire. When you twist the grip, even though you have the throttle wide open, you may he only getting a small percentage of that actual throttle opening. I know that this is 100% true in the first three gears, and I feel strongly that this is how KTM restricts some models. Have you discussed this with your dealer? I understand from some that some models are restricted until after their first service. At any rate, I will bet dollars to donuts that the issue is the programming in your ECU, which can very easily be fixed.

I don’t know if KTM does the same thing, but there are multiple posts on YOU TUBE where tuners are showing the stock open class sport bikes start closing the throttles after about 10,000 rpm. I wouldn’t doubt KTM is doing the same thing, only at a lower RPM

at any rate, even a box stock bike will “ wake up” with a reflash. I had a bad vibration from about 3200 to around 4000. It made 6th gear almost unusable. After the flash, with that lean condition fixed, I use my 6th gear all the time.
 
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