Being a 990 this is not one of the lightest bikes around to ride in the dirt, but few others can carry you down that dirt road at triple digit speeds.
…did I also mention it helps if you’re a little on the insane side to properly utilize one of these beasts to their full potential.
That said, riding off road will inevitably lead to a spill of some kind, drops, crashes wipouts..whatever…
One of the more vulnerable comports of these bikes are the gas tanks (yes tanks..plural)
There are two on this bike, one on each side and are constructed of a very tough yet light weight plastic or polymer. What ever the are good and strong but, at 1500 each to replace, are in dire need of some protection when the inevitable face plant in the dirt takes place.
There are several choices out there for crash bars from the factory KTM, to several aftermarket. You can also get come carbon fiber bling for the tanks as well.
Bang for the buck I decided to go with the bars that are imported and sold by a company called S.W. Motech sold, in the US through a company called Twisted Throttle (www.twistedthrottle.com). Considering they were 100 bucks less than the factory ones it seemed like a good economical choice.
Well the bars are stout and seem well built. The first set that I got though were not manufactured to spec and hit the fuel petcocks on both sides. This would be really bad in a crash as the bar could in theory break off the petcock and you would be left with a busted fuel tank.
That said the folks at Twisted Throttle (once pics were sent to better explain the issue) went out of their way to correct the problem. A new set of bars were sent out quickly as possible (since they are made in Europe it took a few weeks to get them).
The new bars were just a nice as the original ones but these fit without issue.
This was really a snap, it took me about 20 minutes to put them on, the directions were really clear and easy to follow. If you can read a pictograph you can install these bars.
The new set had one flaw regarding the clamps.
They had a blind nut welded onto the back to facilitate installation, problem was it is for an M6 bolt size and either they will need to include the correct bolt and spacer to work with the blind nut or they will have to weld on an M8 sized blind nut to work with the supplied hardware.
I was lucky since I had the clamps from the other set I just used them but believe me the blind nut will make install much easier, getting to the nut on the throttle side is a real bear and takes some time and patience.
These bars stand a nice distance away from the tank, no issues with rubbing and are uniform in appearance on both sides.
There seems to be adequate clearance between the bars and the petcocks with the new ones (hard to see in the pics sorry bout that) and overall the install was really quick. One of the features I like about these bars that are not a part of the KTM ones is the cross bar that connect the two behind the front wheel. This makes sense to me in how it would offer more stability to the tops of the bars in a get off. But I am not an engineer so that is just my opinion.