This 2011 KTM SMT 990 came in for an ECU remap as it had left the dealer – just fitted with Akrapovic pipes. It hadn’t had the Akra’ reflash, so was essentially running a stock map with open cans.
It felt awful to ride – the engine quite simply didn’t know where it was in respect to throttle position. From 2-4,000rpm, say, on a negative throttle following traffic it was hunting back and forward, and when you opened the throttle it felt dead, with no go in it at all. It would then chime in and take off; basically maintaining any sort of control at low speeds was nigh-on impossible. Faster riding was OK, but small throttle openings were horrible.
So we took out the lambda and SAI (Secondary Air Injection) maps, which were still in operation even with the open pipes. We then worked on the MAP (Manifold Air Pressure) maps, the main fuelling table, the ignition map (a crucial area on these engines) and actuation of the secondary butterfly valves (equally as important).
And BINGO! The bike is transformed – it’s smooth everywhere, holds positive throttle well and has gained that ‘analog’ throttle feel that the old carb’d engines had – the sort of connection that makes hacking through a damp roundabout a joy, not a trial. It’s also gained mid-range power, and now goes like a scalded cat. All in all, and if we do say so ourselves, a job well done…