Every single KTM we get in for ECU remapping we ride as they come in – it’s important to do this because we get a much better feel for what’s wrong, it also helps pinpoint what the bike’s owner is unhappy with.
This 990 Adventure was no different but first its owner, Mike, wanted a 12,000mile service doing before the ECU remapping; no problem, to keep the warranty safe we bought a full service kit and schedule from KTM and methodically went through the card. Obviously, it’s everything we’d do normally – there are three filters (a strainer in the sump, a screen filter and oil filter) to change plus an airfilter. The throttle bodies needed synchronising and the valve clearances checking and the ABS system was full of air, so we bled the brakes through. We also bled the forks of air, because long-travel off-road suspension will build air pressure internally over time, and serviced all the linkages.
We then rode the bike, prior to sucking out the map from the ECU (this bike was using a map supplied with the BOS cans when they were fitted by KTM dealer) and going to work on it. In all fairness this is one of the better ones we’ve had as a stocker, but Mike wasn’t satisfied with it at all. One problem it did have was smoothness at higher speeds/rpm when getting off, then on the throttle. We made some big changes to the actuation of the secondary butterfly valves, then worked on the ignition maps.
A quick test ride showed some improvement, but as with all of these bikes the real benefit comes from the fine-tuning. So after much finessing, we declared it done. And what did Mike think? His emailed thoughts are below…
Many thanks for giving my KTM 990 Mis-Adventure a serious talking-to last week. This bike has seriously pi**ed me off in the whole 18 months that I’ve owned it. My wife tried giving it a good talking-to last year. Suitably attired in corrective costume she lashed it with a tree branch Basil Fawlty style and hurled abuse at it for over 10 minutes. It didn’t make any difference at all and I ended up having to buy a new screen. When I brought the bike down to you last Saturday I filled up at my local station and headed across the Pennines. With the bike being so unenjoyable to ride I decided to stick at 70mph on the motorway and the A1 and avoid making the experience any worse by a brush with the law. The fuel light lit up at 150 miles as I left the A1 for Peterborough and the trip took 3 hours. The trip home the following Saturday was a different story altogether. I filled up with fuel at your A47 Travelodge service station and travelled the 165 miles home without a flicker from the fuel light. The journey back took only 2.5 hours. I just couldn’t stop opening it up and laughing like a madman. The progressive throttle is superb in comparison to the neck breaking on/off switch it had before. The bike feels like it has a different motor in it. It feels different, it sounds different and is transformed when it comes to manners. I don’t know what you said to it but it worked! We are calling you “the bike whisperer”. Beltin (as they say in Wigan).