Info about our bike, the mods, the breakdowns, repairs and parts.

We are doing this trip on the KTM 990 Adventure S, a 2008 model which had 3,000 miles on when i picked her up from Wales.


Picture Taken after out first pack, we neded up with nearly hlf this amount of Luggage, including no Top Box at all prefering a normal large backpack to store our clothes in.

We chose the KTM over the BMW, and yes if you are considering doing a trip like this EVERYONE will be telling you to go with the BMW, and if you chose not to, every time you come across a BMW rider he will splutter over his tea and tell you that you have the wrong bike.

Well to put it mildly it's a load of crap. One of the biggest world travels by motorcycle is on a Harley Davidson, so if they can go 2 up on a Harley for more than 500,000km, then KTM, BMW, Honda or Vespa it makes no difference.

But there was some logic in my choice. The KTM has very little electronic gizmos - this in my opinion was the most important thing - there are mechanics all over the world who understand engines as they are all relatively similar, but if you have electronics that let you down you could be in a real mess as no-one will try to fix them. Some people will tell you KTMs are more unreliable than the BMWs but it's not really the case - all bikes suffer from weakness and no matter what you ride, improvements can be done, but at some point we will all break down!!

The KTM 990 Adventure S Mods

- 2 into 1 Exhaust - Titanium Single Can

- 10 litre fuel tank extension (300+ mile range total)

- Improved clutch slave (Oberon) - Orange Crash Bars - Bash Plate

- Tall Screen - Hepco and Bekker Panniers (hard plastic)

- G2 throttle - Gel Seat - Autocom Pro - Thick Inner Tubes



Oil filter set x 1

Rear brake pads x 1

Hose clips - various sizes

o-ring set fuel pump x 2

oil seal ring set x1

front brake pads x 2

fuel pump filter

spare chain x1

rear sprocket x1

front sprocket x1

water pump seal shaft ring

spare fuel cock

thick rear inner tube

1 litre oil

1 litre coolant(Dubai Onwards)

2 Large Ratchets 

4 small Ratchets

5 Bungee Cords.






Oxford multi-head with box of 30 heads

Cable ties - metal and plastic

Magnetic dish

Pro-Motion T6 Chain tool

Pro-Motion multi-tool w/ 12mil 10mil 8mil 6mil

13mil long, 14mil long, 17mil long, 10mil, 14mil - Extra heads

Titanium tyre leavers with front and rear wheel bolt sizes

ktm tool kit


Star pro T tool kit

Small allan key set

Small flathead set

Duct tape

Electrical tape

Spanners 7 - 14, 17, 19

Leatherman pocket knife kit




First service on the road at 16,500 KM  at KTM Muller in Kempton Germany.  Great guys very helpful good job done!

 New rear Tyre 16,500 KM in Germany KTM Muller.

 Fuel hose split at the Moto GP in Bruno Czech - 20,000km - Patched up at the roadside, limped 13km back to the camp site. KTM Bruno came to our campsite with new hose and 2 Jubilee clips and fitted for me even though I offered to do it. Charge me 300 kc (about £10). Very helpful guys indeed!! Saved us a lot of hassle!!

We got hit head on in Turkey by a driver in a van on the wrong side of the road. Massive hassle as it was Eid, the holiday at the end of Ramadan. But we got the bike to Spor Moto in Istanbul and it needed a new front wheel and they also made me a front mud guard. They also gave the bike a full service and new set of tyres. I say they, but Spormoto supplied the parts and Kickstart did the service and fitted everything. Current milage is 25,000KM 

In Turkey about 1500 miles after the service the bike would not go over 120 KPH, it cleared up after about 50 miles but 2000km later it started playing up again and got gradually worse. It would run for about 150 km before slowly losing power, often I could re-start the bike then it would run again for 100km then 50km then 20km, then I would have to rest it for 2/3 hours to completely cool. In Dubai we have taken it to KTM and they think it's just a fuel filter but we may replace the pump out of caution as we are about to go into India and the fuel there is also pretty poor quality. I will confirm what KTM say next week. 

30,000km - KTM Dubai did the service, nice guys but they did not do the diagnostic check as the Sat Nav fitting was causing the reader to play up. So I took it for a test ride after the full service, they had also replaced the fuel filter saying it was what was causing all the problems. The bike runs well again. It was very difficult to get tyres, and if I'm honest KTM were not that helpful. I ended up getting some thanks to Wael my brother in law as he had a friend who worked at a company called Sebsports. They have a large workshop, which was good as I was expecting a shack!! They seemed like good guys and specialise in off-road bikes. I have decided to let them fit the Garmin properly and run the diagnostic check, they are also fitting some brackets to the panniers to carry an extra 6 liters of fuel and we are also having a HED fog light fitted in case we have to ride at night in India. We have also given them a shopping list for small bits and bobs! Once the work is done, the next service will not be due for about 9,000km as this one was about 2,000km early.


Ordered some spares, they fitted the HD light, new tyres and rewired the Sat Nav. The guys seemed good but after 2000 km it was clear the work (wiring at least) was done to a very poor standard, so myself and Tom, another biker, re-wired and soldered everything to make it work and I have not had any problems since. The guys at Seb Sports seemed nice but did very poor work.

 35,500 KM

We blew a tyre in Jagdalpur India, it was very difficult to find a tyre but we ended up going to Raipur and after much searching found a 130x90 18inch which is smaller than standard but fits well enough to hopefully last us until we reach Nepal. We have since been offered 2 150's so we do have a back up plan if needed but it would have been very hard to get them to us.

 We blew the inner tube we had after 200km, I think due to the tyre being smaller, we then had to run on 100 x 120 inner tubes which blew out roughly every 100km, we ended up going though 9 of them! The good news is getting tubes and help with the tyres was easy as tyre shops are everywhere in India. If you're traveling in India I would suggest carrying spare tubes and tyres, as it's easy enough to get stuff sent in, but the postal system, like everything in India, is so so so unreliable it's impossible to know if stuff will arrive the following day or following year. I met one biker who shipped his bike from Iran to India it arrived 3 weeks late and he had to pay 600 dollars in "fees" to get it released from customs!!

 37,500km, Bangkok

 Bike has gone in for a big service - no problems with her really but she was starting to drink a far amount of coolant which could be a sign the Water Pump Seals were starting to go so get them them changed. Also due to overheating a couple of times I'm having them give the engine a good going over. Next service will not be until we get to darwin which may be 10,000km.

 They found the hoses were leaking and replaced them as part of the service they did. They think the hoses were causing the loss of coolant. 


 So a lot has happened - we went to northern Thailand, I had some problems with the bike consuming coolant after about 2500 km and so we went over the bike trying to find a leak. We found a loose hose clip and tightened it but this didn't solve it. Eventually the Cam chain tensioners made a lot of noise and the oil light came on. I limped the bike back to Chiang Mai where a mechanic called Herman (the German) took 2 weeks to "fix" the bike. Despite my insistence it was the water pump seal, he told me it was not as there was no water in the oil, he changed the oil and filters and claims to have changed the cam chain tensioners even though I don't think he did now I look back. I then left and finished my northern thailand ride and headed into Laos. After 2000km I had the EXACT same problems again, I rang Herman who was shocked that I had the same problem and had no idea what it could be, so I rang KTM Hemel Hempstead who straight away said it's the water pump seal - take your clutch cover off and you will see the oil is milky and there will be "mayonnaise". Sure enough they were spot on: I rang Herman back and he didn't answer my phone calls.

It's silly as I knew the seal was reaching the kind of mileage where it would go and I should have got it done when I had the service in Bangkok so it's a bit my own fault. Anyway I got the bike back to BKK and then changed the seal, shaft and bearings. Mileage was about 41,000km. 

I have just come back to BKK for a new tyre after spending 3 weeks riding round Cambodia. I have also replaced the radiator cap as it was letting in a little air. current milage 43,500 KM APPROX.

46,000 km APPROX

 Bad news, the head gasket showed clear signs of it going as we headed for Malaysia (100km north of the border!) So we had to turn around, get back to Phuket and get a truck back to Bangkok. After some inspection it turned out the upper AND lower gaskets were going, along with a damaged piston head. So it was a big job to be done. A delay of at least 3 weeks while parts were ordered and the bike fixed. Unfortunately, and not only due to this, we decided to call the trip a day. We had a lot of problems in Asia, most of them caused by our trip through India (impressive when you think the gaskets have been going after the overheating for another 15,000 km). So on the 16 May 2012 we flew from Bangkok to Malaysia and Malaysia to Perth. The bike is still being fixed and we fly back to Bangkok after she's done to pick her up and ship/fly her to the UK!


MY View Of The KTM Now The Trip Is Over....

Let me start by saying it's not ideal, but I challenge you to name a bike that is, and NO, the BMW is NOT an option. If you want the perfect bike, go with a 250 or a 125 made by Honda, that way you will always get tyres and parts everywhere!!

The KTM is breath taking, this is why I ride bikes. It sticks a smile on your face every single time you get on it, it looks amazing, it sounds amazing, it feels like a sports bike on twisty mountain roads, and off road it is jaw droppingly good. It took me, my wife and full luggage up to 4,000 meters high in Nepal (Muktinath) on a trekking route that it takes a 4wd 3 days to get up.

Yes we had problems, most were easily solvable and could happen to any bike. The head gasket was a big let down but I overheated the bike in India TWICE nearly 15,000 km before, so the head held on for ages and that is a testament to these bikes. Anyone who knows me knows I don't ride like an OAP and this bike has stood her ground and carried me across half the world.

 If you're planning on riding a bike across the world then the way I see it you have 2 options. 1 - go for something that you might think will get you the whole way, ride it carefully, slowly and be very careful and you might be very lucky. Or 2 - buy something you love, something that sounds great, looks great, goes great and hope it gets you there and in the meantime, enjoy every single corner and dirt track in-between. And if it doesn't make it so what, after all it's the journey that makes the ride not the destination!

Truth be told, if I was doing the trip again I probably would use a different bike, in fact we would use 2, probably 250's or maybe a 400 of some sort for me and a 250 for Cat. The big bikes in Asia are just a waste really, and there is a lot more fun to be had on smaller bikes.

Will I sell my KTM when I get back? Well I'm undecided, but if I do I will replace it with another one, as I did this trip 2 up but there are other trips I plan in the future, alone and on tough terrain like going to South Africa and Mongolia and I cannot think of a better bike to take on an ADVENTURE than the KTM 990 Adventure.