Riding Impression: KTM 950 SE - Dirt Rider Magazine | Dirt Rider

Riding Impression: KTM 950 SE - Dirt Rider Magazine

If you've ever ridden a KTM 950 Super Enduro, you'll agree with me on the bike's general description: This is a massive dirt bike. Sure, it's got mirrors and a license plate and several other features that may make you think that it's a street bike, but don't be fooled-the KTM 950 is the Goliath of off-road machines. Here's a quick look at this behemoth:

I recently took the orange brute on a 1,000-mile adventure ride, and before long I found myself trail riding the thing. I didn't exactly set out to do so, but the 950's manners just sort of sucked me off the asphalt and onto a rocky trail in Donner pass. On the road I'd quickly noticed that the 950 has so much motor, you can pretty much ride it like normal and be satisfied with the power. But then, you upshift and discover another gear up top that just keeps pulling. Just when you think the 950 is wound out, it hits you with even more speed and mad acceleration. Off-road, this translates into power that can be a bit hard to control if the traction isn't there, but overall there are a lot of ponies at your disposal.

I'll admit that this bike sounds awesome and has a very cool note that totally brought out the kid in me. On the road, I could've used a windscreen to shield me from the howling headwind, but then again this is more of a dirt-oriented machine and a windscreen is pure snivel gear. My biggest complaint about the bike is the loose steering, proving that the motorcycle could really use a damper. The fuel tank is also a bit too small, as the light comes on between 120 and 150 miles, and the most I went with the low-fuel light on was 30 miles. The bike is very wide at the tank area, which makes the standing position slightly awkward unless the rider's knees are back. Also, some pilots may feel that the bar bend is slightly flat for stand-up riding.

The KTM 950 SE has decent suspension both off-road and on, as the bike will hook up and power up sections without hopping around. It doesn't feel too heavy even though it's a big bike, and the machine turns tight, like a dirt bike. I wouldn't mind bark busters stock on the motorcycle, but that's an easy aftermarket fix. One thing that I really dug about the Katoom is its incredibly bright headlight-night riding is a joy on this beast. At 87 mph or over, the motor does get super hot, especially the header area. I also felt a slight judder in the hydraulic clutch, but I've been told that this is normal and that it doesn't change action or point to any fading.As it stands now, we're going to do even more testing on the KTM 950 Super Enduro before wrapping it into a future issue of Dirt Rider. If you have any experience with this machine, please post a comment below-we'd love to hear what you think of the world's biggest dirt bike!