KTM’s well established pecking order sees the 950 Super Enduro R positioned right next to the 990 Adventure models. That’s a good clue of what the bike is capable of but wait to hear about the bulletproof chassis and high performing engine before starting being amazed of what the Austrian’s could deliver. Although similar in performance, the Super Enduro R is a whole other blast compared to the Adventures simply because it was created for hardcore off-road riding while the headlight and mirrors ensure it is street legal too.
The 2009 KTM 950 Super Enduro R is a veritable terrain conquering motorcycle and, like all big KTM models, it is built around a twin-cylinder, four-stroke, V 75-degree engine which in this case displaces 942ccs. It features electric starting and the much needed throttle response is ensured by a pair of Keihin CVRD 43 carburetors. Because the engine puts down 96.55 hp at 8,500 rpm and 90 Nm at 7,000 rpm, five-gears would have been just enough for the bike to perform excellent in the wilderness, but KTM thinks at everything, including at the ride to the favorite riding spots. That’s how the Super Enduro R ends up benefiting of a sixth gear which increases the mpg as well as the bike’s top speed.
2009 KTM 950 Super Enduro R
A combination between enduro and off-road, the bike’s versatility is ensured by the overall “light weight” (418.88 lbs), as well as by the range of performance parts fitted on it. The trellis frame is nothing out of the ordinary, but the 48 mm WP USD forks /WP mono shock and Brembo front (300 mm disc) and rear (240 mm disc) brakes are there to provide a quality ride on all kinds of terrains. Standard equipped, the Super Enduro R features dirt rubber, but replacing the wheels with a pair of 16” supermoto ones will offer a whole other kind of riding excitement as it transforms the bike into an almost original street one. This change will also require a pair of aftermarket pipes to retune the engine for more low and mid rpm grunt, but let’s quit talking hypothesis and see how and when it all started.
KTM first presented the all-new 950 Super Enduro R at the 2006 EICMA Motor Show in Milan and then raced in May the same year at the famous Erzberg Rodeo competition which it also won. This, together with the feedback received from David Knight, factory team rider and expert Giovanni Sala, determined KTM editors to write: “The KTM 950 Super Enduro R is the ideal bike for all those who want to tackle absolutely everything. During chassis tests it dismisses the roughest abuse. Over and over the WP absorber components plunge into action just in time. Even hard-core expert Giovanni is a bit surprised that the 950 Super Enduro R can be as good as new – even after copious amounts of high flying.”
Now, years after, the bike offers the very same possibilities as it is little different than what they launched back in ’06.
2009 KTM 950 Super Enduro R
The first thing that strikes you form the very first glance is the height of the bike. The seat only is positioned at 38 inches from the ground so it requires for the rider not only to be tall in order to flatfoot the ground, but pretty strong and experienced because we’re talking serious motorcycling here. Pretty much an Adventure without the full fairing, the 950 Super Enduro R is characterized by an aggressive front end with a tall fender and angled headlight. The forks do get a pair of mudguards, but no hand guards on the bars as it makes no sense to have an entirely mudded rider with perfectly clean gloves... apparently. But if we second thing this, it is much safer to do have hand guards (you’ll find those in KTM’s Powerparts section) as they prevent mud from getting on the clutch and brake levers as well as on the rider’s hands so that the controls would be always clean and good to rely on. Or is the handlebar to tall even for mud to reach that height?
Hugging the 3.83 gallons tank are the aggressive side plates with the manufacturer’s name written big on them so it’s kind of hard to spot the V-twin engine as most viewers won’t have enough with the exhaust pipes only. There is indeed a 13 inches ground clearance, but that doesn’t stop KTM from fitting the Super Enduro with a skid plate. Most likely (also thanks to the 62.09 inches wheelbase) this piece won’t even get a scratch on it as the 18-inch front/16-inch rear wheels get the tough job done.
Black and Orange has been KTM’s color combination for as long as we can remember so I guess that the 2009 Super Enduro R is a nostalgic.
Although not totally redesigned as a 2009 model year, the bike does stand out as a tire ripper and incredible gas burner and this can only mean one thing. Impressive amounts of power and torque are available at all rpm levels with a single twist of the throttle and the simple condition of being in the right gear. The engine enjoys being revved with satisfying results both on the open road and out in the desert where all the fun begins.
The very tall seat is the biggest obstacle stopping riders to get the best out of it, but the few that overpass that obstacle couldn’t be happier with their bikes/future bikes as KTM worked to ensure that loads of torque will be delivered especially when exploiting the low and mid of the rev range. Like on all KTMs, throttle response is excellent although the engine isn’t carbureted (we’re expecting it to be on future model years) and the bike is perfectly suitable for hard enduro. Everything from steep hill climbing, passing rivers and jumping over logs and rocks is the easiest task that this bike could possibly be asked to perform while wheelies are there expecting to be invited to join the scene at all times. That’s why we feel that this will make a great supermoto as well, but we couldn’t pass over the off-road part, not to mention some urban or track fun.
During the 250 miles run that we had on it we needed to fill the gas tank twice and we didn’t even rode the thing aggressively at all times so the V-twin engine is as hungry as it is powerful, but aren’t all beasts like that? This one felt fairly comfortable even after the respective number of miles, but if you’ll challenge it, the Super Enduro will exhaust you pretty fast. Yet, the vibrations aren’t at all harsh considering the rush you’ll get on it.
The chassis was designed for extreme off-road exploitation so the long travel suspensions (9.84” front and 10.04" rear) meet our requirements both during hard landings and when approaching obstacles a little bit too fast. Being fairly soft on standard settings, the rider’s weight will get the bike closer to the ground, but still not enough for the average sized rider.
Stopping power is always there as long as the rider chooses well the surface on which to strongly apply the brakes. I certainly wasn’t that inspired when braking on a blanket of wet leaves sitting on some rocks, but at that moment I could only pay attention to the guy waiting me with a full canister of petrol.
Highly performing and very inviting, this thing is definitely not for beginners or faith hearted and requires as much attention out in the desert as a supersport bike needs in the city.
Ever since the 2006 launch, KTM has just laid back and enjoyed their bike’s success without considering upgrading it in any possible way. After riding the Super Enduro R for enough to make an opinion about it, we’ve come to the conclusion that a fuel injection system won’t harm anyone. It’s just too bad for the bike to miss that as there is much greater potential waiting to be exploited in the 942cc V-twin motor.