The KTM 990 Supermoto-T, the 'T' isn't intended as a touring motorcycle – the T stands for travel, and KTM says the KTM 990 Supermoto-T allows the riding experience of the standard KTM 990 SM to be enjoyed for longer periods over greater distances. So it has a sculpted seat 20mm closer to the ground containing a gel pad. Suspension at both ends has less travel and uses revised internals for improved ride quality. There's a fairing with fixed screen and hand guards to keep off the worst of the weather, plus a natty rack and the quick-fix mounts for optional luggage.
It's the glorious 999cc, 75 degree V-twin that dominates our first ride on the flicking, undulating, partly wet mountainous roads of north Thailand, however. Unchanged from the standard KTM 990 SM, it's a jewel of modern internal combustion, the 108 horsepower and 97Nm of torque, the compact engine instantaneous reaction, thrust and free-revving nature more than compensate for not being the most powerful 1000cc class engine. Short gearing makes it both flexible and foolish, politely accepting tall gears and roll-on, roll-off teasing on unknown sweeps yet readily sending the front end reaching for the sky in second gear with just a twist of the wrist. Brilliant.
The KTM 990 SMT fueling is precise, though KTM's typically tight, slack-free twistgrip can require a little acclimatisation. I've no issues and love the direct link from twistgrip to rear-tire, but it won't be everyone's love. The handling is still lively too, with all the agility, accuracy and athleticism of the KTM 990 SM. The new suspension on the KTM 990 Supermoto-T actually gives even sharper geometry and there's huge leverage and control from the wide handlebars. The difference with the KTM 990 Supermoto-T is the extra compliance and willingness to absorb bumps displayed by the reworked suspenders – on back roads of particularly interesting surface, I can see the wheel on the motorcycle in front rapidly flapping up and down ad they track the road, but feel little of the imperfections myself. It's a better ride than the KTM 990 SM.
The wind protection from the new fairing is spot-on, give or take. With the KTM 990 Supermoto-T there's no neck-wrenching blast or turbulence, but equally there isn't the isolated separation of a tourer-style shield.