Don’t call it a comeback: The 2023 KTM 890 SMT breaks cover
Supermotos and touring bikes are built for very different purposes, but no-one bothered telling KTM that. They’ve just brought the SMT (Supermoto Touring) designation back to their line-up, in the form of the new KTM 890 SMT.
It’s been a decade since the KTM 990 SMT fell from KTM’s line-up. A capable, if awkward-looking bike, it was effectively a bulked-up version of the 990 SMR. The idea was to meld the performance and agility of a supermoto, with the comfort and distance riding capability of a touring bike.
The KTM 890 SMT follows that exact same formula, with a look that’s sharper and less gawky than its predecessor. As is the norm for most modern KTMs, it’s still ugly—but in an intriguing mechanical alien sort of way.
At a glance, the KTM 890 SMT sits between the Austrian marque’s 890 Adventure R, and the 890 Duke R. Though it does lean more towards the former, visually, albeit in a more trimmed package. The 15.8 l [4.17 gal] tank is slimmed down, while the 860 mm-high seat traces a similar line to the 890 Adventure R’s, tweaked to suit the SMT’s intended usage.
The SMT gets the same LED headlight cluster as the 890 Adventure R, with a short windscreen and a ‘double’ front fender; the front half is a high-mounted affair, with a stubby rear section mounted near the wheel.
KTM also states that the 890 SMT’s chassis is similar to the 890 Adventure R’s, but with “tighter geometry.” Tweaks include a longer swingarm and a revised rear shock angle, all to pitch the rider into a more aggressive riding position.
The SMT is obviously more squat than its dual-sport sibling, with considerably less suspension travel. WP APEX suspension components sit at both ends, offering 180 mm of travel, front and rear. The SMT rolls on the same 17” alloy wheels as the 890 Duke R, with Michelin PowerGP tires specced as standard. Twin 320 mm brake discs sit up front, with a 300 mm disc at the back.
Powering the SMT is KTM’s 889 cc LC8c parallel twin engine, featuring a unique tune. Numbers come in at 105 hp at 8,000 rpm, with 100 Nm of torque on hand.
There’s a full suite of electronic aids, including switchable rider modes, a customizable ‘track’ mode, cornering ABS and traction control, and a special ‘supermoto ABS’ setting. The cockpit sports a TFT display, and the handlebars are adjustable through six different positions.
Optional extras include heated grips, a ‘Motor Slip Regulation’ software add-on, a quick-shifter and cruise control. Plus KTM will no doubt have a plethora of look-fast parts (and apparel) in their catalog too.
To launch the SMT, KTM handed it over to former AMA Superbike and Supermoto racer, and Pikes Peak Hillclimb winner, Chris Fillmore, who let it loose on a mountain climb in Sardinia. KTM say this is what they made the 890 SMT for; railing corners, but also being able to cover the distance between them.
We’re certainly tickled. The KTM 890 Duke R is tons of fun to ride—but it’s also extremely focused, which makes it rather uncomfortable for bigger riders, or for long days in the saddle. The 890 Adventure R adds off-road capability, but not everyone needs or wants that.
The SMT sits neatly in the middle, as an alpine weapon that’s sure to go down a treat in Europe, where most of the riding happens on well-groomed tarmac. North Americans need not apply just yet though—KTM say the 890 SMT won’t be available there this year.
Images courtesy of KTM