Most people would label me as a “motocross guy” and rightly so. The first time I attended the KTM dealer meeting I actually labeled the adventure bikes on display as “Grandpa bikes”. How are those bikes “Ready to Race” I thought to myself. Looking back now I just chuckle and laugh. Little did I know what was in store for me when I showed up at my first KTM rider rally in 2013, and how I would fall in love with these beastly machines. The event was based out of Steamboat Springs, CO which KTM choose to launch their new 1190 adventure bike. It turned out to be a spectacular place with fascinating scenery combined with a laid back, fun loving moto atmosphere., while being able to ride these bikes out in areas truly only accessible by motorcycles. Yeah I did see some legitimate cowboy ranchers out on horseback, and a few hunters in the rugged terrain, but this opened my eyes to a whole new vision of two wheeled fun. It was amazing to go out and share those amazing experiences with the greatest group of people that shared the same two wheeled passion as myself.
One year later we were in Taos, NM for the same KTM event. I was introduced to one of those two wheeled crazed people, Chris Parker. My buddy Seiji was telling me how I needed to go scope out this guy’s 990 under his display tent. Seiji was dead on about Chris’ 990. It was one of a kind with sano parts throughout and what I would consider an equivalent to a factory “one off” bike in the Supercross pits. His attention to detail was impressive and done right, but what made me scour Craigslist for a 990 on the way home from Taos was the sound of Chris’ 990 barking on the center stand.
After finding a 990 on Craigslist from the local dealer here in Austin, I was ripping farm roads and two track in no time. I was still on a high from the Rider Rally and “new to me” 990 was sweet. However it was still missing the Chris Parker touch. Later that winter the bike was dropped off in Costa Mesa, CA at the Rottweiler headquarters.
Chris and his team went all out in transforming this bike. I was busy racing and training for Supercross, so I wasn’t in any hurry to get the bike back. When it arrived back here in Texas and rolled out of the back of the truck, I felt like I was like a kid again looking at my first bike. I’m used to looking at factory built KTMs for Supercross, and this Rottweiler bike was as good as it gets. Everything was well thought out, meticulously and expertly organized, routed to perfection. The attention to detail and assembly made the wait more than wort while. That sounds of Chris’ bike from months ago was still echoing in my head but I wanted to get a feel for it for myself.
The sound was there as soon as the bike fired up. It made me grin ear to ear and I was amazed how broad the power felt as I went through the gear box headed down the driveway. The motor felt so free and not corked up anymore, and did I mention the sound! I ended up putting a spark arrestor screen in the exhaust can before heading to the mountains, which I was happy about once I got up there. Less sound equals more ground which I get, and without the reduced dbs I would feel guilty and irresponsible. Regardless now this bike sounds ready to race and not like a grandpa bike for sure. Initially I was excited as I started out on the farm roads but once I got into the mountains later on, I really noticed how connected the motor felt in the tight technical trails which saved me more than a few times. It was nice that the bike would rev further and cleaner while retaining the smooth meaty powerband. I could care less about the pavement performance, but I will tell you that this bike on a technical trail or ripping a fast sweeper now screamed excitement all day without being held back. The intake noise was intense! The Rottweiler treatment transformed this bike to allow me to ride the bike without having to be conservative or held back.
One of the first things outside of the power was how much cooler the bike ran. The fan didn’t run nearly as much, which made me feel much better in the back of my head knowing I wasn’t punishing the bike. Between the Emissions removal kit, Intake, and Power Commander this was a whole new machine. To me lightening up this big beast was essential. I know the airbox mods save weight, but the two into one mid pipe is a work of art. The welds are beautiful. I picked up the old exhaust in the box of take off’s and it blew my mind how much the stock exhaust weighs! The high fender kit is a must on these bikes in my opinion, and no one does it better than Rottweiler. I have ridden in the mud and blown off the stock fender and front brake line. IT wasn’t’ a fun day and downright scary if you don’t anticipate it. I guess that’s part of the adventure?
The dog house storage makes me wonder,” what was there before?” It really is a nice place to store some tools and goodies. The pre-filter was pain free, and if I can clean and service it, anyone can! The original stock airbox made me feel like I was working on a car. The Endurocell adds insurance obviously, and for me it eases some worry. Similar to the mid pipe, this piece looks amazing. The quality and craftsmanship are excellent. The Endurocell balances and compliments the 2 into 1 exhaust so nice it makes you wonder why KTM didn’t do this.
Lastly the mirrors add a finishing touch that topped off this transformation. This is one of my favorite bikes that I plan on riding for years. As you can tell my adventure career is just getting going. I have ridden a lot of bike over the years, but none quite like this one. After the mods I prefer this bike way more than the 1190. Offroad this bike can do much more now and is not as limited or held back. For some of you this review and story of how this bike was transformed may make you roll your eyes. These parts and mods weren’t done piece by piece and tested individually. Check out my friend Seiji’s review who got to the same place with his KTM 990 by doing it that way if that interests you. If you don’t have the time but want the Rottweiler treatment to achieve the best adv bike out there for the ultimate ride, this is the way for you.