KTM 1090 Adventure R – Launch Report

Finally, the pivotal adventure enduro, the KTM 990 Adventure R, has a worthy successor. If you’re going to spend 20 percent of your riding time on tar and the rest on dirt, buy the KTM 1090 R. If you can’t decide between a BMW 800 GS Adventure and a Honda African Twin, buy the KTM 1090 R.

The bike:

The new KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R is everything the Adventure/Dual sport crowd has been waiting for. It’s powerful, not too heavy and it has enormous off road capability – all the traits the true adventure biker needs.


The specs:

These are some of the most impressive specs of the new KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R

1050cc, 2-cylinder, 4-stroke
92 kW (125bhp) @ 8 500 rpm
109 Nm @ 6 500 rpm
Ground clearance: 250 mm
Dry weight: 207 kg
Fuel tank: approximately 23 liters

** click here to view the full spec sheet.


The ride:

Overall this bike is exactly (if not more) than any biker will ever need. It simply goes everywhere. It feels and handles like a big enduro bike, very much like a KTM 450 EXC. Where the road ends, it will keep going, if the rider is up to the task.

We had the opportunity to test it on road, off road and on technical single tracks.



It handles and eats up the tar quite well, despite being the more dirt oriented bike in the new adventure line-up. The tyres it comes with are TKCs, which means, you will have excellent traction on dirt, but at high speed (over 180 km/h +) it tends to start bobbing, like they usually do.

The Brembo brakes are insane and work really well with the ABS & WP suspension. KTM has equipped the bike with a steering dampener which handles potholes really well. The new WP suspension is smooth and eats up every bump.

Fuel range and consumption were good at average speeds. At high speed she is thirsty, as can be expected of a KTM. The seat is comfortable and not adjustable, but with a seat height of 890mm. I don’t see a problem for the short guys.


This is where it really excels. Being the most dirt orientated of the bunch, the 1090 R proves to the rider that he can go anywhere on it. Its suspension and power curve make it capable to easily handle any gnarly single track, sand or mountain pass.

The suspension didn’t bottom out once. It’s plush and has plenty of travel – the new WP suspension they fitted really works well and is easily adjustable. The independent ABS on the front wheel is super responsive and even works on loose pebbles and at high speed on gravel. This is a great addition to any adventure bike and it will save a lot of skin.

Fuel consumption is standard & average on dirt roads and technical pieces. The engine heat issues KTM had on the 1190 is non-existent on this model. The steering damper works well. There’s zero head shakes on poor and corrugated roads, so no need for an aftermarket damper.

Everything just works on this bike, as it should. It’s definitely my favorite of all the new KTM bikes tested, maybe even my next bike.

The pros:

Superb WP suspension
Brembo brakes
The power curve
125 bhp or 100 bhp on gravel
Ride modes (Sport/Street/Off-road)
Independent ABS

The cons:

The dash – same as 1190’s, so the user interface/experience sucks.
The indicators – bulb lights, really? LEDs would be nice and functional.
The price tag – R179k doesn’t seem excessive, but if you add about R35k you can get the 1290R, which makes no sense comparing the two bikes.
No centre stand, but it can be added for R2860.
No bash plate, but it can be added for R4000.

The conclusion:

The 1090 Adventure R is any serious adventure rider’s dream bike. It will go anywhere and leave you with one big smile.

Don’t buy the R if you predominantly ride on tarmac, because this bike is meant for the 80/20 guy, with 80 being dirt roads. KTM did really good with the 1090 R – making the bike loads of fun and upping the game to the next level. It will be interesting to see what it will do to this segment of the market.

If you have the money, go for it. You won’t be disappointed.

For more info on the 1190 AR, visit motorcyclespecs.co.za.