Review of the 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R
KTM motorcycles and dirt bikes are an adventure rider’s dream come true, and this rings especially true for the 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R. Though it’s a bit smaller than its 1190 older brother, it doesn’t skimp on a thing.
Comparable to Honda’s CRF1000L Africa Twin, the KTM 1090 is an off-road rabble-rouser designed for riders who want a more elemental experience, according to one RevZilla test rider: “The 1090 is a stripped-down, purpose-built machine for riders looking to spend a good chunk of their time off road.” Of course, this shouldn’t deter you from riding on pavement, especially with 1,050cc of engine displacement, 80 foot-pounds of peak torque, and 125 horsepower at your disposal.
Among its many features, this dual-sport motorcycle includes Sport and Street mode (obviously), traction control (TC), Rain Mode, and Off-Road ABS. Fortunately, ABS and TC can be disabled permanently if the rider so chooses. And because handling, braking, and throttle response have all been optimized, the 1090 can take on virtually any terrain. Not to mention, the 8.7-inch wheelbase in the front and back instills confidence by providing more balance.
But suspension is the real star of the 1090 KTM; in fact, Cycle World claims it’s the best suspension on any adventure touring bike to date. But, what makes this the case? For starters, KTM’s Progressive Damping System (PDS) allows suspension in the rear to be more supportive and controlled through its stroke without feeling harsh over bigger hits (if you aren’t familiar with PDS, it prevents the bike from bottoming out by allowing for a softer initial set-up that gets progressively stiffer through the stroke). Additionally, the 1090’s front forks have preload adjustability as well as compression and rebound damping. So, essentially, steep inclines and declines, rain, mud, ruts, and rocks are no match for this machine, especially when equipped with KTM aftermarket skid plates.
Photo Source: RevZilla
In terms of drawbacks, this giant KTM dirt bike—so it’s been called by multiple test riders—is a bit outdated in terms of display features on the dash. It also does not offer electronic cruise control, which could be a deterrent for riders who plan to use the KTM 1090 primarily for street riding. And the engine radiates heat like nobody’s business, my friends, so keep that in mind.
KTM 1090 Adventure R Specs
- Engine type: liquid-cooled, 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC, 75-degree V-twin
- Bore x stroke: 103 x 63mm
- Displacement: 1,050cc
- Compression: 13.0:1
- Final Drive: X-ring chain
- Fuel System: Keihin EFI w/ 52mm throttle bodies
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Front Suspension: Fully adjustable 48mm inverted WP fork; 8.7 in. of travel
- Rear Suspension: Fully adjustable WP PDS shock; 8.7 in. of travel
- Front tire: 90/90-21; Continental TKC 80
- Rear tire: 150/70-18; Continental TKC 80
- Front brakes: 320mm discs w/ radially mounted Brembo calipers
- Rear brake: 287mm disc w/ Brembo caliper
- ABS: Standard w/ Offroad mode
- Wheelbase: 62.2 inches
- Rake / Trail: 26 degrees / 4.8 in.
- Seat height: 35 in.
- Ground clearance: 9.8 in.
- Tank capacity: 6.1 gal
- Wet weight: 508 lbs
What it is...
- A rally racer doubling as an ADV touring bike.
- One hell of a nice ride.
- The kind of bike Steve McQueen would buy.
What it isn’t...
- A commuter bike.
- Relaxed and leisurely.
- A fixture in your garage.
Note: RumbleOn is an Amazon Affiliate, dedicated to reviewing the best and safest gear and more, for riders everywhere. We may receive commissions if products are purchased from them.