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ADV BikesReasons to Get Excited About the 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

Reasons to Get Excited About the 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

Will the new 1090 Adventure R be the next off-road king of the liter-class?

Published on 10.04.2016

The undisputed off-road king of the liter-class adventure bikes has for a long time been the KTM 1190 Adventure R. Now with the announcement that the reigning champ will be discontinued for 2017, what bike will succeed to the throne? KTM offers two choices for any would-be 1190 Adventure R owners, either move up to the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R or down to the KTM 1090 Adventure R. So which will be the better off-road bike? Considering the 22-pound weight advantage the 1090 Adventure R has over the 1290 Super Adventure R, we’ll put our money on the 1090.

KTM claims the new 1090 Adventure R was designed to be the purest off-road travel-enduro, created to excel when the pavement ends. And if that is KTM’s mission, then we’d have to agree it was a good move to downsize the KTM 1190 Adventure R. Off-road enthusiasts know that at some point, big horsepower can become more of a hindrance off-road and the KTM 1190 Adventure R always had more power than it could ever use in the dirt.

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R
With a Wet Weight (without fuel) of 471.8 lbs, the new 1090 Adventure R is 7 pounds lighter than the 1190 Adventure R and 22 pounds lighter than the 1290 Super Adventure R. The fully adjustable “R” model WP suspension has also been upgraded for 2017.

With the new 1090 Adventure R, there’s still plenty of power on tap with 125 hp and 80 ft.-lbs. of torque being generated from the 1,050cc V-Twin. That’s on par or better than many of the competitors in the liter-class, including the BMW R1200GS and Africa Twin. The 1090’s chassis is nearly identical to the 1190 Adventure R, with the same geometry, wire-spoke wheels (21″ front/18″ rear), powerful Brembo brakes and WP suspension. However, the drop in displacement has resulted in a weight savings of 7 pounds (3kg), which may not seem like a lot, but a smaller engine with less rotating mass often increases maneuverability, and these two factors could combine together to provide a noticeable improvement in handling.


What’s more, KTM says they’ve upgraded the WP suspension on the 1090 Adventure R. The fully adjustable WP USD front forks have been revised and the rear shock is now a fully adjustable WP PDS (Progressive Damping System) unit, with greater control and bottoming resistance. While suspension travel and ground clearance numbers remain the same as the 1190 Adventure R’s, improvements in weight and damping characteristics should help the 1090 Adventure R get even more out of its suspension.

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

The new KTM 1090 Adventure R will continue to provide ABS, traction control, a slipper clutch and four rider modes (Sport, Street, Rain, Offroad). These rider aids are all important for keeping things under control off-road when riding a nearly 500 pound motorcycle, and they can help make you a better rider if your name isn’t Chris Birch.

So there’s much to be excited about with the announcement of the 2017 KTM 1090 Super Adventure R. It’s not just an under-powered KTM 1190 Adventure R, but a step forward in off-road performance for the ADV liter-class. Its smaller engine shouldn’t make it any less capable on the street either. And if you feel like you need more horsepower, then check out the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R.

KTM 1090 Adventure R vs. 1290 Super Adventure R



KTM 1090 Adventure R Specifications

Engine Type: 2-Cylinder, 4-Stroke, 75° V-Twin, DOHC
Displacement: 1050 cc
Bore/Stroke: 103/63 mm
Starter: Electric; 12V 8.6Ah
Transmission: 6 Gears
Fuel System: Keihin EFI, 52 mm Throttle Bodies
Lubrication: Pressure Lubrication, 3 Eaton Pumps
Cooling: Liquid Cooling
Clutch: PASC Slipper Clutch, Hydraulically Operated
Ignition: Keihin EMS with Ride-By-Wire, Dual Ignition
Frame: Chrome-moly Steel Trellis
Subframe: Aluminum, Powder Coated

Handlebar: Aluminum, Tapered, Ø 28/22 mm
Front Suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP PDS Monoshock
Suspension Travel Front/Rear: 220 mm/8.7 in; 220 mm/8.7 in
Front/Rear Brakes: Disc Brake 320 mm/287 mm
Front/Rear Wheels: 2.50 x 21”, 4.50 x 18”
Front/Rear Tires: 90/90-21”; 150/70-18”
Steering Head Angle: 26º
Wheelbase: 1,580 mm ± 15 mm / 62.2 ± 0.6 in
Ground Clearance: 250 mm / 9.8 in
Seat Height: 890 mm / 35 in
Tank Capacity: 23 L / 6.1 gal
Wet Weight (without fuel): 207 kg/ 456.4 lbs

The KTM 1090 Adventure R is currently on display at the INTERMOT show held in Cologne, Germany from October 4th to the 9th, 2016.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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October 4, 2016 2:37 pm

Nice bike. And the seat height is about 2″ too tall for us shorter folks.

Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney
October 4, 2016 8:37 pm
Reply to  RobG

The 1290 Super Adventure T is an inch lower. Then maybe all you need is a custom-built low seat RobG!

Dave Baskind
Dave Baskind
October 5, 2016 1:19 am

Any idea where KTM filmed that promo video? Amazing landscape.

Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney
October 6, 2016 7:37 pm
Reply to  Dave Baskind

Hey Dave – that is Morocco. Amazing landscape for sure!

November 9, 2016 9:23 am
Reply to  Dave Baskind

It’s the ‘painted rocks’ at Tafraoute in the Anti Atlas mountains of Morocco, see

October 5, 2016 2:07 pm

Why didn’t you write “so excited” about the new V-Strom? Not cool enough?! I think RobG has something, what if there are other bikes to get excited about that fit better then the “best” your suggesting here. Please don’t forget us average guys when writing your articles. The over biased towards KTM and BMW are starting to show up more and more around here and to those of us who have already owned and moved on from those brands, and don’t think they’re the best…….get more excited about V-Stroms, KLR’s and Africa Twins. Sorry, not excited.

Mario P.
Mario P.
October 5, 2016 3:06 pm
Reply to  Paulo

I love all bikes and don’t agree with your point. They have plenty of articles praising the V-strom, African Twin, WR250R, CB500x and other bikes. I have particularly enjoyed their WR250R series and the V-strom off-road. Of course each of us always want more of our favorite bike. Regardless, the point of this article relates to the big news yesterday of KTM announcing the 1090 R will replace the king of off-road in the liter class – the 1190R. It is quite a head scratcher why KTM would do this. Something that is a hot topic right now after the announcement at Intermot yesterday. What does that have anything to do with a V-strom or KLR? Those are great bikes but they are irrelevant to this topic.

Dave P
Dave P
October 7, 2016 10:55 am
Reply to  Paulo

Ha-Ha Mario P. gave the nice reply. Mine will be a little more blunt.

My guess is that they left the “so excited” out of the V-Strom article because what is there to be excited about? Same old 650 that’s utilizing nearly the same engine introduced in 1999. And even since the mini-strom was introduce in 2004, what major updates have there been? And this year they introduce an “Easy Start System”, that’s supposed to make their bikes start easier? I’m not very excited. And the same goes for the KLR. “bold new graphics” year after year…. The excitement has come and gone, years ago. Now the Africa Twin is a nice welcome for what you’re calling “average folks” (I’m assuming you mean folks who either choose not to spend, or aren’t in a position to spend as much as some of these bikes cost?)

But even cost wise, the Strom 1000 is $14,000. The AT is $13,000, and that’s bare bones. When I was ready to buy, I couldn’t touch the most anticipated AT for less than MSRP, plus full freight and prep, etc. It came in at nearly $15,000. I ended up buying a 1190 Adv R for the same price that came with crash bars, stainless brake lines, a hydro clutch, knobbies, etc. All stuff that would have easily made the AT more than the KTM. Now if someone wants to keep it under $10k, your choices are very limited, but that’s comparing apples to oranges.

But back to “excitement”. The rumor mill is that the Africa Twin will be adding some updates next year as well, to include stainless spokes, cruise control, and maybe more power? That would be great to see, and worth getting excited about. Needed upgrades that make the bike a better deal. Suzuki and Kawasaki simply haven’t put much time and development into this segment of motorcycles. I’m not saying that they’re “bad” bikes whatsoever. (I’ve owned a few Kawi’s and Zuki’s; they were good bikes) I’m just saying that the minimal changes since they’ve been released are less than exciting for most of the community.

Companies like KTM are pushing the segment to grow by taking chances and making drastic changes every few years. Their “big bikes” weigh what most 800cc bikes weigh but offer power of sport bikes. This year they decided to split their segment into more road oriented bikes, and some that are more off-road oriented. The 1090 is exciting because KTM took a platform which is, manufacturing/design cost wise, probably “paid off” from the 1190 sales (helping them to lower the cost), shrunk the engine a bit, and shaved the weight. The rumor mill is that it’s going to priced “close” to the Africa Twin. Then there’s even a 800cc based Adventure model coming that will push the segment again. That’s exciting news for folks bike shopping.

Just my two-cents. No insult intended.

Steve Hillard
Steve Hillard
October 6, 2016 1:19 pm

Anyone that has ever ridden a KTM off road in anger truly understands the capabilities of these bikes, I owned the original 950 adventure and ridden the Pyrenees, Morocco to name a few, these new bikes are refined versions of one of the best alrounders ever produced !

October 6, 2016 1:23 pm
Reply to  Steve Hillard

By the way I’m 5’7 !

October 12, 2016 10:31 pm

We all know that there will sooner or later (most likely later…) also an orange 800Adv – that bike will probably be THE most interesting news from KTM, if the manage to keep weight, seat height and price at a reasonable level.
In general I have to admit now that some details on the KTM make it more travel worthy than the AT: looks like Honda really doesn’t want any accessories manufacturer to add a steel luggage rack, there are simply no reasonably strong mounting points and the unneccessarily wide passenger handles can’t be simply removed like on the 1050/1090/1190/1290. So I am going to invest in some good soft luggage, which works without a rack.
Otherwise I am very happy with my AT, which for shorter folks like me also has a more manageable seat height.

Behind the Scenes of a Big-Budget KTM Promo Video - ADV Pulse
November 25, 2016 10:29 am

[…] learn more about the new 2017 models click here: KTM 1090 Adventure R / KTM 1290 Adventure […]

April 17, 2017 8:59 am

207kg is shown as dry weight on the KTM site, but as wet weight here. Which is correct?

Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney
April 17, 2017 9:22 am
Reply to  Jim

Hi Jim. Yes, we noticed the discrepancy with the numbers given by KTM at the press launch and what was listed on their website and brought this up to them. Dry Weight usually means no fluids in the bike at all. We were told by KTM North America that the website weight is incorrect. They confirmed that the true “Ready to Ride” weight with all fluids except fuel is 207 kg.

January 20, 2018 4:05 pm
Reply to  Rob Dabney

Even if you believe the 207 kg (I don’t), its only for a half ready bike.

The bash plate the like to show on all KTM promos is not included and hey, they also forgot to put a main stand on a 200+ kg bike.

Tools ? Probably also not in the KTM weight.

So we add 8-9 kg and another $1000. The resulting usable weight without fuel will be more around 220 kg.


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