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ADV BikesKTM Twins ‘Ultimate’ KTM 1090 Adventure Build

KTM Twins ‘Ultimate’ KTM 1090 Adventure Build

 Transforming the KTM 1090 R into the ultimate liter-class adventure bike!

Published on 05.08.2019

Cyclops Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Motorcycle Build - tpms

One of the features appreciated on the old 1190 Adventure R, which is missing on the 1090 Adventure R, is the TPMS (tire pressure monitor system). Cyclops Adventure Sport’s simplified aftermarket TPMS is great for keeping an eye out for slow leaks and imminent failures. With the sensors themselves taking the place of stock valve caps, there were no worries when swapping tires or repairing flats. It was able to alert riders seconds before a tube failure more than once during testing.

KTM Power Parts Racing Fuel Cap

Motorcycle Build - fuel cap


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On multi-day adventures, with frequent fuellings, little nuances like removing your key from the ignition to unlock your fuel cap can lead to insanity. Pair that with the fact that said keyed fuel cap might mean the difference between donning and doffing one’s gloves means it’s a bigger deal than you might think. This Power Parts machine finished, the anodized aluminum ‘keyless’ cap looks the part and makes life that much easier.

Cyclops Evolution Safety Turn Signals

KTM 1090 Adventure Build

Safety is something often overlooked on a project with such a dirt-oriented scope but something worth addressing for the inevitable interim highway miles. These plug and play LED turn signal inserts from Cyclops are designed to help you see and be seen out on the road while riding through droves of distracted drivers. The front two signals become running lights when they are not actively indicating a turn while the rear set works as additional brake lights anytime you squeeze or tap the brakes. They could be one of the least sexy upgrades on this entire bike, but they get more comments and attention than any other part.

Vanasche Motorsports Side Stand Foot

Motorcycle Build -  side stand foot

The Vanasche Motorsports side stand foot is the unglamorous often-overlooked part that shoulders the entire load every time the side stand is down. Comprised of a piece of machined billet aluminum sandwiched over the kickstand with a powder coated laser cut steel lid. It’s saved the bike from an untold number of creeping, sinking tip-overs with little fan fair.

Trail Tech Voyager Pro

Adventure Build  - trail tech voyager pro

No adventure machine is complete without a reliable form of navigation, and for this build, KTM Twins turned to Trail Tech to keep their bearings. This cutting edge GPS unit has many unique features that are specific to power sports applications such as buddy tracking, emergency beacon, Bluetooth connectivity and vehicle data (voltage, temperatures, speed, etc.). The 4’’ color touch screen is ready-made for adventure: waterproof, glove friendly and, glare-free. This unit has proven to be indispensable for backcountry forays paired perfectly with the Perun Moto GPS Dashboard Mount for clear visibility when sitting or standing.

Rekluse TorqDrive Clutch

Bike Build - rekluse clutch

The Rekluse TorqDrive clutch is specifically designed to unlock more power without compromising reliability. With the increased power that came with the Twins 1090 performance upgrades, the Rekluse TorqDrive clutch was a logical upgrade. It retains manual engagement functionality, while adding six additional friction discs to the clutch pack over stock in the same amount of space. With its greater surface area, the TorqDrive clutch gives increased torque capacity and less slip along with improved durability & reliability, smoother shifts, and a more consistent lever feel.

Double Take Mirrors

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build  - dual sport mirrors

One of the first ceremonial tasks often performed when adventure riders take possession of a new dual sport is the removal of the standard issue mirrors. After all, it’s better not to trust these brittle, waifs much further than the dealership parking lot. Double Take Mirrors offer one of the best options for adventure mirrors with a vast field of vision, minimal vibration and, the ability to fold down quickly when riding off-road. Secured using Ram Mount hardware, they are customizable,rugged and perfect for the hard miles ahead.

Cyclops LED Headlight Kit

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - led headlight

Another safety item addressed was the stock headlights. KTM Twins felt they were barely adequate on the road and hardly useful in low light situations off-road. Cyclop’s plug-and-play LED replacement kit offers a tidy solution to these illumination woes replacing the stock bulbs with two 38-watt 4800-lumen bulbs capable of turning night into day. The improvement in safety cannot be understated with these lights guiding the way through blizzards, dark nights and dreary commutes. And they are bright enough to virtually eliminate the need for auxiliary lights.

Motoz Tractionator RallZ Tires

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - motoz rallz dual sport tires

The Continental TKC-80’s that accompany 1090’s from the factory lacked the longevity and bite desired for this project. With their desert racing and long distance adventure pedigree, the Motoz Tractionator RallZ tires offer a more-aggressive tread pattern while also having a longer lifespan. The tires offered good traction for the rough conditions encountered during testing and impressive endurance exceeding 5,000 miles.

Touratech iBracket iPhone Mount

KTM 1090 Adventure Build - iphone mount

While some folks might find it redundant or unnecessary to have a cell phone mounted on the handlebars, others (including yours truly) think it’s essential. Whether it’s being used for supplementary navigation apps like Rever, media or turn-by-turn directions in town, it’s nice to have as an option. To keep clutter down and the phone safe KTM’s Power Parts ibracket was employed. Flush mounted to the handlebars using a short Ram Mount arm, this setup works well allowing the phone to rotate 90 degrees to display horizontally or vertically. The mount proved to be fully secure and perfect for this 1090 Adventure Bike Build.

PROTECTION

It makes sense to protect your investment in a motorcycle especially if you plan on taking it places or putting it in situations that the manufacturer didn’t intend it for. With the Twins 1090 preservation was paramount, and vulnerabilities were addressed as quickly as possible.

Touratech RallyeForm Skid Plate

Motorcycle Build - skidplate

Maybe the most crucial protection piece on a KTM 1090 Adventure R is the skid plate. Touratech’s RallyeForm skid plate is 4mm of cold-stamped aluminum that boasts a form-fitting exterior around the 1090’s undercarriage, protecting the trellis frame, sump and low-slung exhaust. It performed admirably in its duties protecting the vulnerable underside of this beast during all of its precarious tirades and ill-advised forays into rock crawling. Check out the full review here.

Rumbux Upper Crash Bars

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - crashbars

KTM was wise enough to offer sound lower crash bars as a standard feature on the 1090 but failed to acknowledge the damage that would be inflicted to anything beyond they’re coverage area in the inevitable event of a spill. This level of crash protection is well suited for highly-skilled riders or ones with pockets deep enough to replace plastics every time the bike goes down. Since most riders don’t fall under either of these categories, KTM Twins opted for more comprehensive armor. Keeping with the theme of prepping this bike for extreme circumstances, hardwearing Rumbux Upper crash bars were installed in conjunction with the factory bars to create something akin to a roll cage. This beefy setup not only looks the part but also has the brawn to back it up; taking the full impact of this five hundred pound dirt bike on several occasions with no issues whatsoever.

KTM Power Parts Radiator Grille

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - radiator grille

This laser cut aluminum guard replaces the plastic insert installed at the factory offering more direct airflow, rock protection, and easier cleaning. This was another subtle enhancement that should make a great difference over the lifespan of the Twins 1090. All it would take is one lucky stone or chunk of debris to end an excellent ride, and that risk was mitigated with the installation of this grille.

Fasst Company Simple Solution Hand Guards

Motorcycle Build - hand guards

Another stock part that demonstrates how KTM might have overestimated the skill level of most of their consumers is the handguards. While these all-plastic wrap around “guards” do an excellent job of deflecting wind and can handle light falls, that is the extent of their functionality. For the preservation of both digits and levers, Fasst Company Simple Solution hand guards were added . Threaded on both ends of the aluminum backing bar with interchangeable snag free shields, they are as basic as the product title implies but have proven indestructible and seamlessly integrate with the aforementioned Flexx Bars.

KTM Power Parts Billet Clutch Cover

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build  - clutch cover

Replacing the at-risk cast aluminum clutch cover with the Power Parts billet aluminum cover served double duty as both a fashionable & functional upgrade. The billet aluminum cover is less likely to be punctured/cracked by the brake pedal or rock during a low side, and it is markedly better looking.

LUGGAGE

Whether it’s an adventure to the grocery store or trek to the other side of the globe, some form of luggage is useful if not essential on all motorcycles. Since this bike was intended for long distance travel in rough conditions, special care was taken to select robust methods of transporting all the trappings of independent backcountry exploration.

Perun Moto Rear Luggage Rack

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - luggage rack

Perun Moto established itself in the ADV community by producing what is regarded as the definitive 690 Enduro R rear luggage rack. Their new offering for the 1090 did not disappoint. Milled from 6mm aluminum, it’s built tough and with 26 different slots it provides a multitude of options for mounting duffle bags, rackless saddlebags or a hard top case.

KTM Power Parts Pannier Racks

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - pannier racks

Even though hard luggage was not intended on this bike, they still wanted sturdy pannier racks to act as crash bars and to support soft bags. The Power Parts system was chosen due to their proven success on the earlier 1190’s and known compatibility with Camel ADV’s Camel Tank. These hardy-steel racks did a great job protecting the back half of the bike, including the precious Akrapovic silencer, and worked perfectly for securing soft panniers.

Wolfman Rocky Mountain Saddle Bags

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - saddlebags

For this application, generous capacity was required for carrying a full load of camping equipment while durability, weather resistance & adaptability were also important characteristics.Wolfman’s Rocky Mountain saddlebags were picked because on paper they met all of the criteria, and KMT Twins had a positive experience with an earlier version of these bags on the Ultimate KTM 690 project. The 2018 Rocky Mountains ended up exceeding expectations with their improved mounting system, useful removable waterproof liners, and heavy-duty materials. The 72 liters of capacity was ample, and they held up remarkably well for all of the hard miles they endured.

SUSPENSION

As good as the 1090 Adventure’s are in the suspension department compared to the earlier 1190 & 1290 models, there’s always room for improvement, and there is yet to be a substitute for a tailored-fit setup.

Konflict Motorsports KM2 Service

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - suspension

Given the extensive experience of Konflict Motorsports catering to both conventional adventure bikes and world-class rally motorcycles the 1090 was eagerly turned over for what they call their KM2 Service along with some additional custom coatings. The forks were re-valved and re-sprung for specific weight requirements. Also, the seals were replaced with heavy-duty SKF models, and Maxima high-performance fluids were utilized. To top it off the fork lowers and upper tubes were treated to DLC & Kashima coatings respectively for the ultimate in appearance and performance. Similarly, the rear shock was re-valved and tuned with premium seals and fluids. The result is something you truly have to experience to appreciate fully: plush, responsive and perfect for all the jumps, drop-offs and unexpected hits encountered.

PERFORMANCE

KTM’s are known as performance machines; they typically aren’t purchased for their fuel efficiency. The goal here wasn’t just to squeeze every last ounce of power out of this engine but to make that power usable. Through the following upgrades, they achieved a smoother running, more efficient 1090 with even better output.

Rottweiler Performance Stage 4 Intake

Adventure Motorcycle Build - performance intake

Rottweiler is known for being the top performance shop for KTMs so it is no surprise they were chosen for a power boost. Specifically, the Stage 4 Kit was added, which includes their trademark air intake (completely replacing the stock air box), fueling dongles, billet tuned velocity stacks, and a Power Commander V. This setup is much safer in dusty conditions and the power gains are truly impressive.

DynoJet Power Commander V & Custom Map

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - fuel maps

Even though a Power Commander and custom mapping are not required for the Rottweiler upgrades listed above, KTM Twins elected for both to achieve optimal performance. The Power Commander V is a programmable “piggyback ECU” that taps into your bikes ECU to change fuel/oxygen values. The experts at 2 Wheel Dynoworks created the custom map for the Power Commander after countless runs on their Dyno machine with sensors monitoring engine output.The end product was an incredibly smooth power band with improved fuel efficiency and real-world horsepower/torque gains.

If you’ve ever ridden a 1090/1190/1290 off-road, you know the importance of this invaluable little “dongle.” To disable the ABS & traction control and switch to OFF ROAD mode on these bikes, you are required to scroll through several menu screens and jump through various hoops. If you happen to turn off your ignition, you have to start this tedious process all over again as you get roosted and left in the dust. The beauty of this dongle is the retaining of all your settings no matter how many times you cycle the ignition.

Akrapovic Silencer & Carbon Guards

KTM 1090 Adventure Motorcycle Build - exhaust

Another functional upgrade that has the added benefit of being extremely attractive! This titanium sleeved stainless core silencer shaves nearly seven pounds off the back of this bike, has longer service intervals and sounds divine. Paired with the Powerparts carbon fiber heat shields, this is a transformation for the 1090’s exhaust. It has a deeper tone than the stock silencer while not being excessively loud which is ideal for for most riders (and their neighbors).

Photos by Spencer Hill

Author: Spencer Hill

“The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.

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Author: Spencer Hill
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4 thoughts on “KTM Twins ‘Ultimate’ KTM 1090 Adventure Build

    • Yes, the Camel Tank is connected directly to the main tank via the fuel cap vent line. The vacuum caused by the fuel level lowering in the main tank draws suction from the Camel Tank emptying it first.