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ADV NewsNew AWD Kit Turns Your KTM Adventure Bike Into a Traction Beast

New AWD Kit Turns Your KTM Adventure Bike Into a Traction Beast

 Christini’s new bolt-on kit offers serious traction for KTM adventure bikes.

Published on 04.08.2019

Christini AWD Kit for KTM Adventure Motorcycles

Your KTM 1190 Adventure is just about perfect. All that power and torque, the off road-capable suspension, the rumble of a muscular V-twin, good looks … it’s a sweet ride. But like virtually every other adventure bike on the planet, your 1190 is one-wheel drive. Imagine how good it could be with both wheels pulling you along in the dirt.

That will soon be a possibility when Christini releases its AWD kit for KTM’s big adventure bikes. All you’ll need are some wrenching skills, and $4,500. It doesn’t come cheap but many may find the price tag more than worth it for the promise of converting their KTM into a traction monster.


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The new AWD kit is a bolt-on system that does not require any frame or gas tank modifications. The complete package comes with everything you need to put your front wheel to work. That means a new triple-clamp assembly with AWD components installed, drive shafts for the front wheels, front axle clamps with integrated AWD, a gearbox-countershaft sprocket interface and a new radiator to make room for it all. A competent home mechanic should be able to install the kit in 6-8 hours, according to Christini. “The customer will have to exchange the axle clamps with ours but any KTM shop can do that in 30 minutes,” says Steve Christini.

Christini AWD Kit for KTM Adventure Motorcycles
Shown above is Christini’s AWD framekit for KTM dirt bikes. The new improved AWD kit for Adventure Bikes will be a bolt-on system that does not require a frame exchange or tank modifications.

How Does it Work?

Like past Christini AWD designs, the new KTM Adventure kit is mechanical in nature, not hydraulic. Though Christini engineers made significant changes in the way power makes its way to the front wheel in order to create a true bolt-on, DIY kit, the general idea is the same as on earlier designs.

Chains and drive shafts pick up power at the countershaft sprocket and send it to a gearbox located in the lower triple clamp. From there, counter-rotating drive shafts mounted on each fork leg route power down to the front wheel.The shafts are a ball-spline design that allows them to move freely under high torque conditions and maintain the bike’s full front suspension travel.

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Watch the kit in action on the KTM 1190 Adventure R. The system can be easily disengaged, returning the bike to normal function.

Steve Christini adds “Most people believe an AWD system is made just to power the front wheel. But in this case and on all of our bikes, it’s a traction control system that back loads the rear wheel and keeps it from over spinning.”

The two drive shafts bring power to gear boxes on either side of the front wheel and then to the front hub, which is equipped with two one-way clutches that allow the front wheel to dig in when traction is needed or spin freely when it isn’t. Power is transferred to the front wheel only when the rear wheel loses traction. The system can be easily disengaged, returning the bike to normal function. “It could be used all the time or simply only in loose or in situations to where you need added traction,” explains Steve.

The big KTM adventure bikes make a lot more horsepower than other Christini-equipped bikes, so the system incorporates a heavy duty slipper clutch that will break free under excessive loading. The safeguards mean the system won’t lock up in the event of a mechanical failure. The entire system adds about 10 pounds to the weight of the bike and there is a disengagement switch that completely releases the system for RWD operation.

Why AWD?

While a two-wheel drive motorcycle invites comparisons to a four-wheel drive car, it’s more accurate to think of the Christini system as an automotive all-wheel-drive system.

The front wheel is under-driven in relation to the rear, so it will only engage when the rear wheel loses traction. As the rear spins, the front grabs and begins to pull the bike forward. That, in turn, makes it easier for the rear to find grip. The design has a lot of rider benefits including increased traction and stability, faster acceleration and improved cornering. As you might guess, two-wheel drive also turns a bike into a hill-climbing beast.

Christini AWD Kit for KTM Adventure Motorcycles

On a KTM adventure bike, added traction should translate into more confidence off-road. The 1190 is no lightweight, so having the pull of an extra wheel may be the difference between taking it places it was meant to go and just riding it to the coffee shop for some riders. While hardcore dirt bike riders debate the benefits of two-wheel drive, there’s no question that it would be an advantage for dual sport and adventure riders who simply want to expand their riding opportunities. More traction is always better off-road.

Another benefit: reduced rider fatigue. Christini bikes are used by the U.S. military and border patrol agents who need to operate where there are no roads. In government testing, Christini’s were 30 percent less fatiguing to ride off-road than conventional dirt bikes.

The kit is expected to become available starting this summer for KTM 1190s, 1290s and 1090s with some variations in how it’s mounted for each model. Christini is also considering following up with kits for BMW and Triumph adventure bikes in the future. For more information visit christini.com

Christini AWD KTM Adventure Kit Includes:

• CNC triple clamps with integrated AWD system
• Billet Axle clamps with integrated AWD system
• Front Wheel Drivers (allows for use of stock wheel)
• AWD gearbox with slipper clutch
• Engagement Switch
• Radiator (necessary for AWD drive system fitment)
• Price $4,500

Photos by Stephen Gregory

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

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Author: Bob Whitby
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6 thoughts on “New AWD Kit Turns Your KTM Adventure Bike Into a Traction Beast

    • Hey Gros, as far as we know the 990 isn’t compatible. For now, just the models mentioned in the article. Not sure about the rear chain breaking, the front wheel could work but best contact Christini for what would happen under that scenario. You can reach them at this link: https://www.christini.com/company/contact

  1. Any chance you’ll have an opportunity to ride review a Cristini equipped ADV bike? I have ridden and love the 1090r, and i’d be very curious to see how Cristini equipped model performs in comparison.

  2. I love the idea of this. I will admit though what keeps me from a KTM isn’t the weight but a seat height that I can’t handle with a 30 ” inseam & THAT weight.