Adventure / Dual-Sport Adventure / Dual Sport Motorcycle Reviews 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R First Ride Test | 12 Fast Facts

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R First Ride Test | 12 Fast Facts

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R | On- and Off-Road Test

The 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R is a swift response from KTM to the introduction of Honda’s rally-inspired CRF1000L Africa Twin. Contradicting the maxim of bigger is better, the new KTM 1090 Adventure R downsizes displacement and sheds pounds to achieve massive gains in off-road performance. Here are a dozen essential facts you need to know.

1. The 1090 Adventure R replaces the 1190 Adventure R in the KTM Adventure lineup. With a sharp focus on off-road performance, KTM goes small to go big, dropping 145cc in displacement and raising compression from 12.5:1 to 13.0:1.

2. The smaller displacement still packs a punch, and results in much improved handling. Less reciprocating mass translates directly into a lighter feel. With 125 horsepower and 80 ft/lbs of torque on tap, there’s plenty of juice to go around.

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R dirt test
2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

3. The 1090 Adventure R is the lightest bike in its class. At 507 pounds gassed up and ready to ride, the power-to-weight ratio is higher than the 1190 Adventure R the 1090 replaces.

4. Finally, serious off-road suspension on an Adventure bike. The rear shock is a WP PDS unit, the same dual-piston, progressive spring rate fully adjustable shock fitted to KTM’s EX-C enduro bike lineup, providing incredible damping and bottoming resistance. KTM upped the spring rate on the 48mm WP inverted fork from 5.5kg spring rate to a whopping 6.5kg, keeping the bike balanced and up in the stroke. Furthering the balance theme, both ends have 8.7 inches of travel.

5. The wheels and tires are off-road ready. Making no mistake about its intentions for the 1090 Adventure R, KTM gave it an 18”/21” wheel combination and Continental TKC 80 knobby ADV tires.

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R mud
2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

6. The Offroad ABS works everywhere. This means that the rear wheel is free to lock up, and the front is optimized for off-road. I use this setting for both dirt and street; it really is that good.

7. The 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R’s four different electronic drive modes level the playing field. Sport mode with traction control off, and Offroad ABS enabled, was my setting of choice for the dirt, although Street mode worked exceptionally well too. Off-road mode limits the output to 100 horsepower. Coupled with traction control, this makes the 1090 exceptionally easy to ride over very rough terrain.

8. The 1090 Adventure R feels more like a 450cc off-road bike than any other ADV bike I’ve ridden. Deep sand washes are the nemesis of most big Adventure bikes, so riders dread sand more than any other obstacle. Amazingly, the handling characteristics and light feel of the 1090 Adventure R puts the dread to bed.

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R street
2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

9. Six gallons of fuel capacity provides serious range. The 1050cc LC8 powerplant is more fuel-efficient compared to past incarnations. Plus, it is highly responsive to the rider’s throttle hand, allowing for DIY fuel management.

10. Adjustability allows you to customize the ergonomics to your liking. The footpegs, handlebar, and windscreen can all be moved to your ideal position.

11. A few KTM Hard Parts go a long way. For serious off-road riding, a reinforced skid-plate and ultra-wide rally foot-pegs are necessary selections from the KTM Hard Parts catalog. The Off-road dongle to retain settings even when keyed off is very nice to have.

12. The price is right. With an MSRP below $15,000, the 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R is at the top of the value scale when you factor in the off-road performance lurking within. It’s the closest thing to a production rally racer you can purchase off the showroom floor.

Photography by Adam Booth


2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R Specs


  • Engine: 75° V-twin
  • Bore x stroke: 103 x 63mm
  • Displacement: 1050cc
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Valve train: DOHC
  • Fueling: Keihin EFI w/ 52mm throttle bodies
  • Ignition: Keihin EMS w/ ride-by-wire
  • Clutch: PASC slipper clutch; hydraulic actuation
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • Lubrication: Pressure lubrication w/ three Eaton Pumps


  • Frame: Chrome-moly steel trellis
  • Subframe: Powdercoated aluminum, Powder Coated
  • Handlebar: Aluminum, Tapered, Ø 28/22 mm
  • Front Suspension: Fully adjustable 48mm inverted WP fork; 8.7 inches of travel
  • Rear Suspension: Fully adjustable WP PDS shock; 8.7 inches 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: 26º
  • Seat height: 35 inches
  • Ground clearance: 9.8 inches
  • Tank capacity: 6.1 gallons
  • Wet weight (without fuel): Approximately 472 pounds

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R Price:

  • $14,699

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R First Ride Fast Facts | Photo Gallery

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