Words: Simon Cudby   Photos: Simon Cudby, Adam Booth

Words: Simon Cudby   Photos: Simon Cudby, Adam Booth

The all-new KTM 1090 AdventureR is a newly defined direction for the previous 1190 AdventureR.  KTM is positioning this new model as a large dual-sport motorcycle, and it is getting back to off-road basics, as opposed to the finely honed “adventure travel” style of the new 1290 SuperAdventureR. Although the new 1290 is definitely off-road capable, the 1090 is firmly aimed at the rider who wants to spend most of their time on the dirt, and use the road as a “liaison stage” to get them back to the dirt ASAP.

KTM fully expects the 1090 to be their bestseller in the US market, as American riders want to spend more time trail riding on their big ADV bikes than their Euro counterparts. This is where KTM has brought into play off-road legend Quinn Cody as R&D in California to help set up the ideal big off-road machine.

The concept behind the 1090 is “Lighter, Faster, Better”, and the new bike features the same modes as the 1190R (Sport, Street, Rain, Off-road), and also some electronic rider aids like Traction Control and ABS with an Off-road option also.

The 1090’s motor has a 2mm smaller bore than the 1190 (from 105mm down to 103mm), and the stroke is now 63mm compared to 69mm on the 1190.

The main difference in power from 1190 to the new 1090 is the much better low-end response that helps get you out of trouble on some of the more technical dirt sections. Although the final drive gear ratio is the same as the 1190, the 1090’s bottom end response is much better. The new motor also has a much smoother idle, and the first impression when riding the bike was just how much less vibration there is. Although the 1090 is a more “basic” dirt bike, the motor’s characteristics give the feeling of a more refined ride. The output of the bike is 125hp in Sport and Street modes, and 100hp in Rain and Off-road settings.

The highlight of the new bike is the much-improved stock suspension. With a WP fork up front with stiffer fork springs, and a new PDS rear shock, this bike is so much better performing than the 1190 stock set-up. You have to hit a rut pretty hard and fast to get this suspension to bottom out, whereas on the 1190R the big “clunk” up front was a regular occurrence.

KTM feels that their customers use their bikes off-road more than other brands, so the stiffer suspension was much needed.

The 1090 shares many parts with the 1190R, such as chassis, wheels, and controls and it is 22lbs lighter than it’s predecessor, but lacks a center stand, although one is available through KTM Powerparts.

We found that the Off-road mode with Off-road Traction Control “on” worked best on the loose uphill winding dirt roads that had a layer of fine gravel and sand over a hard- packed base. This allowed you to let the rear end break loose under power, but not unleashing the full 125hp of Sport mode. Where we did love the Sport mode, with Traction Control “off” was on the faster undulating trails where if you needed a little “braap” to lighten the front end over an obstacle, the power was an instant and plentiful 125hp hit.


  • Revised fully adjustable WP USD front forks with separate compression and rebound systems.
  • Fully adjustable WP Progressive Damping System (PDS) rear monoshock for greater control and bottoming resistance.
  • Tubeless 21- and 18-inch wheels fitted with Continental TKC 80 tires for excellent offroad performance with sure-foot street manners.
  • Highly developed 125 hp LC8 V-Twin with dual-plug ignition, cutting-edge Keihin engine management, electronic fuel injection, Ride-by-Wire technology and slipper clutch.
  • Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) package with multi-mode combined ABS, ride mode technology and multi-mode traction control (MTC)
  • Four-mode traction control (MTC) including Sport, Street, Offroad and Rain settings allow the rider to fine tune the power application in any situation.
  • Offroad ABS mode allows for dirt-specific ABS application on the front wheel while disengaging the rear ABS for brake slides and total control in the dirt. 
  • Strong trellis frame made from chrome-molybdenum steel for optimal handling on the street and in the dirt.
  • Adjustable foot pegs, handlebars and wind shield.
  • Integrated pannier mounts

MSRP $14,699  Click HERE for more info.




Chris Glaspell

The success of any online publication depends on the quality of execution, and
in this respect UpShift Online’s success is virtually assured.  It was founded by veteran motorcycle industry professionals: English-born photographer Simon Cudby, the premier photographer in the world of motocross, and Chris Glaspell, creative director with firms serving clients that include Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Cycle World and Yoshimura. This, plus Upshift’s veteran editorial staff and unrivaled journalism, will gives readers unparalleled views of adventure motorcycling.