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Launch report: 2009 KTM 990 Adventure R

By Chris Newbigging -

First rides & tests

 12 January 2009 15:25

MCN has just ridden the new for 2009 KTM 990 Adventure R for the first time on a 250km on/off road trek in Sardinia.

The new motorcycle takes over from the 990 Adventure S as the top-of-the-range on/off road machine in KTM’s range, and is also the most powerful yet with 115bhp from the Superduke-derived engine, 18bhp more than the older machine.

The suspension also gets 55mm extra suspension travel to give it extra off-road capability, but otherwise the mechanicals are the same as the 2009 990 Adventure (which also gets a small power boost to 106bhp and a smoother-running crank design).

MCN’s Chris Newbigging has been riding the bike and says:

“The Adventure R is notably more punchy than the standard bike, but isn’t ferocious and is easy to ride on an unfamiliar road because of the extra flexibility.

"The taller seat height can make the bike awkward at a standstill, even though I am six feet tall. It has extra suspension travel compared to standard, firmer settings make it more composed on bumpy roads without compromising the ride quality.

"The only downside is the ABS fitted on the standard model isn’t available on the R model and it would be nice to have the option available.

"The seat is less comfortable; however a gel seat is available as an optional extra. Riding the bike off road the Adventure R proved itself capable but was limited by the standard tyres in wet mud and some novice riders may find the power intimidating.

"Overall the Adventure R is as versatile as the standard bike but with a little bit more ability everywhere.”