KTM 990 ADVENTURE (2009-on) Review

Published: 13 February 2009

"The 2009 adds a little bit more refinement and power"

KTM 990 Adventure - brilliant trail bike

"The 2009 adds a little bit more refinement and power"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The KTM 990 Adventure is already a brilliant adventure trail bike, but the 2009 adds a little bit more refinement and power. A new crank has smoothed vibes, and touch extra power is not instantly noticeable but welcome all the same.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The off-road sized rims and heavily-treaded tyres should spell vague handling, but largely they don’t. The quality WP suspension is plush and only gets a bit wobbly if you start throwing it around at high-speed. Feedback is enough to inspire confidence, and it rarely gets flustered. The KTM 990 Adventure has sports-bike kicking pace on less than perfect roads, or will lollop along enjoying the scenery too.

Engine 4 out of 5

KTM’S LC8 engine was a impressive first effort for a road engine, but earlier 950 and the previous KTM 990 Adventure had a touch of vibey crudeness that betrayed KTM’s off-road past. A new crank has taken the edge off, leaving the punchy motor with a typical v-twin lumpy but involving delivery. The strong torque is perfect for back-road playing and luggage/pillion carrying alike. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The build is largely the same as the old model, so it shouldn’t provide too many issues. New black-coated chassis parts look resilient. A handful of owners report engine issues, but by and large they last well. Like most European bikes, more regular checks should keep it happy. Learn how to check oil level in the dry sump correctly.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

At £9695 the KTM 990 Adventure isn’t a cheap bike, but for your hefty outlay you get a versatile bike that will tour, long-distance commute and hammer along back roads at an indecent pace. It’ll even deal with gentle off-roading in novice hands, and a set of full knobbly tyres add enough traction to keep more experienced mud-pluggers happy. Consider the rest of the adventure trailie opposition too – BMW’s R1200GS, Triumph’s Tiger and Ducati’s Multistrada offer serious options. Find a KTM 990 Adventure for sale.

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

A digital dash, decent rider/pillion seat comfort and a protective fairing make for a happy riding experience. The twin fuel tanks require filling individually, which is a minor inconvenience but helps keep the bike slim-line by tucking fuel storage into nooks and crannies.

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their KTM 990 ADVENTURE (2009-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 990 ADVENTURE (2009-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.1 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
4 out of 5

23000km

15 August 2013 by Anonymous

Owned this bike from new (purchased it in 2010) and now I have some results to share. Good: for 1100km/day trips in any weather except snow at -5 C (still did it but for sure I'm not looking forward to repeat this exercise :), bad roads with or... Read more without tarmac, everyday commute solo or with a pillion, for having fun. Bad: rear mudguard cracked, rear cylinder exhaust pipe cracked, chain guard vibrated itself into oblivion, fuel sensor dissolved in Russian petrol, chain is quickly eating through the rubber slider and starting to rub the swingarm, small oil leak from the gear position sensor, first fuel filter lasted for 6000km and its quite a pricey item, stock seat is no good for long trips so had to replace it. In hot weather the bike was constantly overheating at slow speeds so I fitted the second fan and the oil cooler, which sorted the problem completely. Oh, and the official KTM dealer in Russia is awful all around. Despite all this I'm still going to keep this bike because it's the only one which can cope so well with Russian roads and constant abuse.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

For the broken tarmac

09 June 2013 by oceaa

The Adventure is a fantastic bike which can supply earth shattering journey times without drama. The handling is nothing short of superb. My only gripe has been rusty spokes replace FOC by KTM without quibble now rusting again so will need to speak... Read more to them, I would think they would get that bit right?

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

4000 miles in

25 June 2012 by ducatigav

now 4000 miles in and the grin still here the bike still feels good the engine lossend up at 2k feels a lot stronger so far the bike is well made standing up to a few winter rides and wet summer ones the main let down is the spokes have already... Read more started to rust even had it off road where it did very well and the only let down was my lack of off road skills

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Tried it but not right for me

20 January 2012 by conrman

I have tried a lot of these do it all bikes, but the compromise is just not for me. Supporters say they do everything pretty well, but IMO they don't do anything well enough. They are really heavy (this one weighs the same as my old school 2002... Read more Bandit 1200?) so they are a handful in the dirt (I prefer my 250Lb/50hp Husky 610 WXE). The tires and suspension really hold the bike back for me on the road. My garage consists of4 bikes that cost about the same price as this one bike. I also rode the supermoto 990, which was neat, but had poor fuel range, and cost was up there. These bikes just are not the right fit for my needs. Ride one maybe you will like it;)

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

1550 miles in

24 October 2011 by ducatigav

just got 1550miles on it and is runing well handles realy well and is showing up alot of sport bike riders up on the twisty bits (its only a off road bike lads lol) still glad i went for the R in place of the S but a comfort seat is on xmass list. so... Read more pros handels well go like stink to 100 eats pot holes/crap road surfaces good for long runs feels well built and has a the giggle factor every time i ride it is also a bit of a lady magnet comp to the sport bike i had which was a shock. negatives R is very tall bike even at 6,3 im tip toe so unless ur a fan ofthe pies you need the lower seat it also likes a drink even with 20 ltr tank on blasts its only getting 100miles (normal riding 140ish) and could do with a bit more top end (track time only officer) so what would it need to make it a total killer off the bmw (2 years time tho when i can afford another new one) the rc8 engine a fuel gauge/trip thing heated grips that are like the bmw look like they should be there no cheep after market things engine bars as std bigger tank 2 maps sports and touring (for good mpg) round up top bike and far cooler than a old mans bmw

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

1550 miles in

24 October 2011 by ducatigav

just got 1550miles on it and is runing well handles realy well and is showing up alot of sport bike riders up on the twisty bits (its only a off road bike lads lol) still glad i went for the R in place of the S but a comfort seat is on xmass list. so... Read more pros handels well go like stink to 100 eats pot holes/crap road surfaces good for long runs feels well built and has a the giggle factor every time i ride it is also a bit of a lady magnet comp to the sport bike i had which was a shock. negatives R is very tall bike even at 6,3 im tip toe so unless ur a fan ofthe pies you need the lower seat it also likes a drink even with 20 ltr tank on blasts its only getting 100miles (normal riding 140ish) and could do with a bit more top end (track time only officer) so what would it need to make it a total killer off the bmw (2 years time tho when i can afford another new one) the rc8 engine a fuel gauge/trip thing heated grips that are like the bmw look like they should be there no cheep after market things engine bars as std bigger tank 2 maps sports and touring (for good mpg) round up top bike and far cooler than a old mans bmw

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

ktm 990 adv r

02 September 2011 by ducatigav

just pick my new 990 adv r one up yest 01,09,11 and what can i say i but 150miles on in the 1st day and loving it its feel nearly as nibble as gsxr600 l0 i part ex for it the power good and smoother that my all 749 on the fueling and at the age... Read more of 26 i dont think i be buying a sports bike again and it just dose everything i want and more and still has charm i will post again when i got more miles on it

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2009
Year discontinued -
New price £9,545
Used price £5,500 to £9,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £59
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 106 bhp
Max torque 73.8 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.23 secs
Average fuel consumption 39 mpg
Tank range 203 miles
Specification
Engine size 999cc
Engine type 6v 75° liquid-cooled v-twin, six gears
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 19.5 litres
Seat height 860mm
Bike weight 209kg
Front suspension Preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension Preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake Twin 300mm discs, Brembo two-piston sliding calipers.
Rear brake 240mm disc, Brembo two-piston sliding caliper.
Front tyre size 90/90-21
Rear tyre size 150/70-R18

History & Versions

Model history

2003-2006: KTM 950 Adventure – 942cc carburetted v-twin, tubular steel chassis. New model.
2006-2008: KTM 990 Adventure – Larger 999cc v-twin with new fuel-injection system, new seat and graphics, detail improvements.

Other versions

KTM 990 Adventure R (2009-current) – Fitted with 116bhp Superduke-spec engine and 55mm taller suspension front and rear. ABS removed. Extra power over standard bike makes for a lot of fun, but is also more flexible and requires less gear changes. The suspension is firmer as well as taller, so is more composed without loss of ride comfort. Seat is less comfortable – £105 gel seat solves this as well as bringing seat height down to more manageable level.

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 990 Adventure - brilliant trail bike
  • KTM 990 Adventure - wheelie
  • KTM 990 Adventure - sports-bike kicking pace on less than perfect roads
  • KTM 990 Adventure - clocks
  • KTM 990 Adventure - side view
  • KTM 990 Adventure - happy t0 lollop along enjoying the scenery
  • KTM 990 Adventure - plush WP suspension
  • KTM 990 Adventure - knobbly tyres add enough traction to keep more experienced mud-pluggers happy
  • KTM 990 Adventure - side view
  • KTM 990 Adventure - versatile bike that will tour, long-distance commute and hammer along back roads
  • KTM 990 Adventure - hanging the back end out
  • KTM 990 Adventure - tall bike, seat height is 860mm
  • KTM 990 Adventure - off-road
  • KTM 990 Adventure - brilliant trail bike
  • KTM 990 Adventure - wheelie
  • KTM 990 Adventure - sports-bike kicking pace on less than perfect roads
  • KTM 990 Adventure - clocks
  • KTM 990 Adventure - side view
  • KTM 990 Adventure - happy t0 lollop along enjoying the scenery
  • KTM 990 Adventure - plush WP suspension
  • KTM 990 Adventure - knobbly tyres add enough traction to keep more experienced mud-pluggers happy
  • KTM 990 Adventure - side view
  • KTM 990 Adventure - versatile bike that will tour, long-distance commute and hammer along back roads
  • KTM 990 Adventure - hanging the back end out
  • KTM 990 Adventure - tall bike, seat height is 860mm
  • KTM 990 Adventure - off-road
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