Revisited: KTM 990 Adventure
Bikes for sale
What we said then
“The engine has been taken from KTM’s Super Duke naked sportsbike and is modified so peak power is just below 100bhp but torque has been boosted at low revs. The 950’s carburetors have also been replaced with fuel injection, and anti-lock brakes are now standard. The 950 was already an amazing go-anywhere bike, mixing real off-road ability with great competence on the tar. The 990 engine’s extra poke and flexibility just makes it better still.”
MCN launch report, February 15, 2006.
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But what’s it like now?
There’s something pure and effective about the 990 Adventure. Having run one for a year in 2012 I was instantly at home on this virtually identical, 2010 example on sale at Wheels in Peterborough (www.wheelsmotorcycles.co.uk) for £5995. Tall and with a factory topbox in the way of a flailing foot (a pair of matching panniers also come with this bike) Adventures are always a bit of a stretch to clamber on board. But once there, they’re also far more manageable than many bikes of this ilk.
On the move there’s no fluff, no messing. Though showing 28,000 miles, this example could easily pass for less than half that, it’s so clean and tight. The throttle response is as sharp as ever, its performance eager and brisk. And while the handling isn’t quite so sharp (at the end of the day you can never completely hide that long suspension, big 21in front wheel and semi-knobbly Pirelli Scorpion tyres) it’s far more balanced, precise and assertive than you’d expect. Slim and with a high vantage point it’s a doddle to thread through town traffic. Then, out on the open roads that brisk and instant big capacity V-twin comes into its own: a tall trailie with true dirt and road potency.
Any common faults?
This one’s a goodie: crisp and clean, all the usual dirt traps – headers, chain and sprockets etc – are immaculate. Engine paint is sometimes prone to flaking but not here, nor is there any sign of it being ridden off-road or the crash damage that can come with it. In fact the only tiny faults I can find are a couple of small, annoying nicks on the seat, the tiniest of scuffs on a handguard, and a misadjusted rear brake. Impressive for a decent mileage, six-year-old bike…
The rugged plastic factory topbox and twin panniers (not fitted at the time of our ride) are a big plus for anyone with serious touring in mind. What’s more, there’s a useful Datatool immobiliser installed, factory heated grips plus the very convenient factory centrestand, which, incidentally, looks as new.Overall condition, as mentioned, apart from a very few slight cosmetic faults, is pretty much immaculate with the only slight corrosion of wear and tear being on the wheel spokes and exhaust connectors.
I admired and was impressed by my old 2012 Adventure. It just got on with the job without any of the electronic frills of its successor or the flabby gloss and luxury of some of its rivals. It was a tool – but an effective one. I’m reminded of all that with this example but if anything I’m more impressed. If its angular styling and basic spec seems a little dated, its actual performance and versatility hasn’t aged one bit.
What’s more, despite this example’s years and miles, it’s pretty much as crisp and clean as can be. And when you take all that into consideration, with all those accessories, and particularly the luggage pack, and all for under £6000, the KTM 990 Adventure is one hell of a tempting proposition.