First ride: KTM 1090 Adventure

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The now deceased 1050 was KTM’s entry point for new riders into their Adventure range. The Austrian factory deliberately restricted its LC8 engine to 95bhp while the whole package was designed to be fun without over-challenging the inexperienced. 

Now KTM have unleashed all the power and launched the new 1090 with 125bhp and 80.4ftlb of torque. Even though it’s now called the 1090, capacity remains the same at 1050cc. And, don’t worry, KTM also offer a 95bhp version that can also be restricted to the 38kW (47bhp) for A2 riders – so new riders haven’t been forgotten. 


Apart from a new manually-adjustable screen and a cleaner more powerful engine, the 1090 is, on paper at least, the old 1050 with an extra 30bhp and a fraction more torque – plus new graphics and other minor changes. 

On the road, however, it feels like KTM have thrown a bottle of vodka into the punchbowl along with a dozen cans of Red Bull. The 1090 is much livelier and more fun to ride yet still has the ease of use of the original 1050. 

The significant jump in power means the 1090 is more rewarding, especially for experienced riders who felt a little short changed by the 1050. You don’t have to abuse the throttle to have fun as there’s real kick from the 1050cc LC8 motor, enough to get the electronics working overtime controlling wheelies in the first two gears.

The chassis copes with the extra power with ease; in fact it feels like it could handle a further 25bhp. The conventional 48mm WP forks and WP rear shock work straight out of the box. The forks are non-adjustable but on our test route that didn’t pose any problems. A 170-section rear tyre and the 1090’s relatively low weight enable it to be hustled with ease. Boring it certainly isn’t. 

Unfortunately, we had less than ideal conditions to test the new 1090 but wet riding did highlight the bike’s rider-friendliness and near-perfect fuelling at low speeds. There are three riding modes: Sport, Street, and Rain with an optional Off-road setting. Each mode changes the engine characteristics and level of traction control intervention. 

Unlike the new Super Adventure S the uninspiring old style clocks remain while the traction control and ABS are not lean-angle sensitive, and nor can the TC be deactivated on the move. 

Being a KTM there is no reason why you can’t take in some light off-road riding. The 1090 is equipped with 19in front wheel and a 17in rear while KTM also offer an optional off-road pack (£243.78) that includes off-road ABS which allows the rear wheel to lock along with traction control that allows extra wheelspin and an off-road riding mode that makes the power more manageable. Our bike was fitted with this along with an LED lamp kit (£392.16) and an Akrapovic end can (£835.32), which raised its price to £12,800.

The new 1090 has all the appealing qualities of the 1050 and is still easy to ride. But extra power makes it a more exciting ride, especially on twisty roads where its excellent handling and light steering come to the fore.  

KTM 1090 Adventure spec

Price: £11,299 (our test bike £12,800)

Engine: 1050cc (103x53mm) liquid-cooled, two-cylinder V-twin.

Power: (claimed) 125bhp @8500rpm

Torque: (claimed) 80.4 FTLB @6500rpm

Weight: 205kg (dry)

Tank: capacity 23l 

Frame: Steel trellis

Seat Height: 850mm

Suspension: 43 WP fork, WP rear monoshock adjustable for pre-load and compression damping.

Brakes: 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston Brembo caliper. 320mm rear disc with two piston Brembo caliper

Colours: Orange/Black

And the best part, this bike is available to buy now. Enjoy. 


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Adam Child

By Adam Child

Former MCN Road Tester with 15 years road testing experience on all kinds of bikes