2018 KTM 1090 Adventure R

Meet the off-road-leaning middle ground

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R
2018 KTM 1090 Adventure RKTM

Adventure motorcycles come in all shapes and sizes with different engine configurations and displacements, suspension specifications, and even transmission types. But when speeds are high and the road is rocky and loose, the KTM 1090 Adventure R provides balance and feedback that make this 125-hp V-twin feel like an extension of your body, delivering a magical sense of control as you surf an imperfect earth. Off-Road mode knocks engine output down to a more dirt-friendly 100 hp; crack the throttle and the rear end steps out smoothly. Same goes for Off-Road ABS, which only kicks in when the front tire completely loses traction.

A 43mm WP fork and Progressive Damping System (PDS) linkageless shock help the 1090 Adventure R feel more like a midsize dual-sport bike when attacking smaller obstacles and jumps. That said, even though it is lighter than its bigger-bore competition, this 535-pound machine will jerk you back to reality faster than you can spell “Mattighofen.” If you’re seeking a raw, visceral off-road-biased two-wheel experience, the KTM 1090 Adventure R remains the king of the road.

Likes: Peerless engine, light feeling, dirtworthy rubber

Dislikes: Outdated menu setup, towering seat height

Verdict: Mikhail Baryshnikov with a handlebar and knobby tires

2018 KTM 1090 Adventure R Specs and Pricing