Long-term test (Update 2): KTM 1090 Adventure
No dual-purpose motorcycle is designed to be ridden full out on a track. But still, there are few better ways to get acquainted with your motorcycle than to ride it relatively hard in a safe environment.
CAR’s technical editor Nicol Louw and myself headed to Killarney Raceway and spent a morning in the company of Mark Cooper. He has a lot of motorcycle experience and needless to say we learned a tremendous amount from his on- and off-track advice.
We started the morning with some medium speed laps and then build it up to a speed that we felt comfortable with riding.
In the end we were able to reduce our lap times significantly (although that was not the aim, but inevitably you start timing yourself!).
Mark also rode behind and in front of us to watch how we approach a corner, followed by giving us feedback once we returned to the pits.
In the end, his points-to-remember came to the following:
1. Relax; don’t hold the bars in a death grip, it will exaggerate movements which you don’t want. Imagine it’s an Ice Cream cone..
2. Relaxing will make you less aggressive with your inputs. Throttle, braking and body movements should be controlled, not on/off.
3. Look up…unless you are in a parking garage and need to look 1 metre in front of you. Look where you want to go, your exit point. If you focus on where you want the bike to go and NOT what you want to avoid, kerb/brick/pedestrian, then you stand a better chance of remaining in the saddle…
4. You are looking where need to go, you can use counter-steering or squeezing the rear brake to achieve this.
5. Above all, have fun, seek training and regularly update your skillset. I can help you…Motorcycle training is a hands on experience….
Should you wish to educate yourself regarding your motorcycle and increase your on- or off-track experience, Mark Cooper is available at 060 685 0440 or at email@example.com.
Long-term test (Update 1): KTM 1090 Adventure
It was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life. Riding from Somerset West to Franschhoek, the temperature dipped below 4°C with the KTM’s information screen indicating an “ice warning” caution.
Fortunately, it soon warmed and ahead was a perfect day to travel through some of the best gravel roads in the Overberg region.
Prior to its first service, this would prove to be the ideal trip to test this adventure bike’s versatile abilities. Technical editor, Nicol Louw, joined me on the excursion and we were able to swap the KTM with another test unit we had before exchanging notes.
In total, we covered more than 300 km on both tarmac and gravel roads and, at day’s end and despite the distance, the trip again confirmed just how comfortable and capable the 1090 Adventure is. As with other dual-purpose bikes, the seating position is upright, with a commanding view over the small screen. The abundance of power means you’re never left wondering how quick the bike is and it will easily spin the rear wheel (there is, by the way, also a more powerful 1290 Adventure).
Even though our bike is equipped with road tyres (Metzeler Tourance 150/70 R17 at the rear and 110/80 R19 up front) that are ideal for daily use on tar, they did a good job on gravel roads, too.
On trips such as these, the onboard computer is especially handy, showing information such as fuel range, two trip readings (including average speed and fuel consumption), mileage to the next service, the current riding mode and volt charge of the battery. As mentioned previously, it also has an air temperature indicator, as well as one for oil temperature. Overall, we could not fault the 1090 Adventure on this trip.
After 5 months
Mileage now: 1 150 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 6,71 L/100 km
We like: traction control setting; off-road ability
We dislike: lack of steering damper
Long-term test (Introduction): KTM 1090 Adventure
This year, Sam Sunderland won the gruelling Dakar Rally on a KTM motorcycle and, having recently experienced the company’s off-road motorcycles, it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. The KTMs have blown us away with their performance.
Curious to see whether that initially favourable impression would remain, we took delivery of an updated 1090 Adventure immediately following the national launch of KTM’s new Adventure range. KTM kindly offered a more powerful, tech-laden 1290 (R or S), but we decided the base model would better suit our needs for the next six months. Our bike arrived shortly before we put this issue to bed, so the first ride needed to be a quick one. As luck would have it, the journey from Kleinmond to Cape Town following the launch took place on one of the very few wet days in the Cape. Thankfully, the 1090 has a rain-riding mode (as well as sport and street modes), which made cruising back to the office a secure affair. There was one upside to the languid ride, though; my average fuel consumption for this short trip was a mere 5,0 L/100 km.
Two things stood out on this ride: the Adventure offers a comfortable seating position; and the onboard computer is really easy to use. It doesn’t offer the 1290’s full-screen system, but you can still navigate through each respective function using the four buttons, while the digital speedometer and analogue rev counter are easy to read.
Ensconced beneath the fuel tank is the KTM’s two-cylinder, 75-degree, four stroke engine. The capacity is actually 1 050 cm3, and not 1 090 as the model name suggests. Power delivery is 92 kW at 8 500 r/min and 109 N.m at 6 500 r/min. As the engine is upright (unlike the boxer engine in the BMW R 1200 R that’s just left our fleet), you are less aware of the engine between your feet and legs. So far, I’ve also found it easy to negotiate the bike through traffic, as it’s only the handle bars which you need to make sure clear cars and their mirrors.
Apart from adding functionality to the bike, the overall design and subtle use of orange paint really grab your attention. KTM’s orange theme is visible on the various pieces of cladding, while the daytime-running lights make you and your steed visible in fellow road users’ mirrors.
Although the KTM is fitted with road-biased tyres, we will be heading down some gravel roads in the months to come. After all, the Western Cape offers some of the best tarmac and gravel routes in the country.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 88 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 5,01 L/100 km
We like: looks; seating position
We dislike: our – current – inaptitude of drifting the 1090 on gravel