2009 sees the KTM 990 Adventure not only being turned into a more powerful, torquier and slightly heavier motorcycle, but standing as the base for the brand new 2009 KTM 990 Adventure R. The Austrian brand’s R series stands for even more power than on the standard models, lighter weight and distinctive look so it’s almost like sending your bike to the tuner shop and being provided with an all around upgraded package. Still, being a production bike, exclusivity doesn’t fit in this description.
KTM likes to diversify their model range so we’re dealing with a base 990 Adventure model and a 990 Adventure R, both bikes being built around the same 999cc, twin-cylinder, four-stroke, V 75-degree engine that is tuned to provide the rider with 104.6 hp at 8,250 rpm and 100 Nm at 6,750 rpm on the standard model while the 113.31 hp at 8,750 rpm and also 100 Nm at 6,750 rpm on the “R” model are claimed to provide a healthier rush all through the rev range.
Apart from being more powerful, the “R” model is also 2 kilograms lighter than the standard one and features an almost 2 inches higher seat so it addresses to taller and more experienced riders who have long expected for a model that would bring riding excitement back on the scene.
Both models are fitted with performance chassis components such as the 48 mm WP USD forks and WP mono shock PDS with hydraulic spring preload as well as the brakes featuring two 300 mm discs up front and twin Brembo two piston, floating caliper while at the rear, the disc measures 240 mm and works with a Brembo two piston, floating caliper. Yet, the Brembo two channel ABS stands only for the standard model.
KTM seems to have put a lot of work and devotement into the 2009 Adventures, especially into that very special “R” model and this not only sets the two apart from the previous model year, but further deepens the gap between them and everything else that the competition could possibly built.
KTM became known for building off-road performance motorcycles and although getting into street bikes too in these past few years, they haven’t drifted away from their original work. That’s how the market stays provided with the best in this domain, just like it always has been, but especially after the introduction of the 990 Adventure. So check out the bike’s history here .
But while KTM squeezes as much power out of the notorious LC8 engine and makes the bike look just as sharp as it performs, the competition focuses on delivering practical all-around machines with street but especially off-road use in mind. The best examples are the BMW R 1200 GS and R 1200 GS Adventure, two versatile packages relying on 105 hp to get them going strong on the road and on bunch loads of torque for the toughest situations that are built to overcome out on the challenging terrain. Electronically adjustable suspensions come as standard equipment for the BMWs while optional ABS is available for the Adventure model which is pretty much a fully accessorized base model. The prices start at $14,750 (base model) and at $16,750 (Adventure model).
Buell has also become a big name in the Adventure bikes business first with the Ulysses XB12X and now with the Ulysses XB12XT. Like in the case of the BMWs, this last bike is simply a fully equipped version of the first. For the Ulysses bikes, Buell works with their 1203cc air/oil/fan-cooled, four-stroke, 45-degree V-Twin engine which delivers 103 hp. The bikes feature long travel Showa suspensions, decent ground clearance and a much more modern look. The Ulysses XB12X comes in at $11,495 and the Tourer at $12,995.
Last but not least is the Suzuki V-Strom 1000. This is the only Japanese contender and it will perform much better on tarmac rather than on gravel, but provide each and every time. Like the KTM , the Suzuki is powered by a V-twin engine, a 996cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90-degree fuel-injected one so the similarities don’t end with the engine configuration. Visually, the V-Strom 1000 is the easiest to be confused with the 990 Adventures and that means that it will offer as good wind protection as the Austrian bikes do. With the price starting at $9,799 this is cheapest alternative you’ll find out there.
The Suzuki V-Strom may be the cheapest, but KTM builds some of the most aggressive bikes out there, machines that have come to symbolize the Dakar motorcycle section with their tall front end, 21 inches front wheel as well as the full fairing and long seat with the rider’s sitting point positioned at the lowest level (33.86 inches). But because this will most likely sit on the footpegs rather than on the seat, the bikes feature a tall and almost vertically positioned screen for the best wind and dust protection. The 8-shaped headlight appears as an integrated part of the fairing and then there are the hand guards and handlebar mounted mirrors to state once again that Adventure is the dominating word of this design.
The multi-spoke front wheel features a sharp nice fender, the LC8 engine is protected by a skid plate while the rear end gets its fair share of aggressiveness thanks to the double exhaust silencers that also come as a reminder of the Dakar competition bikes.
Colors available for the standard model are either Orange or White with the spider’s web graphics while the “R” model gets the same special treatment as on the rest of the series. This consists in a Black and White color scheme as well as an Orange painted frame. This last feature may not be as visible on the fully-faired Adventure, but does miracles on naked bikes.
KTM hasn’t yet made the prices official, but by what the 2008 model year indicates, the bikes will be priced in the BMW R 1200 GS/GS Adventure range.
Although not performing a radical upgrade of their 990 Adventures, KTM marks an almost natural evolution with increased horsepower and torque figures and a very special model that comes to satisfy the tastes of those most demanding and ostentatious of you out there. Yet, the bike’s all-around handling capabilities remain undisturbed in the case of both these ground eaters.
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Twin cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
Displacement: 999 cc
Bore x stroke: 101 x 62.4 mm (3.98 x 2.46")
Performance (homologated): 84,5 kW @ 8750 rpm / 78 kW @ 8250 rpm - Standard model
Max. torque: 100 Nm @ 6750 rpm / 100 Nm @6750 rpm - Standard model
Compression ratio: 11.5:1
Starter/Battery: E-Starter / 12 V 11.2 Ah
Transmission: 6 gears, dog clutch engagement
Fuel Mixture Generation: Keihin electronic fuel injection
Control: 4 V/DOHC
Lubrication: Pressure lubrication
Engine lubrication: Motorex, SAE 10W-50
Primary drive: 35:67
Final drive; 16:42
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: Wet multi-disc clutch, operated hydraulically
Motor Management: Keihin EMS
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder-coated
Handlebar: Aluminium, Ø 28/22 mm (1.10/0.87"), tapered
Front suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm (1.89")
Rear suspension: WP mono shock PDS with hydr. spring preload
Suspension travel front/rear: 265/265 mm (10.43/10.43") / 210/210 mm (8.27/8.27") - Standard model
Front brake: 2 x Brembo two piston, floating caliper, floating brake disc Ø 300 mm (11.81")
Rear brake: Brembo two piston, floating caliper, floating brake disc Ø 240 mm (9.45")
ABS: Brembo two channel ABS - Standard Model
Rims, front/rear: 2.15 x 21"; 4.25 x 18"
Tires, front/rear: 90/90-21"; 150/70 R 18
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16"
Main silencer: Twin stainless steel silencer with regulated catalytic converter
Steering head angle: 63.4°
Trail: 119 mm (4.69")
Wheel base: 1570 ± 10 mm (61.81 ± 0.39")
Ground clearance (unloaded): 316 mm (12.44") / 261 mm (10.28") - Standard model
Seat height: 915 mm (36.02") / 860 mm (33.86") - Standard model
Tank capacity: approx. 19,5 Liters/4 litres reserve (5.81/1.06 gal)
Weight (dry): approx. 207 kg (456.34 lbs) / approx. 209 kg (460.75 lbs) - Standard model