KTM 950 Adventure 


Make Model

KTM 950 Adventure




Four stroke, 75°V-twin cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder


942 cc / 57.4 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 100 x 60 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooling
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Lubrication Pressure lubrication with 2 Eaton pumps
Engine Oil Synthetic, 15w-50


Constant-pressure carburetor Æ 43mm


Denso battery ignition
Spark Plug NGK, NGK CR 8 EK
Starting Electric

Max Power

98 hp / 71.4 kW @ 8000 rpm

Max Torque

95 Nm / 70.1 lb-ft  @ 6500 rpm
Clutch Adventure - Silver/Black or Orange/Black / Adventure S - Orange/Black


6 Speed
Final Drive Chain, 17-42
Gear Ratio 1st gear 35:12, 2nd gear 32:15, 3rd gear 30:18, 4th gear 27:20, 5th gear 27:2, 6th gear 26:27

Chromium-molybdenum tubular space frame, powder-coated

Front Suspension

WP-Upside-down 48 Multi Adjuster
Front Wheel Travel 240 mm / 9.4 in

Rear Suspension

WP - PDS with hydraulic spring preload
Rear Wheel Travel 240 mm / 9.4 in

Front Brakes

2x 300mm discs 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 240mm disc 2 piston caliper

Front Tyre

90/90 - 21

Rear Tyre

150/70 -18
Rake 26.6°
Trail 119 mm / 4.7 in
Dimensions Width   950 mm / 37.4 in
Wheelbase 1570 mm / 61.8 in
Seat Height 880 mm / 34.6 in
Ground Clearance 316 mm / 12.4 in

Dry Weight

198 kg / 426.5 lbs

Fuel Capacity

22 Litres / 5.8 gal

Consumption Average

39.8 mpg

Standing ¼ Mile  

12.1 sec / 115 mph

Top Speed

139.9 mph / 225 km/h

Development of the 950 began over three years ago and the new engine has already been raced in the grueling Dakar Rally for two of those years. It's not just the engine that's been race tested, as KTM claims an unbelievable 95% of the new Adventure's components were used in Dakar. This type of rugged development might lead you to believe this new bike is rough around the edges, but we were thrilled to learn nothing could be further from the truth. The new Adventure is actually soft around the edges making for an easy to ride and very enjoyable bike. Clutch pull is easy and smooth, the excellent brakes require only a light touch, steering is easy and shifting is positive and slick.

The chassis feels rock solid as well  and the fully adjustable suspension components are high quality items. There's a 48mm inverted White Power fork up front and a White Power PDS shock, with a handy swing-out preload adjuster, out back. These components combine with the bikes smaller size and lighter weight to make the KTM the king of big adventure bikes, at least as far as off-roading goes. Can you think of a competitors bike you'd repeatedly jump, in stock form, like we did on the Adventure?

We spent two fun-filled days on the Adventure and couldn't be more excited or impressed with this all-new KTM. We don't say this based solely on the machines performance, but by how much we thoroughly enjoyed riding the bike. It's far too easy in these days of model specialization to get wrapped up in how good your bike is for it's narrow focus. Most of us started riding because it was fun, and this is what the new Adventure pumps out in spades. Just get on, shut up and ride.

And ride we did, across the Southern California desert in up to 110 degree heat. If the new engine was going to show any inherent problems, these were glorious conditions for it to do so. Though these were horrendous conditions for humans, the Adventure showed no signs of caring how hot it was or how hard we pushed it. One journalist, in fact, ran out of steam long before the Adventure did.

The mildly-tuned KTM-built LC8 engine is a 942cc, liquid cooled, 75º V-twin 4-stroke. The electric starting engine features a balancer shaft and four valves per cylinder with bucket type tappets. KTM used a dry sump design to enable placing the engine as low as possible in the chassis. A three liter remote oil tank sets just below the radiator. 

Fuel is fed in by two 43mm carburetors which are integrated into the airbox. The engine was a big surprise to us, as it has a free-spinning and easy revving feel. It's a competent and enjoyable mill that leaves you grinning with every big twist of the throttle. Run the Adventure through the gears, as we often did, and it gets to an indicated buck twenty rather quickly and without complaint. The intake and exhaust sounds produced are pleasurable as well. For street use, the engine is well mannered, predictable and thoroughly enjoyable. Dare we say that we could have imagined a few larger big name companies building an engine this nice, but up until now, not KTM.

The Adventure's sturdy chassis is impressive as well, placing 50% of the weight on the 90/90x21 inch front tire and the same over the wide 150/70x18 inch rear. While traversing tight back roads with rolling bumps, well it was more like an undulating  paved single lane dirt road, we wheelied over some rollers and jumped others while following KTM's Scott Harden. The bike's composure carried over to fast sweeping mountain roads as well, where we had a blast playing "sport bike rider" on the blacktop. We fell in love with the power and excellent feedback provided by the front Brembo calipers grabbing dual 300mm discs - a big asset for street riding. The big Adventure worked so well on the street we asked if we could get a test bike to ride to the AMA Superbike races at Laguna Seca. We could just imagine the double takes of other riders as we passed them on the big orange machine.

Off-road, the LC8 engine is surprisingly tractable with no tendency of delivering abrupt power to upset your ride - just excellent roll-on power. On long straights it's a blast to screw on the throttle. With the stock rear tire spinning endlessly, we saw 80 mph speeds easily. With its stout chassis and excellent suspension package the Adventure works well over small bumps and will handle moderate bumps at slow speeds. Few bikes of this size could ever be jumped, but this can be done on the Adventure. The chassis and suspension will handle this easily, but limitations arise from the bikes weight and available traction. 

This is also the limiting factor when riding the Adventure off-road - traction. Imagine adding 150 or more pounds to your dirt bike. With the same tire contact patch, a bike with more weight just isn't going to stop the same. And this is the only concern we have with the Adventure for sane off-road use, it just doesn't stop quickly. Once the rear starts sliding sideways in the dirt it's hard to get it stopped. We watched others sample the local dirt because of this. We rode a bike outfitted with knobbies and found it to make a substantial improvement - but it doesn't turn the bike into an off-roader. We simply rode the bike quickly when on straight dirt roads and very cautiously when twisty roads came our way. The Adventure will certainly travel off-road, you just have to be careful - and we wouldn't want to cover too much dirt without knobbies.  

We rode both the standard model and the "S" model (the "S" model simply has longer suspension travel) and found the standard model will easily handle any off-road situation you're likely to throw at the bike. The "S" is even taller, and the additional height can be felt when tossing the bike around on the blacktop. We'd choose the standard model every time unless we were going to modify the bike for more serious off-road riding.

Overall the new Adventure is a huge surprise as to how rideable, comfortable and enjoyable it is as a package. On the street it feels like a refined model with lots of development on it's side. In the dirt, it feels like a featherweight compared to other bikes in its class, but still nothing like a Dual Sport machine. It just may be the ultimate long distance go almost-anywhere on-road or off-road motorcycle on the planet. We'd add softer seat foam (it's shaped perfectly but too stiff) and a set of street-going knobby tires before venturing out on a long trip. We'd also add a pair of KTM's secure mounting side bags.

If the Adventure fits your type of motorcycling, you owe it to yourself to give the bike a close look before choosing one of the larger and heavier competitors. The first time you hit a dirt road or a trail on one of the other bikes you'll be sorry you didn't choose the bike with the stoutest chassis and suspension, not to mention the lightest weight in its class. With the Adventures good comfort level, excellent manners and overall fun-to-ride qualities it opens up new possibilities for endless exploring. MN

Source motorsports-network.com