KTM 990 Adventure


Make Model

KTM 990 Adventure




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


999.8 cc / 60.9 cu-in

Bore x Stroke 101 x 62.4mm
Cooling System Liquid cooling
Compression Ratio 11.5;1


Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection EMS
Engine Oil Motorex, SAE 10W-50
Exhaust Twin stainless steel silencer with regulated catalytic converter


Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment
Battery 12 V/11.2 Ah
Starting Electric

Max Power

96.5 hp / 70.5 kW @ 8500 rpm

Max Torque

95 Nm / 70.1 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm
Clutch Wet Multi-disc hydraulically operated,


6 Speed 
Final Drive Chain, X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16"
Primary Drive 35:67
Final Drive Ratio 16:42
Frame Tubular cromoly spaced frame. powered coated
Frame Tubular cromoly spaced frame. powered coated
Handlebar Aluminium, tapered, Ø 28/22 mm

Front Suspension

48mm WP USD forks
Front Wheel Travel 190 mm / 7.5 in

Rear Suspension

WP-PDS rear shock, hydraulic spring preload
Rear Wheel Travel 190 mm / 7.5 in

Front Brakes

2x 300mm discs 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 240mm disc 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre

90/90 -21

Rear Tyre

150/70 -R18
Seat Height 860 mm / 33.8 in
Ground Clearance 261 mm / 9.0 in

Dry Weight

209 kg / 460.7 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

19.5 Litres / 5.1 gal
Consumption Average 15.2 km/lit

Standing ¼ Mile  

11.7 sec

Top Speed

211.0 km/h

By creating the 990 Adventure, KTM intended on giving the normal rider a feel of what a Paris Dakar pilot experiences during the exhausting race. I reckon the Austrian manufacturer did a damn good job both winning the Rally many years in a row and riding the streets and the wilderness, the goal being to reach your house’s front alley, not a truly challenging finish line.

First introduced in 2003, the KTM 950 Adventure S (yes, it started with the “S” and then got rid of it, producing in parallel two models) was an incredible entry as it featured the reliability, performance and style of the racing motorcycles that inspired its creation. The LC8 V-twin engine was a must from the very beginning and it displaced 950cc. A true on-and-off-road machine, the 950 Adventure’s engine developed an impressive 98.00 HP (71.5 kW) @ 8000rpm while maximum torque (95.00 Nm) was reached at 6000rpm. Color was KTM Orange.

2004 model year marked the addition of Silver and Black colors which weren’t kept for future years as in 2005 the “S” became a replica of Dakar Rally Racers while the simple version was Black painted.

In 2007 the cylinder capacity increased to 999cc resulting in what a rider can buy today, excepting the 2008 finishing touches. The V-twin is now fuel injected and a regulated catalytic converter allows it to meet Euro ||| regulations. The ABS came naturally, exactly how the fun will come as you gather miles on it.

It sure doesn’t have many competitors, but sometimes a single one is enough to get things going in a whole other direction that the manufacturer anticipated. Even though great fun, awesome performing and orientated towards style and comfort, the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 doesn’t manage to dethrone the 990 Adventure. That would mean beating it at its own game.

The Suzy is incredible versatile and adaptable to any kind of riding style so you will have no problems riding it across town or across the Desert. It’s just a matter of taste and ambition. Anyway, the 996cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 90 degree V-twin featuring four valves per cylinder is perfectly suitable for the task and performs excellent.

It beats the KTM when it comes to comfort as its seat feels like taken off a touring motorcycle and the height-adjustable windshield keeps you well protected. Suspensions are also good and together with the chassis deliver an easy to handle ride. You will often see the V-Strom right next to the 990 Adventure both on the freeway and in off-road incursions and that proves a lot.

Usually when I imagine a Dual Sport motorcycle I tend to miss the fairing part which is so defining in this case. But my brain seems to be still denying the presence of all that covering plastic which looks like molded on and modified in order to look aggressive and kind of cool. This is how you’ll explain the sharp lines encountered only on the 990 Adventure and Adventure S.

It is all about geometry and similitude. For example let’s take the entire front appearance of the bike (the form of the fairing, especially) seen when coming towards you and the shape of the headlight? Despite the size difference you can not miss this detail. The windscreen is perfectly positioned, almost at a 90 degree angle, so that it would offer good wind protection even when the rider is raised up on its feet.

Fully faired and good looking, this KTM proves that designers did their homework. No matter the color of the bike (Orange, Black or Blue) the lower half of the fairing isn’t painted, but made of tough material that won’t be scratched easily when passing through a river and touching branches or anything that might require a trip to the paint shop.

Last weekend I was overwhelmed by the Adventure’s impressive abilities both on and off the road because the sensations that it delivers are truly unique and worthy of bragging words. When I got the bike it was so clean and shiny and although I knew things weren’t going to stay that way for too long I preferred keeping it on the pavement for a while. Here I noticed that the bike is pretty effective even when used in town. The 98bhp of the LC8 engine can be harnessed with a little bit of effort and the bike will remain properly balanced even at slow speeds. But when it comes to slow speed maneuvering, that’s where you have a problem because it tends on losing stability. KTM built the Adventure for being ridden hard in any kinds of conditions so being a bit tall and pretty demanding doesn’t help a lot between sitting cans. Well, you can always choose to make your own road and take it between the blocks and through deserted areas on the outskirts.

Getting tired of the slow speed maneuvering fatigue, I took the Adventure on the freeway so I could get a feel of how it performs under hard acceleration at relatively high speed. Excellent! No matter in what gear I was in, neither the rpm levels, the V-twin delivered the needed grunt that made the KTM feel able to pass cars with no problem whatsoever. Throttle response is great, thanks to the fuel injection system, and the bike will go ahead and amaze you with every twist of its throttle. Passing cars is no problem as this beauty can easily go with 130mph.

But let’s face it, who am I kidding? The off road is where the 990 Adventure belongs and I was in for a rough ride. The trails are a kid’s play and I didn’t manage to find it lacking the ability to suppress any obstacle that it has encountered. This bike relies on its race-inspired character to save the situation and it does it with success every single time.

I adored pushing it out of the corners so that the rear wheel would lose grip and I would make a nice figure, but that was kind of a risky situation at first because I found myself trying to straighten the bike with my left foot. After getting used to it I had a lot of fun.

I’ve always dreamed to split the see’s waves in two with a bike’s front wheel and I couldn’t find a more appropriate bike then the 990 Adventure so I took it down a lonely beach where you can find many riders, only that on top of horses, so I was kind of a scary beast there. Even so, it felt great!

The gearbox felt precise and easy to operate as I went through its six ratios while the smooth clutch made life easier for the adventure seeking rider. What also receives a big plus from me is the windscreen which protected me from the wind while I was getting a fever in my lower body from the riding position.

ABS brakes come standard and they sure get the job done. While I was hardly braking to avoid a big wave that would have left me swimming with the fishes, I noticed that even when the grip is sublime, but doesn’t exist, the 990 Adventure comes to a complete stop and lives to fight another day.


Passing from street use to off-road hardcore exploiting has never shown a prettier face than the KTM’s 990 Adventure and I bet it won’t do it for a very long time ahead. My reasons are simple and very clear: no other manufacturer has the potential or the experience to deliver the performance (in the given category) of the filled-with-heritage Adventure and nobody (except the decent V-Strom) even tries it, so why worry? Just go for the best.