In 2017, KTM cut displacement and weight from the 1190 Adventure R to create the 1090 Adventure R. While the 1090 Adventure R gave up some horsepower, it gained improved suspension settings, better handling, and a price tag more competitive with the Honda Africa Twin and BMW F850GS. And it won Best Adventure Bike of 2017.
Not much has changed for 2018. Although new competitors have come forward from Honda and Triumph in the form of the Africa Twin Adventure Sports and the Tiger 800 XCx, the 1090 Adventure R still pulled off a win in the Midsize Adventure Off-Road Shootout.
With a light, nimble chassis and suspension setup that outperforms all others, the 1090 Adventure R will make you almost forget you are on a 500-pound-plus motorcycle, even on single-track trails. Then there are all the electronic rider aids that tame the 125-hp 1,050cc LC8 V-twin and help maintain control of the chassis. Arcing power slides and the confidence to brake hard in the dirt come standard thanks to KTM’s stellar traction control and ABS.
On the road, the 6.1-gallon fuel tank gives a solid range—not the most in class but enough to cover 150 to 250 miles. It all depends on how weak your will is and how hungry you are for power wheelies and blasting out of corners. Regardless of your riding style, the roomy cockpit is comfortable for long stretches of pavement and dirt.
The fight for the top spot in the adventure segment is fierce as more riders discover how much fun and capability this type of motorcycle provides. Even so, the KTM has yet again topped the field, grabbing Best Adventure Bike honors for 2018.