2014 KTM 1190 Adventure Review

15 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure Review
KTM 990 Adventure ABS

A more technologically streetable Adventure-Tourer

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By Tom Roderick August 29, 2013 6

Photos by: Simon Cudby

When it came to big-bore Adventure-Touring shootouts, the KTM 990 Adventure was predisposed to win the off-road segment of the test. That motorcycle, with 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, 8.25 inches of suspension travel (front and rear), and a lesser wet weight than its peers was simply better suited to the task.

“The KTM 990 Adventure is the only real choice if your idea of adventure takes you far away from the pavement,” said Dean Hight in our 2012 Adventure-Touring Shootout .

The old Adventure, however, was outpaced, technologically bereft and suffered from displacement envy. With the introduction of the 2014 1190 Adventure, KTM addressed the bike’s shortcomings but in the process has streetified its once dominant dirtbike.

Powered by a new 1195cc engine sourced from the company’s RC8 superbike and featuring an electronics armada including ride modes, switchable ABS, Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), R-b-W throttle, electronically adjustable suspension and a slipper clutch, the differences between the old and new Adventure go much further than skin deep.

Before we go any further, dirt-o-philes need not fret because an R version of the 1190 Adventure is on the way and it promises to be everything off-road the standard version is not. We’ll have a review of the 1190 R Adventure immediately following the Adventure Rider Rally in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but for now let’s expose the new nature of KTM’s standard Adventure model.

With the likes of Ducati ’s Multistrada and Triumph ’s Tiger Explorer gaining in popularity while also blurring the lines of what comprises an Adventure-Tourer, KTM set to hybridizing its new Adventure model. Wheel sizes are reduced from the 990’s 21/18 combo to 19 and 17 inches, front and rear, respectively, engine displacement increased from 999cc to 1195cc, and a slipper clutch was added to the new 6-speed transmission.

An electronics package including electronically adjustable suspension, R-b-W throttle, Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), switchable ABS and Ride Modes is present. Adjustable windscreen, seat and handlebars conspire to easily customize comfort levels, while a steering damper helps keep the long-travel fork calm as the speeds increase.

The 1190 Adventure carries nearly a gallon more petrol than last year’s model (6.1 vs 5.3). KTM claims a curb weight of 507 pounds for the new model.

KTM 990 Adventure ABS

Engine, MTC, Transmission Slipper Clutch

KTM claims 150 horsepower from the 1195cc 75° V-Twin powering the Adventure. Calculating a pessimistic 15% drivetrain power loss (-27.5 hp) puts the LC8-based engine well above the Tiger Explorer’s 111 hp and in the neighborhood of the Multistrada’s 131 hp – a promising start for the new bike.

The DOHC four-valve cylinder heads feature two differently sized spark plugs per cylinder controlled by dual ignitions that ignite the spark plugs independently of one another. KTM claims the result is a 20% improvement in fuel economy and reduced emissions.

Small piston skirts feature hard-anodized coating, while valves are controlled by finger followers with a Diamond-like Carbon coating. KTM recommends 9,300 miles between regular service intervals and 18,600 miles between spark plug and valve clearance checks.

While there’s significant low-end power, a noticeable power surge resides above 6000 rpm. The increased propulsion is nice to have on tap, but the vibes that come with it are not. After an extended period of high-rpm canyon riding I grabbed another gear (my ass cheeks were getting tingly) which diminished the worst of the vibrations as well as the illumination of the MTC warning light.

Engine response from KTM’s R-b-W system operating two 52mm Keihin throttle bodies feels nicely cable-like, while minor throttle inputs (largely unnecessary due to its traction control system) results in smooth, controllable increases or decreases in engine revs.

When the MTC light does illuminate, it’s oftentimes surprising. While power is momentarily delayed, there’s no sense of engine surging, making the system’s operation very transparent. There are four different MTC settings that vary according to the Rider Mode selected.


MTC can also be completely disabled.

KTM 990 Adventure ABS
KTM 990 Adventure ABS

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