Off-road racing legend and moto-journalist Jimmy Lewis sits down with Touratech-USA’s Paul Guillien to talk about first impressions after riding the KTM 1090 Adventure R in the Cascade Mountains.
Jimmy and Paul compare notes on the new KTM 1090 Adventure R after spending a few days putting it through its paces at Touratech Rally West. The pair discuss the power, weight, handling, suspension, electronics and how it compares to other bikes on the market.
The bike is fully outfitted with Touratech Suspension, Zega Pro Panniers, crash bars, skid plate, hand guards, folding mirrors, tinted windscreeen and more.
Jimmy Lewis: Paul, we spent a day riding around on the new KTM 1090. What sticks out in your mind?
Paul Guillien: Well, I'm liking the bike a lot. I had a blast riding on the forest service roads here. I like the power, it's got 125 horsepower so that's plenty of power for the type of riding I do. It's lighter weight, it feels lighter, it is lighter than the 1190. It doesn't have things like a center stand, and they've shaved some weight out of the motor, which I really like. I think the electronics package on it is really good. The traction control I thought was perfect for me.
I liked the off-road modes for the ABS where I still had some safety net in the front brake, where it wasn't going to lock up. It would lock up just enough I could feel the front end before it released, and then full manual rear brake, which I like. I thought it was great for forest service roads and that type of riding.
Jimmy Lewis: Yeah. For me, the things I really noticed was the suspension performance. Stock, it's just that PDS shock in the rear now, a true PDS shock really makes the bike more progressive. The damping character ... Then we rode the one with the Touratech suspension on it and that damping even gets better. Just more control of the valving and stuff.
You touched on the weight. The numbers don't seem to mean anything, it's how much lighter the bike feels. It acts light. I think a little bit's to do with the power, a little less snappy power ... It makes the bike act lighter, it feels lighter on the wheels way more than the number on the scale says. Also, like you said, the electronics on this bike I think are pretty much superior. They're simple, but they really work. It makes the bike safe, but it doesn't neuter it. It makes it fun.
Paul Guillien: Yeah. Yeah, it's still very fun. I think if you're considering a bike to do back-country discovery route, forest service riding, some long distance touring that involves a lot of off-road, I think you're going to be really happy with this bike. Especially if you put in the dongle, which allows those settings to stay when you cycle the key in.
Jimmy Lewis: Very simple plug that keeps your traction control and your ABS settings there. It'll handle loading it up and going for a long thing, and you can strip it down and ride it pretty sporty if you're going to go take in some more aggressive trails and stuff.
I think KTM hit a home run with this thing. It's placed well between 1290, which is the big fast one ... they have this one that's in the middle, and I'm sure there's something smaller coming in the near future. It's like when they dialed in the 990, it went away, now they've kind of filled that hole.
Paul Guillien: Yeah. I think a lot of guys, me included, really missed the 990 when they pulled that off the market and just went to the bigger bike. We were like, "Oh, what are they doing?" It was great, but we really missed that size. I think they've got the 1000 CC middle weight now to compete with the Africa Twin and the F800 and those bikes. I think they've really nailed it.
Jimmy Lewis: Yeah.
Paul Guillien: Well, thank you for listening to our thoughts on the new KTM 1090 Adventure R, it has been a blast to ride. It's been fun to sort of compare and contrast to some of the older KTM bikes and some of the other 21 inch front wheel adventure bikes on the market. We hope you enjoyed it, and I'm not done riding it.
Jimmy Lewis: I'm going to take it out and ride it around a little bit more now. I've got a lot of time on one previous, I'm going to be getting one here pretty soon, and then I'm going to start dinking with it to kind of make it fit me. That's the cool thing about these bikes, is they're easy to customize and make them yours. I think the platform is great to start with and I'm stoked to be able to get one pretty soon.
Paul Guillien: I'll make sure to send you a Touratech catalog.
Jimmy Lewis: The thick one.
Paul Guillien: Yeah.