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2009 KTM 990 Adventure - is formidable as an Adventure Touring beast, and surprisingly Agile on the MX Track?
KTM 990 Adventure 2009 KTM 990 Adventure
KTM Cape Town - Tel: 021 511 7966
44 Marine Drive, Paarden Eiland, Cape Town
(021) 511 7966
(021) 511 2538
-33.910000, 18.471117
-33° 54' 36.00", +18° 28' 16.02"
"The KTM 990 Adventure is rated world wide as THE touring machine of choice for more experienced riders. The bike is exceptional comfortable on long trips and has the agility of its enduro cousin the 950 SE". I took her out for a blast on an MX track to muscle her around in the mud.
Craig Marshall - Rider
Craig Marshall - Test Ride - KTM 990 Adventure
KTM 990 Adventure

The Quick test ride took place at the Richwood Quad Track and on the windy back roads of Contermanskloof in Tableview.

We only had a 2 hour window to do the photoshoot and rain was threatening, so I blasted around the track and gave the bike a good working over.

My intentions were to test the agility of the 990 adventure, from pervious rides on the 990, I know the bike is comfortable, and made for the open road. But how would she do on a tight wet MX track?

The 990’s gauges, include a digital speedometer and analog tachometer; there’s a clock and temperature gauge but no fuel gauge—one would have been welcome. As a compensating factor, in addition to the two tripmeters, the Adventure also has a tripmeter that activates with the low-fuel warning light and counts forward to inform you of how far you’ve traveled on “reserve.”

brembo ABS braking System - KTM 990 Adventure
brembo ABS - Phenomenal on Tar - Great in the dirt, if you know how. Like most duals sport bikes in this class, the ABS can and should be turned off on gravel roads, unless your'e an expert and totally confident - then its nearly as effective as on Tar. The ABS operates individually so both wheels will not activate on loose gravel corners.
Craig Marshall - Dirty Jobs
With even more displacement, an electronic fuel injection and a regulated catalytic converter, the 990 Adventure is now elevated to the highest technical level in matters of safety and emission control, which is now regulated to conform to EURO III standards. The 990 Adventure is fitted with the proven light weighted LC8 engine with an increased displacement of now 999 cc.
In addition, new motor management guarantees a powerful and dynamic unfolding of power and significantly improved torque while maintaining the same level of top performance.
Make Model
KTM 990 Adventure and "R"
Year 2010
Engine Liquid cooling, four stroke, 75°V-twin cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Capacity 999.8
Bore x Stroke 101 x 62.4mm
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Fuel Induction Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection EMS
Ignition Electric
Clutch Wet Multi-disc hydraulically operated
Max Power 104.6 hp 78 KW @ 8250 rpm / 113.3 hp 84.5 KW @ 8750 rpm "R"
Max Torque 100 Nm @ 6500 rpm
Transmission/Drive 6 Speed  /  chain
Frame Tubular cromoly spaced frame. powered coated
Front Suspension 48mm WP USD forks 210mm wheel travel.
Rear Suspension WP-PDS rear shock, hydraulic spring preload. 210mm wheel travel.
Front Brakes 2 x Brembo two piston, floating caliper, 2 x floating brake disc, 300 mm
Rear Brakes Single Brembo single piston, floating caliper, floating brake disc, 240 mm
ABS Brembo two channel ABS (optional)
Rims, front/rear 2.15 x 21"; 4.25 x 18"
Tyres, front/rear 90/90-21"; 150/70-18"
Seat Height 860 mm / 915 mm "R"
Ground clearance (unloaded) 261 mm (10.28")
Dry-Weight 209 kg / 207kg "R"
Fuel Capacity Aprox 22 Litres
 ZAR142 000 / ZAR146 000 "R" - KTM Cape Town, Finance Available
FI (Fuell Injection) Issues:
There is much debate around the "FI" system on a bike this size. At very low speeds, tight U-turning, Riverbed navigation, rocks, and anywhere slow - the throttle can be extremely sensative and jerky, and the bike has the tendency to launch forward, and throw your balance off, especially if you standing up - which you mostly are at very slow tricky speeds.
The solution: - use a bit of clutch, it will prevent the jerking and stalling.

Seat Comfort:
The 990 Adventure is Very comfortable standard gel seat, and perfectly narrow close to the tank, making stand up riding equally comfortable. With a pillion ride the slightly raised section allows the pillion to have comfort without sliding forward under heavy breaking.

With a full tank of fuel, the bike weighing around 230kg, and rider 98kg, the bike felt surprisingly agile. The dominant riding position, with widely spaced bars and footrests allows you to lever the bike around with very little effort.

Wind Protection:
The standard fearing provides ample wind protection, an extention would be better for long trips at higher speeds.

Off Road Handling:
The KTM 990 was of designed to handle the off road. the superior 210mm travel WP-USD(Up Side Down) suspension in front and fully adjustable WP-PDS in the rear, allows for hard riding in the toughest of conditions. The 990 will handle just about anything you throw at it.

Road Handling:
Its rare to find an off road bias motorcycle like the 990 with road handling of this level. The 990 Adventure can be a bit heavy if you suddenly need to switch from a left hander into a right. You need to muscle the bike around and use your body weight with determination.
Craig Marshall - Demo Ride - KTM 990
"The 990 Adventure has the agility of an enduro bike"
If you are an experienced rider and have the ability to show her who is boss, the 990 Adventure will deliver the results and respond like an enduro bike. I was riding with a full tank of fuel, and I weigh 98kg - so that's around 328kg all up - and the bike still performed well in the wet patches. But you have to be in charge !

The all round comfort for long distance, great wind protection, and addition of the "FI" fuel injection system to the LC8 engine is fantastic. Fuel economy is gauged at around 330km on a full tank, but if you ride conservatively 400km is attainable. The weight distribution, steering, suspension and impressive new ABS brakes have clearly been thought out well and combine to give a neutral, un-fussed, do as you fancy type of ride that inspires both confidence and sheer enjoyment.

Put simply, the 990 Adventure is one of the most inspirational bikes out there that just makes you want to ride all day long and anywhere you like.

General Opinion:
The KTM 990 Adventure is insanely agile for a bike of its size (209kg), if you are a more seasoned adventure rider and not afraid to play, you will be suitable impressed with how she handles both on road and in the dirt. I would have preferred a TKC tyre on the rear, givin the wet conditions, but the standard Pirelli Scorpions handled the mud and sand satisfactorily. On tar the 990 adventure feels and handles like a road bike - much like the Duke, KTM's road sibling.

KTM Cape Town
KTM Cape Town
With 78kw available in your right hand, its difficult not to want to open her up. Even in 3rd gear the bike wheelies effortlously.
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