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Pirelli SA Bike of the Year 2017 bike by bike:

Finalist – KTM 1090 Adventure R


There were 15 finalists in the 2017 SA Pirelli Bike of the Year and only one winner. You might agree with the judges and you might not, so The Bike Show decided to take a look at each one and see why what was where. Click Next or Previous on the icons at the bottom of the page to see more, or click here to go to the beginning. In didn’t make the top six, but it made the finals – the KTM 1090 Adventure R:

Story: Donovan Fourie

BOTY KTM 1090 Adventure RIf you’re going to go just on paper, and looking strictly at the rules, the KTM 1090 Adventure R probably should’ve won this event.

What has happened is that the criteria for the midrange adventure class has sort now a grey area, because back in the day a mid-sized adventure bike was somewhere between 600 and 900cc. Now we have monsters at 1100cc shoved in there and, there is no other word for it, they are massive.

However if you looking strictly on paper, the 1090 has a lot going for it. It makes 125hp, an amount that is more then many manufacturers’ flagship models, and at a wet weight of 220 kg it is also one of the lighter adventure bikes for that size. It basically makes use of the old 1190 chassis, except with a dollop of improvements, especially the suspension that is now firmer and less likely to bottom out. It uses mostly the same electronics as the previous 1190 and has much the same feel.  The smaller motor is a little bit gentler and a little bit more refined than the previous 1190, and this is something that should especially suit the die-hard off-roaders.

Where it fell short is in being too tall, meaning the short literally fell. Also, as a “mid-range” adventure bike, this is perhaps a little too much for many mid-range buyers who would prefer something a little more gentler, a little easier to use. Apart from that, on paper, it is a class leader.


KTM 1090 Adventure R – for & against points:

For: power, weight, suspension travel, 21-inch front wheel, huge off-road ability.

Against: too tall for the short, perhaps too much for mid-size adventure.


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