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  • March 18, 2018 4 min read 0 Comments

    I recently got myself 2018 KTM 1090 Adventure R, and my former 2016 KTM 690 Adventure R now has a new owner (but it will stay very close).

    Main reason for this change, apart from urge to get my butt on something new, is that I plan to make few longer rides in upcoming period, with more asphalt than usual, including highways. I am aware that more comfort will come at a price - heavier bike means more work off road, at least with my (moderate) riding skills. But I am yet to see how I will manage this beast off road. 

    First ride on new bike was one day ride through scenic landscapes of Đerdap National park, 500 km of nice asphalt roads, including 150 km of highways. Day was very nice, sunny, with clear sky. Roads were dry and temperature was varying from 5 C to almost 20 C, because we were riding through diverse landscape - river valleys, forests and mountains. 

    I tried to shift through gears as much as I could and to keep RPM below 6500, since bike is brand new. First thing I noticed is how "civilized" 1090 is - throttle control is very good and power delivery is liner, at least up to 6500 RPM. I felt the power, but it was very controllable. My 690 had ride-by-wire too, but due to nature of single cylinder engine, it had that "hooligan bike" feeling, with very strong, but short pull from bottom of RPM range. That was very fun, most of the time, but sometimes it was a bit tiring on longer rides. Anyway, chasing our favorite KTM mechanic on his 950 and riding along my buddy who is now owner of my former 690 was very fun. 

    Next thing I noticed is how much more stable 1090 is on the road, compared to 690, probably due to more weight, different geometry and frame mounted fairing. Off course, good suspension play the role here too. I enjoyed 690 on twistiest, but riding it on highways, approx 110-120 km/h, was tiring because front of the bike always felt lighter than I would like. And I never felt comfortable riding it faster that that. Sag was properly set, tires on correct PSI and everything was dialed in, I even had Scott Steering stabilizer installed, but I just wasn't feeling too confident riding 690 on the highway. 1090 is different story - bike is very stable, and on 160 km/h, on new TKC80's, it felt very confidence inspiring. It is much less sensitive to side winds too, probably due to fairing and weight. All this was expected. But it is also much more fun in the twistiest than I imagined - it is very stable in the corners and bike reactions when it is leaned are very predictable. It feels like on rails. Weight can't be noticed as limiting factor, even on slow, twisty uphills or downhills. It just feels perfectly balanced. Keep in mind here that I am not an aggressive road rider, so I am not pushing any bike to its limits. 

    I never had any kind of fairing on 690, mostly for two reasons. First, I tend to fly over the bars often. Second, as I mentioned above, I never rode it too fast, so wind protection, or lack of it, was never much of an issue. I felt the wind blast on my chest, but there was very little buffeting around my helmet (Shoei Hornet). When I had to ride it faster than usual I was feeling like a sail, and I believe that had something to do with my impression of 690 being a bit "unstable" at high speeds - I had to fight the wind without holding the bars too tight, which was a problem sometimes. Anyway, I expected 1090 to be much better in this field, since it has frame mounted fairing with windscreen and much wider fuel tank. And, in a way, it is much better - there is almost no wind pressure on my chest, even at 160 km/h. But, buffeting around my helmet was extremely loud. My head was stable, wind wasn't blowing into my helmet and my neck was not under the pressure. Just extreme noise. I am sure this is related to my helmet, beak isn't helping here, for sure, and my height (186 cm, long torso). I must admit I kept windscreen only in upper position, so I need to experiment with it. I also still have OEM mirrors, and those may have some influence on buffeting. But, ear plugs are on the way, just in case. 

    Seat comfort of 1090 is huge improvement over 690, OEM seat compared to OEM seat. Now when I think of it, I can't see why anyone would ride 690 with stock seat. I ordered Seat Concept seat for my 690, but I didn't install it, it arrived few weeks before I sold the bike. My riding buddy who is now owner of my former 690, immediately swapped OEM seat for Seat Concept and he is very happy with it. I am sorry I never had a chance to try it, I guess it has huge positive impact on overall comfort. For me, coming from 690, OEM seat on 1090 is like a comfy VIP cinema seat. On this first 500 km rode, I never felt uncomfortable, even for a bit. It is very generously shaped, not too soft and not too hard. Non-slip material is great too. I am yet to see how will it feel on higher temperatures and in longer rides, but so far, so good. I have Power parts seat for 1090 sitting on the shelf, but I don't see a point in swapping it for OEM seat, at least for now. 

    All in all, I am very pleased with my new KTM 1090 Adventure R, as a road bike. There are few things I need to add, like GPS mount and larger foot pegs, but bike is excellent out of the box.

    I can't wait to try it out off road!