KTM 990 Adventure Specs and Review (Enduro Bike)

KTM 990 Adventure Bike

If you think that the X-Bow track monster is the only thing that keeps KTM busy, you are wrong. This Austrian manufacturer has been busy bringing its insane, industry-leading designs to life since its ’92 renaissance. And when I say design, I am talking about KTM’s highly-coveted road and dirt bikes – including the KTM 990 Adventure series.

Fondly called a travel Enduro, the 2007 KTM 990 Adventure is a dual-sport bike made for the free-spirited explorer. It sports a company-exclusive LC8 engine, superb ergonomics, and an aggressive, radical design. This bike is also the first to feature ABS in KTM’s motorcycle lineup.

No-fluff performance, precise throttle responsiveness, and well-thought-out power-to-weight ratio are among the other tempting attributes of this purpose-built two-wheeler. Great for touring and outdoor quests, it is one of the few bikes that can have the best of both worlds. Discover more about the bike that pays homage to KTM and the art of off-roading.

About KTM 990 Adventure

The KTM 990 Adventure is a dual-sport spin-off from the earlier KTM 950 Adventure – a reliable, high-performance on-and-off-road bike that allowed riders to feel the rush of a Dakar race while bringing them safely home. The 990 Adventure shared the 950’s V-twin LC8 engine. But unlike its predecessor, the Adventure’s powerplant is fuel-injected, paired with a catalytic converter that allows it to meet Euro III regulations.

Introduced to the public from 2007 to 2013, the Adventure bike was designed to be the meanest, sportiest-looking big thumper on the market. And this effort seemed to have paid off, with only the Suzuki V-Strom trying to contend with the LC8 wheeler. Handsome and aggressive, the KTM 990 sported geometric, full fairings and an almost 90° windshield that effectively reduced drag and buffeting and looked the part of a rally bike replica.

Trims

All three trims of the KTM 990 Adventure were built to cruise on the highway and get dirty off-pavement. The R model is ideal for taller riders (when I say tall, I mean above 6’4″ and with more than 33″ inseam) due to its long-travel suspension and grippier, firmer seat, while mid-height or smaller drivers can take their pick from the rest of the bikes in the series. The base and S models are not to be disregarded – you may be surprised to find yourself tiptoed while on halt at a stoplight.

The standard model, in particular, is comparable to a carbureted, jetted KTM 950 Adventure with FMF pipes but minus the taller suspension. Standard and R models differ in suspension and horsepower. Whereas the Baja Edition produced 117 hp and had white plastics, handguards, and crash bars. Ultimately, you can tell the versions apart based on their finish, suspension, power output, and accessories.

2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition

The “Most off-road-capable travel Enduro in the world” description is befitting the 2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition, which went out guns blazing during the last production year of the series. This highly-engineered two-wheeler was built as a tribute to Baja and KTM’s slew of championships and made exclusively for the North American market. It includes one-of-a-kind Baja graphics, orange powder-coated frame, frame-color crash guards, Dunlop 908 RR tires, tank, and rear waterproof luggage bags, suede-style seats, aluminum-steel sprocket, and GPS base mount.

Here is a sneak-peek into the famed and unrivaled off-roading bike:

KTM 990 Adventure Specs & Features

Engine

The KTM Adventure 990 lineup used the LC8 engine across all model years. This company-exclusive engine was mated with a 43-mm Keihin carburetor for the 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S model and a Keihin EFI EMS for all other model years and versions. Fuel economy dramatically improved for the 2013 KTM 990 Adventure R and was advertised at 40 mpg (5.88 L/100 km).

Configuration 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Base MSRP $13,998.00 $14,198.00 – $14,999.00
Engine Cooling Liquid, permanent circulation of cooling liquid through water pump
Engine Fuel Unleaded premium gasoline with at least RON 95 (Premium PON 91 for USA) / RON 80-94 for other ignition curve
Fuel Capacity 19.5 L / 5.1 US gal (reserve – 4 L / 1 US gal)
Fuel Economy 6.72-7.84 L / 100 km (30-35 mpg)
Engine Brand Name 990 LC8
Engine Type 4-Stroke (LC8) DOHC w/ balancer shaft
Cylinder Arrangement Dual cylinder, 75° V arrangement
Carburetion System Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) EMS 43-mm Keihin Carburetor
Valve Timing 4 valves controlled over bucket tappet and 2 camshafts, camshaft drive w/ gears/chain
Valve Diameter Intake 38 mm
Valve Diameter Exhaust 33 mm
Valve Clearance Cold Intake 0.10-0.15 mm (0.004-0.006 in)
Valve Clearance Cold Exhaust 0.25-0.30 mm (0.009-0.011 in)
Crankcase Bearing Friction bearings (2 main bearings, 1 supporting bearing)
Connecting Rod Bearing Friction bearing
Piston Light alloy – forged
Piston Rings 1 compression ring, 1 taper face ring, 1 oil scraper ring w/ spiral-type expander
Bore x Stroke Ratio 101 x 62.4 mm (3.98 x 2.46 in)
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Displacement 999 cm³ / 60.96 in³
Horsepower 105 hp/106.46 PS (78 kW @ 8,250 RPM) 96.55 hp/97.89 PS (70 kW @ 8,500 RPM)
Maximum Torque 100 Nm (74 ft-lb/10.23 kgf-m @ 6,750 RPM) 95 Nm (70 ft-lb/9.68 kgf-m @ 6,000 RPM)
Top Speed 123-131 mph (198-211 km/h)
0-60 mph / 0-100 kmh 3.1 seconds (fully stock)
Lubrication Dry sump w/ two trochoidal pumps (pressure and suction)
Engine Oil & Quantity Full synthetic oil (Motorex Power Synth 4T SAE 10W-50 or 5W-40)
w/ API grade of SJ or higher / 3 L

Power mill configuration remained almost unchanged. The only main differences between the first and succeeding trims are gas mileage, power, and torque output. Advertised power for the 2012 KTM 990 Adventure R model is 113.3 hp/114.87 PS (84.5 kW) @ 8,750 RPM, while claimed maximum torque is 100 Nm (74 ft-lb/10.23 kgf-m) @ 6,500 RPM. Power output further improved with the 2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition release to 116 hp/117.61 PS (85 kW) @ 9,000 RPM.

KTM 990 Adventure Mountains

Lubrication

For best results, use JASO T903 MA approved engine oil. Manufacturer-recommended Motorex Cross Power T4 oil tops the list. Still, a high-powered AMSOIL Dirt Bike Synthetic oil or Liqui Moly (2024-4PK) Synthoil Race Tech GT1 10W-60 Motor Oil – 5 Liter, Pack of 4 (view on Amazon) also works as an excellent alternative. Take ambient temperature into consideration to ensure you buy the right engine oil.

Drivetrain

All KTM Adventure 990 models have a six-speed dog clutch engagement and manual transmission.

Driveline 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Clutch Multi-disc clutch in oil bath
Transmission Type 6-speed claw shifted
Final Drive 525 HV (5/8 x 5/16″) X-Ring, 118 rolls
Primary Ratio Straight-toothed spur wheels, 35:67
Final Drive Ratio 16:42
Gear Ratio 17:42

Ignition

The dual-sport bike has an electric starter system and requires a 12V 11.2 Ah, 230-CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) battery with assembled dimensions of 6 x 3.44 x 4.38 in (150 x 87 x 110 mm – L x W x H) – not including wire harness and mounting accessories). Storage temperature should not exceed 0-35°C (32-95°F).

Electrical 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Ignition Breakerless transistorized electronic ignition system w/ digital advanced system
Starting System Electric starter
Spark Plug NGK DCPR8E / 0.6 mm (0.02367 in)
LKAR8BI9 (’09-’13 models)
Generator 12V 450 W @ 6,000 RPM
Battery Maintenance-free 12V 11.2 Ah YTZ14S

Tires & Brakes

For 2007 to 2012 KTM 990 Adventure models, stock tires remained unchanged – except for the Limited-Edition trims, which sported Dunlop 908RR off-road tires. Interestingly, the 2007 S model did not have ABS, but the rest of the models did.

Tires & Brakes 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Front Tire, off-road/road air pressure Pirelli MT90 90/90 – 21 M/C 54V or Continental TKC80 90/90 – 21 M/C 54S TT M+S,
34 psi (w/ or w/out passenger)
Rear Tire, off-road/road air pressure Pirelli MT90 150/70 – 18 M/C 70V or Continental TKC80 150/70B – 18 M/C 70Q TT M+S, 37 psi/40 psi (w/ passenger)
Front Brake Type, Pad Brembo Disc brake w/ two 300-mm (11.8 in) perforated brake discs, floating brake calipers, Toshiba TT 2172 HH
Rear Brake Type, Pad Brembo Disc brake w/ 240-mm (9.5 in) perforated brake disc, floating brake calipers, Toshiba TT 2701 HH
ABS (Antilock Brake System) Brembo/Bosch w/ two independent brake circuits N/A

Suspension

The front suspension is an inverted WP 4860 MXMA fork. The rear suspension is similar to that of the KTM 450 EXC. But instead of the aluminum swingarm that allows 13.2 inches of wheel travel, it came with a hydraulic preload adjuster that provides only 10.4 inches. The KTM 990 Adventure R model has a wheel travel of 245 mm/9.65 inches for both front and rear wheels. Travel increased by another 3 mm for the 2013 Baja/Dakar Edition.

Suspension 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Rake, Trail 26.6°, 4.7 in (119 mm)
Front Suspension Type, Travel 48-mm WP USD Suspension 4860 MXMA (Multi-adjuster), 210 mm / 8.3 in
Rear Suspension Type, Travel WP Suspension Progressive Damping System shock absorber with hydraulic preload adjuster, 265 mm / 10.4 in
Adjustment Type Standard Adjustment, WP 5018 PDS DCC PA 1218X7E08/1218X7E09
KTM 990 Adventure Motorcycle

Dimensions

Overall dimensions of the bike are not specified, even on KTM’s website. But for shipping purposes, the measurements would be 210 x 110 x 70 cm (after taking off the front wheel, handlebar, and windshield to reduce volume). You need not worry if you do not want to dismantle parts of your bike, as cargo companies usually measure and weigh bikes for dispatch.

Dimensions 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Seat Height (Unloaded) 860 mm / 33.8 in 915 mm / 36 in
Ground Clearance 261 mm / 10.3 in 316 mm / 12.4 in
Wheelbase 1,570 mm / 61.8 in
Dry Weight 209 Kg / 461 lbs 207 Kg / 457 lbs
Maximum Axle Load, Front 200 Kg / 441.5 lbs
Maximum Axle Load, Rear 250 Kg / 552 lbs
Maximum Total Weight 430 Kg / 949 lbs

Exterior

Chrome-Moly steel frames, aluminum sub-frames, and plastic body material are characteristic of KTM 990 Adventure bikes and the entire KTM motorcycle line. Furthermore, the company’s signature orange and black matte finish make the dirt bikes unmistakably KTM. For the Adventure series, however, the Austrian firm deviated a bit by also offering the trims in blue and white. Likewise, the emergency off switch came standard with 2007-2013 versions.

Exterior 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Frame Tubular Chrome-Molybdenum steel space frame, aluminum sub-frame
Body Material Plastic (black, white, and blue)
Front/Rear Fender Flares Standard
Upper/Lower Fairing Standard
Chain Guards Yes
Fork Guards Yes
Skid Plate Standard
Stand Type Center/Kick
License Plate Standard
Underseat Storage Standard
Lockable Storage Standard
Rear Rack Standard

Lighting

Stock 55-watt high/low beam headlights provide the two-wheeler light distribution. The high beam light is sufficient for cruising at 65 mph on the freeway, but the low beam does not do as well, especially in rough weather conditions or rain. The orange glow from the dash does not help either – it is best to have auxiliary lighting for visibility.

Lighting 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Type Halogen
Headlight High beam H3 – 12V 55W (Socket PK22s)
Low beam H7 – 12V 55W (Socket PX26d)
USA: High/Low beam H4 – 12V 60/55W (Socket P43t)
Parking Light/Stoplight 12V 21W (Socket BA15s)
Position Light, Front and Rear 12V 5W (Socket W2.1×9.5d)
Indicator Lights LED
Flasher 12V 10W (Socket BA15s)
License Plate Illumination 12V 5W (Socket W2.1×9.5d)
KTM 990 Adventure Enduro Motorcycle

Instrumentation

A large tachometer fills the majority of the space on the instrument cluster. You will also find a digital readout for temperature, speed, and dual trip meters. An automatic trip reset activates when the low fuel light comes on, letting you keep track of the distance traveled. A bright, orange backlight illuminates these indicators at dark.

Instrumentation 2007 KTM 990 Adventure 2007 KTM 990 Adventure S/R
(excluding 2008+, Baja/Dakar Edition)
Multi-lingual Digital Instrumentation Standard
Electronic Speedometer Standard
Indicator Lamps Standard
Trip Odometer & Computer Standard (switch optional)
Lap Timer Standard
Emergency Off Switch Standard
Temperature Warning Type Gauge

KTM 990 Adventure Problems

Clutch Slave Cylinder Failures

Findings reveal that high heat, the small amount of fluid in the system, and a single O-ring design piston seem to combine to cause the said failure. To fix it, get a newly designed aftermarket replacement for your bike. Other professional outfitters have also developed a better design spacer meant to cure the heat problem with the OEM clutch slave. Replacing the clutch fluid regularly also prevents recurrences.

Improperly Torqued Clutch Pressure Plate Bolts

A TSB was issued providing instructions on how to properly torque the bolts, as leaving them be can potentially destroy the clutch cover for affected 2007 950/990 models. No other checks are required once the bolts have been inspected if bent or broken and re-torqued if needed. Loctite is not necessary for these fittings.

Loose Chain Slide Guard Screws

First resolved via a 2003 TSB, this issue resurfaced in some 2007 Adventure models and once again addressed through a Recall Tech Bulletin issued in 2007. When this occurs, either one or both of the screws holding the chain slide guard to the swingarm loosens and backs out. The problem may result in locking up the chain and eventually the rear wheel. Cleaning the faulty screws, reinstalling them with Loctite 243, and torqueing them to 10Nm does the trick.

Stalling and Uneven Throttle Responsiveness

Symptoms include a sudden transition from off to on throttle, stalling when throttle shuts off over 5,000 RPM, and throttle engine shut down. Remedies include: installing G2 throttle cams, replacing the battery or tightening its loose cables, aftermarket workarounds, and FI mapping updates. This issue was not permanently fixed until 2009, when all LC8-powered bikes received new ECUs.

Clogged Fuel Injector Filters

Poor running and stalling trace back more to a fuel-type issue rather than the lack of upkeep for the bike. Ethanol-blend fuels (used in some parts of the world) are known to clog fuel filters. Changing filters regularly and using a pre-filter when you suspect the fuel quality or are hard-pressed to use a low-grade type can limit this problem’s effects.

Youtuber Ratchets and Wrenches shares an effective DIY approach to cleaning FI filters without using expensive equipment:

Other known issues, such as wiring and immobilizer problems, have yet to be permanently resolved. For wiring problems, owners should inspect that the harness has sufficient slack and make sure to re-route those that seem to bind. For immobilizer malfunctions, some enthusiasts suggest using a 2008 KTM 990 Adventure ECU and ignition switch as a workaround – although the Austrian manufacturer has never seconded this.

Off-Roading To-Dos

Replacing the 950 Super Enduro as the frontrunner in the liter-class for off-road riding is a big shoe to fill. More so is balancing it with on-road drivability. That said, you may notice some shortcomings on the part of the Adventure. Fortunately, all it takes is a few tweaks here and there – and you will get the most out of your KTM riding experience:

  • Replace stock rubber with off-roading tires, as Pirelli Scorpions MT90 do not give enough bite on the edge to keep the bike tracking straight.
  • Be careful on the throttle, as a heavy hand may result in unwanted drama when getting through sandy sections.
  • Take the screen off when riding in the dirt. The tall windshield can be a pain (not to mention unnerving) when riding off-road. In an aggressive riding position, the screen is positioned right at the throat of the rider. When sitting down, it impedes the view of the ground.
  • Increase the front forks’ spring rates, especially if you intend to take on slick rocks and sandpits. Even at controlled speeds, the forks tend to bottom out and dive under hard throttle and braking.
  • Get extended footpegs like Flo Motorsports FPEG-795 Foot Pegs (view on Amazon), as the bike’s wide seat area may make you feel a little crouched on the stock pegs.
  • For reduced vibration on bumpy or rocky terrain, mount a set of Flexx bars.

About KTM

KTM (Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen Aktiengesellschaft) is the world’s largest European motorcycle manufacturer and is the maker of KTM 990 Adventure. It began as a car repair shop in 1934, went through successes and bankruptcy, and re-established itself in 1992. It has produced adventure-ready bikes built for sport and leisure and has not looked back since. Pierer Mobility AG and Bajaj Auto Limited International Holdings B.V. own the Austrian firm with 13 subsidiaries, 307 world championship titles, and numerous motorcycle models under its belt.

Conclusion – KTM 450 EXC Off-Road Dirt Bike

The KTM 990 Adventure may have begun as a spin-off, but it has eventually held its own through the course of its run. Its capability to perform beyond expectations both on pavement and on dirt makes it a standout. In terms of aesthetics and high performance, it comes second to none. The KTM Adventure 990 is an off-road masterpiece that speaks true to its lineage and carries on with the KTM legacy.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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