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2025 KTM 990 Adventure Caught Testing

Spy shots of KTM’s 990 Adventure shows an all-new chassis housing the 947cc parallel twin used in the Duke 990. (Bernhard M. Hohne/BMH-Images/)

Adventure bikes are at the heart of KTM’s road-going offerings, and its parallel-twin 790 and 890 Adventure models have introduced the brand to a whole new market since the first parallel-twin version appeared in 2018. Now that midsize offering is on the verge of its biggest revamp yet as the company prepares to launch the new 990 Adventure using the same second-generation LC8c engine that powers the 2024 990 Duke.

Despite sharing the “LC8c” name as the original 799cc “790″ version and the 889cc “890,” the 990—which actually measures 947cc—is essentially a completely different twin. Bigger in both bore and stroke compared to the previous twins, almost every component inside and out is changed, in the 990 Duke allowing for a peak power of 121 hp. In the new 990 Adventure it’s likely to be detuned for a lower outright peak horsepower and broader spread of torque, but even so it’s certain to be a substantial upgrade over the current 890 Adventure’s 103 hp maximum.

In the new 990 Adventure, that engine is bolted to a clean-sheet-design steel tube frame, unlike either the current 890′s chassis or that of the 990 Duke. Instead of the round tubes of previous KTMs, the new bike looks to use oval-section steel for the main frame rails, with a bolt-on subframe made from thinner round tubing at the back. The suspension and brakes are more familiar, with the usual WP upside-down fork at the front, four-pot calipers similar to the current 890 Adventure’s, and a swingarm that looks like the design from the new 990 Duke. The rear shock, WP again, is longer than the Duke’s and appears to be mounted on a new linkage with a wishbone-shaped aluminum casting visible below it and appearing to connect the frame to a short rocker at the rear end of the shock.

However, it’s the bike’s new look that’s likely to dominate discussion. For all their abilities, the old 790 and 890 Adventure models have had unusual proportions. Their low-mounted twin fuel tanks, one each side of the engine, might help with weight distribution and give a smaller “tank” ahead of the rider for a longer, flatter seat and narrower feel, but they’re visually jarring, particularly since they don’t merge smoothly with the nose fairing. On the new 990 Adventure, those visual clashes are largely resolved with a slightly more conventionally shaped front fairing that also appears to ditch the signature vertically split headlight of the previous model. We don’t know for sure what the new bike’s final light will be like—the ones on these prototypes appear to be stopgaps rather than the finished design—but the shape of the fairing suggests a much smaller headlamp unit will be used.

Related: New KTM Engine for Future 990 Models

A resemblance to KTM’s 450 RR rally racer and original 990 is apparent in the new 990 Adventure.

A resemblance to KTM’s 450 RR rally racer and original 990 is apparent in the new 990 Adventure. (Bernhard M. Hohne/BMH-Images/)

The fuel tanks on the new 990 Adventure are also intriguing, appearing to take their cues from Dakar bikes like KTM’s own 450 Rally Replica. These pictures show twin fillers, one on each side, indicating that the main tank is still split into two, but there’s less low-down bulk than the current 890 Adventure, and more mass higher up, suggesting the fuel has been redistributed upward. The spy photos also give the impression that there may be a third fuel tank under the rider’s seat: a translucent white plastic box is visible just above the rear shock, with its underside sculpted to leave space for the suspension to move. This looks like an additional tank. Dakar bikes like the 450 Rally Replica also have a third, rear-mounted tank, so there’s precedent for a triple-tank setup and a cool link to the KTM’s competition machines. A third tank would further help reduce the bulk of the side-mounted front tanks without reducing outright fuel capacity.

Although the twin fuel fillers on these prototypes look appealingly like the ones of the 450 Rally Replica, giving overtones of competition bikes, they may not be the final design. They’re not lockable, for a start, and it looks like the prototypes are all missing a section of bodywork that should go over the top of the tank area. It’s likely that the finished bike will have this additional panel as well as pipework to connect the front tanks, allowing for a single, locking filler cap to be used.

On board the bike you’re unlikely to be looking at the fuel filler, though, as the view ahead is dominated by a vast, iPad-style color screen, mounted in portrait orientation. This layout is something that’s also expected to be used on the upcoming 1390 Super Adventure, and the screen positioning will lend itself perfectly to detailed, map-based navigation systems—potentially via a phone link like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The windshield ahead of the instrument panel is sure to be swapped for a transparent version on the production bike, although the sheer size of the dashboard means most of it will be obscured.

A large TFT dash is oriented vertically on the 990 Adventure.

A large TFT dash is oriented vertically on the 990 Adventure. (Bernhard M. Hohne/BMH-Images/)

As with the current 890 Adventure, the new 990 Adventure is likely to be offered in at least two forms, with an “R” variant as well as the base model, but both will have substantial off-road ability with a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel. In the longer term a supermoto-style 990 SMT might also be added to the lineup, but the existing 890 SMT is still relatively new and unlikely to be replaced for a while.

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