Africa Twin or KTM 1090 Adventure R comparison test

The arrival of Honda’s all-new Africa Twin caused a real shake-up in the big-bore adventure bike market last year with all-day comfort, looks, good suspension and a great engine brought together in one very capable package at an attractive price.

Move on one year and KTM have brought out the new 1090 Adventure R, which is aimed squarely at the new top dog on the scene.

Over in the USA, Cycle News were keen to see how the two compared both on and off-road so they levered on a sets of our proven Continental TKC 80 tyres onto the Honda to find out. The TKC 80 already comes as standard on the KTM.

Honda’s Africa Twin is certainly the less intimidating of the two to ride with it’s physically smaller dimensions, and a single riding mode with Traction Control that can be altered on the fly. The KTM by contrast has four rider modes and various options available through the dash, which is ideal if you need to fine tune your setup but a potential overkill for some.

On tarmac the Honda shines, with power-delivery from the parallel-twin engine delivering super smooth performance which is ideal for cruising. By contrast, testers report that the KTM feels more “like a caged animal” on the road which isn’t where it’s heart truly lies.


Put the two on the dirt however and the KTM gets it’s claws out, especially when the going gets tough thanks to the new PDS shock. With additional ground clearance over the Honda, it’s certainly more capable when you’re tackling rocks, drops, ruts and the like. KTM development rider Quinn Cody actually used a modified version of this bike at Red Bull Romaniacs, and took a respectable 33rd placed finish which gives you an idea of just how capable this bike is.

On light trails there’s very little to choose between the two bikes, it’s only when the going gets tough that the KTM starts to leave the Honda behind, not that we’re taking away anything from the Africa Twin’s impressive off-road abilities.

So who wins the test?

Cycle News said:

“Despite these grievances, the Honda Africa Twin is still the winner of this test. The KTM is now right with and in many circumstances better than the Honda off road, but it’s not as good on the tarmac. The Honda might lack a bit of pizazz to the KTM, but everything it has works and works well. The TC is easy to use, the dash easy to read, the engine and gearbox are beautiful, the suspension excellent on the road and only left behind slightly by the KTM on dirt when things start getting properly gnarly.”

Which ever bike you choose, when you’re heading off the beaten track don’t forget to fit a pair of TKC 80 tyres for the ultimate in off-road performance!

You can read the article in full here.

Find out more about the TKC 80 here.