When it comes to the Adventure scene, there’s a strong case to be made that nobody does it better than KTM. Take the 1090 Adventure R for example. Tom Roderick just came back from its launch, and in his First Ride Review, he gushes about how easy the bike is to ride both on- and off-road, thanks to its reduced weight compared to the previous 1190 Adventure, and despite carrying a powerful 1050cc V-Twin between its trellis frame, the KTM is able to dole out manageable off-road power thanks to its dirt riding mode.
Then again, Tom also came back from the Honda Africa Twin launch pretty impressed with its on- and off-road abilities, too. Granted, it was the DCT version that really enamored him, but the standard transmission version is a more than capable machine to tackle nearly any terrain.
Tom posed this question in his KTM review, so of course we asked ourselves: Which of these two is the better bike? The KTM or Honda (standard transmission in this case)? On paper, the 1090 Adventure R would appear to have the advantage: Bigger engine (1050cc vs. 998cc), more power, Brembo brakes, larger fuel tank (6.5 gallons vs. 4.96 gallons) and that unmistakable KTM off-road prowess.
But the Africa Twin costs significantly less ($13,299 for the standard transmission vs. $14,699), has more suspension travel (9.1-inch front/8.7-inch rear vs. 8.6 inches front and rear), lower seat height, and of course the optional DCT. Both have riding modes, ABS, and traction control.
Debating on specs will only get you so far. While there’s no doubt the KTM is a good motorcycle, the Africa Twin can likely traverse equally gnarly terrain. We can’t wait to ride them both back-to-back to decide a winner once and for all, but until then we leave you with this question: