Through the combination of lightweight tubular steel frame, die-cast aluminium swingarm and top-spec WP suspension, the handling is precise and the chassis feels incredibly balanced while offering clear feedback about exactly what’s happening. The retention of a conventional chain instead of a power-sapping shaft drive means the bike reacts far more accurately to the rider’s throttle inputs and the first thing to touch down were my toe-sliders, not the bike. The 19-inch front wheel gives a far greater feeling of security than the 21-inch item on the R.
The days of underpowered/overweight adventure bikes are long gone – the Multistrada 1200 saw to that and the 1190 has moved the performance bar to a whole new level. With 150bhp and 92ftlb of torque and a fully-fuelled weight of 230kg, the KTM has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Ducati! The RC8 engine has a new gearbox with different ratios and new internal components compared to the RC8 sportsbike as well as the all new ride-by-wire throttle bodies, which transforms its character. While power is plentiful, it’s also smooth, clean, precise and easy to manage.
KTM build bikes to take on Dakar, they are rough, tough and reliable.
The KTM is more expensive than the BMW GS, but is a bit more unique.
ABS, fuel modes and traction control are standard. Electronic suspension costs £800 more.