KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015-on) Review

Published: 01 May 2015

Move over BMW R1200GS Adventure - there’s a new, true, global enduro traveller on the block. And even at £15,999 it's a lot of bike for the money

KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE  (2015-on)

Move over BMW R1200GS Adventure - there’s a new, true, global enduro traveller on the block. And even at £15,999 it's a lot of bike for the money

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Super Adventure has pretty much got it all. There’s long distance ability, excellent ergonomics, a huge tank range, informative clocks, cruise control, a heated seat and grips, tyre pressure monitors and more. It has a powerful engine, excellent handling and impressive electronics. It looks good, sounds good and, even at £15,999, it’s a lot of bike for the money. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

If you select one of the bike’s four riding modes, not only are you adjusting the available power, throttle response and amount of traction control, but also the damping settings. And yes, you really can feel the difference on the road. For such a big bike it really shouldn’t handle as well as it does. The riding position and ergonomics are excellent and everything is adjustable: bars, levers, seat, pegs and even the screen. Also standard are heated grips and a heated seat – both for rider and pillion. Cornering ABS allows the rider to rely on C-ABS even when banked over. 

Engine 4 out of 5

At the heart of the Super Adventure is KTM’s latest V-twin - the enlarged 1.3-litre unit from the Super Duke R. But the arm-ripping LC8 engine has been refined to suit the new big Adventure bike. The cylinder head has been redesigned for more efficient combustion, the crankshaft is new with 2kg more mass on the flywheel to give a smoother response, and there’s also a taller sixth gear to suit its touring bias as well as a different exhaust and revised fuelling. Peak torque of 103ftlb and 160bhp at 8750rpm are classleading figures.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

KTM's reliability is constantly improving and while the engine is still relatively new, it's proved itself to be quite reliable.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

BMW's £12,850 R1200GS is 10kg heavier and has considerably less power and torque than the KTM. What’s more, in a similar spec the BMW would be more expensive - which makes the KTM look like good value.

Yamaha's £12,799 XT1200ZE Super Tenere and Aprilia's Caponord are both much cheaper but can't hope to match the KTM in terms of power or specs. £15,999 is a lot of money to pay for a motorcycle, but then few bikes have more to offer in return for your cash. 

Equipment 5 out of 5

The Super Adventure is laden with gadgetry. Controlling all the power and torque are KTM’s latest-generation electronics, namely the excellent MSC, (Motorcycle Stability Control) and MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control). The 1290 also sees the introduction of semi-active electronic suspension for the first time on a production KTM. The bike can practically see round corners in the dark too thanks to its secondary LED lights. The 1290 also has cruise control and comes with a steering damper fitted as standard. 

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 4.8 out of 5
3 out of 5

Excellent when it works, not dependable

12 September 2016 by Jon Wilson

When it works it is a nice ride, unfortunately with only 6000 miles on the odometer the fuel gauge sending unit had to be replaced which took 2 months, the rear brake failed and had to be replaced which also took 2 months, and I am now on the side of... Read more the road with a failed fuel pump waiting for a tow truck.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Excellent handling, but problems with the brakes.
Engine
3 out of 5
Powerful but unreliable
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
Not reliable at all.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Perfect all around bike!

31 August 2016 by jjponcem

A bike that can do it all!!! perfect for all day comute; perfect for long touring and perfect for off road! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
the bike at its best is when you are going fast on the open road. The suspension and engine settings are amazing!! if it rains no problem , if you have to go off road you will enjoy and if you are on the street its up to you if you want to travel relax or race with your friends.
Engine
5 out of 5
lots of torque and speed! with the help of the computer you are able to ride this machine like if it had an engine of 200cc
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The bike has a lot of technology therefore reliability can be an issue. So far no problems at all!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
ktm is a brand that knows how to keep costs low
Equipment
5 out of 5
the bike comes full. heated grips and seats! cruise control electronic suspension etc
Buying experience

the dealer was top!

2 out of 5

excellent bike but fatally flawed handling at high speed

03 July 2016 by Mark

Severe speed wobble at anything over 110mph with even the lightest luggage, bike is not capable of high speed riding/touring with any sort of luggage load. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
speed wobble on front bars at an anything approaching 110 mph with the lightest of luggage at any suspension setting
Engine
5 out of 5
engine is amazing
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
only had its first 600 mile service
Equipment
5 out of 5
equipment is excellent
Buying experience

dealer was very good, they investigated the speed wobble and mentioned it is ok up to 100 mph

5 out of 5

04 December 2015 by Dark

My best bike ever... Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Mr

04 August 2015 by Harald

This is by far the best bike i have owned , the previous two bikes , Multistrada brand new and BMW 1200 GSA brand new . Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The CPU control unit went on the bike at the first service , KTM Maidstone kept the bike for 10 days to get it fixed . Automatic indicator release is not working . ( This is after 9200 miles in two moth)
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
I have had problems with panniers not locking correctly , got a new set from KTM but still not 100%
Buying experience

Bought it from Laguna Motorcycles in Maidstaone , seem to me that they are to busy to offer a perfect customer service .. Very difficult to get through to them on the phone . Nobody seems to know what is going on with you bike .

Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2015
Year discontinued -
New price £15,999
Used price £10,000 to £14,300
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £210
Performance
Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 103 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 300 miles
Specification
Engine size 1301cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, 8v, V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 30 litres
Seat height 860mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension WP semi-active USD 48mm
Rear suspension WP semi-active PDS Monoshock
Front brake 2 x 320mm radially-mounted discs
Rear brake 267mm fixed disc
Front tyre size 120/70 R19
Rear tyre size 170/60 R17

History & Versions

Model history

2015: Model introduced

Other versions

1050 Adventure: KTM's base model adventure bike
1190 Adventure: KTM's mid-range adventure bike 
1190 Adventure R: More suited to off-road adventure riding with larger 21-inch front wheel 

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE  (2015-on)
  • KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE  (2015-on)
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