KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Annual servicing cost: £260
Power: 160 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.9 in / 860 mm)
Weight: Medium (505 lbs / 229 kg)


New £15,999
Used £6,900 - £10,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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.

Cornering on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure

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. 


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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. 


5 out of 5 (5/5)

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. 


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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £260
New price £15,999
Used price £6,900 - £10,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 103 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 300 miles

Model 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 

Other KTM 1290 Super Adventure reviews on MCN

Owners' reviews for the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015 - on)

11 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: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Engine: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £260
5 out of 5 KTM1290SA Touring (almost) hits the nail on the head!
13 December 2021 by John EFF.

Version: Touring

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £200

Positives; > Power - obviously. Around 160 BHP is not to be sniffed at. A recent trip to the Highlands showed just how agile and downright quick it can be to play on. > That V-twin sound. It's glorious. > Looks - almost, almost unique. When was the last time you saw a white KTM1290? Big bike meets and I've the only white 1290 there. > Comfort - at over 6' and nearly 70 years old, I love the space and stretch the bike allows me. Negatives; > It's a big, heavy and powerful beast and needs to be treated with respect and a little bit of forward planning. In "Sport" mode, it'll pull wheelies easily and can surprise other road users it's so fast. Sometimes it's faster than my brain! In car parks I need to plan how I'm going to get it out of the parking space. It's a big 'ol lump to paddle around. Air seat and a taller screen are my only mods, but they are necessary. The spoked wheels are a real pain (in the knuckles) to clean. It needs shaft drive.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Doesn't matter if it's cruising at 69.99 mph on the motorway, or hacking it down a country lane - it handles it all. 300+ mile tank range, and with the air seat I can do lots more miles than that.

Engine 5 out of 5

It's a 1300 V-twin. What's not to like?? As long as you don't expect it to pull from sub 2,000 rpm, or from post 10,000 rpm, it's great. Shift up early and ride the wave of torque. And enjoy the sounds....

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only issue in 3 years of ownership is one of the OE pannier locks has broken - in the locked position - which is causing a bit of an issue. Needed a new battery when I bought it, but the KTM dealer sorted that. Now it starts, stops, and goes round corners all when it's told to. What's not to like?

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

It's not as economical as some, but it's a leisure machine so, apart from the currently imposed guilt trip I'm not too bothered. Currently serviced by my local back street garage.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Favourite feature? the whole things works very well together with very few niggles. The computer takes a bit of getting used to, and I still find the heated grips a pain to find/adjust. They need a separate switch. I'm not technical enough to be able to tell really good tyres from mediocre ones, but all the popular ones give reasonably performance. Currently on Metzlers, and they work well and look the part.

Buying experience: Dealer purchase, slightly more than I wanted to pay, but we struck a deal and I'd go back there again. Advertised at £10,500 and I paid £10,000. Didn't get as much as I hoped for for my trade-in (Aprilia Caponord) but it worked out in the end.

4 out of 5 Be different, 1290 super adventure T!!
29 January 2021 by Stephen B

Version: T

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £140

The engine is amazing, savage performance when you need it and ride all day comfort. When fully loaded and fueled up you need to be very careful where you park it, a slight down hill angle will have it falling over. Would definitely recommend it as it excites on every ride rather than just been good on every ride. One of its best things about this bike is you can ride the NC500 and not see another, those GS might be good but I don't want to join the flock.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Long journeys are so easy, for a bike of this size it handles surprisingly well and 150 easily in one go.

Engine 5 out of 5

The 1290 RC8 is incredibly, the performance and power is second to none.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Spoked wheels take a bit of looking after. Main dealer service costs are extortionate so mine goes to a good local bike mechanic. Easily get 50 to the gallon.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Been the T model it has almost everything as standard, my first bike with cruise control and I love it, only down side is to switch it on, its with the right thumb, not easy. For colder days the heated grips and seats are really good, great space for my pillion even with all the boxes on

Buying experience: Dealer, advertised at £9995, paid the full price but got a good price for my trade in.

5 out of 5 Kills Tiny Mammals
03 November 2020 by Gooch

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £400

Bought it used with 30K km on clock to replace my Blackbird. At this point absolutely no regrets. It has all you can ever want - cruise control, heated grips and seats, ride modes, electronic suspension, ABS etc.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Only have ridden it for 2K km, but pillion says that Blackbird was a torture compared to SA. Due to width may not be too good for lane splitting, might be as well that I am still not used to it.

Engine 5 out of 5

Absolutely love the V-twin, pulls like a train. Would like a bit more torque at low rpms though.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I would say build quality is pretty solid, all assistant systems are working, maintenance showed that there is no need for valve adjustment. Found it struggles to start up at temperatures below 10C, but I think a refresh of battery during winter months will fix that.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Regular maintenance with valve check and spark plug replacement was a bit expensive. But I guess it is still cheaper than servicing a GS

Equipment 4 out of 5

So far my favourite feature is heated seat and grips at temperature +5C. Read some reviews on OEM luggage build quality and decided not to purchase with the bike. Fitted GIVI Trekker Outback 58l instead.

5 out of 5
21 March 2019 by Robert

Version: T

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £320

Daily commute (70 to 95 miles) is fun and effortless, mainly thanks to a wonderful engine. The controls are good (but I would prefer cruise control on the left). I'm 6'1 and this bike fits me just right, but might be a bit tall for short riders. It is stupidly fast for such a tall bike but also a doddle to ride in slow traffic and winter conditions. The screen is the best I've ever had. Standard tyres (Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2) are faultless and last about 9k miles (commuting). 14,000 miles so far, no issues.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Nuts. I can't get enough of it.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

100% reliable so far. There's a bit of paint coming off the under-side of clutch cover, but finish is generally excellent.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Got a great deal on this (£14k new) compared to £19k for similarly-equipped GS.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Has everything, but would like a TFT screen of the newer models from KTM and BMW.

Buying experience: Very please with dealer (Jim Aim Racing in Braintree).

5 out of 5 Best all rounder ever...
05 January 2019 by PTP

Version: T

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £300

Having owned more than 40 different bikes over the course of the last 30 years, I think this has to be one of the best all rounders ever. You can blast away from a set of lights and beat most things on the road, last 200 miles between filling up, cruise at 90mph all day long (if you have sorted out the seat) and take it off-road anywhere a GS will go.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is super strong and torque-rich, I have an Akropvic can with the baffles removed and it creates a glorious sound!!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I have no complaints at all.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

The bike has lean-sensitive ABS, engine modes, heated grips, heated seats and cornering lights.

Buying experience: I purchased the bike from a local independent dealer with 4,500 miles on the clock and it's now approaching 17k.

5 out of 5 Discontinued, WHY?
02 September 2018 by Gerry

Year: 2016

A wonderful machine; it has attitude and is exciting to ride and own

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I can't fault

Engine 5 out of 5

Stonking motor which pulses and loves to gallop!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The only problem I had was when on tour in Morocco, in October 2017, all the air in the back tyre started to leak out of the spoke holes owing to the unsettled inner tyre band on the inside of the rim (half baked system if ever I have heard of one) Apart from that the machine has been amazing; I've completed over 20'000 miles in 22 months and haven't considered any other bike to change to.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I don't count the pennies; it seems very reasonable, but I have my machine fettled by a local independent fitter who is top rate and who I trust, so, the costs are probably far lower than using the proprietary servicing.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Fantastic; a proper sized tank (6 gallons), heated, seat and grips, cruise control .. the lot. Why-oh-why spoil the thing by putting on a pathetic plank of a saddle, KTM? Why would you do that? You'd be advised to buy a Powerparts one piece saddle to replace the original equipment

Buying experience: I traded my 2013 Triumph Explorer at KTM in Tewkesbury. James was brilliant; we agreed the deal over the phone and I rode 100 miles there to do the trade. Q why go that far? A because he treated me in a way that I liked to be treated.

3 out of 5 Excellent when it works, not dependable
12 September 2016 by Jon Wilson

Year: 2016

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 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

Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5

Not reliable at all.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Perfect all around bike!
31 August 2016 by jjponcem

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £250

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

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

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The bike has a lot of technology therefore reliability can be an issue. So far no problems at all!

Value vs rivals 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

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £175

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.

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

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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

Year: 2015

My best bike ever...

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Mr
04 August 2015 by Harald

Year: 2015

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

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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 .

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