KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£260|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 qualityNext up: Value
KTM's reliability is constantly improving and while the engine is still relatively new, it's proved itself to be quite reliable.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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 type||Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, 8v, V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||30 litres|
|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||£96|
|Annual service cost||£260|
|Used price||£7,700 - £11,000|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||160 bhp|
|Max torque||103 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||300 miles|
Model history & versions
2015: Model introduced
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
MCN Long term test reports
Spied KTM 1290 Super Adventure boasts radar plus lighter and lower chassis
These spy pictures are the best yet of KTM’s 2021 1290 Super Adventure S and R and reveal that the range-topping adventure bike will debut not only radar-guidance but also get a new look, updated chassis, revised V-twin powertrains and more. The finished look of the test mules, along with the fact t…
Owners' reviews for the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE (2015 - on)
10 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£260|
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.
Long journeys are so easy, for a bike of this size it handles surprisingly well and 150 easily in one go.
The 1290 RC8 is incredibly, the performance and power is second to none.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Absolutely love the V-twin, pulls like a train. Would like a bit more torque at low rpms though.
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.
Regular maintenance with valve check and spark plug replacement was a bit expensive. But I guess it is still cheaper than servicing a GS
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.
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.
Nuts. I can't get enough of it.
100% reliable so far. There's a bit of paint coming off the under-side of clutch cover, but finish is generally excellent.
Got a great deal on this (£14k new) compared to £19k for similarly-equipped GS.
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).
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.
The engine is super strong and torque-rich, I have an Akropvic can with the baffles removed and it creates a glorious sound!!
I have no complaints at all.
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.
A wonderful machine; it has attitude and is exciting to ride and own
I can't fault
Stonking motor which pulses and loves to gallop!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Excellent handling, but problems with the brakes.
Powerful but unreliable
Not reliable at all.
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!
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.
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
The bike has a lot of technology therefore reliability can be an issue. So far no problems at all!
ktm is a brand that knows how to keep costs low
the bike comes full. heated grips and seats! cruise control electronic suspension etc
Buying experience: the dealer was top!
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.
speed wobble on front bars at an anything approaching 110 mph with the lightest of luggage at any suspension setting
engine is amazing
only had its first 600 mile service
equipment is excellent
Buying experience: dealer was very good, they investigated the speed wobble and mentioned it is ok up to 100 mph
My best bike ever...
This is by far the best bike i have owned , the previous two bikes , Multistrada brand new and BMW 1200 GSA brand new .
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)
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 .