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MCN Awards 2015: Best Adventure

Published: 20 October 2015

Updated: 19 October 2015

The Adventure bike segment of the market is a vitally important one and as such there are plenty of manufacturers all fighting for the position to have the best adventure bike of the year. This year it’s a battle that has been won by the mighty KTM 1290 Super Adventure, an absolute tank of a bike that kicks out a massive 160bhp with 103ftlb of torque.

This has been one of the busiest years for the MCN road test team in recent memory, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the thick and fast introduction of so many exciting new bikes. 2015 has seen the arrival of great new adventure bikes, cruisers, retros, 125s, A2 licence-friendly machines and scooters, while also being hailed as the return of the superbike. 

The MCN awards are our pick of the best metal to be released this year and covers multiple categories. Over the next week, we will reveal all the winners, so keep checking back.

Best Adventure
KTM 1290 Super Adventure


‘Even at £15,999 it’s a lot of bike for the money’

KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure is no ordinary machine. It’s the most advanced and powerful adventure bike ever built.

The guys from the Austrian factory took the 1301cc V-twin motor from their ridiculously brutal Super Duke R and slotted it into an adventure chassis. The result is both terrifying and beautiful. It’s potent, arm-ripping and built for speed, but has the ability to cover huge distance in complete luxury. 

Producing an exhilarating 160bhp and 103ftlb of torque, the Super
Adventure also brims with the latest electronic rider aids. KTM set out to scare the competition with their new offering and it worked. When MCN pitted it against the mighty R1200GS earlier in the year, the Super Adventure snatched BMW’s long-held crown. The KTM has better electronics than the BMW, is considerably quicker, lighter, more fun and better off-road.

The brilliant Super Adventure has moved the class on. In MCN’s ultimate 12-bike adventure group test this summer, the KTM quickly bullied its way to the top. And here’s why: at just 2500rpm its engine is already making 80ftlb, which is almost twice the grunt a supersport 600 can muster.

But it’s not all about rip-roaring, high-speed fun. The KTM is an extremely capable tourer, thanks to its advanced electronics package, smoother throttle response and taller sixth gear to suit its adventure-riding intentions.

Electronically controlled semi-active suspension comes as standard, too. It takes into account the terrain you’re riding and constantly fine tunes the damping to suit. It gives you just the right amount of comfort and control, no matter where you’re riding. It also has cornering ABS, traction control and rider modes.

Despite being just beaten by its lighter, more off-road-focussed brother, the 1190 Adventure R, in our huge group test, we all agreed nothing comes close to the Super Adventure in terms of pure acceleration and touring ability. If you want to cover big mileage incredibly fast, in absolute comfort, with class-leading technology and off-road credibility, this is your weapon of choice.

That’s why the Super Adventure is our adventure bike of the year. 


Engine 1301cc (108 x 71mm), 8v V-twin
Claimed power 160bhp@8750rpm
Claimed torque 103ftlb@6750rpm
Frame Tubular steel
Kerb weight 229kg
Tank size 30 litres
Seat height 860mm
Rider aids Riding modes, traction and wheelie control, cornering ABS
Price £15,999
PCP £3999.75 deposit, 36 monthly payments: £223.77, final payment: £6704.38

Click here to see our review of the 1290 Super Adventure

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