KTM’s V-twin adventure bikes have jumped in capacity for 2017 – but is bigger really better?
You’d be forgiven for being confused by KTM’s big V-twin adventure bike family. I know I was. After all, what started out as a two-bike range in 2003 – the 950 Adventure and taller, more off-road 950 Adventure S (for Sport) – has grown into a five-strong dynasty all still based around the Austrian firm’s trademark V-twin and tubular steel trellis frame.
In 2006 those two originals grew into the 990 Adventure and 990 Adventure S (which were then renamed Adventure and Adventure R in 2009). These were replaced by the all-new and electronics-laden 1190 and 1190 R in 2013, and supplemented by the 1301cc/30-litre tanked 1290 Super Adventure in 2015, along with a new, entry-level, 95bhp 1050 Adventure.
Now, prompted by Euro4 which effectively killed off the 1050 and 1190, that line-up has changed again. What we’re left with is the new 1090 Adventure and a more off-road focused 1090R with 21/18in wire wheels in place of the stocker’s 19/17in cast combo, plus longer travel suspension including fully adjustable forks.
While, at the even more serious end there’s a new three-bike 1290 line-up. There’s are the existing, big-tanked 1290 Super Adventure although it’s now called the 1290 Super Adventure T, for touring; a new, more slimline 1290 Super Adventure S and, in a similar vein to the 1090, an equally new 1290 Super Adventure R. Got that? Good.
The big question, though, is how these newcomers move things on. We headed to Sicily, and the dry and demanding roads in the shadow of Mount Etna, in search of answers with the new 1290 S and base 1090, and took the outgoing 1190 Adventure along as a benchmark.
Be sure to check out the full feature in MCN this week. But for now, here’s a gallery from the test.
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