Cologne Show: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

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• 1301cc liquid-cooled V-twin
• 160bhp / 100ftlb (est)
• Bigger fairing for more protection
• Semi-active suspension
• Optional ‘hill hold control’

MCN showed you the 2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure back in mid August, prompting an official release from KTM two weeks later confirming the model, but offering little more details.

Now the bike has been officially unveiled at Cologne, we have confirmation for all our assumptions about the new adventure-enduro.

This is basically a case of ‘bigger is better’, with KTM taking the existing 1190 Adventure and giving it a Spinal Tap style ‘turn it up to 11’ makeover. The 1190 Adventure and Adventure R are expected to stay in the range for 2015.

The motor has been given a capacity hike to 1301cc using the pistons, cylinders and con-rods from the 1290 Super Duke R, but the Super Adventure gets a new cylinder head and new heavier crankshaft with a heavier flywheel to ensure the power of 160bhp and the torque are more suitable for a bike with off-road pretentions.

No torque figure is being given, but we have to assume that the head changes include torque grind cams to give less lift and more duration than the Super Duke R.

KTM has gone to greater lengths than just adding more cubes to the engine, with the fairing being given a lot of work to improve wind and weather protection.

The windscreen can be adjusted with one hand and standard equipment includes heated grips and a heated seat. The bike’s touring capability is enhanced with a massive 30-litre fuel tank for a huge range between fill ups.

The rider aids package also includes a multi-mode electronic WP semi-active suspension system, which adapts the damping rates in real-time to the riding surface and rider, multiple riding modes and stability control including cornering ABS and traction control, and a slipper clutch.

This new flagship model also gets electronic cruise control and a tyre pressure monitoring system as standard, along with LED cornering headlights. An optional hill hold control is available as an option for the Super Adventure.

Pricing is yet to be announced, but we would expect it to eclipse the 1190 Adventure R, and is likely to be in the low to mid £14,000s.


Set to be unveiled in full tomorrow, this is the first official picture of KTM’s new flagship adventure-sport tourer, which uses the 1290 Super Duke engine and a glut of electronic systems to make this the most advanced KTM motorcycle to date.

This new offering will be competing head-on with BMW’s top-selling R1200GS Adventure, the new-for-2015 BMW S1000XR, and Ducati’s Multistrada S Touring in this burgeoning segment of the market.

The 1301cc V-twin that will propel the new Super Adventure comes straight from the firm’s Super Duke, a bike that was unveiled in a blaze of hype and expectation with the firm dubbing their new creation ‘The Beast’.

However, with the electronic controls switched on, the power delivery is far from brutal, and should be ideally suited to a large, heavy, and fully-loaded adventure-sports tourer.

KTM is remaining tight-lipped about the spec of the new 1290, but have claimed it will boast an ‘incredibly large fuel tank’ to allow for long durations in the saddle between fill-ups. Currently able to carry 23 litres, we’d expect the 1290 to be nudging the 30-litre mark, putting it squarely in the same camp as BMW’s R1200GS Adventure.

The firm has also confirmed use of the Bosch Stability Control (MSC) system, and that this new bike will feature even more advanced ‘electronically supported riding assistance’. This probably means the addition of electronically controlled semi-active suspension.

No price has yet been confirmed, but the existing 1190 Adventure costs £12,999 while the R model is £13,799 and the 1290 Super Duke R weighs in at £13,999.

We’d expect that the new Super Adventure will at least match its Super Duke engine donor, and more likely exceed its mark, breaking into the mid £14,000s.

The full unveiling will take place at Germany’s Intermot motorcycle show tomorrow.

The driving force
At the heart of the new 1290 Super Adventure is the 1301cc V-twin which debuted in the firm’s Super Duke R last year. A derivative of the original RC8’s 1190 LC8 motor, this bored and stroked 1301cc unit weighs in at around 62kg, and at peak can develop 180bhp, and 106lbft of torque, while a slipper clutch looks after the back torque when you shut the throttle.

MTC (motorcycle traction control)
KTM’s four-mode (Sport, Street, Rain, Off-road) traction control package also allows sporty and aggressive riding, and different levels of permissible rear-wheel slip. It can also be turned off.

Continental Trail Attack IIs are fitted as standard in sizes 90/90 ZR (260) 21 and 150/70 ZR (260) 18 – extremely versatile and incidentally also incredibly suitable for off-road use.

Tyre pressure monitoring system
Already fitted as standard, the TPMS monitors tyre pressure, and relays the real-time information to the dash, warning the rider in the event of pressure loss.

The 1290 appears to keep the 1190’s 320mm brake discs, radially mounted, four-piston brake calipers and radial master cylinder up front, with a 268mm disc at the rear, all linked to the Bosch 9ME C-ABS system.

C-ABS (combined ABS) and off-road mode
KTM has confirmed the 1290 will use the Bosch MSC braking package already in use on the 1190, and which delivers the world’s first lean-sensitive cornering ABS (also now being used by BMW). The system can be switched off, and also has off-road optimised settings.

KTM’s trademark die-cast, open-lattice swingarm design results in a light and stable unit, and is carried straight over from the 1190.

Semi-active suspension
It would appear that KTM is storming ahead with semi-active suspension for the new 1290.

While the firm refuses to comment, there appears to be an electronic plug routed to the top of the fork stanchion, hinting at an Öhlins-like system, as seen on Ducati’s 1199 Panigale S. KTM’s boast of “further absolutely unique electronically supported riding assistance equipment” also adds weight to the speculation.

Power-to-weight ratio
The 1190R weighs 235kg fully wet, and there’s nothing to suggest the 1290 will be different. The claimed 1290 motor’s peak output is 180bhp, so there’ll be no lack of drive on offer.

The wrap-around front crash bars appear different to the 1190’s, but the main tubular space frame structure appears to be close to identical.

And there’s more

Also visible on the new 1290 are:
• Daytime running light
• LED indicators
• Adjustable ergonomics
• New rider and pillion seats
• New larger adjustable screen
• Luggage rack and panniers
• Handguards