Despite the apparent periscope fitted to the back of this test mule, we’re as certain as we can be that KTM aren’t actually readying a new submersible version of the 1290 Super Adventure just yet. But the fact that this test bike was spied in Spain last week does intimate that an updated model will arrive in 2017.
The bike is a clearly a prototype version of a midlife refresh for the 1290 Super Adventure, which will almost certainly be seen officially later this year alongside the KTM 1190 MCN spied recently with similar modifications to the front fairing and screen.
There most obvious oddity on this test bike is that tall periscope, which appears to be carrying a series of microphones, an air-speed sensor and other calibration kit. We suspect this may well be to measure the engine and exhaust noise at various speeds as the bike will necessarily be undergoing testing and set-up in order to pass strict new Euro 4 regulations that come into force for all new motorcycles at the start of 2017 – and which the current Super Adventure doesn’t meet.
Along with the bike’s test apparatus, check out the short strips of thread all over the rider’s jacket and helmet. These thin pieces of material give an easy visual representation of airflow direction and turbulence, and suggest that KTM may have a secret windtunnel test facility in Spain.
Other changes clearly visible on the bike include a significantly altered nose cone and side panels. The frontal area is now notably lower, while the lean-angle sensitive lights sit higher in the side panels, lining up more closely with the new, lower, headlamp unit. Hopefully this will reduce the distracting light pollution that invades the fork recess when cornering at night. The screen is also of a different shape and boasts perforations at the sides, aimed at diffusing the airflow and turbulence so prevalent with adventure bikes. There are no further aesthetic changes visible on the test mule, but the engine will also have required significant work to bring it in line with Euro 4 – KTM have already been through this process for the new Super Duke GT, from which the Super Adventure is likely to borrow heavily.
Photos: BMH Images