KTM update 1290 Super Adventure R with new tech and fresh paint for 2023

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KTM are busy updating much of their adventure range for 2023, with tech upgrades, the occasional styling tweak and even bringing the 790 parallel-twin back from the dead.

  • Head to the bottom of this page to see our long-term review video of the bike.

Next on their hitlist is the £17,299 1290 Super Adventure R, which gets a new dash and a fresh coat of paint for next season and follows on from the upgrades announced to the 1290 Super Adventure S model on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.

Providing speed-crazed adventurers with a 158.2bhp slice of off-road exploration, the new 1290 rolls on Bridgestone AX41 tyres as standard and has been gifted an uprated seven inch colour display. No longer do you have to plan routes through the KTM mobile app, with turn by turn navigation now programmable through the dash itself.

Should you want to be connected, you can also answer calls and log a top ten of your favourite numbers, for easy access on the go. Alongside these upgrades you get a new white, orange, and blue paint scheme, which now features more white panels than before (just what you need on an off-road machine). The glossy orange trellis frame remains.

Elsewhere, it’s business as usual, featuring the same 1301cc V-twin engine fed by a 23-litre fuel tank, with an impressive 15,000km (9321 miles) between services. There’s also manually-adjustable WP suspension, with split cartridge forks offering 220mmm of travel for off-road terrain.

And it wouldn’t be a large-capacity KTM without lean-sensitive electronics, made possible thanks to the Bosch 6D lean angle sensor. This enables traction control, wheelie control, cornering ABS, multiple riding modes for on- and off-road, and more.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is globe-trotting rally raider

First published August 6, 2021 by Dan Sutherland

Sliding the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R off-road

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is the Austrian firm’s assault on the 2021 large-capacity off-road-centric adventure bike class. 

Priced at £15,999, the Euro5-friendly brute is claimed to be the most intuitive off-road 1290 to date, with a lower centre of gravity, revised chassis, fresh electronics package and more. What it won’t have is the firm’s radar guided adaptive cruise control, which only features on the S model.

Costing £200 more than the previous incarnation and dressed to the nines in licks of blue and white reminiscent of the old 990 Adventure, one of the key changes for 2021 is in the chassis.

At the rear, the ‘open-lattice’ swingarm is now slightly longer and the steering head has been moved back by 15mm to induce sharper cornering prowess – making the steel trellis structure slightly shorter.

Shrouding this is new bodywork, punctuated by flashes of orange in the external crash bars and frame.

The fresh look allows the bike to hold its 23-litre fuel load lower down within a new three-part tank – meaning a lower centre of gravity and greater stability in all conditions.

Adding to this is a new subframe – said to be stronger – and a seat height of 880mm, which is down 10mm from before.

Jumping the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R off-road

Biting the tarmac are adventure- spec Bridgestone A41 tyres, which wrap ALPINA aluminium spoked wheels, which can be run tubeless.

Up front is a pair of four-piston radial Brembos, with reworked manually adjustable WP XPLOR suspension front and rear, both featuring 220mm of travel.

Cradled within the bike is a revised 1301cc V-twin with dual radiators. Much like the out-going R, power remains at around 158bhp, however the whole unit is now a claimed 1.6kg lighter. Alterations include lighter engine cases, new pistons, altered coatings and revised exhaust unit.

Service intervals come every 15,000km (that’s around 9300 miles) with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 49.6mpg.

What’s more, KTM say they have reworked the gear-shift mechanism for faster and slicker changes. A quickshifter is optional though, which is disappointing on a bike starting at £16k.

A reworked airbox means the vertically-ribbed filter is accessible by simply removing four screws, which could come in handy should you get a little carried away on the rough stuff.

Once aboard, a new 7in TFT display, complete with mobile connectivity, displays all the important information and allows you to control a multitude of updated electronic aids, made possible by a new six-axis IMU.

Features include traction and slide control, with everything able to be adjusted or switched off altogether. Alongside four standard modes, an optional Rally setting (available in an optional Rally Pack) allows you to set throttle response and select from nine different levels of wheelspin.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R highlights:

  • 1301cc liquid-cooled V-twin
  • 157.8bhp@9000rpm
  • 101.8lb.ft@6500rpm
  • 880mm
  • 221kg
  • £15,999