First Riding Impressions - KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (2017)

Simon Hargreaves
By Simon Hargreaves
SimonHbikes Simon rides motorbikes, and then writes about them. He also co-presents the Front End Chatter podcast and plays bass guitar rather well.
BikeSocial rides the new 2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure R is the off-road oriented twin of the more road-based 1290 Super Adventure S launched a few weeks ago. They share the same 160bhp, 1301cc 75° V-twin motor, same comprehensive electronics package (including lean angle-sensitive traction control, ABS, engine braking and cornering headlights), same frame, 23 litre tank and 6.5in full colour, hi-def dash.

The R’s off-road differences are: 21in/18in wire-spoked rims instead of cast 19/18in wheels for more strength and better steering off road; a flat, one-piece seat for greater rider movement; engine bars for crash protection; a shorter screen so it doesn’t get in the way; and long-travel, off-road, conventional WP suspension rather than the S model’s semi-active set-up.   The R is also couple of kilos heavier, at 217kg dry, and £200 more expensive than the S, at £14,499.

And if the point of the Super Adventure R is to blend genuine off-road capability with the comforts and conveniences of a road-based Super Adventure, a day spent tramping about the Peruvian desert indulging in a Dakar Rally fantasy is the perfect way to prove it.   Because in exactly the same way a modern litre sportsbike with full electronics allows a many track-day riders to explore areas of machine control they wouldn’t previously be able to experience, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R does the same thing for average off-road riders.  

We’ve all seen expert riders on YouTube persuading BMW’s R1200GS or a Ducati’s Multistrada Enduro to do extraordinary things, but if you or I tried it (and I have), we’d end up in a heap of expensively crumpled plastics (I did).  

So to ride 120 miles in 38°C heat across sand, dust, loose gravel, hard stone at speeds of up to 90mph, without falling over and with growing confidence in the KTM’s ability to get up that hill, to make that turn and to stop with toppling over, is nothing short of astounding – especially in a bike that also boasts cruise control, Bluetooth integration with your mobile to take incoming calls, and the clearest, biggest, brightest colour flat screen dash on the market. 

A full review will appear online shortly.

TECHNICAL SPECFICATION

ENGINE

DESIGN

2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°

DISPLACEMENT

1301 cm³

BORE

108 mm

STROKE

71 mm

POWER IN KW

118 kW

STARTER

Electric starter

LUBRICATION

Forced oil lubrication with 3 oil pumps

TRANSMISSION

6-speed

PRIMARY DRIVE

40:76

COOLING

Liquid cooled

CLUTCH

PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated

EMS

Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition

CHASSIS

FRAME DESIGN

Chromium-Molybdenum steel trellis frame, powder coated

FRONT SUSPENSION

WP USD Ø 48mm

REAR SUSPENSION

WP-PDS Monoshock

SUSPENSION TRAVEL (FRONT)

220 mm

SUSPENSION TRAVEL (REAR)

220 mm

FRONT BRAKE

2 x Brembo four-piston radial fixed calliper, brake discs, floating

REAR BRAKE

Brembo twin-piston fixed calliper, brake disc

FRONT BRAKE DISC DIAMETER

320 mm

REAR BRAKE DISC DIAMETER

267 mm

ABS

Bosch 9ME combined ABS (incl. cornering ABS and offroad mode, disengageable)

CHAIN

X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16"

STEERING HEAD ANGLE

64 °

WHEELBASE

1580 ± 15 mm

GROUND CLEARANCE

250 mm

SEAT HEIGHT

890 mm

TANK CAPACITY (APPROX.)

23 l

DRY WEIGHT

217 kg

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