- Her Serene Adventurer 1290
- V-Twin LC8 of 1,301 cm3, 160 hp and 138 Nm, 220 kg dry, electronic suspensions, adaptive regulator, 18,599 euros
- In the saddle
- In the city
- Motorways and expressways
- Excluding bitumen
- Comfort / Duo
- Video test of the KTM Adventure
Her Serene Adventurer 1290
V-Twin LC8 of 1,301 cm3, 160 hp and 138 Nm, 220 kg dry, electronic suspensions, adaptive regulator, 18,599 euros
The ancestor of Austrian maxi trails, the KTM 990 Adventure has given birth to a line of machines that are as efficient off the tarmac as they are comfortable on the road.. The 790, 990, 1050, 1090 and 1190 have made the adventurers of the upward off-road adventurer happy. Since 2015, a more opulent version has delighted dynamic frequent travelers with the 1290 Super Adventure. Its main asset, a (very) large V-twin of 1,301 cm3 of 160 horsepower, but also an unusual versatility, with real capacities except bitumen.
Two years later, S and R models enriched the range and on-board equipment: TFT screen, 23-liter fuel tank. The R version even offers a 21-inch front and 18 "(19 and 17" S) rear wheel for tracing the trails. And the electronics are getting bigger and bigger.
Third generation, the SAS 1290 vintage 2021 is a major overhaul of the maxi-trail of Mattighofen. Fire engine, chassis, but above all geometry, ergonomics and technology make up a new set that is always more efficient and easy to use..
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S review
To judge the announced progress of the Austrian trail we are trying the Super Adventure S version on the island of Fuerteventura (Spain) in order to test this hi-tech adventurer through a mixed test.
Intended for long distant journeys, the KTM maxi-steed is a machine of imposing stature. But its volumes are more those of an athlete where, despite everything, a certain finesse dominates. It’s less obvious in aesthetics. If the first version of the large Katoche offered a fairly wise and elegant front end, the next one was more divisive. And the novelty is no more accommodating. High, long and sharp, the front optics form a luminous shield of powerfully styled LEDs and compose an atypical light signature. Cornering lights and daytime running lights are standard. Between these, we note the new sensor adaptive controller radar. Its somewhat basic integration would have deserved more care, a material effect on its surface…. The whole is surrounded by optimized forced air intakes and a large deflector topped by a new X-shaped bubble and double curvature. This allows a height adjustment of 55 mm via two large knobs. Also, the turn signals turn off automatically after 10 seconds or 150 meters traveled.
Daytime running lights, cornering lights … the new front optic is complete
The shoulders of the 23-liter tank form massive scoops that curve sharply backwards. A storage compartment is also making its appearance or return if we refer to the 990. This storage space accommodates a smartphone or sunglasses and has an integrated USB port.
This tank equipped with an electronically controlled cap innovates with a central section and two large units that deploy in an arch on either side of the frame to lower the masses. A solution already used on the 990 and optimized on these new features. This lowers the center of gravity for more agility and frees up space on the front of the bike when standing; its bases are reinforced with protective plates in the event of a fall. Arched in the middle, this arrangement accommodates the new dual radiator extractors. In front of the front cylinder on either side, two fans are responsible for evacuating the calories.
Lower down, a large aluminum shoe protects the lower engine as standard. This imposing chest dominates and precedes two separate large and ergonomic saddles that accommodate rider and passenger. In their extension a luggage rack and thick grab handles conclude a sheathed stern.
There is a storage compartment on the tank
This casing envelops a forged aluminum structure, elongated by 15 mm and bolted to the main frame. This forms a stainless steel and chromium-molybdenum lattice whose laser-cut tubes are associated with forged elements. Widely revised, this structure is shortened. It moves the steering column back 15mm, which retains its tight 24.7 ° angle, which further improves handling in the corners. Also, the frame tilts the engine block an additional 2 degrees forward, strengthening its retention with two aluminum elements on the front. Combined with a swingarm that has been extended by 15mm, this arrangement further improves stability under acceleration. The wheelbase is thus 1,557 mm.
The chassis has been modified in terms of geometry
This only 10 kilogram chassis contains the Super Adventure’s now Euro 5 compliant engine, with its 1,301 cc LC8 75 ° V-twin, 1.5 kilograms lighter. The cylinder head receives 2 ACTs per cylinder which actuate DLC (Diamond Like Coarting) coated rockers animating their 4 valves. Its forged pistons and ultra short skirts are given a Grafal anodized finish which combines reduced friction and resistance to wear. The forged crankshaft is profiled. Ignition is doubled with two different sized spark plugs per cylinder head that activate independently of each other for smoother combustion and cycling. The air filter now has vertical grooves that help evacuate dust or sand particles to the base of its housing. The latter has been redesigned for easier access to the filter. Now all you have to do is unscrew 4 screws to remove the storage compartment in front of the fuel tank cap. The block still delivers 160 hp and the torque barely drops with 138 Nm (-2). The big breath of the V-Twin bursts towards a hydroformed collector chamber connected to two catalysts, then through a new stainless steel tapered silencer, imposing.
The twin LC8 passes Euro5 while retaining its 160 hp, but loses 2 Nm of torque
Such artillery in substantial volumes requires welcome electronic assistance. And the 1290 is stuffed with it, becoming almost cybernetic.
For an engine character under control, the throttle management is of the Ride by Wire type. Four engine modes (Street, Sport, Rain and Offroad) modulate throttle response, traction management, engine braking and power (100 hp in rain and offroad). A Pack gives access to Rally mode allowing finer configuration of the steering (response to the handle, modulation of the traction control by triggers on the handlebars).
The KTM is packed with assistants to contain the cavalry
A new Bosch IMU inertial unit with 3 axes and 6 directions manages more finely and in turns the functions of MSC stability, ABS braking and MTC traction control as well as the Offroad modes of these assistance systems. The MTC provides four modes of intervention (Street, Sport, Rain and Offroad Glide Authorized) selectable using the multifunction switch located on the left handlebar grip. It can also be deactivated. Offroad mode also allows the rider to lock the rear wheel. ABS remains active on the front wheel.
Finally, THE novelty with chips is called ACC, adaptive cruise control with radar technology. Activatable from second gear at over 30 km / h up to 150, it modulates the speed of the trail if it approaches a vehicle preceding it. The distance can be set in five steps: very short, short, medium, long and very long. Comfort or Sport modulation then ensures a more or less intrusive implementation. The system offers "overtaking assistance" and adapts to gear changes without turning off.
The adaptive governor activates between 30 and 150 km / h
When driving engaged, we will appreciate the hydraulic assisted and anti-dribble PASC clutch, which reduces engine torque during deceleration. It is associated with a Pankl gearbox which delivers faster and more precise gear changing thanks to its new, lighter aluminum selector barrel. Copper-coated selector forks provide quicker engagement of the Quickshifter + device (option).
To easily adapt to all terrains, the new 1290 SAS is fitted with the latest generation WP semi-active suspensions with variable damping (electronically controlled solenoid valves). The 48mm Apex SAT inverted fork slides 200mm, like a similar shock. New digital sensors provide more efficient sag control. The preload now adjusts to 20mm and even while riding. On the screen and via the handlebar controls, 3 profiles (Street, Sport and Comfort) as standard adjust the hydraulics.
The trail inherits from the last generation of semi-active WP Apex suspensions
The optional PRO suspension kit offers automatic adjustment of the shock preload or customizable settings for the shock or fork as well as an offroad adjustment. Also, an anti-dive function will greatly limit mass transfers on the biggest decelerations. Note that a steering cylinder is fitted to the fork as standard.
Our supercharged Percheron really needs Brembo 4-piston calipers with radial mounting for 320mm discs. The opposing retarder combines a 267mm diameter disc and a two-piston caliper. And in an emergency, ABS 10.3 ME and MSC function (modulation in bends) and off-road ABS (front only and more permissive).
Braking is combined with Bosch ABS with cornering and offroad function
19- and 17-inch spoked rims are fitted to the excellent Mitas Terra Force-R casings, which we have already fully tested. These resistant tires intended mainly for road use allow outings on main roads. Their dimensions of 120/70 and 170/60 should also retain very good agility at maxi-trail. And with TMPS you also know the correct pressure in real time.
The Race ON option frees you from the key for a transponder controlling the ignition and fuel cap. The intervals between two maintenance are 15,000 km. Final details, a new high-strength aluminum side stand will better withstand 220 kilograms dry, up to about 5 kilos.
The 1290 SAS shows a weight increase of 5 kg
As a reminder: The Suspension Pro pack allows a more precise adjustment of the damping, the preload of the suspensions and the anti-dive of the fork. The Rally Pack includes the RALLY riding mode and MTC rear glide control. Finally an ultimate Tech Pack set includes the first two, adding Quickshifter +, the Motor Slip Regulation, the Hill Hold Control and the adaptive brake light.
In the saddle
The rider seat easily adjusts to 20mm, peaking between 849mm and 869mm. Yes, friend Jurgen designs steeds to his measurements and they are not for short boots and the like. Transponder requires, we unlock the passenger seat via a button next to it. Welcoming, the upholstery is comfortable and the upholstery is very high quality and non-slippery. Imposing, the tank noticeably spreads the legs without being really awkward. It benefits from very moderate flex on adjustable footrests (diagonally, 10mm back and up). Naturally, the induced position is conducive to the long trip, dropping the arms on a wide hanger. Gloves sit alongside new backlit stems. The one on the left sports a modern and stylish multi-directional pad to control the wide range of tuning and customization features possible. On the right side, a bi-directional pushbutton allows access to predefined personal profiles (engine mode, suspensions, traction). Very practical for switching from a sport configuration to an offroad, for example, in an instant. Finally the levers are adjustable in spacing.
Controls have been changed with new backlit elements
I will not list here everything that is possible to find on the 7 "TFT panel. Note that it is orientable, remarkably defined (and pretty), the menus are ergonomic and rather intuitive. Thus, everything is illustrated by a 3D silhouette of your motorcycle and areas relating to the current settings. In addition, a green or red color indicates whether or not there is a problem. In Rally mode, the information is displayed. arranged in a specific way and the selected and adjustable traction level is displayed. There is also the control of the adaptive cruise control and the modulation triggers. And the roadbook-style GPS track can be entered either in the usual screen or in full window for perfect readability with the optional KTM MY RIDE function via Bluetooth. A 12 V accessory socket is located under the screen.
The 7 “TFT instrumentation is orientable and well finished
In the city
The tonic yelp of the big twin LC8 hammers in the fresh air, already reminiscent of its manly staccato sportiness. Euro5 leaves him appreciable music, getting deeper on the gas shots.
The balance of the 1290 Super Adventure is immediately noticeable. Certainly, weight and volume are substantial, but its geometry and the distribution of masses make the evolutions obvious..
The 1290 S is very balanced
The trail is directed with the tips of the gloves, placing itself at the glance in the traffic. Even more astonishing is the flexibility of the mechanics. The injection worked wonders, letting the big twin pick up at 2,000 laps in fifth, around 55 km / h without hiccuping. Gearbox, selection and clutch work with the same gentleness with remarkable docility. Despite everything, such a juggernaut could turn out to be bulky, but the maxi-trail steers very short and its narrow saddle at its junction to the tank offers good downforce..
Smooth gearbox, supple engine and maneuverability make it a good ally for the city
We would almost make it his everyday machine. Of course, the Katoche quickly feels cramped in those tight spots, but it’s much more its mechanics that get bored there. And you. So let’s go on an Adventure.
Motorways and expressways
A little space allows the 1290 to display a whole different personality, modeled on that of its engine. The Super Adventure is fire under the ice. Its ease is deceptive and its 160 horsepower roar loudly to remind you of it. Reaching without any harm 200 km / h at 7,000 laps, the trail peaks at 250 km / h. Heading is then perfect, but the vibrations of the twin have long invaded the machine. Returned to legal, at 4,500 turns, the mechanics still retain noticeable tingling in the saddle, footrests and handlebars. Nothing really unpleasant, to see on 200 km of straight tracks…. Only regret, the adjustable screen is less protective than expected. It leaves a consistent, turbulent flow of air over my helmet in the high position and my eight-foot-tall would have appreciated more deflection. Likewise, the arms remain exposed despite a wide front face..
On the fast track, the twin quickly climbs above 200 km / h
Always ready to revive the crew, the twin is full at full speed. In order not to be surprised, both by a picky radar and by the traffic, the adaptive governor is a real good invention. Dubitative last year on this crating technology, I have already said how surprised I am and how good I felt about the Ducati Multistrada V4. Same technology, same result here. But the device is different in its ergonomics. If it does not have rear radar and blind spot warning, it indicates in particular whether the vehicle in front of you is detected and its modulation is simpler and more complete. And it works perfectly. Good point, it is fitted as standard.
The adaptive regulator provides real comfort for driving
With so much assistance, one could get bored and spoil other qualities of the 1290: its chassis. And we don’t like to waste, it’s sin.
Well-thought-out electronics must give way to the efficiency it provides. This is the case on the Super Adventure. Complete, but not complex, the technology is very ergonomic and educational. Apart from the injection mapping and ABS, we will mainly adjust the suspensions. It’s pretty magical if you’ve never figured it out. Again, a moving image of your machine lets you understand the effect of preload on its trim. Ditto for the hydraulic adjustment. And the changes are sensitive.
The suspension settings are very simple and bring real changes
For my part, I found the whole a bit flexible and lacking in precision when entering the curve. So I preloaded the shock to 50% (10% increment), raising the rear of my bike. The hydraulics in Street mode did not seem sufficient to me, so I changed the compression and especially activated the Anti-Dive function.
And my 1290 SAS was all the more efficient in "I’ll rot them all" mode. Well-tuned, the trail is always more agile, rocking from one angle to another without inertia. Its new, more incisive geometry and its horseshoe tank make it a highly dynamic tumbler. Also, its rear tire in 170 optimizes the tilts. Under the merciless thrust of 138 Nm of torque, the Mitas envelope calls for assistance with traction control which it readily grants. Flawless, the Terra Force R’s grip ensures the job on any surface and the pace becomes sporty.
The Super Adventure is still as agile on small roads
The speeds reached are surprising as the engine never forces. Full at all speeds, it delivers that slight roughness specific to the V-Twin, that feeling of the piston stroke, that hoarse musicality of an exhaust, unfortunately more muzzled. Impressive on intermediates from 4000 revolutions, the LC8 becomes volcanic beyond 6000 revolutions. The stud then surges and the Austrian goes wild for more than 3,000 laps. When the front wheel fully touches the ground in the middle of the Spanish ferrule, it is already so long to take the brakes. Powerful and enduring, the calipers still have to deal with a certain weight. The significant inertia causes the suspensions and the inertial unit to work to keep the trail in balance. We can feel all these elements interacting with each other to optimize the evolutions. And the Anti-Dive is a real plus, significantly reducing mass transfers.
Full at all speeds, the engine is a real treat
Whatever the pace, the 1290 draws attention, with light support on its wide handlebars, dives with a rope and settles on the corner of a boulder. The road feel is quite fine, but necessarily a little diluted by the electronics. In addition, with their fairly rigid carcass, the Mitas are perhaps a little less straightforward than more road mounts once placed on the side. The precise injection then makes it possible to manage the throttle in bends and to perfectly dose its recovery. And in the roar of the airbox, we prepare for the next curve. Well staged, the gearbox perfectly supports a mechanism with good extension. On the shifter or the clutch, gears go up or stack without thinking.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S road test
The adventurer is also eaten on the couple. The ample strength of her edgy, but very well behaved twin allows the crew to linger on their journey. The 1290 asserts its homogeneity dedicated to travel, everyday or more distant.
The Mitas Terra Force R are capable of good performances on undemanding and, above all, dry roads. Beyond that, it’s more complicated. KTM knows it and invites us on a seaside track without difficulty. It is no surprise that the home ergonomics are still performing well once standing on the footrests. If those of the passenger bother you, no problem: their half-plate is removable. Well seen !
The ergonomics of the motorcycle are perfectly suited to driving on the roads
The tank perfectly wedges the legs and leaves good control of the bike at the footrests. Ideally placed, the handlebars ensure efficient guidance of the front axle. And again the balance of the 1290 SAS is an asset to get out of the bitumen a bit. If the weight is sensitive, the masses are really at their lowest and help greatly, especially in slow moving or tight maneuvers. Work with the legs is all the more effective there.
Here again, the predefined electronic settings adapt well to the behavior for the off-road
In Rally mode, the traction control is adjustable at any time, optimizing handling on changing terrain. The responsiveness of the throttle is also adjustable for better control of the powerful mechanics. We will not forget to put the ABS in dedicated mode. Excluding asphalt, precise injection is also an asset in controlling the character of the twin. Finally, in an adapted profile, the suspensions easily absorb the roughness of the ground. However, their reaction seems less gradual to me than desired. To be tested in more detail on a more committed ride…. And for the more daring, KTM prepares well on the R model with much higher off-road capabilities.
Chassis and suspension give the 1290 Super Adventure S constant efficiency. Its geometry with a dynamic profile makes it possible to take full advantage of its superlative mechanics. And the balance of the machine is reassuring in all circumstances. The whole gives an intuitive handling and remarkable comfort both on and off the road. High-end chip-based damping allows for a very wide range of adjustments and is responsive to adjustments.
WP suspensions are incredibly efficient
Powerful, the front calipers easily absorb the weight of the machine launched at high speed. Perfectly dosed with the lever, their strength is enduring and leaves the front axle fairly neutral in its reactions. The rear element is just as flexible, providing additional essential guidance in curves. Stalled on its trajectory, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S can enter turns on the brakes without movement and without freezing the steering too much, leaving the driver full latitude to correct his line..
Brembo calipers are powerful and perfectly dosable
Comfort / Duo
The upholstery of the 1290 SAS is comfortable, its cut ergonomic. I particularly like its soft, non-slip coating. The passenger is also well accommodated, but I find his footrests a bit high. In addition, the exhaust may interfere with his right heel. But its grab handles are well designed and generously sized. We can equip our frame with suitcases, but the one on the right is largely amputated by the massive silencer.
The KTM 1290 is comfortable
When driving vigorously for almost 2/3 of the test, consumption according to the computer rises to 7 liters per 100. According to my calculation, we are more at 8 liters, but perhaps the full was not done at the start. . For a sporty twin of 1,301 cm3, these values are in the standard. And we can greatly reduce this average in more standardized driving.
The on-board computer indicated an average consumption of 7 l / 100 km
Video test of the KTM Adventure
A dynamic machine for lovers of demonstrative mechanics, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S also offers cutting-edge technology in the service of first-rate road efficiency. Its engine character under control and appreciable overall comfort make it an efficient traveler. Finally, quality its part-cycle and its balance allow many daring on roads and off. Priced at € 18,599, the super-equipped Austrian maxi-trail is very well placed in the segment.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S 2021
We will oppose him the Ducati Multistrada V4 S at 19,590 € base, but 22,190 € to fight with the KTM and 24,340 € fully equipped…. The Italian has an enchanting engine and a remarkable dynamic chassis. On the German side, the BMW S1000XR asks for € 17,900 base, but becomes a high-end road Concorde if we put the price of options. And we forget about the offroad. Her cousin R 1250 GS is asking for € 18,100, excluding essential options to follow the Austrian. Finally, I will cite the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT, asking only € 14,599. Surprising, the Japanese is certainly full of more traveler quality than horses, but worth the detour.
This new vintage endows the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S with new electronic and ergonomic performance in the service of its peerless mechanics. A little roughness in a sanitized world awakens the senses and optimism. As an experienced backpacker, the Austrian combines performance and technology to now become a serene adventurer.
- Intuitive cycle part / balance
- Configurable electronic assistance
- Overall dynamic efficiency
- Bubble protection
- Tank width
- Lack of heated grips
- Color a little limited
The technical sheet of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S 2021
- Itinerary: winding roads with variable surfaces, wet and dry, off-road on dirt
- Weather forecast: sunny, from 14 ° C to 20 ° C
- Mileage: offroad passage and 180 km of road
- Problem encountered: ras
- AGV AX9 helmet
- Dainese Centauri GoreTex Boots (offroad)
- Dainese Explorer jacket pants set
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