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KTM 1190 Adventure R (2013) in the driving report

More action, more speed, more Kick?

When the Austrians add an R to the model name, that’s a clear message: Something’s going on. More action, more speed or just more kick. Does that also apply to the KTM 1190 Adventure R? A day trip in the Vosges should show it.

They can do off-road really well in Mattighofen, word of that has really got around to the last corner. And see many KTM is still considered the specialist for the rough, precisely because of the great successes in the mine. And then rub their eyes in amazement when the Austrians suddenly hit a giant like Honda on the racetrack, as happens week after week in the Moto3 World Championship.

KTM 1190 Adventure R in the driving report

More action, more speed, more Kick?

Imbued with the race spirit

Those familiar with the subject, on the other hand, are not surprised by the success on asphalt: a company that has dedicated itself to racing on unpaved terrain for so long and has won countless world championship titles is permeated by the race spirit, from the boss Pierer to the canteen staff. And has accumulated an immense wealth of technological experience over many years, which will most certainly transfer to other segments sooner or later.

KTM can drive, no question about it. Pretty good now. The KTM Adventure is a good example of this technology transfer. While the previous model, with all its rough edges, was still optically and technically derived from a rally machine, the new KTM Adventure 1190 is aimed at a wider audience. It is less selective and convinces with consistently improved all-round and travel qualities. And that’s why in the big travel enduro comparison (see MOTORRAD 7 and 9/2013) the only one of the new water boxer GS was pretty close on the heels, all other competitors ended up being beaten in the main field anyway.

Legs shouldn’t be too short

For example, they can do ergonomics quite well in Austria. And that is no coincidence, it also has a lot to do with racing. Because it starts with the stand. The Adventure is no different than almost all other KTM models: you take a seat and everything is right from the start. With the KTM 1190 Adventure R, however, with the restriction that the legs shouldn’t be too short because of the larger wheels and longer suspension travel. Otherwise everything is exactly where it needs to be with the seat, footrests, handlebars and levers. Or can be adjusted in a few simple steps. And then there is the wonderful ease of use. Clutch, gas, gearshift and brake can be operated with minimal effort. Just like a motocross racing machine.

There is no doubt that the orange engines can anyway. The KTM 1190 Adventure R inspires with flexibility and precision on the winding streets in Alsace. The throttle grip and throttle valves appear to be networked in the most direct way. And if you want to, the V-Twin knocks you off your stool with sheer force, lifting the front wheel even in the third. A wild animal engine that can also be quite tame. Because it does what you want, even without a whip. Skeptics can still doubt whether you need that much power in an enduro. And you have to agree with them: You don’t need 150 hp – but they are unforgettable fun.

Engine, chassis, brakes, electronics: all of this is basically no different with the KTM 1190 Adventure R than with the basic Adventure, only the electronic chassis is not available as an option. With the large, skinny off-road rims, the driving behavior of the R is more reminiscent of the old 990 Adventure, which as a rally offshoot was never built other than with 18/21 inch tires.

The new KTM 1190 Adventure R is clearly more enduro than its base, so although it steers a little less directly into curves, it is not at all impressed by bumps or warps when sloping. This stability has its special charm, not only for trained off-road specialists. As if pulled on a string, the R pulls its course. Classic enduro feeling that no other of the large-volume machines in this segment offers.

Narrow tires naturally also mean less rubber on the road, ergo less grip in the border area. However, you have to bend a lot to bring the Conti Trail Attack 2, developed especially for the KTM 1190 Adventure R and approved up to 250 km / h, to the limit. Because the Contis with little negative profile are actually not real off-road tires, they can offer an astonishingly high level of grip and first-class feedback on asphalt. And in an emergency, an excellent traction control system intervenes.

Sold out immediately

Tour guide Gilles Salvador, battle-tested French off-road and supermoto warrior and now a professional instructor in the service of KTM and the MOTORRAD Action Team, suddenly turns off the road with the KTM 1190 Adventure R into a forest path that leads up the gentle inclines of the Vosges. Incidentally, it is completely legal to drive on, something that hardly exists in France today. The ground is dusty and firm, coarser tires, such as the Conti TKC 80, which is only approved for speeds of up to 160 km / h, are not yet needed here. The front 21 incher cuts its path with confidence. With it, you can get out of a rut where 19- or even 17-inch devices slide into ruin. There is also enough ground clearance to free yourself from a deeper hole in an emergency or to overcome a small step.


Manual work: Everything is adjustable, but not electronic.

The possibilities of such a big ship in the field are certainly limited, but it is always astonishing how easy it is to maneuver in this not too rough terrain. You can turn the shower a little harder on level ground, especially since the special off-road mapping ensures a soft throttle response and reduced peak performance. And it doesn’t matter if a twig or a few coarser stones come under the KTM 1190 Adventure R here and there, the long-stroke suspension will take care of it. Until, after two or three hard knocks through the fork, the R-knowledge matures that the not inconsiderable mass and the demand for comfort require certain compromises in the set-up.

Even if R actually stands for racing, it would be better to leave it at civilian locomotion, the KTM 1190 Adventure R is not a crosser for speed beating on rough ground. After all, it becomes clear on this tour that this R goes where other machines in this category would have to stretch their sails. So they can build great mopeds at KTM, but they obviously don’t calculate that well. Because the marketing department had only planned 300 copies of the R for Germany and they were virtually sold out right away, despite the higher cost price. The next batch will not be produced until the end of the season. It’s actually a shame that the dream of an R-life will not find an R-filling for many for the time being.

Technical specifications


The additional display is operated intuitively via the keypad on the left end of the handlebar.

Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 75-degree V-engine, a balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 52 mm, regulated catalytic converter with secondary air system, 450 W alternator, 12 V battery / 11 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch (anti-hopping), six-speed gearbox, X-ring chain, secondary ratio 42:17.
Bore x stroke 105.0 x 69.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1195 cm³
Compression ratio 12.5: 1
Rated output 110.0 kW (150 PS) at 9500 rpm
Max. Torque 125 Nm at 7500 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, Rear disc brake, Ø 267 mm, two-piston fixed calliper, composite brake, ABS, traction control.
Spoked wheels with aluminum rims 2.50 x 21; 4.50 x 18
Tires 90/90 V 21; 150/70 ZR 18

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1580 mm, steering head angle 64.0 degrees, caster 108 mm, suspension travel v / h 220/220 mm, seat height 890 mm, dry weight 217 kg, permissible total weight 440 kg, tank capacity 23.0 liters.
Two year guarantee
Colors white / black / orange
Price 14 895 euros
Additional costs 250 euros

Differences to the basic version

Basically, the chassis and motor of the two variants are identical, this also applies to the equipment from the on-board electronics to the main stand. The main differences are in the suspension elements and the wheels (basic version in brackets):

  • bikes front / rear 21/18 inches (19/17 inches)
  • tires front 90 / 90-21 (120/70 V 19), rear 150/70 R 18 (170/60 ZR 17)
  • Suspension travel front / rear 220/220 mm (190/190 mm)
  • WP suspension mechanically adjustable, electronics option not available
  • Seat height fix 890 mm (two-way adjustable 860/875 mm)
  • Handlebar width plus 20 mm
  • One-piece bench instead of shared
  • Windshield smaller
  • Crash bars standard
  • SECTION specially tailored
  • price 14,895 euros (13,995 euros) plus additional costs

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