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KTM 1290 Super Adventure in the PS performance test

The Steelzebub

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The Beelzebub is going around! He is now up to mischief in the shape of a stilt called KTM 1290 Super Adventure. His mission: to rob super sports pilots of the belief in the power of their mopeds.

Evil has many names: Teufel, Satan, Heino and Beelzebub are just a few of them. And evil takes many forms, genders, and forms. The most recent spawn of evil, like hell on wheels that has become metal and plastic – at least from the point of view of the classic super sports driver – is this KTM 1290 Super Adventure. This huge iron, this optical mountain of motorcycle, this tsunami on two wheels is the devil’s stuff for all those who convulsively hold on to the stub handlebars. And it’s as mind-draining as absinthe in large quantities or LSD. they laugh?

KTM 1290 Super Adventure in the PS performance test

The Steelzebub

Jose was just in the wrong place at the wrong time

It entered the freeway right in front of me, probably thinking I was the usual tourist on a rental motorcycle. Jose quickly lifted the front wheel of his super sports car and stretched it towards the sky in greeting. Then he gave flame. As a friendly person, I wanted to thank him personally for this beautiful wheelie with a "thumbs up" and stayed with him. Effortlessly without switching and sitting comfortably upright. With over 230 km / h on the clock and this killer bike in the wake, Jose was probably uncomfortable. He caught a hook and at the last second dived onto a narrow descent to flee towards the mountains. As a stranger to the area, of course, I did not know the problem of this exit, followed the locals and found myself in a fat lean angle and with the front brake on Jose’s rear light turned on. What a blessing is this sloping ABS from Bosch that KTM donated to the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. The absolute hammer!

Jose is apparently not relaxed, sees me as a pursuer – I just want to say thank you for the wheelie. He chooses the GC60, a narrow strip of asphalt towards the mountains – and with it the path to his downfall. How does he want to hang out a stilt buck like the 1290 here? But motorcycling doesn’t always have to do with logic, but with instinct. The local wants to lure me and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure to his area, so that, thanks to better local knowledge, we can pull the fur over our ears. 


KTM 1290 Super Adventure in the top test

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Wheelies are no problem with the KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Should he just try, after all I can rely on the finest Austrian mechanical engineering. The new 75-degree V-Twin of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure has 1301 cubic meters. Double ignition and a flywheel mass increased by two kilograms, modified ducts in the cylinder head, revised injection electronics and a throttle valve diameter reduced by five millimeters compared to the Super Duke – this is where the engine originally came from – not only make the Big Twin very harmonious, but also go off tremendously. Torque hanger? No. Performance holes? No. Other points of criticism? No! Perfect throttle response, perfect load change behavior, great power delivery – the tuning of the engine is outstanding, the clutch and transmission work smoothly and precisely.

And first of all this electronic, semi-active suspension of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Detects the compression and rebound speed and the spring deflection thanks to the spring deflection sensors. After comparing it with other parameters such as throttle position, gear, engine speed, speed and much more, it automatically adjusts the damping. There are also assistance systems such as ABS that can be switched off, newly coordinated traction control that can be switched off, four driving modes for the engine and the engine drag torque that is appropriately regulated depending on the selected mapping. And these Conti tires with a murderous grip. 

KTM 1290 Super Adventure a super sports killer?

Jose has no inkling of any of this and, like General Custer once did, rides to his doom on Little Bighorn. There is no escape for him on the GC60, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure is in its element. She just dances around him, passes by without any problems and, thanks to a better overview of the game in the high seat, lets him burn up mercilessly in the exhaust jet. Because the Super Adventure gives you the feeling of carefree and absolute driving pleasure even shortly before the limit.

And one thing is certain: In 2015, Jose was one of the first to be ironed by this KTM 1290 Super Adventure – but certainly not the last. Many supersport pilots will suffer this fate. Evil lurks always and everywhere.

Differences between 1190s and 1290s


10 HP more peak power, 15 Nm more torque, 2 kg more flywheel and a longer sixth gear – just a few of the changes to the 1190 Adventure.


-1301 cm³ displacement (basic engine from the KTM 1290 Super Duke with throttle valve diameter reduced to 52 mm for better torque; all other information in relation to the 1190 Adventure)

-with 160 hp, 10 hp more peak power

-with 140 Nm 15 Nm more torque

-longer sixth gear

-more flywheel (2 kilograms), modified intake ports and camshaft profiles 

-modified velocity stacks in airbox


One of the few points of criticism: The notch for the reach adjustment on the front brake pump is too coarse.


-fully electronic throttle with over-close for cruise control

-Cruise control (can be activated from fourth gear between 40 and 200 km / h)

-four newly tuned engine modes

-four newly tuned suspension modes with semi-active damping adjustment

-Distance sensor for recording the spring movement and adapting the damping

-Motor braking torque control depending on the selected driving mode

-Cornering ABS as standard

-revised traction control


The semi-active chassis is a dream. It works particularly well in comfort mode.


-LED cornering light

-improved wind protection and improved locking of the windshield (one-handed operation possible while driving)

– 30 liter tank 

– improved seating comfort

-improved operation of the passenger seat heating

-Increased passenger seating comfort thanks to wider, more comfortable upholstery

-new cladding and colors

Data KTM 1290 Super Adventure


Evil has a new name: KTM 1290 Super Adventure.



Without a wife and without a suitcase you indulge in a much more sporty gait on the horse. Brake and …

Evil has a new name: KTM 1290 Super Adventure. She is lightning fast, powerful and comfortable. Convinces with power, drivability and driving pleasure and will also convince real sports drivers. Especially those who are still in the mood for adrenaline, but are no longer in the mood for clip-ons. True to the motto: Do ​​you still have sex or are you already riding GS…

Sister model KTM 1050 Adventure


How is the ride on the small one if you are used to the big one? (We’re talking about the 1050 Adventure and the 1290 Super Adventure!)

The entry into the KTM adventure world begins at 12,695 euros with the 1050 Adventure. A short tête-à-tête with the "little one".

Entry-level models always have the aftertaste of the bland “have-nothing” bike. If you look at the KTM 1050 Adventure after enjoying the 1290s, this is confirmed again. Even little things like on-board sockets or heated grips are missing on the little adventurer. At least as standard – all of this is available as an option and at an additional cost. 


Significantly handier than its big sister: the adventurer with 1050 cm³ displacement

However, if you approach the KTM 1050 Adventure unencumbered or perhaps with a competitor such as the Suzuki V-Strom in mind, it appears in a completely different light. Because the 1050 has everything and can do everything you need to ride a motorcycle. 

Your engine inspires from the first turn of the crankshaft – it goes off powerfully and vitally, turns and pushes without shaking or shaking. The power delivery of the 95 hp twin is harmonious and powerful. Adjustable driving modes, ABS and traction control are on board, as is the adjustable windshield, which, however, creates turbulence. Waiver is practiced on the fork, because there are no adjustment options. At least the spring base and rebound stage can be adjusted on the shock absorber. But that’s enough, because the KTM 1050 Adventure works absolutely convincingly in solo operation. Thanks to its narrower tires and lighter wheels, the little Adventure is even more manageable than its sister, which increases the overall driving pleasure to its level.

Technical data KTM 1050 Adventure


Less displacement, less power, less money. But the same amount of driving fun: KTM 1050 Adventure.

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