Common Tread

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure and 1090 Adventure first look

Oct 05, 2016

KTM apparently believes you can never have too much power, even if you're slip-sliding your way up the Dalton Highway in a rain storm, so the Austrians have stuffed the engine from the 1290 Super Duke into two adventure-touring models, the 1290 Super Adventure R and T, that are coming to the U.S. market for 2017.

KTM unveiled the new Super Adventures (including one model not coming to the states) at the Intermot show, alongside the 1090 Adventure R, which KTM calls its "purest offroad travel-enduro" motorcycle.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
In KTM speak, "R" stands for "rugged" or some other off-road adjective. The 1290 Super Adventure R is the off-road-oriented sibling, with its 21-inch front wheel and knobby tires. KTM photo.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

As KTM put it, they "brought out the big guns" by putting their 1,301 cc, 75-degree V-twin into the two Super Adventures. Retuned for adventure duty, it makes less peak horsepower than the Super Duke version but still pumps out a healthy 160 horses and just over 100 foot-pounds of torque, according to KTM's numbers.

That's plenty of power to hurt yourself, so KTM has outfitted the Super Adventures with an array of electronic aids to try to keep First World adventurers from having to test their medical evacuation insurance. Super Adventure riders get KTM's top-of-the-line traction control system, which includes a lean-angle sensor. It offers four modes — Sport, Street, Offroad and Rain — to adapt to conditions. The combined ABS has a dirt setting that disengages anti-lock on the rear wheel, to allow for sliding the back end, while keeping the anti-lock feature for the front.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
If you're a good enough rider, you can throw around a lot of sand with 160 horsepower. KTM photo.

LED headlight
On the 1290 Super Adventure models, the LED headlight is accompanied by cornering lights activated by the lean-angle sensor. As for looks, you be the judge. KTM photo.
Both models also offer an optional Travel Pack with more convenience features, such as KTM's Hill Hold Control (HHR), Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), and a quickshifter for clutchless upshifts and downshifts. Both come standard with a slipper clutch and a new LED headlight with cornering lights activated by the lean-angle sensor.

Where the Super Adventure R and T begin to diverge is in their level of dirt versus asphalt. The R features 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels with knobby tires. Suspension travel is 8.7 inches both front and rear, which is 0.8 inches more than the T. With a 6.1-gallon tank, a seat height of 35 inches and a weight (without fuel) of 493.8 pounds, according to KTM's numbers, the R is no lightweight dirt bike. But you do get an impressive power-to-weight ratio.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure T
The 2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure T is the more street-oriented version of the Super siblings. KTM photo.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure T

Riders whose adventures are mostly on pavement can steer their attention toward the Super Adventure T, which not only is equipped more for the road, but also offers some features and comfort items the R leaves at home. The T wears a 17-inch rear and a 19-inch front wheel with street-oriented rubber. Suspension travel is a bit shorter, at 7.9 inches, but the real suspension news is that the T comes with WP semi-active suspension.

The T also coddles its rider on long trips with an adjustable windscreen and heated grips. Those big panniers come standard, too.

The T carries an even larger eight-gallon fuel tank, and even before you fill it KTM says the bike weighs 504.8 pounds. Seat height is a bit lower than the R and can be set at 33.9 inches or 34.4 inches.

KTM 1090 Adventure R
2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R. KTM photo.

2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R

If you simply must have an ADV bike with a bigger engine than your friend's Ducati Multistrada Enduro, then the Super Adventures have you covered. But if you really want to get out in the dirt and feel like a rally hero, KTM will steer you toward its 1090 Adventure R.

The 1,050 cc V-twin puts out 125 horsepower, which KTM notes is 23 more than the bike used by Fabrizio Meoni to win the Dakar Rally. It has the full suite of electronic rider aids, like the Super Adventures, and comes fitted with Continental TKC 80 knobby tires in 21-inch front and 18-inch rear sizes for off-road duty. Seat height is 35 inches, there's 8.7 inches of suspension travel front and rear and you get a 6.1-gallon tank. All those stats are identical to the Super Adventure R, but the weight comes in a little lower at 471.8.

We expect to see more and bigger news from KTM at the EICMA show next month.