Conquering Urban Terrain: A short ride on a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (2018)

Submitted by Koen on Tue, 12/26/2023 - 14:07

Navigating Urban Landscapes with Ease

Embarking on an urban adventure aboard the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R from 2018 opened my eyes to the versatility of this formidable machine. Guided by a friend, we weaved through small roads and bustling city streets, discovering the untapped potential of a bike often associated with off-road prowess.

The urban tour revealed a surprising aspect of the Super Adventure R—its agility in navigating tight spaces. The clutch and gears displayed a finesse that outshone (imho) my own S1000XR. Maneuvering through the intricate labyrinth of small roads became an effortless dance, with the clutch engaging smoothly and the gears shifting seamlessly. The bike's responsiveness to subtle inputs made every twist and turn a delight, transforming the urban landscape into a canvas of exploration.

A Giant that Rides Small Roads

As we ventured further, it became evident that the Super Adventure R defied its physical dimensions. Despite being a substantial bike, it rode with a surprising nimbleness, akin to my previous owned famed R 1200 GS Adventure. The inherent balance and responsiveness allowed the Super Adventure R to weave through traffic and conquer winding roads with remarkable ease. It's a testament to KTM's engineering prowess that a bike of this stature can feel so nimble when in motion.

The addition of a comfort seat, while contributing to extra height, elevated the riding experience to new levels. The heightened viewpoint offered by the seat not only enhanced visibility but also added a layer of comfort, proving that even on a big adventure bike, rider comfort doesn't have to be compromised.

Contemplating Power and the Unending Quest for Adventure

Amidst the exhilaration of the urban exploration, the question lingered—do I truly need this much power? The 1301cc engine beneath me roared, a symphony of horsepower awaiting release. The cityscape, though charming in its own right, felt almost tamed by the sheer might of the Super Adventure R. As the quest for the perfect adventure companion continues, the pursuit of a bike capable of enduring when the road concludes remains at the forefront. The power, though undeniably thrilling, raises introspective inquiries about the essence of the journey. As the asphalt gives way to untrodden paths, the search for a bike that seamlessly transitions between worlds continues—an exploration that transcends the boundaries of roads and beckons us toward the unknown. The adventure may have just begun, but the destination remains ever elusive.

Is KTM still that brute with raw power?

In my garage I also have a KTM 990 Adventure.

During the short testride I started wondering... Can you still compare these bikes?

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, released in 2018, and the KTM 990 Adventure with ABS represent distinct eras in KTM's adventure bike lineage.
While the 990 Adventure exudes a raw and unbridled essence, it lacks the sophisticated rider aids found in its successor, the 1290 Super Adventure R.

The 990 Adventure demands a certain level of skill and respect from the rider, as its performance is more untamed, relying on the rider's prowess to navigate challenging terrains. In contrast, the 1290 Super Adventure R, with its advanced electronics and refined engineering, offers a more polished and user-friendly experience.

The 1290 is equipped with a plethora of rider aids, providing enhanced safety and control, making it a more approachable option for riders seeking a blend of power and modern technology in their adventure touring endeavors.

Specs? Yes!

  1. Engine:

    • Type: 75-degree V-twin
    • Displacement: 1301 cc
    • Power: Approximately 118 kW (160 hp)
    • Torque: Approximately 140 Nm (103 lb-ft)
  2. Wheels:

    • Front Wheel: 21-inch
    • Rear Wheel: 18-inch
  3. Transmission:

    • 6-speed, PASC™ slipper clutch
  4. Electronics:

    • Ride-by-Wire throttle control
    • Multiple Riding Modes (Street, Sport, Offroad, Rain)
    • Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC)
    • Motor Slip Regulation (MSR)
    • Quickshifter+
  5. Fuel Capacity:

    • Approximate: 23 liters (6.07 gallons)
  6. Weight:

    • Dry Weight: Approximately 217 kg (478 lbs)
    • Wet Weight: Approximately 238 kg (524 lbs)
  7. Other Features:

    • LED headlight and taillight
    • Adjustable windshield
    • TFT display with various information screens
    • Cruise control
    • KTM My Ride (smartphone connectivity)