KTM 1290 Super Adventure review

Overall Rating

The Super Adventure has pretty much got it all. There’s long distance ability, excellent ergonomics, a huge tank range, informative clocks, cruise control, a heated seat and grips, tyre pressure monitors and more. It has a powerful engine, excellent handling and impressive electronics. It looks good, sounds good and, even at £15,999, it’s a lot of bike for the money. 

Ride Quality & Brakes

ktm 1290 super adventure review


If you select one of the bike’s four riding modes, not only are you adjusting the available power, throttle response and amount of traction control, but also the damping settings. And yes, you really can feel the difference on the road. For such a big bike it really shouldn’t handle as well as it does. The riding position and ergonomics are excellent and everything is adjustable: bars, levers, seat, pegs and even the screen. Also standard are heated grips and a heated seat – both for rider and pillion. Cornering ABS allows the rider to rely on C-ABS even when banked over. 


At the heart of the Super Adventure is KTM’s latest V-twin - the enlarged 1.3-litre unit from the Super Duke R. But the arm-ripping LC8 engine has been refined to suit the new big Adventure bike. The cylinder head has been redesigned for more efficient combustion, the crankshaft is new with 2kg more mass on the flywheel to give a smoother response, and there’s also a taller sixth gear to suit its touring bias as well as a different exhaust and revised fuelling. Peak torque of 103ftlb and 160bhp at 8750rpm are classleading figures.

Build Quality & Reliability

KTM's reliability is constantly improving and while the engine is still relatively new, it's proved itself to be quite reliable.

Insurance, running costs & value



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BMW's £12,850 R1200GS is 10kg heavier and has considerably less power and torque than the KTM. What’s more, in a similar spec the BMW would be more expensive - which makes the KTM look like good value.

Yamaha's £12,799 XT1200ZE Super Tenere and Aprilia's Caponord are both much cheaper but can't hope to match the KTM in terms of power or specs. £15,999 is a lot of money to pay for a motorcycle, but then few bikes have more to offer in return for your cash. 


The Super Adventure is laden with gadgetry. Controlling all the power and torque are KTM’s latest-generation electronics, namely the excellent MSC, (Motorcycle Stability Control) and MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control). The 1290 also sees the introduction of semi-active electronic suspension for the first time on a production KTM. The bike can practically see round corners in the dark too thanks to its secondary LED lights. The 1290 also has cruise control and comes with a steering damper fitted as standard. 

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