KTM develops ADV that defies physics

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Words: NZ Autocar
27 Jan 2021

KTM reckons its latest high-performance adventure tool, the reworked 1290 Super Adventure S, is “the ultimate high-performance adventure bike”. Perhaps it truly is because it’s not often you see a bike “upright” when it is still speeding along at a 90-degree lean angle.

Introducing the third generation of litre-plus ADV models, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is the sportiest and most advanced bike of its type to roll off the Austrian production line to date. Aimed to be the complete sports-tourer, offering ride comfort over any terrain, KTM says this machine “redefines the standards in rider-focused ergonomics, performance-enhancing technology and state-of-the-art componentry”.

With the focus on sharper handling, the 1290 Super features an upgraded chassis with improved weight distribution, and enhanced mass centralisation, the result being added riding agility. It is said to steer more quickly after the steering head was moved back by 15mm and changes were made to the front section of the V2 engine. An extension to the swingarm aims to improve stability under acceleration. Changes to the subframe have meant a lower seat height is possible without affecting practicality. 

Also new is a 23L fuel tank and fresh bodywork. There’s a new two-tier seat too which KTM reckons is more comfortable over the long haul, and is height adjustable by 20mm. Handlebar levers are also adjustable, there’s a new seven-inch TFT screen and the adjustable screen has been developed in a wind tunnel. It can be moved by up to 55 mm.

Electronic aids are tweaked, TC now being a bit less intrusive across the various modes. Adaptive Cruise Control is new and comes as a standard fit item. A new connectivity unit makes for simpler smartphone pairing, and fresh switches on both blocks are said to offer a “more seamless user experience”.

As the engine itself, this is revised, with a new oil/water cooling system, and is now Euro5 compliant. It musters 119kW and 138Nm and is a minor amount lighter. The exhaust is new and the Quickshifter updated for smoother gear changes. So too the WP Apex semi-active suspension, with stronger damping. Service intervals are now out to 15,000km. 

KTM NZ says to expect the bike here in late April or early May, with an RRP of around the $33k mark.

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