It's been two and a half years since we were able to test the previous model of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S for you. And in the meantime, a lot has happened. The squad of Motorradtest.de has gotten a lot older, but we've always been able to improve the quality of our test videos a little bit.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S has not changed too much externally. But the 2021 model is supposed to have gotten better than our videos. A completely new bodywork with new ergonomics, improved comfort, agility and weight distribution. Adaptive Cruise Control with standard radar system that automatically adjusts speed to traffic flow. And a refined LC8 engine brings a lot of advantages. So is the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S the new benchmark?
This is known to be in the blood of large travel machines. Immediately you think of BMW's 1250 GS Adventure. But besides it, there are also a number of other, full-grown machines that romp around in this field. Be it the Ducati Mustistrada V4S or Triumph's 1200 Tiger to name but a few. Even Harley Davidson sends a motorcycle into this field with the Pan America. In addition to their massive demeanour, they almost all have one thing in common with the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S: Plenty of equipment!
And if that is not enough, you will surely find it in the accessories. Unfortunately, however, the purchase of such a "thick ship" does not prevent a considerable hole in the wallet. But even here, all manufacturers are quite in agreement. So what do you get for your money if you put the €18,495 called up in the basic version on the table at the dealer?
The answer is simple: lots of motorcycles with lots of equipment. To list everything here would be almost a little too much of a good thing, but let's start at least: The functions of the machine are controlled by a scratch-resistant 7-inch TFT display. Thanks to successful pictograms and good readability, the driver can read all the information quickly and clearly even while driving. The semi-active chassis of the 1290 can be adapted to the individual needs of the helmsman without losing himself in too complicated menus.
Let's control the whole thing via a 6-way switch on the handlebars. An armada of assistance systems ensures that you can travel safely with the strong V2 engine on almost any surface. KTM MY RIDE ensures turn-by-turn navigation, listening to your own music and answering calls via Bluetooth. New is the radar-based speed control system, which automatically adjusts the speed to vehicles ahead.
ARA (Anti-Relay-Attack) is the keyless system that ensures that the ignition can only be switched on if the ignition key is also nearby. The system can also be completely deactivated in the menu. And if all this isn't enough, you can find other software extensions in the accessories such as adaptive brake light, mountain start aid, quickshifter and so on. The complete repertoire is available in the form of the so-called "TECH PACK" for 1169,53 €.
Of course, one can ask oneanother whether one really needs everything. But in addition to the many electronic solutions, there are also a number of small, extremely practical details that we liked very much. Be it the small mobile phone compartment with USB socket above the tank, the easy adjustment of the disc and display inclination or the hardly time-consuming adjustment of the seat position by adjusting the footrests and bench. All of this works pleasingly simple.
But let's go! The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S convinces not only with its solid workmanship, but also in the basic version already quite lavish equipment with numerous electronic refinements and a really very comfortable sitting.
It also brings plenty of power to the road. Their rated power of 160 hp at 8,750 rpm with a maximum torque of 138 Nm at 6,750 rpm ensures very good acceleration and allows a really sufficient cruising speed of about 250 km/h.
This means that, if necessary, even longer motorway routes can be mastered excellently. And this also with sufficient payload, be it in the form of luggage or passenger, which finds just as comfortable space on the machine. But that's not all. The KTM also makes a good figure when it comes to corner inger-robbering. You should not be fooled by your somewhat bullish appearance.
Once the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S has picked up speed, it swings surprisingly light-footed through the landscape and can be controlled playially. But of course she is by no means a beginner's bike. The captain of a travel motorcycle with such dimensions, weight and power should have a little driving practice in his pocket.
Well, bad motorcycles aren't actually built in this class any more. So what remains to be said? You have to look for the mistakes with a magnifying glass. But of course we have done this too and therefore mention the following criticisms: The compartment for the mobile phone is unfortunately too small for many models. From the point of view of a travel machine, a gimbal would also be nice – but clearly it's just KTM.
The optics of the front mask in particular are not for everyone – but this really falls under the category of taste question. The purchase price is quite lavish, but even with that the KTM is not alone. So let's return to the entry question of whether the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is the new benchmark. The new benchmark is perhaps very ambitious. But the KTM can keep up with the big competing machines from this segment. And you almost get the impression that the differences are getting smaller and smaller.
The test machine was provided to us by Motorrad Ruser.