KTM 1290 Super Adventure 2015 model











My Super Adventure experience started with departure from the dealer after great
service from Paul at Gear4 motorcycles, Peterborough.  I had to travel home to theSouth Coast, some 200 miles.

The initial look of the 1290 Super Adventure is one of huge width and being heavy. These Opinions are completely wiped away from the First releaSe of the clutch.  The KTM is light and well balanced unlike the BMW R1200 GS whIch has always been heavy and Clumsy at slow speeds. Not ideal for real adventure travel or popping around town. To me that bike is just for autobahns and crunching miles.

I pulled away and the KTM was well mannered and impressive straight from
I had just part exchanged a six year old KTM 990 SM a completely different beast.
That was very much a motocross bike for the road which wanted to be ridden hard and Fast.  I am Not saying the SA can't be ridden fast or hard, in fact you will hear later how you can do this, but totally different engine settings and gearing means they are worlds apart.

I left Market Deeping, on twisty country roads and loved the bikes handling. Secure in to and out of corners, it can be thrown around in the twisty stuff.  Unfortunately I had to leave the B roads and hit the A1 which was fairly quiet. I opened the bike up and it deliveredpower and pace with smooth efficiency. I was beeming inside my helmet.

I already knew I had made the right purchase. I really wanted to go for it but the bike was brand spankers new so I had to keep to rev limits and oh yes road limits. A bright Red warning light, located in top right of Speedo, flashes when Rev limit is reached advising you to change up. During the run in period this flashes at 6500 RPM and also when suggested top speed is reached. It may have flashed once or twice on the ride home.

Rapidly covering the A1 south, I then had to cross to M1 which was Chocker and meant miles of filtering. I had expressed nervousness to Paul that with panniers the Super Adventure seems broader than a Rhinos behind.  I needn’t have worried.

I filtered with ease albeit being a bit more cautious than normal as it was a new bike, new tyres and brakes etc plus
getting used to the width.

The 1290 is super agile and super stable. I could move between lanes easily and fit through standard Gaps left by unhappy drivers. I did test the horn out a few times
And it works. Could be louder though As horns should be.

I navigated the M1 and the always busy M25, then took the A3 for the final leg homewards. The A3 does offer some bends and fast dual carriageways so I got to open up
the 1290 and start to try some of the many excellent features that come as standard.



Luckilymost of the journey was dry and warm, so I didn’t use the heated seat or grips. Both of which are turned on and off from the VDU, located next to the Speedo.


This visual display unit is the window for all your technical trickery.  The opening screen is your Favourites, from which all manor of displays can be shown.

Mileage, trip times, average fuel consumption, average journey speed, fuel range and many more can be set with simple to use buttons, on the clutch side handlebar.






Straight forward up and down buttons scroll you through the many functions available.
Set Button selects the item you wish to change.








One function the Super Adventure has which is fantastic and so user friendly is the drive mode. I did make use of this on my journey home for a shore period as I hit heavy rain shower near to home. Four settings can be chosen which control the power delivery to the rear wheel. The modes alter the performance of the bike changing BHP and engine response.

Sport mode is as it says, offering the rider a more brisk ride with full BHP available and quicker response to throttle. I didn’t use this due to running in the bike but by cricket if the bike responds any quicker than in the street mode I had set then I am in for a treat when the 600 miles running in mileage is done.


 I have heard the Sport mode brings Super Bike performance to the Adventure market, and the front wheel comes up. I was told by Paul, don’t use it in towns.  I believe him.  

I did use the Rain mode as mentioned which decreases BHP to 100 from 194, and
controls delivery to rear wheel so smoother, riding is obtained. The enginedoes not give you brutal power as soon as the throttle is twisted. I found it very useful and a noticeable difference in riding.




After nearly three hours riding I found myself regrettably turning in to my drive still smiling and completely fresh which I was never after riding my 990SM for the same period of time. Well that is not quite true after two hours on that I always had to stop and fill up with petrol. The same can’t be said for the 1290 SA, with a 30 litre tank and great fuel economy the estimated mileage on the VDU stated I had 350 miles before having to fill up, and when I parked up I had only used half a tank. My bum was not numb either as the seat is very comfy and with heater units fitted to rider and passenger early morning starts won’t be unbearable now.

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure offers the Adventure rider the best of the best in terms of safety measures, which include ABS, traction control, LED daylight running lights and LED safety side lights.



These offer increased lighting when required and switch on automatically. They work in stages through a corner and depending on lean angle, one, two or all three elements light up. Providing the rider with visibility well ahead of them.  






The bike also comes with an excellent fairing which can be easily adjusted to rider height or preference. In it’s lowest position you get a more open bike feel and when fully raised the wind protection is fantastic.






The fairing is raised with sturdy well made knobs and secured in place by a lever lock.



Traction control is always on unless rider goes to the VDU and chooses to disengage it. This could be for off road riding all they want to test their riding ability.  When the engine is switched off, traction control resets and is automatically selected when
bike is turned on again. This avoids rider forgetting
they turned TC off.  TC is indicated in the Speedo,
and lights when engine first switched on.


ABS can also be switched off through the VDU panel. again for Off road riding or rider preference.

In the short time I rode the bike I fell in love with it and I can honestly say out of the many, various bikes I have ridden since eight years old, it is the best I have ever been on. I say this in context that it covers any riders requirements and certainly mine.
I can have Sports Bike performance, with handling to go with that, but I can also
tootle around town in sixth gear and not have to keep reigning the bike in. I feel
completely safe and hassle free. I also have the option of using the bike off road which i have a passion for and I know it will be equally rewarding riding.

The safety features benefit the rider, are unintrusive and can be turned off if required.
The comfort features are excellent and I know I will be using them as we head in to
 Autumn and Winter riding.  




The SA also comes with luggage support system built in, so
optional panniers and top box fit safely and easily to the bike. They are all opened and removed through the ignition key in a very simple operation.





I can’t wait to ride it again and try some of the many other features, including Cruise
control although I still won't put it in to Sport mode yet, big sigh…



cruise control set from buttons on Brake side of handlebars.  


Superlatives can be used for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure, it is Super Agile, has
Super Bike performance, Super Safety features, and Super quality.

I would have named it the 1290 Superb Adventure.

The only drawback I can see is how do KTM improve on this?



words: Jeremy Webb

Pictures: Jeremy Webb