- Great control and feedback from the WP Xplor suspension
- Strong Brembo brakes with excellent cornering ABS
- Versatile riding with on-road, off-road, and touring capabilities
- Revisions seen ergonomics, suspension, engine, bodywork, and more
- Short windscreen is practical for off-road riding, but not so at high speeds
A great, do-it-all motorcycle is now even better.
Between it and the 1290 Super Adventure S, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is the more off-road oriented of the two. It features a 21-inch front wheel, fully adjustable 48mm WP Xplor fork and WP PDS monoshock, both with 8.7 inches (220mm) of travel and spoked, tubeless adventure-spec tires. It is riddled with tech like ride modes, cruise control, traction control, and cornering ABS for short or longer on-road adventures as well. Its numerous updates and improvements help give it a leg up on the previous model years and sets a solid benchmark for the class.
Updates for 2021/2022
The new subframe aids in dropping down the seat height slightly to 34.6 inches and the narrower seat makes for an easier reach to the ground. The longer-travel WP suspension has also been reworked, and the engine now meets Euro 5 emission standards. A three-part tank helps distribute liquid weight lower and the steering head has been moved back 15mm, both of which KTM says lends to a sharper cornering sensation. More advanced rider aids are accessible in the new 7-inch TFT display. New LED lighting, a new quick-access airbox, updated bodywork and graphics, shorter windscreen, and adventure-spec Bridgestones are a few more updates.
Pricing and Variants
The 2021/2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R’s pricing is yet to be announced, but the 2020 version was $18,599 so we can expect pricing to be somewhere in that ballpark.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, And Performance
The 1290 Super Adventure R is powered by a 1,301cc liquid-cooled LC8 V-twin which now meets Euro 5 emissions standards and has improved heat dissipation. KTM claims that despite Euro 5 compliance, the LC8 continues to produce a peak 160 hp at 9,000 rpm and 102 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. Multiple ride modes help tame/release the engine’s potential both on and off-road. European contributor Adam Child had a chance to ride the 2021 model, which will be the 2022 model for the US. He wrote: “Peak power now arrives slightly higher in the rev range, 250 rpm later than before, and the bike has lost a small amount of torque. On a bike with so much tire-shredding grunt, these changes are hardly noticeable.”
Although it is a tall adventure bike, Child related that the KTM has an on-road connection from chassis to Bridgestone A41 tires. Its off-road-friendly rider aids help increase its accessibility.
A 48mm WP Xplor fork and WP Xplor PDS monoshock both provide 8.7 inches of travel. In his review, Child writes: “The WP Xplor suspension is hugely effective, despite the need to be stable at high speed and absorb intense punishment off-road. As expected, there is a lot of suspension movement; you can feel the rear squat under power, and the strong Brembo brakes get the fork diving like a toddler when a car backfires, but the movement has control.… The feedback and control from those excellent Xplor fork allows you to make the most of the Brembo’s strong stopping power.”
Situated with cornering ABS and an off-road-specific ABS mode, the braking system proves it is ready to take on diverse surfaces. The Brembo units are the same as the previous model year: a four-piston radial mount caliper with dual 320mm discs and two-piston Brembo caliper with a 287mm disc. Child reports that stopping power is strong and cornering ABS is excellent.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Child reports the 6.1-gallon fuel tank should provide decent range, around 200 miles.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
The seat height has dropped from the previous 35.0 inches to 34.6 inches and is now narrower between the legs. The windscreen is also smaller and shorter which allows for an unobstructed view when off-road riding, but doesn’t do much at high speeds. The riding position is roomy and since the levers, bars, pegs, and screen are adjustable ergonomics can be fine-tuned. Peg rubber can also be removed for off-road riding.
From the vast 7-inch TFT display riders can tailor and or disengage rider aids which include: cornering and off-road ABS, traction control, motor slip regulation, stability control, cruise control, and rain, street, sport, and off-road ride modes. Keyless ignition also actuates the fuel cap and seat, Child says.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
KTM provides a 12-month warranty for its R models.
Versatile, tech-rich, and now more approachable to a wider range of riders, the updated 1290 Super Adventure R sets a benchmark for its class.
2021/2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Claimed Specifications
|Engine:||1,301cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled LC8 V-twin|
|Bore x Stroke:||108.0 x 71.0mm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Electronic fuel injection w/ 52mm throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate, PASC slipper function; hydraulically actuated|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||Keihin, ride-by-wire|
|Frame:||Chromoly steel trellis|
|Front Suspension:||WP Xplor 48mm inverted fork; fully adjustable; 8.7 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||WP Xplor PDS monoshock; fully adjustable, 8.7 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||4-piston radial-mount Brembo calipers, dual 320mm discs w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||2-piston Brembo caliper, 287mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||21 x 2.5 in. / 18 x 4.25 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Bridgestone A41; 90/90-21 / 150/70-18|
|Wheelbase:||62.1 in. (1,570mm)|
|Ground Clearance:||9.5 in. (242mm)|
|Seat Height:||34.6 in. (880mm)|
|Fuel Capacity:||6.1 gal.|
|Wet Weight:||551 lb.|