1290 Su­per Ad­ven­ture S

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

Power-packed thrill-seeker

KTM and BMW have never hid­den their in­tense ri­valry or am­bi­tion to be Europe’s big­gest bike man­u­fac­turer, so the op­por­tu­nity for the or­angeob­sessed Aus­tri­ans to out GS the GS means that they’ve thrown ev­ery­thing at their new flag­ship Su­per Ad­ven­ture S.

As ad­ven­ture bikes go, it’s a looker: sharp, fo­cused and pur­pose­ful, and that de­sign brief clearly con­tin­ues through to the rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. From the moment you sit on the 1290 Su­per Ad­ven­ture S through to mo­tor­way cruis­ing, tak­ing on fast A-road sweep­ers or ne­go­ti­at­ing sin­gle track lanes the big KTM feels taut and re­spon­sive.

As stan­dard it comes fully loaded – elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable and semi­ac­tive sus­pen­sion, load set­tings to cater for lug­gage and pil­lion, cruise control, quick­shifter and au­to­blip­per for clutch­less down­shifts. It also has a claimed 160bhp on tap, mak­ing it at times feel more out­right sports­bike than laid-back ad­ven­turer – but its pow­er­ful en­gine and mon­ster 103ftlb of torque are rea­son for cel­e­bra­tion.

The 1290 S has grin-in­duc­ing ur­gency in any gear with a top end kick that a sports­bike would have been proud of only a few years ago. Flat out ac­cel­er­a­tion in third or fourth gear sees the trac­tion control and an­ti­wheelie elec­tron­ics forced to work over­time to tame the ex­plo­sive power. The only down­side is that the en­gine

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