1290 Super Adventure S
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