KTM’s new Adventure Range breaks new ground. Article and Photos: Johann van Tonder

KTM’s new Adventure Range breaks new ground.  Article and Photos: Johann van Tonder

160 HP in an adventure bike is too much….said NO KTM rider, EVER!


So that’s just what we got when we attended the launch of the new KTM Adventure Range at the Arabella Spa and Lodge in Hermanus. KTM was launching their new adventure models, the 1090 Adventure, 1090 Adventure R, 1290 Super Adventure S and the 1290 Super Adventure R, four brand new models, each with it’s own target market and function in mind. And don’t be fooled. The model range does not follow the capacity or price graph, but rather how off-road capable the specific model is.

On the most road biased side we have the 1090 Adventure which will tackle the gravel with most adventure bikes out there, but as the 19” front wheel suggests, this is more of a Dual Sport bike than an out-and-out adventure bike, happy on both tar and gravel roads. The same can be said for the model next up. Also equipped with a 19” front the 1290 Super Adventure S offers more power, more technology and more carrying capacity than it’s smaller sibling, ideal for adventure touring with the best big adventure bikes other brands can offer, albeit with more more power (160hp/118kW; 140Nm) and probably at a faster pace.


The other two models are for the hard core Adventure biker. Designed not just for bad roads but indeed off-road are the R-models. It’s seems crazy to think that big behemoths like these can indeed be taken OFF ROAD, but that is indeed the case. The third model in line-up is the 1290 Super Adventure R equipped with bigger wheels (21” front and 18” rear) than the S, better ground clearance (250mm) and extra electronic wizardry. Designed for Adventure the 1290 Super Adventure R is not only the most powerful, but certainly one of the most capable big Adventure Bikes out there. What in the litre-plus class could be better equipped for off-road use than this? Well, the 1090 Adventure R! Indeed, this is KTM’s flagship when it comes to litre-plus Adventure Bikes and we were shown why. It’s smaller and lighter and in the right hands this bike will tackle any terrain, at speed, ride up koppies next to the road, laugh at sand, stones and ditches and it will do so all day long. Not only was this expertly demonstrated by the three celebrity attendees, our own Alfie Cox, Sam Sunderland, recent Dakar winner, and Joey Evans, the Para to Dakar man (Google him if you don’t know his story!), but the point was emphasized when us normal mortals piloted these bikes over pretty rough terrain while the KTM’s soaked it all up.


This is but a brief overview of the new adventure range but we look forward to reporting more in-depth about each of these amazing machines in future editions. The new KTM Adventure Range breaks new ground when it comes to Adventure Biking and in true KTM style, it’s always full throttle! Too much power is just enough…