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KTM Reveals New 1290 Super Adventure R For 2021

Not to be outdone by yesterday's announcement from Harley-Davidson, adventure stalwarts KTM have revealed their latest 1290 Super Adventure R which looks set to take pride of place at the top of the heavyweight adventure pile once again.

"Engineered to cross the wildest and most challenging terrain, this motorcycle has the capacity to take adventurers anywhere," is what KTM are saying about the latest Super Adventure to break cover with the new R model scoring a similar set of updates to the S model but without the active cruise control that headlined its road focussed sibling's reveal last month.

“For KTM, ‘R’ stands for ‘Rally’ and ‘Racing’ so with the new KTM 1290 Super Adventure R we really feel in our element," says KTM's product manager, Joachim Sauer.

"Adopting all the great benefits of the recently launched S model, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is here to set new standards of all-terrain performance. With this new offroad powerhouse we wanted even more rideability and to achieve it, we looked into rider-focused ergonomics and improved suspension performance. The new bike also offers a big step forward in terms of weight distribution and riding agility. Making gains with the overall performance of our LC8, we were also able to give the 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R innovative technical features. If some of the best moments of adventuring come about by

discovering the unknown, with this bike riders could not have a better tool for the job.”

Like the S version, the new 1290 Super Adventure R gets all-new bodywork to provide better rider ergonomics while also allowing the bike to hold the fuel in the tank as low as possible. The result of this is meant to be both a lower centre of gravity as well as a more agile bike.

The steering head has also been moved back by 15 mm, re-locating the front section of the engine and introducing a slightly longer new diecast open-lattice swingarm for a greater depth of feeling under acceleration. KTM says its engineers have analyzed and trimmed every centimetre of the new bodywork in order to provide the right thickness and the optimal rider-bike contact. As they say, these bikes are ”Ready to Race”.

Like the chassis, the subframe has also been redesigned and is topped with a sporty stepped seat which is tall at 880 mm bit this should be offset somewhat by the seat’s slim dimensions.

As always WP has provided top-notch suspension for the R model, with the fully-adjustable 48 mm front forks featuring an impressive 220 mm of travel as well as split damping functions and quick adjustment with a twist of the respective dials. The same travel measurement can be found in the back with the WP PDS shock.

The engine has also received an update and is now not only Euro 5-ready but is also now 1.6 kg lighter. Claimed power is 160 hp at 9,000 rpm and 138 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm for the best power-to-weight offering in the segment.

KTM says they have combed through the internals of the V-Twin powerplant to improve heat dissipation and shave grams in the quest for improved rideability.

With a lot of effort going towards optimizing the air flow through the bike, the 2021 1290 Super Adventure R features two separate radiators instead of the one-piece unit of its predecessor. With redesigned air ducts, the amount of hot air streaming towards the rider´s legs has been significantly reduced and the difference becomes easily noticeable in the slow, tight sections.

In a useful move, KTM reworked the airbox so riders can now easily access the air filter by simply removing four screws. The filter itself now features vertical ribs, instead of horizontal, which helps direct dust or sand towards the bottom of the airbox. Overall, a better design for hardcore adventurers.

Some additional engine updates include lighter engine cases, new pistons, improved shifting, altered coatings and easier filter access and a re-jigged two-header exhaust unit, with the updated package making the LC8 flighty, more reliable and more dependable for all types of trail.

Service intervals are 15,000 km with fuel consumption at a claimed 5.7 l / 100 km. Together with PANKL, KTM has also reworked the gearbox shifting mechanism for faster, lighter and more responsive actions. The full force of this update can be felt through the optional Quickshifter+, which now has a faster and even more precise operation.

Technology-wise the Super Adventure R gets the latest IMU-based electronic aids but misses out on the adaptive cruise control system the S model gained this year.

The new 6-axis lean angle sensor filters information on the exact pitch and position of the bike and its behaviour. This is used by the Motorcycle Traction Control, Motor Slip Regulation, Motorcycle Stability Control and forces of Offroad ABS to help keep the rider moving as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Unlike other brands, KTM has ensured that all the rider aids can be tweaked or disengaged which will come as a relief to many.

Alongside the standards Rain, Street, Sport and Offroad ride modes, KTM also offers an optional Rally mode which permits riders to set throttle response to aggressive and select one of nine different levels of wheel spin.

All the electronics are controlled through an all-new and according to KTM, more use-friendly 7’’ TFT dash, which is hooked to a new Connectivity Unit which allows the bike to connect to the rider's phone if it is running the KTM My Ride app.

Other features include keyless ignition, separate Tire Pressure Monitor system sensors that provide more detailed customisation and four piston radial mounted Brembo callipers bring the whole show to a stop. The windshield, the levers, the pegs and the handlebars all are adjustable to further enhance rider adaptability.

As is the case with its S model counterpart, the new KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R benefits from a remodelled optional software package policy. With the Rally Pack offering the RALLY riding mode, the MTC slip adjuster and the adjustable throttle response, the all-in-one Tech Pack includes the Quickshifter+, the Motor Slip Regulation, the Hill Hold Control, the adaptive brake light and all the features of the Rally Pack.

The new KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is expected to arrive in New Zealand from May with a price of $34,899 plus on road costs.


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