KTM had arranged a day of demonstration rides of their KTM 1290 Super Adventure S - from Loomies cafe - on Saturday 17th July.
I rode out to Loomies on Ariel, on a hot late morning, glad that I was wearing my mesh jacket, which once moving - does a great job of keeping me cool, letting the cooling breeze through. Loomies was packed - always the case on a sunny day, but particularly due to the fact that KTM had taken over a good chunk of the parking area!
For our 12.15pm timeslot, I was one of about seven pre-booked test riders. We were introduced to the bike: KTM 1290 Super Adventure S & told about its abilities & impressive electronics package that included Adaptive Cruise Control and Semi-active Suspension.
We spent around an hour in the saddle & covered 30+ miles, in speeds from stuck in traffic (it was a very busy Saturday!) to motorway speeds. The route was roughly Loomies, Bramdean, Winchester, Twyford, Bishops Waltham, back to Loomies.
So what was the bike like? I was hoping that I'd like it. We miss Holly my Crosstourer, & her ability to endlessly tour two up, with all the luggage. As much as I love Ariel my wonderful CB1000R+: two up (pillion) isn't great, and just forget luggage! It really would be fab to have a bike to tour on as well as Ariel the CB. Sadly although this bike is significantly more powerful then the Honda Crosstourer (134bhp for the Honda, 160bhp for the KTM), and there is a whole load of good stuff on the KTM, It wasn't a bike that would work for me. My notes:
Brilliant electronics package
Fantastic easy to read TFT display
Easy to adjust windscreen
Great suspension, comfy ride
Weight is kept low using two low fuel tanks
Keyless start & fuel cap
Easy to access phone / glasses cubby
Pronounced vibrations above 4k RPM (engine redlines @ 10k RPM)
Mirrors are blurry due to the vibes
Lots of buttons & functions to learn
Electronics: too much / what happens when they fail
The vibes come from the powerful V Twin engine, and I just couldn't face days in the saddle having my fillings shaken out. Also, electronics, modes & gizmos, etc - don't do anything for me on a motorbike. I want to be & feel engaged. Much of the electronics nowadays makes me feel that the rider ends up as a passenger. Also, what happens when they break...
Alternative view: here is a great video review of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S by the good people at Knox. They put it though it's paces on & off road & genuinely seem to like it. Maybe it's just me then...