Long-Term KTM 1290 Super Adventure Hard Luggage and Top Case

116 liters of storage space for the KTM Super A!

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The Jesse hard bags open across the top to reveal scads of storage capacity. The 8-inch Odyssey II bags carry 44 liters on the left and 35 on the right.©Motorcyclist

WRIST: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2015): $20,499
MILES: 9,687
MPG: 36
MODS: Jesse hard bags, Trax top case

In my last update KTM 1290 Super Adventure I raved over the adventure bike's superiority as a commuter, with a special shout-out about the utility benefits of hard luggage. There is one situation, however, where that benefit can quickly become a liability: when you're splitting lanes or trying to slip through other tight urban situations. I hardly need to make that caveat about this Super Adventure, however, since Editor in Chief Cook already mitigated that potential problem before the bike even made it my way.

KTM's factory bags have many redeeming features, but slimness is not one of them. Replacing these with a pair of Jesse 8-inch Odyssey II bags (a wider, 10-inch version is also available) reduced overall vehicle width by a not-insubstantial 4.5 inches and, thanks to the Jesse's extra-tall shape, still increased carrying capacity by 2 liters on the left and 4 liters on the right (jesseluggage.com; $980 for the bags, plus $300 for the mounts).

hard cases for ktm 1290 super adventure
Trax’s 37-liter top box mounts to a sturdy SW-Motech rack made for the Super A. Love the box, but it would be better if you didn’t have to use the key every time you open the lid.©Motorcyclist

Al Jesse has been making expedition-grade hard bags since 1993, some of the most rugged kit out there. Made from 2mm-thick 5052 aluminum, assembled with all-metal hinges and latches (the latter lockable), and mounted to an all-steel double-loop rack that lets the bags slide 5 inches horizontally, moving the load closer to the front when you’re not carrying a passenger but offering better access to the footpegs when you are, the quick-detach Jesse bags are smartly designed. But my absolute favorite part is the textured powdercoat finish that looks just like the Thermos-brand lunchbox my grandfather carried to the paper mill back in the ‘70s.

In his typical OCD fashion, Cook binned the supplied hardware and mixed and matched his own aluminum spacers to locate the bags as close to center and symmetrically as possible. Cook and I both appreciate that the Jesse bags are top hinged for easy loading and unloading, but we’d prefer a single latch. (None of these kinds of bags has that, though, so we’re not complaining too loudly.) In a few solid months of daily riding the Jesse cases have proven completely waterproof if not bombproof—this is really good stuff.

Cook also installed the Trax Evo Alu-Box top case from SW-Motech, (twistedthrottle.com; $414 plus $140 top rack), which adds another 38 liters of lockable storage space—more than enough room for my tall-and-long Arai XD-4 helmet when I run into the office each day.

long-term ktm 1290 super adventure mods
Fully configured, the Super A now drags a whopping 116 liters (more than 30 gallons!) of storage space behind the monster V-twin and nearly 8 gallons of gas.©Motorcyclist

It works just like a good trunk should, plus it’s well built, sturdy, doesn’t rattle or move around on the mounts and comes on/off in about two seconds just by turning a key and flipping a latch. The only real bother is the key remains captured in the lock when the latch is open, so if all your keys are on the same ring you can’t leave the trunk open and use your keys to, say, unlock your saddlebags or warm up the bike. I guess I could put the trunk key on a separate ring, but that’s annoying. Convenience counts more when you rely on your bike for daily transportation, after all.

long-term ktm 1290 super adventure mods
Fully configured, the Super A now drags a whopping 116 liters (more than 30 gallons!) of storage space behind the monster V-twin and nearly 8 gallons of gas.©Motorcyclist
hard cases for ktm 1290 super adventure
Trax’s 37-liter top box mounts to a sturdy SW-Motech rack made for the Super A. Love the box, but it would be better if you didn’t have to use the key every time you open the lid.©Motorcyclist
ADV mods
The Jesse hard bags open across the top to reveal scads of storage capacity. The 8-inch Odyssey II bags carry 44 liters on the left and 35 on the right.©Motorcyclist