New Long-Term Test: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Fresh Meat: Let the adventure begin!

Somewhere under that white plastic expanse lurks the heart of a Super Duke!©Motorcyclist

WRIST: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2015): $20,499
MILES: 7,651 MPG: 40
MODS: Continental TKC 70s

I was originally slated to take a Suzuki GSX-S1000 for my next long-term project, and all that Gixxer horsepower plus an "aggressively upright" riding position had this halfway-to-80, ex-superbike junkie all but salivating. Then the inevitable bike availability issues arose and, with a few quick snaps of the Editor in Chief's fingers, a real old man's bike—this KTM 1290 Super Adventure—was shuffled my way instead.

I know. Boo-hoo. Besides, somewhere under that white plastic expanse lurks the heart of a Super Duke! And there was a certain editorial logic to my shuttling Sir Super A through the next year of service. My last long-termer was a BMW R1200GS—the Super Adventure's only known natural predator—so who better to wax poetic on the pertinent differences between the granddaddy GS and this 135-hp (at the rear wheel) Austrian upstart?

Savvy readers already noticed all those miles on the clock—more than 7,600, to be precise. Not only was this unit a main player in the "Adventure in Luxury" comparison test (see MC Comparo: BMW R1200GS Adventure vs. KTM 1290 Super Adventure from our August issue), but it was also the Chief's personal commuting vessel for a few weeks before it was drafted onto the long-term team. (It was Cook who replaced stock wide-load luggage with a more commuter-friendly combination of Jesse sidecases and an Trax trunk, to be discussed in an upcoming installment.) Then it went on a rambling, weeklong, 3,000-mile road trip from SoCal to my Milwaukee home under the watchful wrist of Twisted Throttle owner Erik Stephens—his reflections we'll likewise feature later.


That cross-continent trip left the Super A with worn Continental TrailAttack 2 tires and a service light showing. Dan Luchon at my local KTM dealer Southeast Sales performed the 15,000-kilometer service, refreshing the fluids and also replacing the air filter with a reusable, grease-sealed DNA element ($125) at KTM’s request. This may have been unnecessary, Luchon reports. Although 1190 Adventure airbox-sealing woes are well documented on the Internet, the inside of my airbox was spotless, Luchon said.

Clean, well-lubed, and ready to roll on fresh Continental TKC 70s, the Super A is ready to begin ticking off more miles. A new day job for me means I’m now a commuter—after 15 years of working from home—so I’ll look forward to scrutinizing the utility of Cook’s luggage solution and also enjoying the SA’s features, including heated grips and saddle as the mercury begins to drop. You’ll read all about that soon enough.