2014 KTM 1290 Adventure | Spied!

New BMW GS Rival Spotted Testing

WORDS: Ben Purvis

KTM’s product plan for the next few years, inadvertently leaked at a recent dealer meeting, listed not one but two new large-displacement enduro models that will carry the Adventure nameplate. The first, dubbed the 1090 Adventure R, is expected to appear in late 2012 as a 2013 model. This will essentially be a stop-gap model based on the existing 990, with increased displacement, higher-spec components and updated styling. The second new bike, called the 1290 Adventure, is due one year later as a 2014 model. The bike you see here, which appears entirely unrelated to the existing production model, is thought to be that machine.

This spy photo reveals a few key differences. The engine is not based on the LC8 that presently powers the 990 Adventure. Instead, the castings appear the same as the dry-sump, DOHC V-twin from the RC8 superbike, which makes a stout 173 horsepower. This motor will undoubtedly be “retuned” for ADV duty, but it still should make enough power to give Ducati’s 150-bhp Multistrada 1200 fits, to say nothing of BMW’s forthcoming 130-bhp, water-cooled Boxer.

The new KTM will almost certainly undercut its rivals in terms of weight. The existing 990 Adventure is as much as 110 lbs. lighter than competing bikes, and despite the added displacement this new machine will likely be lighter still—keeping with KTM’s light-is-right philosophy that makes its adventure bikes closer to supersized supercrossers than jacked-up touring bikes. That isn’t to suggest this machine won’t incorporate sophisticated electronics such as traction control and ABS that have increasingly become mandatory in this category—an observation bolstered by the fact that there’s sophisticated data-logging equipment mounted on the tail of this prototype.

The remaining features show continuity with KTM’s current offerings. Off-road-appropriate wire-spoke wheels in 21-inch front and 18-inch rear diameters remain, along with lightweight, versatile chain drive instead of a shaft like the more road-biased competition. The “webbed” swingarm is reminiscent of the Duke 690, and radial-mounted brake calipers are another upgrade.