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KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
The KTM 1290 SAR is difficult to compare with any other Brobdingnagian bore (1000cc +) adventure motorcycles. The BMW R1200, Honda Africa Twin or Ducati Multistrada all are all exceptional bikes in and of themselves, and yet their heritage comes from a long line of road goers. Their ancestry is flat bitumen. The KTM is a little more bellicose. It’s an off-road maniac wearing a suit. Sure, it can sashay down the highway without a murmur, yet it belongs hurtling across country, scaring the wits out of ramblers and any game-enough pillion passenger.
Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen is thankfully known worldwide as KTM, the creation of Austrian engineer Johann Trunkenpolz and businessman Ernst Kronreif. Within a few years of its formation, the company secured its first 125cc title in the Austrian national championship in 1954. Since 2012, KTM have become first or second every year in the Moto3 Grand Prix.
We wrote earlier this year about the 2015 KTM 1290 and the design is worlds apart. The 1290 has adopted the brash rawness of the 1190, with its massive robotic headlights dominating proceedings. There are of course parallels to its older brother, too. It still notches an astonishing thirty-five more horses than the 2018 GSA. It has a bigger-bored engine, it has more torque and is even a few kilos lighter as well than it’s heavy-hitting German counterpart. We said it for before and we’ll say it again, the cutting-edge computer wizardry and spectacular engine really set this motorcycle apart, offering-up one of the most exciting motorcycle packages around.
Unfortunately, despite a similar opening price tag to the GSA, the bells and whistles aren’t available straight away. You’ll end up re-visiting the shop floor more than once to enable different features. Most come at a cost, as if purchasing the motorcycle itself wasn’t enough. Well it’s lovely that you’ve purchased the brand-new Aston Martin, Mr Bond, yet tyres are an optional extra. It’s not quite that extreme, but as an example, let’s take the quick-shifter. This is sold as standard on the motorcycle, which is quite exceptional. However, it’s disabled. To actually enable it, you have to visit the dealership and have it activated, at the cost of buying a complete quick-shifter system. Perhaps this is the future of motorcycling and automobiles in general, building more products to standard order and activating it only on additional price-gauging. It would be wrong to say this is utter bullshit and KTM should be ashamed of themselves, so we won’t say that. Perhaps the R of its moniker should be more Argggghhh!!!
As a motorcycle though, the 1290 R is exceptionally tough to beat. It’s 1301cc 75° V-twin is smugly good. There is cruise-control of course, heated seats for both rider and passenger, heated grips, traction control that is lean sensitive, cornering headlights and cornering ABS modes. It has the same powder coated, Chromium-Molybdenum steel trellis frame as the 1290 S, which sounds like the same stuff they pump into Wolverine. Instead of an instrument cluster you have a mini-TV screen, a touch of class, and glass, that lets you know you’re not just riding anything here, you’re riding a Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. God knows what it’ll cost if it brakes though.