adventure motorcycles

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S: A Detailed Review of Specs and Performance

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S: A Detailed Review of Specs and Performance

2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Photo Credit: KTM

1. Detailed Specs: 2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Basic Info
Maker KTM
Model 1290 Super Adventure S
Year Model 2023
Launched in 2015
Production Status Still in Production
Award Received Best Adventure Bike of 2015
Awarded By Cycle World
Color Option Triple-Tone (White, Blue, and Orange)
Cost $20,299
Displacement 1,301 cc
Type Four-Stroke, Dual-Cylinder, 75° V-Twin Engine
Engine Cooling Liquid-Cooled
Peak Horsepower 158.24 hp at 9,000 rpm
Peak Torque 138 Nm at 6,500 rpm
Bore 108 mm
Stroke 71 mm
Compression Ratio 13.1:1
Starter Electric
Fuel Economy 41.3 mpg
Fuel Delivery 52 mm Dual Throttle Bodies
Emission Euro 5
Transmission Six-Speed
Final Drive Chain Drive
Clutch Hydraulically-Actuated, PASC Assist & Slipper Clutch
Frame Powder-Coated Chrome-Moly Tubular Space Frame
Front Brake 320 mm Dual Discs Brembo Brakes with Radially-Mounted Caliper and Four Pistons
Rear Brake 267 mm Single Disc Brembo Brake with Two Pistons and Fixed Caliper
ABS Bosch 10.3ME Combined Off-Road Mode and Cornering ABS
Front Suspension Rebound, Compression, Preload-Adjustable 48 mm WP XPLOR-USD Front Fork
Wheel Travel 8.7 in (220 mm)
Rear Suspension Hydraulic Preload-Adjustable WP Xplor PDS Rear Shock Absorber
Wheel Travel 8.7 in (220 mm)
Wheels and Tires
Tires Front: 90/90 21 Rear: 150/70 ZR 18
Wheel Type Wire-Spoked Wheels with Forged Aluminum Rims
Wheel Size Front: 2.5 x 21 Rear: 4.25 x 18
Seat Height 34.6 in (880 mm)
Ground Clearance 9.5 in (242 mm)
Wheelbase 62.1 in (1,578 mm)
Dry Weight 487.2 lbs (221 kg)
Fuel Tank Capacity 6.1 gal
Steering Head Angle 64.7°
Trail 4.4 in (112 mm)

2. Variants

T Model The company made changes to the motorcycle in 2017 and named it the KTM 1290 Super Adventure T.
R Model The Adventure R was specifically designed for extreme off-roading with a large front wheel.
S Model The Adventure S is also a high-performance adventure bike with slightly better on-road touring performance.

3. Brief Overview

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is the best and the class-leading adventure motorcycle in the heavyweight class. Its flawless characteristics, performance, and qualities make it stand out from the rest of the adventure bikes in the heavyweight category.

You can certainly use this bike on pretty much every landscape without failure. In case you are a genuine bike lover, passionate about touring, eager to make a personal style statement cool, and a fan of high-speed performance, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a more ideal adventure bike than the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S. It performs like a sports bike, maneuvers like a naked bike, and also has tremendous off-roading capability, making it an excellent all-rounder motorcycle by KTM.

Continue reading this article to learn about the detailed specs and performance of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S.

4. Engine and Performance

Impressive Horsepower and Torque

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is engineered for extreme adventure riding, thanks to its 1,301 LC8 75° V-Twin power plant, which produces an enormous horsepower of 158.24 hp at 9,000 rpm.

Its ability to generate a 138 Nm torque at 6,500 rpm helps you overcome challenging terrains that may look impossible to maneuver. You can confidently take the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S on gravel roads, dirt trails, uphill, mountains, and rocky paths.

What makes the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S different from the rest is the way it produces tremendous horsepower and torque, making it one of the most nimble and agile motorcycles in its category.

Engine Cooling

The cooling system installed on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is one of the most efficient ones found on a modern adventure bike. The liquid-cooled engine comes with a split-style two-piece radiator, effectively dissipating hot air to protect riders’ legs from burning on hot days.

Not a Beginner-Friendly Motorcycle

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S must be handled with care, especially if you lack adequate command and experience in riding a heavyweight motorcycle.

The 2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is by no means a beginner’s motorcycle. It offers a wide powerband that is readily accessible to the rider for almost all kinds of adventures.

High-Speed Sporty Performance

Being an adventure tourer, you may never get the chance to ride this motorcycle while opening the full throttle. However, if you plan to ride the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S on a straight and open road, you will come to know how incredibly fast this motorcycle can go.

5. Seat Comfort

The best thing about the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is its agreeable seat height and seat comfort, which give definitive support on continuous long-haul touring. The motorcycle’s seat is well-padded and accompanies an adjustable profile to suit the rider’s height and preferences.

6. Suspension and Ride Quality

Electronically-Adjustable Suspensions

The top-notch component of the KTM 1290 Super Experience S is the electronically customizable front forks and the preload-flexible back shock. The innovation of the suspension technology of this motorbike guarantees appropriate comfort and a customizable riding experience contingent upon the type of terrain you are riding on.

Customizable Suspension Settings

By changing the suspension settings, you can make them either softer for off-road adventures or firmer depending on your preferences. The rider can easily select between different levels of suspension settings on the screen display to make the ride more suitable for either sports or rally performance.


The electronically adjustable suspensions also feature an anti-dive system to make turning corners and emergency braking easier and safer.

7. Safety Riding Aids and Electronics

Tech Package
ABS Standard
Traction Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Automatic Turn Indicator Reset (ATIR)
Off-Road Ride Mode
Specialized Off-Road Traction Control
Cruise Control
TFT Color Display Screen 7-Inch, Adjustable Screen
Bluetooth Connectivity
Call Answering
Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Phone Mount with USB Socket
Motorcycle Stability Control
Ride Modes
Wind Screen Mechanically-Adjustable
Hand Guards

8. Handling and Maneuverability

Handling and Maneuverability
Photo Credit: Asphalt & Rubber

The low-slung gas tank plays a key role in ensuring the outstanding maneuverability and cornering capability of this motorcycle. The low-slung mounting position also provides a low center of gravity, providing a top-end advantage for such a versatile motorcycle.

It would not have been possible to make the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S highly maneuverable and adventurous without ensuring a low center of gravity. The overall weight is centered low in this motorcycle, thanks to the low-slung fuel tank. The low center of gravity is achieved without compromising ground clearance. The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S’ belly is 9.5 above the ground, ensuring safer operation while maneuvering obstacles.

9. Look

If you don’t see the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S up close, you may fail to judge what style of motorcycle it is. This motorcycle is built beautifully around the chrome-moly tubular space frame with a large 6.1 gal three-piece gas tank that sits lower, ensuring a lower-to-ground mass distribution. Despite being a true adventure bike in every sense, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure gives an authentic sporty vibe with its aggressive styling and high-speed sports performance.

10. Ups & Downs

Ups & Downs: KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Ups Downs
  • Impressive power output
  • Low center of gravity
  • Adequate fuel economy
  • High maneuverability
  • High flickability
  • Good all-round performance
  • Adjustable windscreen height
  • High versatility
  • Technologically advanced
  • Ensures high comfort level
  • Sports-oriented performance
  • Adjustable suspension settings
  • Better heat management
  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Taller seat height
  • Not good for shorter riders
  • Heavyweight

11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

11.1 Does the KTM 1290 Adventure S Have Riding Modes?

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S: Ride Modes
Off-Road The Off-road Mode is well-suited for riding on dirt trails and gravel paths as it restricts the engine power and allows the rear wheel to skid a bit, enhancing maneuverability and traction.
Rally  The Rally Mode is the most exciting ride mode for extreme off-roading and adventures.
Sports  The Sports Mode is good for high-performance riding. Switching to the sports mode allows riders to access full engine power when the throttle is engaged.
Rain  The Rain Mode provides the most suitable amount of traction and intervention of ABS when you are riding in the rain to ensure a safe riding experience.
Street  The Street Mode is good for traveling within the city and for stop-and-go riding conditions.

11.2 What is Adaptive Cruise Control on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S?

The cruise control on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is designed differently, which makes it a motorcycle of the future. The adaptive cruise control sets a high standard of motorcycle touring performance on open roads and highways where you can go at a constant pace. Unlike other motorcycles with cruise control, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S’s adaptive cruise control not only allows you to ride at a constant speed without the need to engage the throttle, it also helps you be safe by monitoring the distance from the vehicle in front and slowing down without the rider intervening to take control. When changing lanes, the adaptive cruise control lets the motorcycle pick the pace again.

11.3 What Makes the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S an Impressive Off-Road Bike?

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S becomes a different motorcycle when you switch from a paved road to rough terrain, thanks to the dedicated off-road features. The special rally riding mode, adjustable suspension setting, off-road traction control, and off-road ABS intervention help provide the required traction, boosting its off-road performance.

12. The Bottom Line

If you are an experienced rider looking for a high-end, high-performance adventure bike ideal for both on- and off-roading, you should look for no other motorcycle than the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. It is reliable, agile, nimble, technologically advanced, and relatively affordable than most of its competitors. The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S provides good value for the money as it comes with almost every feature that will keep you entertained for years without the need to change this motorcycle. You can comfortably take this motorcycle for dirt riding, extreme off-roading, long-distance touring, and even road racing. Every engine part and tech feature of this motorcycle is built to provide you with maximum performance, comfort, and an enjoyable riding experience.

Adventure bikes like the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S are also geared to perform incredibly well for highway cruising and long-distance touring due to their road-oriented performance and features. For a better storage and touring experience, you can install side cases on your adventure bike. Viking Bags offer aluminum-body adventure touring side cases specially designed for the Harley Davidson Pan America and the Triumph Tiger 1200.

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