It's been a long time since I last rode a large KTM, it was an 1190 Adventure R at the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC in Birmingham in 2014. This time it would be the 1290 Super Adventure S at the KTM Orange Days event held at Moto Sport Carreres in Crevillente.
Having sat on the 1290 at a couple of bike shows I knew it was tall, as the 1190 had been, however, bike show stands give the wrong impression in many cases as the bikes are perfectly upright often with the wheels slightly off the ground.
Approaching my bike for the ride out it didn't seem that tall to me, sat on its side stand until I threw my leg over it. It is a tall bike as many are from the Austrian manufacturer, it's not too bad for me, however, at around 6" tall I could get the balls of both feet on the ground with ease. A greasy garage forecourt with a pillion and luggage may be an issue without practice but today would be fine.
Before heading out from the dealers I was given a run-down of the controls and the different riding modes to try, which you can change whilst riding. A simple selection process on the large TFT display using the left bar mounted controls is all it takes. Once you have selected the mode you would like to change to, simply close the throttle and re-apply and the bike does the rest. With a little practice, it would become second nature, even on the move.
Talking of the TFT screen I was a little concerned that it would be next to useless in the bright Spanish sunshine. To test this I positioned the bike so the screen would take the full glare of the morning sun then angled it to the worst position, it's adjustable and took a picture catching as much glare as possible from my camera lens. As you can see below, even in the worst conditions that I could create it is still perfectly readable.
After adjusting the screen to a mid position and accustomising myself with the controls I set the bike into Sport mode and set off for the hills.
Straight out of the blocks the big KTM impressed with its manners, out of the dealers around the roundabout and away following the small group of test riders. One junction and a roundabout later and we were heading upwards along the N326 from Crevillente towards Aspe. The road is a twisting turning playground for sports bikes with the occasional tighter turn to watch for. The 1290 soaked it all up, without blinking tight corners, long sweepers all were handled uneventfully despite pushing on at a good rate.
All too soon we were at the turn around point and stopped for a few minutes to allow people to make adjustments and talk a little about our choices. I took the opportunity to have a look through the riding modes again deciding to once again set off in Sport and change to street part way back. The display on my bike was set up in Spanish as you would expect which took a little bit more to navigate but it can be changed to a number of other languages including English.
Setting off again at a brisk pace the Adventure S accelerates really well with the digits on the display clocking up faster than you can read them, as it should with a 160bhp motor. After a kilometre or two I switched the mode from Sport to Street, which softened everything down a little, the WP semi-active suspension seemed more compliant and the throttle response had lost its sharp edge and everything seemed less frantic. It had turned from a tall sports bike to a sports tourer at the flick of a switch.
The journey back was taken at a slower pace to assess the touring potential of the machine, the screen is easy to adjust, the weather protection appears good, without a sudden downpour it's difficult to gauge.
There is a waterproof case with USB charge point for your mobile phone, keyless ignition, lean angle sensitive ABS, cornering LED lights and a whole host of other features to make the journey as safe and comfortable as possible. When you finally get to where you are going, you can flick the switch back to Sport and enjoy the sharp handling and performance of the bike.
The other two modes are Off-road and Comfort which I didn't try, you also have the choice of rider, rider with pillion, rider with luggage, rider and pillion with luggage and have the option to customise all of the settings to suit you.
All in all, it was a great bike to ride which I would love to take on a weekend or weeks adventure, which it would handle with ease.
Thanks to Moto Sport Carreres for the oppertunity.