Arriving Soon: The New KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

Photo credit: KTM Austria

The dust has barely settled on the reveal of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S, and KTM have already followed it up with something even juicier: the 1290 Super Adventure R. Not only is it dressed in a hot new livery, but it’s loaded with dirt worthy upgrades, too.

The Super Adventure R shares the same base as the S model, including its revised chassis, motor and electronics package. So it uses the same Euro-5 compliant V-twin LC8 motor, pumping out 160 hp and 138 Nm of torque. (We’ve covered the updates to the 2021 Super Adventure 1290 in detail, here.)

Photo credit: KTM Austria

But park the R and S models back to back, and subtle differences start to show. A shorter screen, one piece seat, spoked wheels, higher seat height and flashy paint job all enhance the sporty and dirt-worthiness of the R.

So if the 1290 Super Adventure S is the ultimate adventure tourer, what does that make the Super Adventure R?

Photo credit: KTM Austria

I’m going to start off by saying: this new livery is a banger! The subtle white highlights on the R give it a slimmer look, while the blue on the tank and the orange crash bars remind me of the 990 Adventure R Dakar Edition—a true legend. The new look blows the previous gen’s out off the water, and truly sets the R apart, visually.

Since the R is aimed at hardcore riders, KTM have ditched the semi-active system on the S in favour of fully-adjustable WP Suspension components, reworked for the 2021 model. The fully adjustable 48 mm front forks and PDS rear shock have 220 mm of travel, with the forks featuring split damping functions—allowing you to adjust settings quickly with a twist of a dial.

Photo credit: KTM Austria

The R is fitted with Bridgestone rubber, wrapped around ALPINA aluminium spoked wheels, which can be run tubeless. Stopping the beast is made easier by four-piston radial-mounted Brembo callipers, and lean angle sensitive cornering ABS and Off-road ABS.

Just like on the S, the subframe is marginally lower compared to its predecessor to accommodate shorter riders. But the R is slightly taller than the S, with a seat height of 880 mm. The height increase on the R is due to the single piece sporty stepped seat, which is slimmer, but still offers handy storage space underneath.

Photo credit: KTM Austria

Another awesome feature for hardcore adventurers is the reworked air box. You can now inspect and change your air filter in no time at all, by simply removing four screws. With 15,000 km service intervals, a 5.7 l / 100 km fuel consumption figure and a 23 l tank, KTM certainly has long hauls in mind.

The R also benefits from the same remodelled optional software package as the S, with the ‘Rally Pack’ offering a RALLY riding mode, MTC slip adjuster and adjustable throttle response. The ‘Tech Pack’ gets you all the features of the ‘Rally’ pack, plus Quickshifter+ shift functionality, motor slip regulation, hill hold control and an adaptive brake light feature.

Photo credit: KTM Austria

When it comes to building anything with an R attached to the model name, KTM are in their element, and they’ve outdone themselves here.

Photo credit: KTM Austria

The new generation KTM 1290 Super Adventure R and S will be available at KTM dealers internationally from March 2021 and at a base price of R314,999. Trying to pick between the R and S? I’d say pick the S if you do the odd dirt road and enjoy sporty touring, but opt for the R if you’re looking for a big adventure tourer that’s ready to get rowdy.

For more information visit: www.ktm.com

Photo credit: KTM Austria