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HomeZA BikersBiking FeaturesRAD_KTM’s Serial Mile Muncher – The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

RAD_KTM’s Serial Mile Muncher – The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

SUVs have always been a controversial topic amongst motorists for years, why don’t you buy a bakkie or a sports car instead? You can’t have both, they say. Well, I suppose the same can be said about 1000 cc plus Adventure bikes, particularly the more road-biased 19” front wheel guised machines. Adventure motorcycles, much like SUVs, shine in their ability to conquer a wide range of terrain and in comfort for both rider and pillion. If one word could describe an adventure bike it would be “competent”. Sorry, I’m just tired of the word versatile.

The competency is shown in the ease of seamlessly transitioning between asphalt and dirt, which highlights the fusion of performance and versatility. One moment you are tackling potholed city roads, the urban sprawl and in the next blink of an eye you are carving through South Africa’s best twisties with your lady on the back seat, carrying luggage and without feeling like you’re a taxi. It makes getting to the end destination and everything in between that much more enjoyable.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

We have to face it, most adventure motorcycle owners use their bikes as tourers rather than hardcore off-roaders and guess what, that’s exactly what adventure motorcycles were built to do.

To shed some light on this topic, RAD_KTM in Rivonia is currently offering a special on their 1290 Super Adventure S range, with an included “Tech Pack” (worth 21k) and a set of KTM Touratech panniers and top box (worth 31k), all for Katoom’s standard retail price of around R349,999. So, with a special weekend planned for myself and my girlfriend Meredith, we jumped aboard the Super Adventure for a RAD weekend away in Mpumalanga.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Bikers

Unlike the hardcore offroad tests and track tests, the long open road is a test for both who are seated and machine, as comfort and enjoyment for both two-wheeled explorers get put to the ultimate test. With that said, this particular KTM was already giving positive vibes with its adjustable screen, heated grips and seats, adaptive cruise control, semi-active suspension, panniers and top box with comfortable back padding and a demo pipe from Remus for some happy weekend away V-Twin tunes.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Meredith had dibs on the wider left pannier and managed to fit her hiking clothes, shoes, toiletries and a camera bag. On the right side of the ring, I fitted my change of clothes and a few extra bits and bobs, while the top box took a picnic blanket, snacks, on-the-road coffee and a bottle of Graham Beck Cuvée Clive—I’d say we were pretty set for our time away and with space to spare.

The morning woke to 1301 ccs of Austrian brutish LC8, laying comfortably at 75 degrees in what I think is probably one of the best chassis to tour in the fast lane. We hit the road at 8 a.m. letting all 160 horses and 138 Nm loose on every B-road we could find on the way to Millys. From ‘Meri’s’ place in Montana we jumped onto the R104, formally known as Bronkhorstspruit Road where we headed past Silver Lakes Game Reserve and the Rayton turn-off before finally stopping at Balmoral just outside of Bronkies for our first coffee and catchup.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Over a coffee Meri and I chatted about the adaptive cruise control and the semi-active suspension. With the adaptive cruise control, KTM allows you to adjust your following distance—increasing or decreasing the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you with a press of a button. We set it at a reasonable length and felt the deacceleration to be super smooth and acceleration once changing lanes more natural to what we as riders would do, which is accelerate at a good 70% throttle. Adjustable cruise control gets a massive thumbs-up from both of us.

Both Meri and I weigh a good 130 kg combined and with our luggage, the KTM must have been carrying around 150 kg. What the semi-active suspension allows you to do is adjust between different damping modes, such as Comfort, Street, Sport and Auto. The damping between these pre-programmed modes changes drastically. We felt comfort great for smoother highway stints, street to be a good all-rounder and sport fantastic for when the road gets twisty and speeds get a little higher. Auto was a bit of a head-scratcher for me and with my stubborn brain, I just preferred selecting the pre-programmed modes instead.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The Tech Pack on our test bike also unlocks the Suspension Pro package and what this does is allow the rider to adjust the preload via the TFT to suit your riding preference or to better suit the added weight of the pillion and luggage. I never like dialling anything to its lowest or highest setting, but I did find 80% and 90% preload to work extremely well for our ride, tailoring the comfort and agility to both mine and Meredith’s preferences—it also worked hand in hand with the pre-programmed damping modes. I also for the first time enjoyed the anti-dive feature, which helped stiffen up the forks under braking and when shifting briskly through the gears. Once again, four thumbs up!

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

After “nerding out” together over a coffee we picked up the pace, turning onto the R555 which is a bumpy backroad running past eMalahleni and the Olifants River on the way to Middelburg. After Middelburg, we joined the N4 highway for our first proper highway stint riding past the famous Alzu animal spotting before rolling into Milly’s Trout Store at 10 a.m. for breakfast. Over breakfast and after a quick 240 km we were fresh as can be and ready for our trip up to Kaapschehoop for a hike and early dinner.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The ride from Milly’s is where the fun and games begin, especially for those who love sweeping high-speed corners. The Damping was left on sport mode allowing Meri and I to flow through the sweepers all the way down in no time to the Ngodwana mill before turning up the tighter route which snakes its way up to the lovely Kaapschehoop.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Rolling into Kaapschehoop at 12 a.m., saw us kit up for a 3.2 km hike up to the popular viewpoint which looks out over the rolling hills of Mpumalanga, almost like a bird’s eye view. Just perfect I thought, enough to go on one knee to ask Meredith if she’d like to update her relationship status from girlfriend to Fiancé. Needless to say, she said, yes. We then headed back down for an early dinner celebration at Bohemian Groove Café.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Proposal aside, it is short trips like these that we as motorcyclists want to share with our significant other in a reasonable amount of comfort to enhance the experience, but without sacrificing the exhilarating performance we as petrolheads enjoy. As the sun started to set the horses started to pop up like lost but tame dogs as this little quaint town started to settle into the night. It’s memories like these that we two-wheeled lovers want to relive and experience anytime we can and it’s with motorcycles like the 1290 Super Adventure S where these memories are made easier and that much more memorable.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Bikers

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure S exhibits a remarkable duality that mirrors the adaptability of an SUV. The engineering marvels that underpin the Super Adventure enable riders and pillions to just enjoy all aspects of adventure touring while leaving a lot of the underpinnings to the KTM’s amazing electronics package. As we speak RAD_KTM’s offering is unmatched anywhere and offers the ultimate performance and touring bang for buck in its class. So, make a turn, forget about the “R” that you might take off-road once a year and take the wife out with you on a test ride on RAD’s demo. I promise you now, it won’t disappoint.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers
Bjorn Moreira
Bjorn Moreira
My name is Bjorn Moreira (Senior Editor at ZA Lifestyle) and I always long for the next adventure. Why yes this may be a problem, but I’m what you call a #LIFEAHOLIC which I have been since my very first breath. My passion leads me to enjoy capturing memories on camera, riding motorcycles, cycling and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
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