Wednesday, 14 May 2014

2014 Test Ride Part 2 - Fun With KTM

Test Ride Part 2 – Fun With KTM

In January I had the opportunity to ride the new KTM 1190 Adventure thanks to my local dealer, Spunky’s Motorcycles and the local KTM Canada rep who left the motorcycle at Spunky’s for a few days.  At the end of April I was able to join KTM Canada on one of their test days and take the 1190 Adventure R for a spin.  I also took the new 1290 Super Duke, dubbed “The Beast”, out for a ride.

1290 Super Duke R:

2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

“The Beast” is the most insane motorcycle I’ve ridden to date.  With 180-horse power and 106 ft-lbs of torque on tap in a package that weighs less then 450 lbs loaded with fuel, this motorcycle can be a handful.  With the aid of a great chasse, sophisticated electronics, Brembo brakes, and a well though out cockpit, the Super Duke is manageable if you want it to be.  I found that it was happy going slow, however it loved to accelerate and corner.


  1. It needs a fly screen.
  2. Slick foot pegs.


  1. The comfort was impressive for a high performance motorcycle.
  2. The electronics work. 
  3. It likes corners as much as I do.

1190 Adventure R:

2014 1190 Adventure R

I’d tested the 1190 Adventure in January and now it was time to ride the more dirt ready 1190 Adventure R.  The Adventure R has larger front and rear wheels, manually adjustable suspension (The Adventure has electronic adjustable), standard engine guards, a smaller windscreen and a more dirt bike styled one-piece seat.  These seemingly little things make a huge difference in the looks and handling of the Adventure R.  Oh ya, the seat height is taller as well.  If you’re under 5’10”, grab the Adventure and add what you need.

If I were to choose between the two, I’d personally take the 1190 Adventure R mainly because I grew up on dirt bikes and this feels like a dirt bike.


  1. Low handlebar height.
  2. Manual adjustable suspension.


  1. It’s a high-powered dirt bike that likes the road.  By dirt bike, I mean something that will cruise all day on gravel and dirt roads and some wide single track.
  2. The electronics all work smoothly.
  3. The motorcycle is comfortable and would be close to perfect with bar risers.
  4. The long service interval.

The KTM 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R and Super Duke R are amazing motorcycles that can be easily setup for touring.  Yes, the Super Duke has a touring version and with the addition of a fly screen would be quite comfortable on long rides.  My guess is that KTM did this to allow the rational part of the brain to justify what the primitive part really wants.

Gerald Trees

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