We have covered the new KTM 1190 Adventure quite extensively, including a report direct from the European press launch, and a riding impression from Gabe and some of his friends in Northern California. Take a look back at those articles for the technical details or wait for part 2 of this review. As with most significant new models, I prefer to test them myself here in Southern California. I have just begun testing the 1190 Adventure, and will provide a more extensive Part 2 to this review.
This bike has a great reputation already, and so far it seems well deserved. Riding the bike on Southern California freeways, the engine is simply fantastic. KTM rates the motor at 150 horsepower with 87 foot pounds of torque at the crank, and this is very believable once you twist the throttle a few times. The KTM 1190 Adventure is also very comfortable. Adventure bikes tend to be comfortable, but the 1190 Adventure has a particularly good seat, coupled with decent wind protection that does not buffet at the helmet level, something I had a problem with on several other adventure tourers.
The electronically-adjustable suspension, which we will discuss in much greater detail in Part 2, seems to work extremely well. I have been riding around on the street in Street mode, with the suspension damping dialed for a rider plus luggage, to throw a little more weight on the front end for my 200 pound frame. This is working well, providing good comfort with good control.
I also took the 1190 Adventure into the dirt, something that can be pretty scary on some of the large displacement adventure tourers. The KTM 1190 Adventure, however, felt very balanced and even confidence-inspiring in the dirt. While in the dirt, I selected the Off-Road setting, which allowed me to spin the rear wheel a bit more than in Street mode. I was able to do some fairly long, controlled power slides, but when it came time to do a power slide for the photographer, the best place to do it was an extremely slippery area. This had hard-pack dirt covered by a thin layer of gravel (see the photo). Normally, this would present a challenge sliding even a small motocross bike, but the 1190 Adventure was relatively predictable despite the slick conditions. Very impressive, and not something I would try on just any large displacement motorcycle.
Frankly, I am really enjoying the 1190 Adventure so far, and will provide a much more detailed report in Part 2. This is quite a motorcycle.