Following up on Part 1 of our report, we have put several hundred miles on the 1190 Adventure, primarily on the street. There will be a Part 3 report focusing primarily on this bike’s ability off road.
The 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure continues to impress us. We are big fans of the ergonomics of larger adventure tourers, which typically include a fairly upright seating position with plenty of leg room and relatively decent wind protection. These bikes tend to be very comfortable on the street, and the KTM is no different.
The big 1190 Adventure handles extremely well. KTM incorporated a sophisticated electronically adjustable suspension system that we discussed at some length in the original report from the European press launch. Plenty of optional settings are available, but I found that selecting damping preset for rider plus luggage helps balance my 200 pounds effectively, and throw a bit more weight onto the front wheel, which is something I prefer in any event.
The sophistication doesn’t stop with the electronically adjustable suspension. The Bosch MSC assistance package found on the 1190 Adventure is quite a step forward in terms of integrated rider safety electronics, which controls braking and together with the MTC traction control features, can effectively prevent the rider from losing traction while leaned over and applying too much brake or too much throttle.
The toggle switch near the left hand grip provides a simple and logical means of controlling all this electronic sophistication. The rider can select four general riding modes, including Sport, Street, Rain and Off-Road. These not only correspond to the level of traction control offered by the system, they affect throttle response and power output, as well. Sport and Street have a maximum of 150 crank horsepower, according to KTM, while the Rain and Off-Road settings, in addition to providing for different levels of permitted wheel slippage, limit horsepower to 100.
The 1190 adventure has just been a blast to ride, in every respect. Offering good comfort, including reasonably good wind protection (although not the best in the class), its big v-twin responds smoothly, predictably and with great authority. The chassis instills huge confidence in the rider by providing excellent feedback from both the front and rear contact patches, with great high speed stability (a steering damper is incorporated) and sporty responses to inputs the rider makes to the wide handlebars. This bike does it all!
Power builds in a smooth, linear fashion from very low rpm. This bike is quick to accelerate when asked virtually everywhere above idle through the horsepower peak at roughly 9500 rpm. Peak power feels like a superbike from just a few years ago, wanting to lift the front wheel through the first three gears. Together with the low rpm flexibility of a more docile big twin, the engine is close to ideal.
The seat is tall. Even in the shorter of the two available positions (at a claimed 34.3 inches), this 5 foot 11 inch test rider was on tiptoes most of the time. Not ideal, particularly off-road. The trade-off is excellent leg room from the saddle, and good ground clearance to compensate for the massive lean angles this bike is capable of.
KTM has incorporated the latest generation in adventure touring tires, including a 120 mm wide 19 inch front, which is much more capable of retaining grip at large lean angles on the street versus the older 110 mm wide 19 inch tires that were the only thing available just a few years ago. The wider front tire seems to help in the dirt, as well.
We will wrap up our review of the 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure in Part 3 with more thoughts on its street performance and a look at its performance off-road.