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Superbike Engine in an Adventure Bike? KTM 1190 Adventure Follows Ducati’s Lead

Ducati did it first with the Multistrada. Design a relatively light, upright and comfortable adventure touring chassis and place a full blown superbike engine inside. KTM will be following suit when it replaces the 990 Adventure (a bike that makes less than 100 hp) with the 1190 Adventure next year.

Borrowing the big V-twin from its RC8 Superbike, the 1190 Adventure is expected to weigh close to 500 pounds while generating roughly 150 hp.  Not your father’s BMW GS.

There will be both a standard and an R model, differentiated largely by wheel size (19/17 on the standard and 21/18 on the R).  Just as Ducati does with the Multistrada, expect KTM to tune its superbike motor for peak power and torque at lower rpm levels.

Top drawer features should include Brembo brakes, ABS and traction control,  as well as ride-by-wire throttle, adjustable windscreen and selectable power modes.

Full details should be available in early October at INTERMOT, but we expect KTM will make the bike available in Europe next year, but will not bring the 1190 Adventure to the U.S. until the 2014 model year.


  1. Rupert says:

    I am also a KTM 990 Adv owner and the missus and I just rode ours around the world.. Mine an R version and hers a regular orange thing. Awesome bikes. Loaded up for the RTW and 18 months on the road just the bike for 99.9% of every surface we rode on. We got used to the dreaded sand after some good training and a few thousand miles. The 990 Adv. is perfect for gravel and mud tracks, but on the twisty roads of the Alps and Pyrannes I was thinking my old Hayabusa or R1 might be more fun. When we were in Rome and Manchester I saw the Ducati Multistrada and hoped KTM would go all out and build something similar and looks like they have .. The 1190 Adventure is a definite GS, Explorer and Super Tenere beater. No doubt about that. However I am a 640 fan as well and nearly 17 years ago was a proud Honda Africa Twin owner too and really hoped that KTM would bring out a 600-800 cc twin, light, comfortable, rock solid, tough RTW adventurer. To cut the story short we could not bring our KTMs into China for various reasons and so we rode local made touring bikes made by Hangzhou firm CF Moto. I was not expecting much but we have riden 10,000 odd miles across China, including the stunning Himalayas, 20,000 feet Tibetan Plateau and the huge deserts of North west China and the CFMoto 650 TR bikes have been a pleasant surprise. Super engines and cost 4500 dollars new . Not bad. The interesting bit of the story is CF Moto are likely to partner with KTM in 2013 and looks like my ideal adventure bike will be made…. Which we will hopefully ride from Alaska to Chile and along all the interesting bits in between in 2013/14… Story and pics at our website “Rupert & Fannys Big Bike Trip…. ” Hope it inspires some of you to make the big leap of faith and see the world on whatever motorcycle takes your fancy. Personally, I think the new KTMs will be awesome.


    Follow Ducatti’s lead? Duc isn’t in the same league.

  3. randy says:

    Keep the SMT just the way it is and sell more of them so I can buy one used!

  4. Paul says:

    All bikes are a compromise. Just depends on what you want to do with it. The above KTM is a sport bike that can be ridden on the occasional fire road. I tried the KLR and DR route and they are extremely boring. Went to a KTM 990 ADV and loved it on road but too much of a pig off road. Next came my F800gs which seems to be a nice COMPROMISE between the dirt and the street. It’s respectable off road(50lbs less than the KTM 990) and can be ridden on the street at 70-80mph all day(with the right seat). For technical dirt riding I love my street legal xr650r. If my ex-wife hadn’t robbed me of all my cash, I’d fill my need for speed with a MultiStrada or the 1190 Adventure.

  5. casatomasa says:

    I think i’m on the wrong web site. All these posts about this super ADV bike I have to keep scrolling back up to see this enormous Moon Pig, Gs, Multistrada kinda thing. I can’t help but think back to early days of the SUV, remember the very worthy Jeep Cherokee then turned mushy Lexus, hybrid something or another? Soccer Mom wouldn’t dare take the something or another “off-road” nor would any self respecting “ADV” rider take one of these….Mr Manufacture please don’t insult the name. Call me an eliteist but my idea of Adventure includes dirt lots of it and the best places on earth can’t very well be reached with these. Remember Guys back to the day when you could have a “tip over” that didn’t cost $2896.59? Please Mr. Kawondasuki KTM,Bmw,MD build us the ultimate ADV bike..and you can do it far less than $15,000…and we will come!!

  6. LP says:

    As a 990 Adv owner, I think progress is great, but hope they haven’t given up the thing that made KTMs special: dirtability. Small wheels on the standard model? What the hey? Suspension travel down (looks like). Yeah, it’ll take on the multistrada, but how will the electronics work 500 miles from anywhere when the only service is a toothless guy with a dented oxy torch and a box of hammers? From the too-brief description it looks lke KTM’s trying to rationalize their product line, maybe have the standard adv replace the SMT and have the R be what the regular ADV is now. But it looks like the link to all those big-bore PD bikes from the 90s is severed. Inevitably, tuning for the street first rather than for the dirt first changes a bike’s character, hope I’m wrong. Also, tank still looks too small for what’s supposed to be an exploring machine.
    On the plus side: One gas cap!

  7. Tom says:

    In the bicycle world we call these comfort bikes. Designed for old folks with lots of money. You know who we are: Old, creaky bones, a bit of arthritis, go about 75 mph on a 70 mph speed limit. We love these bikes. The OEMs put lots of effort into making us feel young again and we buy these adventure bikes.

  8. Neil says:

    Modern day version of what a Harley should be. I wonder about wind noise with all these bikes. To me, that noise even with ear plugs can be horrid, but that is just me. Too high and I cannot see the road clearly. Too middle and it’s noisy. I prefer just low enough to get the wind off my torso. But it looks like a great package for just getting on the road and coming home however many days or weeks later.

  9. Fred says:

    Can someone tell me why you need 100+ horsepower and a $15,000+ motorcycle?? I ride a used ’03 DR and seem to have a lot of fun. Guess if my tool was any smaller I would need one of these, a Harley and a Hummer. I get it, people want to compete on material things and companies are making money on ’em or they wouldn’t build ’em but if you want to expand the universe of riders (so there are less people that want to run me down on the rode in their cars) seems like we could use more cool $5,000 bikes. Sell enough and you can make money on them too. Heck, I was excited by the Ninja 300. Guess I am a small, small minority. 🙁 Just sad how so many hobbies seem to have gotten so elitist by pricing most people out of the market.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Sell enough and you can make money on them too.”

      well that’s the trick innit…?

      re: “Just sad how so many hobbies seem to have gotten so elitist by pricing most people out of the market.”

      gotta do sumpthin’. you may thank your nearest “devaluer” for this.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Why do you need a $2500 used DR with 30+ HP when you could ride a $300 used Chinese scooter with 5hp? It has nothing to do with need and everything to do with want. You don’t need a used DR any more than someone needs this KTM. The DR suits your needs AND wants nicely, and you should feel fortunate for it as you get off cheap.

      I for one can afford these things (I am not implying that you can’t), and it has nothing to do with “competing on material things”. I like power. It is thrilling to twist the grip on a 100+ HP bike. I like ABS despite being able to stop fine without them. I like bikes that can cruise effortlessly at 80mph with lots of juice in reserve. I like quality adjustable suspension, strong charging systems, and other farkles that make mile munching, canyon carving and off-road venturing mutually inclusive on the same bike.

      If manufacturers wanted to charge $5000 for such beasts, you’d get no complaints from me – I take no pride in paying to much for something. But they want $15K+, and I like the benefits those bikes provide over a DR enough to pay the difference.

    • Glenn says:

      I too ride a DR650 and enjoy it immensely. I also ride an RC51 which I enjoy as much, but differently. As I get old I catch myself wondering what it would be like to ride something like a DR with better suspension and more power. The emergence of this KTM and the Multistrada appear to be the ideal bike to me. But like you, I think that $15,000 can buy kids’ university education, home renovations, investments or a nice vacation. And so I stick with my DR & RC for now, but it’s only a matter of time before one of these ends up in my garage.

    • Nocklhiem Verstadt says:

      I too had a DR and find it to be useful both on AND off the road. This new breed of $15,000 “adventure” bikes would be very scary for the average guy to negotiate off-road. They do look the part and that is enough to impress some non-riders, I guess.

    • todd says:

      right. I often find it difficult, if not impossible, to use all the power in my XR650L. Pretty much all the roads (or lack of roads) that are worth riding can be tackled with an XR or DR or KLR. I think a bike like this, cool as it is, is a waste of money. I can recall plenty of rides where I left guys on their GS’s, Tigers, and Adventures WAY behind – their bikes size and power (and fragility) being more of a hindrance than a benefit. It wasn’t until we arrive at a destination that it was all worth it for their owners, the XR/DR/KLR are the last bikes that people come up and talk to us about.

      The good thing about a bike like this is that it requires the rider to really improve his skills in order to keep up with all the old thumpers.


  10. skybullet says:

    Less weight, more power, with top drawer suspension… What a concept! Still loving my SMT with more than adequate power.

  11. team222 says:

    I really dont think Ducati or KTM were/are concerned or influenced by the Triumph Explorer…..or any other Triumph…….just my 3 cents worth.

    These new 150hp Adventure Tour variants are simply responding to a need in the marketplace, again in my view ……very fast, comfortable, able to leap through big states in a single bound, great two up, light weight, somewhat off road capable, never last home on sport rides, great handling……and did I mention comfortable

    Sidebar I had an Aprilia Caponord way back………”sporterized” it a bit and never went off road……but it was the perfect for two up riding…….plus did very well on sport rides riding solo…….plus was very comfortable and did not weigh 700-900lbs.

    I have to think many riders, especially those getting a weee bit old for todays sport bike ergos will be thinking the same thing related to these new Adv Tour 150hp variants……..I am!

    • Brian Hansen says:

      I agree with Team:

      KTM may have taken comfort in their decision to fit a more powerful engine with the succes of the Ducati Multistrada – but I don’t think either took any que’s from Triumph. Who by the way is capitalizing on the success of BMW’s GS bikes, IMHO of course. & why not, their Tiger 800s are doing well, and we’ll see how the Explorer does (kind of heavy and low on power).

      I am a 48 year old sportbike rider (2008 GSX R750 for trackdays and canyon blasting / 2003 SV1000 N for everything else)and the comfy ergos get more and more tantilizing with age. I would like to see some SPORT-touring bikes that were in the 500 lb range with the emphasis on “Sport” – see Motus…. Now can someone else make a bike like that, because I can’t justify the 30K, “for a motorcycle” with the wife.

      • Ninou says:

        The bike for you is the KTM SMT Brian.

        • blackcayman says:

          I do appreciate the advice – I have heard that but don’t want/need the Tall’ish suspension.

          What I’d like to see is a sport-touring bike combined with a sport bike – keep the ST ergos and keep as much of the lightness and precise handling, suspension, braking from the sport-bike.

          Maybe the closest thing to what I imagine is the Triumph Tiger 1050 – just take-away the Tall Ride. I have a 30″ inseam and don’t like to tip-toe at every stop. For me its just a street bike so I’d prefer a regular stance rather than the adventure bike’s taller stance. The Sprint 1050 has sportbike rather than sport-touring ergos and the handling got botched by the new longer swingarm…

          From reading – the Motus is the bike I’ve been dreaming about. Now If the British, Italians or Japanese can make one more affordable – I’d be in business

          • todd says:

            I think it’s called a VFR800…

          • Brian Hansen says:

            The VFR 800 & 1200 both have a 90% sportbike ergos. A clean late model 800 with Convertibars maybe. But I like the Triumph Tiger 1050 better and I’m taking another look at the KTM SM T – reading reviews etc.

  12. Crim says:

    That bike should win the award for the world’s largest muffler!

  13. craigj says:

    I really like that! Looks “normal” for and adventure bike and it doesn’t have the 990’s excessive plastic. You can see the engine and frame. Now, accessory list … bags (do I see mounts there?), cruise, heated grips, bigger windshields, and for me a taller seat. Face it, just like SUV’s the most dirt the vast majority most of these see is when they have to cross road construction.

  14. Alan R says:

    I think you will find Aprilia were their first by putting the Millie engine in the Caponord.

  15. Todd says:

    Probably just responding to the new Triumph Tiger Explorer. Hope they take advantage of the ride by wire and add something practical like cruise control.

    I’d also like to see the the SMT model revamped with the bigger motor and cruise control.

    Love to see some more touring goodies on these machines.

  16. Brent Meeker says:

    And it’s not even particularly ugly.

  17. Just Tom says:

    I like it, but am surprised that KTM didn’t do this to their 990 SMT model, which to me is a stripped down version of the Multistrada. That bike has received great reviews; imagine it with an 1190 motor? Ducati-like power w/out all the gadgetry, complexity, and possible reliability issues. Sounds like a winner to me.

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