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New KTM 1190 Adventure: 512 lbs, 148 hp

Twenty-thirteen may be the year of the adventure tourer, with BMW’s new liquid-cooled GS joining the existing fleet of big trail bikes from almost all the major manufacturers. But KTM did a cannonball into the kiddie pool when it announced its redesigned 1190 Adventure, equipped with a 148-horsepower version of its RC8R superbike engine. And if that kind of power doesn’t woo you, other new features—like tubeless radial tires, electronic suspension adjustment and serious instrumentation—will.

The liquid-cooled, 75-degree, 1195cc V-Twin comes out of KTM’s RC8R, replacing the less-sophisticated powerplant in the prior version of KTM’s Adventure, Supermoto R and Supermoto T. This motor’s technical prowess would take a few hundred words to describe fully, but it’s compact, light and very powerful for a V-Twin. It features a slipper clutch, ride-by-wire throttle, multi-mode traction control and 9300-mile service intervals. KTM also promises better fuel economy—20 percent better, in fact—which means “desert use” range when coupled with the 5.8-gallon tank.

Brakes, wheels, suspension, styling and chassis are heavily upgraded, moving the Adventure towards a heavier pavement bias. Combined ABS Brembo brakes with radial-mount four-piston calipers are standard, as is the Electronic Damping System, which lets the rider select spring preload and damping settings on the fly. Tires are radial, in a 120/70-19 front (the first bike to use that size) and 170/60-17 rear (I’m assuming they are radial, given the sizes—KTM doesn’t say they are radial in the press materials) as well as tubeless, thanks to KTM’s patented airtight rim bead. Styling is also freshened, with a big, wide adjustable windscreen and an info-packed VDO instrument panel. Big brakes and wide, sticky radial tires point toward KTM’s possible desire for a more road-oriented market, even if the suspension retains almost 8 inches of travel.

The most dramatic feature may be value. KTM promises an “affordable entry-level price” for a bike loaded with standard features. KTM hasn’t released USA pricing, but somewhere below the (2012)base-model, $16,150 BMW R1200G may be the place to start. That’s a good value, especially compared to Ducati’s 1200 Multistrada, which makes similar horsepower (but is also somewhat lighter than the KTM). Stay tuned for a supersport adventure-tourer comparo.


  1. Don M. says:

    over 500 lbs, and 148 HP? Sounds thrilling, ON road….off road, sounds like a handful! lol

  2. The Old Guy says:

    Much more interesting than the new GS. Before you buy, check out the cost of service. This motor is notorious for being difficult and EXPENSIVE to service.

  3. Rupert says:

    My ‘other half’ and I have just ridden KTM 990 Adventures 35,000 miles around the world and they have been awesome bikes. Would not have changed them for anything else, except this new one. I am lucky to have ridden most bikes that have been around over last 30 years and agree with the comment earlier that the adventure ‘category’ of bikes are akin to SUVs . As for choice of which particular adventure bike? I have seen a better rider than me ride a GS 1200 Adv fully kitted out up a nigh on impossible sand dune in Africa and down the other side and make it look like a 125. We have met other adventurers riding around the world on everything from 100cc scooters to classic 1930s bikes. Comes down to ability, appetite for a challenge and style preference. As for this new KTM, it looks awesome and I know feedback from KTM riders over last 10 years on 990, 640 and indeed the awesome RC8 have contributed to making this 1190 Adv. the best of class. I suspect there is a lighter 700cc twin adventure out next year and so we will consider both 1190 and 700 for our Alaska to Argentina leg of our neverending (i hope) expedition.

  4. Leo says:

    My DRZ400S geared for street cruising, (38T rear sprocket) will smoke that KTM anytime, any place under 90 mph.

    • Kevin says:

      Really? Would you like to race? The DRZ is a dog on the street. And with a 38T it will have no accelleration. Try a 0-60 sprint. Time it. Then realize your bike is slow.

  5. Pork Chop says:

    Everybody is complaining about the weight of this bike but the reality is it is among the lightest if not the lightest in its class. Depending on which review you believe it’s actually even lighter than the Multistrada 1200S despite carrying a half gallon more fuel than the Ducati. It’s also lighter than current air/oil cooled BMW R1200GS and way lighter than the new liquid cooled version that was just unveiled. These are not road going Enduro competition machines, if that’s what you’re after get the 690 Super Enduro. They are essentially street bikes with the capability of going off road while carrying quite a load of luggage and gear. Remember too every modern bike is weighed down by huge exhaust systems to meet very strict emissions standards. I’m sure the aftermarket alternative exhausts will drop another 20lbs from the KTM.

    I’m not even a fan of big adventure tourers but I think folks need to keep the intended use of these bikes in mind before comparing their weight to 30 horsepower dirt bikes from the 70’s.

  6. Artem says:

    Another ugly thing under banner “Adventure”.
    Or was KTM the inventor of that b..t?
    Ok, then.

  7. JJ says:

    KTM, Please make a supermoto version,
    …50 pounds less though.

  8. Ephraim Gadsby says:

    I’ve ridden an XL650R on the highway during a tropical storm and I’ve commuted on everything from an RD400 to a GSX1100G. I commute daily from Padre Island to Corpus Christi, in ons of the windiest locations in the U.S.and I’ve been hit by some fierce cross-winds when I cross over a very high bridge. I’ve NEVER felt that I gained an advantage from driving a heavier bike in the wind. My personal experience is that a heavier bike doesn’t “hold the road” any better than a light bike, nor are they necessarily more stable. Stability is more a function of steering geometry and speed, I should think.

    Try doing stop and go traffic in the rain on a greasy road during rush hour. I’ll take an mx’er over a Wide Glide every time………

  9. Jamo says:

    I’d like this engine in a standard/cruiser bike.

  10. Hair says:

    What with all the OEMs directly competing in the big trallie market. It would be great to see them go head to head in the Pikes Peak. Ducati has already set the bar high in that run. It would be great to see what some of these other offerings might do.

  11. mikey says:

    Adventure bikes are the SUV’s of motorcycling. And like SUV’s, there are a wide range of capabilities. Some are more like a Porsche Cayenne, with loads of street capability for their type. Some, like the KTM’s, are more akin to a Land Rover, very good street manners with very good dirt/sand/fire trail capability thats not going to do any tight woods work or rock crawling. This breed is meant to do everything except the most extreme ends of the spectrum. Personally, I’m not going to ride a DRZ, XR, EXC to Alaska and back, but I wouldn’t hesitate to take an “Adventure” bike. Same thing with “roads” in South America, Africa, etc. I also wouldn’t want a Goldwing for the Alaska trip either. This is just one example and I realize that you COULD do the hypothetical Alaska journey on any of these bikes if you really wanted to. Also, the ergo’s of the Adventure bikes work well for daily commuting and such. With sportbikes, enduros, and touring rigs all pushing the extreme envelope of their respective fields, its nice to have a bike that works well for the majority or riding the majority of people do. Especially if the budget only allows for one good bike.

  12. NORKA says:

    Weight is relative. My Sports Touring Concours weighs about 670 pounds, so for me this KTM is a light bike. Yes, for an afternoon of blasting around a 350 pound sports bike is great fun, but for all round every day use 500 pound is about right.

  13. TomS says:

    My god, what a whale.

    • Dave says:

      Ducati Multi-Strada = 503lb
      Most of the better sport bikes in the last 10 years are within 50lb of this thing. 512lb is not heavy for any 1000cc+ bike that is not intended to find it’s way to the track and this is NOT an off-road bike.

      • Tom Shields says:

        You’re right – by definition, at 513 lbs it is not an off-road bike regardless of how it’s marketed – which is the point of my comment.

  14. MGNorge says:

    When many of the world’s companies can’t wait to put A-T bikes on the market you know we’re into a new trend. Call them what you want, they’re still mostly street bikes with at least some features meant for off-road. Expensive sure, but nice bikes that will appeal to the long-legged. As a group they offer stretched out ergos without going to the feet forward approach from cruisers. They offer at least some wind protection and with their luggage can be pressed into touring duty. Maybe they should be thought of as lighter, more capable touring bikes compared to those that are dedicated so?

    • JB says:

      I like the idea of these types of bikes — especially when you live in and around Chicago like me — and you have to put up with regular ‘paved’ roads that are basically the same as “light off-roading/fire roads” in other states, LOL! The extra suspension travel is nice, as I’ve lost count of how many tires I’ve had to replace on my car and bike from the poorly maintained roads around here (despite near-constant construction, hmmm). The seat heights don’t bother me, as I wear 34-inseam pants. I like that they offer a sportier/more supermotoish riding experience than full-dressers or even “standards”, while being more comfortable and upright than sportbikes and “sporty”bikes (like the FZR and Ninja 650’s of the world). It’s perfect for a ‘transitioner’ like me, who doesn’t want a pure sportbike anymore, but doesn’t want an ‘old man’ bike like a Harley or Gold-Wing. These Adventure Bikes tend to have higher-end components than the cheap ‘standards’ and FZR/Ninja 650 type bikes, so they don’t feel cheap. You can throw bags on these suckers and go pretty far on them, or take them off and burn up the backroads. They aren’t REALLY meant for off-roading, as more of a ‘do everything’ or ‘transition’ bike.

      That all said — I’d STILL rather have a Triumph Sprint 800 with slightly more suspension travel as a sorta in-between Tiger 800 and Sprint ST. Would be my perfect bike (IF they kept weight down).

  15. slimlids says:

    I really don’t get this “Adventure” thing… To me these bikes are just street bikes with good ergos and big motors. Again, to me, an adventure bike is a DRZ, XR or a TE or something somewhat dirt worthy. Something you can have a real off-road adventure on. These days I am riding an older Africa Twin, which I guess would fall into this “Adventure bike” territory. Awesome bike, can ride it forever. Love everything about it. But it cant do much more than any other street bike in my garage. I love all these big sleds, but they should change their name from Adventure bikes to something less adventuresome.

    • Vrooom says:

      Just speaking personally I’ve ridden the Alcan 5000, the Oregon Back Country Discovery Route,the Magruder Corridor and several AMA dual sport events on these big adventuretourers. They do offroad, it’s just more work than a DRZ. And doing 500 miles on a DRZ is torture. Each to his own.

      • slimlids says:

        Totally agree. They do.. do off road. You just cant let it all hang out while off road. Kinda takes the excitement out of the adventure. And yes, the DRZ is a back breaker @ 500 mi. Done that too. Don’t do it anymore. The DRZ only works when you get to the really adventurous stuff. I am just saying they need to change the name to something like “adventure-like” or “adventure-lite” bikes. Still love them. Still would like to try to get as nuts off road with one (as soon as I source a proper 21inch wheel and knobbies).

    • dan says:

      The “adventure” thing is about making affluent baby boomers feel macho by buying one of these expensive “around the world adventure” bikes rather than something more practical (ie, lower, lighter and less expensive) for their Starbucks runs. I would expect to find some great used bargains as folks realize they can’t get comfortable and really enjoy these huge beasts.

      • Nocklhiem Verstadt says:

        +1 Best comment yet!

      • Tom R says:

        Motorcycles…practical?? A minivan is practical. The main point of a motorcycle is to make your heart flutter and beat fast! I AM an affluent baby boomer, and I want bikes that make me scream with joy….not yawn from their boring efficiency. Oh, and I ride many mountain passes beyond any Starbucks with my “macho” adventure bike.

      • ham says:

        So Dan what we do know is that you are not affluent, and you don’t drink Starbucks:)

      • Jorge says:

        The motorcycle “thing” is about having fun.
        Nothing wrong with motogp replicas or chromed out Harley’s.
        And yes, most will pull coffee duty from time to time.
        Find the love man, find the love.

  16. Tim says:

    Chain drive…dang it.

    • HotDog says:

      After having 3 rear end/drive shaft failures over the years, I look at the simplistic efficiency of chain/sprockets as a major added plus.

      • todd says:

        wow, I’ve owned (and continue to own) 6 drive-shaft bikes over numerous years and well over a hundred thousand combined miles – without one single drive shaft failure. I think you are doing something wrong.

  17. carl says:

    What is the seat height? Problelm with all these adventure bikes is for as short inseamers we need a stool to climb up. Dirt roads doesn’t mean doing high jumps so I don’t understand why all that suspension travel is necessary. Would be nice to have one for us folks.

    • xootrx says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. I have a friend who just bought a BMW GS, top of the line airhead. He’s 6′ 5″ and even he looks silly when he tries to mount that thing. I don’t get it. These companies have to know that 90% of the use these things will get is on the street. At least Bimmer offers lower seat options, at a price of course.

  18. JB says:

    Bike weight is getting out of control…

    • Eric says:

      I agree, but apparently it’s just me and you and a few other renegades who actually think it might be important to be able to pick your bike up off its side from time to time. And ride off pavement without babying it–though I realize that pro rally riders can roost a KTM Adventure while cornering on single track, I can’t. Hello, Product Development? Yes, there is a global recession, so why do you keep making bikes fatter and (mostly) more expensive? Oh, you don’t understand market segments? And you think we all want to ride Goldwings? How come KTM can make a street-legal 690 Enduro at 320 pounds but Suzuki, for example, can’t make a DR650 with fuel injection at around 350 lbs.? I’d pay $7000 for that, maybe a bit more if they could give me 6 gears.

      • Dave says:

        They’re trying to attract the only customer with the cash to buy new (avg. age of new moto purchaser is in the upper 40’s today) hence, expensive full-featured bikes.

        KTM sells their bike for $10,700 and Suzuki sells the DR650 for $6,000. Suzuki knows KTM owns the high-end race enduro market (what that 690 really is). The pie isn’t big enough to go after it. The DR is probably the better motorcycle for most all users just as it is.

    • Tim says:

      While I agree light bikes are more fun, weight can be a good thing on a windy day on the highway. I was hit by a sudden wind gust in Utah, on my Versys, that literally blew me from the middle of the right lane to the middle of the left lane. Just as I regained control an equal blast hit me from left to right and blew me to the shoulder of the right lane. I was with two friends on heavier bikes and the wind shook them bur didn’t blow them off course. I decided then and there that I needed a heavier bike if I was going to do any more high mileage touring.

  19. Nocklhiem Verstadt says:

    Funny how the headline boldly announces the 512# weight as if that’s an advantageous selling point. My 1200cc Suzuki is 100% street bike and it weighs less than this KTM!

    • todd says:

      exactly. My dual purpose bike weighs 262 lbs. And that’s from 1972.

      • Tom R says:

        So, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

        • todd says:

          It’s a little heavy for a trail bike but does fine on the highway. I’ve had lighter dual purpose bikes in the past. There are times when I feel my 262 lb bike is heavy and then I ride one of these things and realize how sloooow they make you ride even with all that power.

  20. todd says:

    Finally a dual purpose bike with enough power to keep up on the trails.


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