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KTM Announces New 2021 1290 Super Adventure S

KTM’s blindingly fast 1290 Super Adventure S has been redesigned for the new model year with significant changes from the prior model. Now with Adaptive Cruise Control, and several changes to the chassis and bodywork, KTM says the new bike “redefines the standards in rider-focused ergonomics, performance-enhancing technology and state-of-the-art componentry.”

This press release is from Europe, and we have yet not heard an announcement from KTM U.S.A. We assume, at this point, that the new 1290 Super Adventure S will be made available here.

This is the press release from KTM:

Invigorating the Adventure motorcycle segment with the release of its over-1000cc ADVENTURE models for the past eight years, KTM has taken full advantage of the development feedback to introduce a new era of rider-focused design and ground-breaking technology with the 2021 KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S.

Introducing a third generation of over-1000cc KTM ADVENTURE models, the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is the sportiest and most technologically advanced Adventure bike to ever roll its wheels off the production line in Mattighofen, Austria. Forged to provide the benefits of a versatile sports-tourer with diligence paid to ergonomics and comfort over any terrain, in brief it’s the ultimate high-performance Adventure bike.

Redesigned ergonomics
Focusing on keener handling, the new KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S introduces a chassis overhaul that further enhances weight distribution and riding agility. A sharper cornering sensation is achieved by moving the steering head back by 15 mm and re-locating the front section of the engine. Additionally, the longer open-lattice swingarm contributes to a more stable feeling under acceleration. The subframe has been crafted to provide a lower seat height without sacrificing durability or practicality.

Surrounding the rider is a new 23-liter, keyless-cap fuel tank and a set of bodywork that augment the bike’s agile feeling. Every centimeter of the paneling has been analyzed in order not to impede the riding sensation. Providing additional comfort for the long rides, the new seat is two-tiered and adjustable by 20 mm. Also customizable are the handlebar levers, the all-new TFT and the windshield that has been developed through wind tunnel testing and can be moved by 55 mm. Overall, the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S excels for its lower centralization of masses and refined weight balance. It begs to be ridden hard or caressed to speed over long distances.

Technology to boost performance
Regulating the ride is the new generation of electronic aids with a less intrusive level of traction control in RAIN, STREET, SPORT, OFFROAD and an updated (optional) RALLY mode. To take you to the best riding terrain with less fuss, the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S introduces an innovative Adaptive Cruise Control system as standard for 2021. Developed in collaboration with Bosch, the radar-based system automatically adjusts the safe distance to traffic ahead according to five stages that can be set with the re-designed handlebar switches.

The riding experience is further boosted with the brand new 7” TFT display that is hooked to a new Connectivity Unit for seamless smartphone pairing. The larger dashboard view has quicker and more practical menu systems as well as clear aesthetic infographics to clearly indicate various sections of the bike. The dash sits on top of a redesigned storage department with a USB charging socket. To communicate with the new display, the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S comes with all-new switches on both sides of the handlebar, which offer a new and more seamless user experience. A new set of quick select and favorites buttons will allow for set-up changes on the fly and while the rider stays focused on the roads ahead.

Advanced componentry
The heart of the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is the revised and Euro5 compliant V-twin. The eye-widening 160 hp and 138 Nm come in a lighter form (-1.6 kg) thanks to thinner engine cases and a new oil circuit. The engine breathes through an upgraded two-headed exhaust and shifts with a revised PANKL gear mechanism that brings big improvements in the optional Quickshifter+.

New pistons have further raised reliability and the whole unit retains better cooling thanks to a new water/oil system. The two new radiators work with the redesigned bodywork to channel warm air away from the rider’s legs. 15,000 km service intervals and low fuel consumption round-off the re-energized powerplant.

Furthermore, the lean angle dependent Motorcycle Traction Control has two different controllers, one for wheel slip and another for pitch angle, with their own data and strategies. The Cornering ABS and Offroad ABS systems are products of the new Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control, while Motor Slip Regulation is optional.

The KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S will hurtle along bumpy trails courtesy of a new generation of WP APEX Semi-Active Technology, suspension. The SAT boasts augmented damping thanks to new valves while the 6D lean angle sensor inputs directly into the unit for a thorough outline of rider behavior.

Part of the updated range of KTM PowerParts specifically designed for the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is the Suspension Pro package that offers individual damping for the fork and the shock, automatic preload adjustment and an on/off Anti Dive setting. With the additional Rally Pack featuring the RALLY riding mode and the respective MTC slip adjuster, all of the Suspension Pro and Rally Pack features together with the Quickshifter+, the Motor Slip Regulation, the Hill Hold Control and the adaptive brake light are included in the all-in-one Tech Pack.

// New ergonomics -> new fuel tank, lower seat & new plastics
// Reworked bodywork -> shorter chassis, new subframe & longer swingarm
// Optimized weight distribution -> added agility & comfort
// New generation electronics -> innovative ACC & reworked cornering MTC
// More intuitive 7” TFT display -> optimal accessibility
// Redesigned handlebar switches, improved CCU
// Revised 1301cc LC8 engine -> 160 hp & 138 Nm
// Next generation of Semi-Active Suspension
// Remodeled optional technology -> Suspension Pro, Rally Pack & Tech Pack

Joachim Sauer – KTM Product Manager: “The 2021 KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is a sporty bike designed to offer unparalleled riding fun in any terrain. With this model KTM enters its third generation of big Travel-Enduro bikes for street and gravel adventurers. Collecting feedback from the market, we focused on enhancing rider feeling and ergonomics while introducing ground-breaking advancements, such as the Adaptive Cruise Control, the KTM way. To appreciate the magic of our ACC, you need to consider that the ideal roads to experience the thrilling performance of the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S may lie hours away. With highways in between, ACC will let you breeze through the transit keeping you ready to strike whenever possible. The new generation model will carry you as far, long and as hard as you want while keeping the original KTM DNA strong with its elevated performance potential.”

The new generation KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S will be available at KTM dealers internationally (excluding North America) starting March 2021.

For more information please contact your local KTM dealer or visit


  1. Kermit T Frog says:

    The KTM is a a really great motorcycle but to be honest as with many other motorcycles today the content (i.e., value for the cost) just ain’t there. If you include maintenance and tires in the equation then it gets to be an act of idiocy to buy a lot of motorcycles made today.

    I think the same thing about the new Goldwing too. Same with some Harleys. And BMW? Of course they cost too much to buy and maintain. Ducati? Yup. Some people have more passion than both money and common sense. Others can afford to buy, ride and maintain whatever they please.

    But for most of us reality is our pillion.

  2. Gpokluda says:

    Yawn. The new KLR is more interesting

  3. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Ten comments after a week = YAWN . Could the day of expensive, semi-heavy, adventure touring be ending ?

    • Jeremy says:

      I can’t say it has anything to do with adventure bikes specifically or if my opinion is reflective of any part of the market at large, but I’m tired of expensive. Most bikes just aren’t worth their asking prices to me. Motorcycles have become more powerful and more gadgety with their increased MSRPs, but they haven’t become more fun or more capable, or even more interesting (to me anyway.) And fun and capability are the only things I care to pay for when I buy a new bike. I want the bike to excel at whatever purpose I bought it for, and I want to have fun exploring its capabilities. This isn’t a knock to anyone willing to pay $20K+ for a new bike. But I personally have a good bit of sticker price fatigue.

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        Agreed. Two other factors for me are the more gadgets you have the more there is to fail. I never had any of the fancy tech advances of today, and rode a motorcycle perfectly well for 54 years with out them. Why pay for what is not necessary.
        Disc brakes were the only advance I embraced after years riding in the mountains, half of which were downhill. Honda CB450. Amazing !

      • mickey says:

        Lol Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy….wait until you get old like me, and you’ll be saying “I remember when you could buy a decent motorcycle for $20k.”

        My last 2 cars cost more than my first 2 houses. I remember when you could buy a brand new CAR for $1899,00, a new pick up for $3995.00 and a good medium sized street bike for $700..all new.

        Value for cost? It’s really relative to how old you are and how much you make and how badly you want something.

        Btw 4 years of college when I went to the University of Cincinnati was $3400.00. When I graduated I started a job at $1.50 an hour.

        Tool a long time to save up for anything… even a $700 motorcycle. And young people think they have it rough today.

        • Reginald Van Blunt says:

          My brand new 1968 VW type 1 cost exactly $ 1800. and weighed 1800 pounds. Dollar a pound is OK with me.
          Oh yea, drove in it for 500 miles North to South in California for $ 5. of gasoline.

        • Jeremy says:

          Hah, I’m sure that day will come. Thing is though, you can still get great bikes at a good value (Z900 comes to mind.) There is just a huge chasm between such bikes and things like this KTM or the newest Speed Triple variant. It offers a lot more power and fancier everything than the Z900, which is itself a very powerful bike. But a bunch of gadgets that don’t add to the riding experience and more power than the power I already have trouble fully utilizing don’t justify a 100% increase in price. I get that in a market of shrinking unit quantities being sold that most manufacturers want to entice more affluent buyers with high-margin offerings, but it sure takes the fun out of it for me.

          • mickey says:

            Well a Z900 is about $9000 which would have bought a fleet of 1/2 dozen new top of the line brand new CB 750s in 1968.

            Sure the Z900 is faster and may have ABS but not sure it’ll do anything the CB 750 wouldn’t do.

            I know inflation being what it is would make the CB 750 a lot more expensive today, but for old guys, we remember buying great motorcycles, even superbikes, for $1500 new, and that figure stocks in our minds.

  4. todd says:

    No love for this bike when the KLR enters the room?

  5. Tom R says:

    “The eye-widening 160 hp and 138 Nm come in a lighter form (-1.6 kg) thanks to thinner engine cases and a new oil circuit.”

    So the engine is 1.6 kg lighter. Given a decent fiber diet for a few previous days I can probably CRAP that much on the morning of a ride.

    And at 485 pounds of dry (read: liar) weight, where’s Mick’s input when you need it?

  6. Skybullet says:

    The technical advances are leading edge, please KTM do something about the styling. PLEASE

  7. joe b says:

    this thing would win the king of the baggers race, stock.

  8. MEM says:

    A die hard Team Orange fan. Orange in my garage now. I have literally been putting of purchase to wait for this revision. Looks are improved, but I see this as a missed opportunity. The S model should have been revised around a 17″ front wheel, the new SDR engine and weight reduction. The included changes are mostly fluff. Some important, but none truly significant or beneficial to the riding experience. Looking for a used model. Disappointed in you KTM! BMW S1000XR or Duc Multi anyone?

  9. I’m sure its capable, but that locust mug….

  10. mickey says:

    LOL when I first clicked on and saw the top pic I thought “man they mounted that saddlebag really low, wonder where the muffler is?”. Then upon closer inspection realized that silver thing IS the muffler. Wow what a can!

    bet the thing is a beast to ride.

  11. dt-175 says:

    how fast could oliviera or binder ride around the great lakes on this thing?

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