2013 KTM 1190 Adventure: Pure Fun

Text: Florian Neuhauser • Photography: KTM

The fact that KTM has been dominating the off-road circuit for years is evident by a sea of orange commonly seen along motocross tracks and trails across the country. With the all-new and versatile 1190 Adventure, the Austrian manufacturer brings the soul and character that defines its “Ready to Race” motto to the street.

The engineers in Mattighofen started with the concept three years ago. They wanted to create the lightest, most powerful, and versatile travel enduro they could. After about 120,000 working hours that included every department at KTM, the result (at 150 hp and only 507 pounds) is one of the most fun bikes on the market, and it has a wide range of uses.

Powertrain and Performance

At the heart of the Adventure lies the light-weight mill stemming from the 1190 RC8 R superbike. The 75-degree V-twin engine comes alive with classic KTM sound and without hesitation. Whereas the predecessor 990 Adventure used a conventional cable throttle, which had a rather twitchy character, the new incarnation now features a state-of-the-art, ride-by-wire system. It offers smooth power delivery and four riding modes to choose from via four buttons (up, down, back, and set) on the left side of the handlebar that manage the settings on the onboard computer. The large, square LCD display that is next to the tachometer makes it practical to navigate through the 14 menu pages, with the “Favorite” screen showing key information that can be customized. Some of the competitors’ riding mode controls and screens aren’t nearly as intuitive as the KTM’s.

“Sport” mode allows access to all 150 hp, and the traction control intervenes late. “Street” mode still has 150 hp, but it regulates it in a smoother manner. “Off-road” and “Rain” cut power to 100 hp, but where the latter has all safety technology on high alert, the “Off-road” mode allows 100 percent rear-wheel slippage at twice the wheel speed. In addition, ABS and traction control can be completely disengaged in all riding modes, unlike many other brands’ systems.

During testing, we noticed minor rear-wheel slippage on two occasions while accelerating hard out of corners before the traction control automatically actuated. This proves that it works as advertised. The air temperature was between 75 and 85 degrees while riding, and the roads were a mix of open and very tight curves. We did notice some engine heat rise through the seat as well as laterally to the legs.

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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the May/June 2013 back issue.