2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Review: First Ride

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By Sean Alexander

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

Editor Score: 90.0%

Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.0/10
Brakes 10/10
Instruments/Controls 5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.5/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.5/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score 90/100

A stunning blasted moonscape is a good way to describe the natural beauty of Peru’s Nasca Desert. And that moonscape makes a particularly good place to test a fast and large adventure-touring motorcycle like the new 2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R.

KTM has sold more than 75,000 adventure motorcycles since 1993, and its re-named these large long-distance dirt bikes as “Travel Enduros.” I think that does a pretty good job of describing what these giant dirt bikes are all about. Honestly, we’d listen no matter what KTM called them, seeing as it has 56 official factory riders competing all around the globe for 2017, most of them in the dirt. Yes, KTM’s entire reputation was built in the world of serious enduro and motocross competition.

A Look Behind the Scenes at KTM

The 2016 season was a record year for KTM in terms of unit sales and also from championship totals. There is no denying the Austrian company has been kicking major ass for the past couple years, and it is justifiably feeling its oats as it’s taken on the behemoths of the motorcycle industry and often come out on top. The success has necessitated massive expansion projects, and now the little company from Mattighofen isn’t really so little anymore.

In 2002 KTM fielded an entirely new bike at the Dakar Rally powered by a prototype of its then-new LC8 V-Twin. It won the Dakar on its very first attempt in 2002, and then 2003 saw the production debut of the revolutionary 950 Adventure, a machine which quickly became the catalyst for change, lighting a fire under the traditional …read more

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