KTM 1190 Adventure: a tall touring bike

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Ze Austrians don’t mince their words, describing this new KTM 1190 Adventure as a “tarmac-oriented travel enduro” and emphasizing components like the “sticky sport touring tires” that enable it bridge the gap between, “a tourist’s unhurried roaming to powering headlong through the twisties.” Respect, KTM, for not pretending that your new tall touring bike is anything but.

Making 148bhp and weighing 518lbs when fueled, this is no longer some impossible combination of both dirt and road capability. KTM has freed the 1190 to be the bike a wider swath of riders will appreciate, something big and comfy and powerful and plush for putting in big miles and hauling plenty of luggage.

Its sophisticated new electronics package is oriented for road use too, the 1190 is equipped with linked ABS brakes, ride-by-wire throttle, switchable power delivery modes and traction control. The seat, bars and screen are all adjustable so riders can dial in individual ergonomics in addition to tailoring the performance level. In short, KTM has out GS’d the GS at the game most riders want it to play: rugged on-road touring.


The motor is an adaptation of the RC8’s 1190cc v-twin, here detuned just enough to facilitate 9,000 mile service intervals while still making near superbike power. No dyno charts yet, but KTM says it’s emphasized low-down punch to make it easy to ride in addition to providing that impressive peak figure.

So, compared to the outgoing 990 Adventure, we’re taking bigger and more powerful, but also softer and much more touring oriented. Luckily, that leaves room for an R model…

Here’s the gallery.

  • Beewill

    Please everyone, buy this bike and buy lots of them so KTM can make heaps of money and build a proper replacement for my beloved 950 Adventure, the rumored 700-800cc twin based on the 690 frame.

    • PenguinScotty

      Tend to agree with you on that one. Hell, bringing back the single cylinder Adventure with a 690 engine would be amazing.

    • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

      I agree that the 950 was a wonderful exercise: Developing a Dakar race bike first then molding it into something for civilians.

      This new 1190 is pretty much now in line with the GS, Triumph, Vstrom and dare I say Multistrada.

      But I understand where KTM is going with it, and it’s driven by sales, not the desire to create something revolutionary (like the 950).

      At lest they’re offering the 690, which is a very capable bike on and off road.

      I agree that it would be great if KTM released a 700-800cc twin, but honestly I think it’d be splitting hairs at that point. I’d rather see them introduce a couple new flavors of the 690: Touring, Medium and Red-fucking-hot-all-out-desert-racer.

  • BMW11GS

    I wouldn’t declare this the victor over the GS until both are ridden. For one, this is going to be a top heavy guy.

    • PenguinScotty

      It’ll probably end up as this:

      GS more comfy for long distances
      KTM more fun/aggressive

      Tends to be that way.

      The interesting factor in the GS vs Adventure game will be the new liquid cooled GS, though. Should be interesting then. If BMW can keep the weight around where they are at now, major props.

      • AHA

        Add in the new Multistrada and it gets interesting. 3 tests for each bike:
        1. Timed ascent of Pikes Peak.
        2. 10hr motorway trip with pillion and a full payload.
        3. Timed off road circuit with enduro sections. (Erzberg would be funny but excessive.)

        • PenguinScotty

          Ohohoho you are an evil person, i love it!

          I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to the bike combination that magazines and reviewers should test. Granted, we have the Japanese counterparts, but let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a different ballgame there.

          Everything being said and done, i’m rather sad that the KTM SM-T is getting so little love and is essentially now being replaced by the Adventure. That thing is a great bike.

          • AHA

            +1. That’s what I ride and I can’t see myself replacing it unless Ducati bring out a Multi 848.

  • ike6116

    “Know what there’s not enough of these days? Large-capacity adventure tourers that are so heavy and so expensive you can’t take them within sight of dirt”

    The cognitive dissonance between your review of the press VStrom 1100 release and your review of the KTM 1190 Adventure press release is staggering.

  • DavidMG

    I like it. It’s like a bigger Vstrom Xpedition. I wish they made a smaller one I could lust after.

  • The Blue Rider

    I feel strangely attracted to this machine. Is it the marketing? I wish they’d say where they got that remix of “Extreme Ways” from.

    Must… buy…

    Oh wait, I don’t have a shitload of money. Never mind. :/

  • John

    I don’t understand the fascination with tall motorcycles. Give me an Audi A4 wagon over any SUV. Give me a regular sport tourer over a road bike designed to look like a dirt bike just for sales purposes.

    • TreMoto_Eddie

      I feel like its really following consumer trends with automobiles. At first it was big SUVs and trucks that never actually saw dirt and work, and now its all crossovers [cars pretending to be SUVs]. I’m like you, my WRX wagon tows more motorcycles and PWCs around than any Harley Davidson edition F-150 I’ve ever seen.

      • AHA

        SUVs make for heavy, thirsty road cars that are space inefficient (interior room:size&weight) and dynamically compromised. This is true of that type of vehicle as a whole, I suggest.

        Tall rounders have an upright riding position which is more comfortable than a sports bike crouch, especially for the taller rider. In town, you get a commanding road view, wide bars give turning heft and the suspension soaks up bumps. (I’m holding most of my weight on the pegs about 20% of the time on my London commute with all the road humps.) Tall doesn’t always mean lardy and can be sporty e.g. KTM 990SMR and Ducati Hypermotard 1100.

        I therefore suggest that the comparison with SUVs is not valid for tall motorcycles as a whole, just the bad ones.

        • BMW11GS

          Very good point, especially when it comes to moving fast on a less than smooth road, the tall rounders really come into their own. On a cool backcountry road that would shake your fillings out on a panigale or even s1000rr, you could blast along on one of these bikes laughing the whole time.

          Also for interior room:size and weight, minivans are the king.

          • AHA

            Yeah, I drive the family around in a (apologies to all for sullying HFL) Corolla Verso. 7 seat capacity in a hatchback footprint. The space always surprises SUV-owning friends when they get a ride in it.

            Also on tall bikes – riding home last night in torrential rain made me remember how the worse conditions get, the better it feels.