Why did KTM photoshop damage out of the 1190 Adventure photos?

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Last week, a couple eagle-eyed readers spotted a big ol’ dent in the KTM 1190 Adventure‘s exhaust. You can see that dent clearly in the image on the right. But the image on the left, downloaded from the company’s press site this morning? Nothing of the sort. They’re clearly the same shot though, so what gives?

Here’s another example. Again, the image on the right was downloaded during the bike’s Intermot debut last week while the one on the left was downloaded this morning. Both downloads came from here. Clearly the same photograph, one clearly shows damage, in the other, that damage has disappeared.

KTM hasn’t removed the damage from all the photos. The above, for instance, comes from today, but that dent is clearly visible.

And it’s been less than skillful at Photoshop in others. Here, the dent has been replaced with a big black smudge. Bet that’s not on the Powerparts options list.

So what’s going on? Surely the kind of big, burly customer who’d be in the market for a big, burly adventure bike won’t mind seeing a little ding. After all, that’s to be expected if such heavy bikes are used in the exaggerated manner displayed in these photos, right?

It’s all about maintaining the illusion that large adventure bikes — the 1190 Adventure R in these photos weighs 518lbs (wet) — are actually capable of doing what you see them doing in ads and press shots and promo videos. Don’t get me wrong, technically they are, when fitted with dedicated off-road tires and ridden by a pro, but these kinds of big jumps and big slides are at the extreme limits of the machine’s performance envelopes. Ride yours like this and it will end up on the ground, this KTM did, despite being ridden by a pro.

Essentially big touring bikes with tall suspension, ADV bikes are much more commonly going to be used for covering long distances at a relatively sedate pace, whether on-road or off. That’s not to say they can’t go places, just that they don’t often get there while catching a foot or more of air or sliding the rear at angles approaching or exceeding 45 degrees. Most owners aren’t going to be pro enduro riders strong and fit enough to muscle a 518lbs bike around at the limits of its performance over long periods. But, calmly and competently crossing terrain at a pace that can be continued for hours or days at a time, often in harsh temperatures, while taking in the view and the smells and leaving a little extra in reserve because you’re so far from help doesn’t translate well to marketing that needs to convey an emotion or an experience in a split second. Neither does the absolute need any of these bikes have for significant aftermarket crash protection and more aggressive rubber.

Hello Touratech? Yeah, do you have any sump guards for the 1190 yet? Great, can you expedite shipping? Just got one and I need to get one on there before I can go ride it…

  • NewOldSchool


    I cannot wait until I read what you have to say when the day finally comes that HD realizes where they are losing their market and make an adventure bike.

    • Bruce Steever

      Didn’t they already? Buell Uylsses?

      • NewOldSchool

        I was alluding to the trend of overweight, expensive, ego enhancing cruisers being sold under the guise of attitude and performance turning into overweight, expensive, ego enhancing adventure bikes being sold under the guise of off road ability.

        An actual HD branded ADV seemed like a logical future product with this train of thought.

  • paulo

    Funny, today I am digitally removing wrinkles and excess fat from an aging Hollywood star….

    you cant blame KTM for wanting their new bike to look new in the press pics. Everyone knows if you drop a bike it’s going to get damage somewhere. I guess they were on location and had the rider,bike, photographer, catering van and the client there and cleaning up in post was quicker than trying to source and fit a shiny new pipe for the shoot whilst all those expensive people wait around.

    • Frosty_spl

      This. I’m in advertising. If I was the art director on this account, I would have had the photos retouched, or just done it myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phobos512 phobos512

    For the amount of flak they’ll likely take in the motorcycling press because of something like this, it probably would’ve been cheaper to just throw an el-cheapo plastic skid-plate on the bike and call it a day.

  • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

    Wes, that second-to-last paragraph is spot on.

    The fact is, 90% of motorcyclists don’t do the things that are shown in the advertising for the bikes they buy. How many sportbikes do you see with 50mm chicken strips? How many ten-year-old Goldwings can you find for sale with less than 5K miles on them?

    If someone wants an adventure bike to cruise around their subdivision on the weekends, that’s great. They’re no more pretentious than most of anybody else on two wheels.

    • Christopher Bibbs

      I really don’t find this bothersome at all. Honestly, my riding doesn’t look anything like the advertising, but I still want that bike because:
      A) It looks cool.
      B) It can do the stuff I actually need it to.
      Now if it were only ‘A’, I’d have a problem. But so long as it is fully functional, I say game on!

  • Rick

    KTM’s accessory catalog will surely have a skidplate remedy for this, and you just did all the promotional work for it free of charge!

    Very clever, The Hun.

  • John

    “My overweight street bike might actually get a booboo if I do the things it looks like it can do but can’t”

    Of course they photo shopped it, it’s not even supposed to get dirt on it, let alone a dent.

  • markbvt

    I very much doubt that too many people looking to buy one of the big ADV bikes like this, or even an F800GS or Tiger 800 XC, have any intention of doing much trail-riding with it. Everyone understands that an actual dirtbike is the best tool for that job. But at the same time, an ADV bike is going to be a hell of a lot more fun for doing long-distance trips involving significant dirt/gravel road mileage than either a road touring bike like a Goldwing or a full-on dirtbike.

    Yes, the marketing machine could stand to be a little clearer on that point, but you have to admit, it’s more interesting seeing a bike like this in more extreme conditions than it’s really intended for than on the road…

  • Fizzy Fox

    Yeah. I’m also in advertising. This is a complete “non-issue”.

    Oops! This was supposed to be in response to paulo.

  • http://twitter.com/bunny_Drug Don

    Hummm, kinda off putting no?

  • Grinnling

    Not really every company does this they’re not really doctoring the images as much as preparing them for the public,if anything it attests to the solid nature of the motorcycle it could go through that entire video shoot with a screwed up exhaust without choking or stalling

    You can also see how they bumped up the focus and resolution of the image and strengthened the colors in the image as well whoever did the work did a very good job I’m actually impressed

    • http://twitter.com/bunny_Drug Don

      Fair enough :D

  • yipY

    It shows more to me.The bike is touted as some kind of dirt focused drudge escape capsule and a little rock could strand you a days walk from water.The crankcases are very exposed and need a real 6.0 thick alloy bash plate.

  • Clint

    Not sure I agree that the bike ended up on the ground. More likely a rock was thrown up by the front wheel. And if I’m going off-road with any bike, the first thing I put on is a skid plate. Not because I’m going to be jumping the bike or throwing it around corners, but because gravel and paint aren’t exactly good friends. When the time comes to sell the bike, repairing or explaining road rash is more expensive than calling Touratech up and asking for express delivery.

    KTM has all the optional extras available for fitment before collection too, so if you’re planning on doing highway miles, you don’t have to pay for the extras. If you want to thrash your bike in the bush, you click the checkbox and pay the price.

    Also agree that a bit of photoshop to make the press release look good isn’t anything sinister or trying to hide damage. Just a case of presenting the bike in the best possible light. I’m trading my F800GS on one of these awesome machines, and a little ding in the exhaust is definitely not changing my mind.