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Third KTM 1290 Super Adventure on the Way

KTM’s third entry in the 1290 Super Adventure range will share the physical dimensions as the previously announced 1290 S model (shown).

KTM’s third entry in the 1290 Super Adventure range will share the physical dimensions as the previously announced 1290 S model (shown). (KTM/)

The decision to cancel last year’s major European motorcycle shows—Cologne’s Intermot and Milan’s EICMA—might have been seen as a blow to the industry by some, but manufacturers are reveling in the ability to launch bikes on their own schedule rather than vying for attention alongside dozens of other new models.

KTM has taken the newfound freedom to an extreme, with a host of separate unveilings for individual models, even when they’re part of a larger single range. The firm did it with the new 890 Adventure, which was revealed apart from the Adventure R and Rally models, and again with the 1290 Super Adventure S and 1290 Super Adventure R, which were each given their own distinct launch dates. Now it’s emerged that there’s another derivative to come in yet another individual unveiling, as the existence of a base-model 1290 Super Adventure has been exposed by European type approval documents.

The separate launch date allows KTM to focus on the base model’s merits (lighter weight, lower price) without the distractions of the higher-tech R and S bikes. (The 1290 S is shown.)

The separate launch date allows KTM to focus on the base model’s merits (lighter weight, lower price) without the distractions of the higher-tech R and S bikes. (The 1290 S is shown.) (KTM/)

Launching the base model after the higher-spec machines makes some sense from a marketing perspective. Had the 1290 Super Adventure been revealed at the same time as the S and R, coverage would no doubt have focused on the S’ radar cruise control and semi-active suspension or the R’s high-spec components. By launching it later on, it gives the opportunity to push the basic version on its own benefits, which will no doubt be led by the fact that it has the same performance as the more exotic versions but at a lower price.

According to the type approval documents that we’ve seen, the base version of the 1290 Super Adventure will share its main physical dimensions with the S version, with the same 61.3-inch wheelbase and an identical 88.8-inch length. Those numbers effectively confirm that the Super Adventure will share the S’ cast alloy wheels, sized at 19 inches in the front and 17 inches rear, instead of the R’s wire wheels, which measure 21 inches up front and 18 inches at the back, making the whole bike nearly 2 inches longer, at 90.7 inches.

The base 1290 Super Adventure shares the same 1,301cc motor with its higher-spec siblings, but its lighter weight could boost performance. (The 1290 S is shown.)

The base 1290 Super Adventure shares the same 1,301cc motor with its higher-spec siblings, but its lighter weight could boost performance. (The 1290 S is shown.) (KTM/)

The documents also reveal that the base Super Adventure is 5 kilograms (11 pounds) lighter than either of its siblings. While KTM tends to quote dry weights in its official stats, putting the S version at 220 kilograms (485 pounds) and the R model at 221 kilograms (487 pounds), the type approval documents give curb weights, including oil and a tank of fuel. That means they rate both the S and the R at 245 kilograms (540 pounds), while placing the new base version at 240 kilograms (529 pounds).

The weight might be lower, but the entry-level Super Adventure’s power is identical to the S and R models, with the documents confirming that it uses exactly the same 1,301cc V-twin, making 158 hp, as the higher-spec bikes. That means the cheapest offering in the 2021 Super Adventure lineup might also turn out to be the quickest.

The weight savings is likely to be the result of the base 1290 Super Adventure ditching the S model’s radar-assisted cruise control (it’s already dropped from the R) and its WP-SAT semi-active suspension. The R version already lacks those parts, but uses higher-spec passive suspension and matches the S’ weight thanks to the addition of off-road-oriented components like crashbars around the engine. Visually, we’re expecting the base machine to be nearly identical to the S, though with a gaping hole under the headlight unit where the S’ radar sensor is housed.

This isn’t the only new 2021 KTM model that we’re still waiting to see. Similar documents have also confirmed the existence of a 1290 Super Duke RR that’s set to join the 2021 model range.

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