2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S: Excessive adventure
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When the United States sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon (if you don't believe the conspiracy theories), the computing power they used was less than is found in a bargain-bin smart phone.
Using that logic, if the space race had continued we probably could have shot for Mars with less technology than you'll find beneath the surface of the 2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S.
KTM is no stranger to using high-quality kit, but even it seems to have outdone itself with its 2017 line-up, edging the bar further forward while somehow keeping its products within the realms of affordability.
Sure, you can get semi-active suspension, all the rider aids under the moon, and a hot-to-trot TFT screen on other European machinery, but it comes at a far greater cost and with arguably less ability than the machines from Mattighofen.
The first thing about the Super Adventure S you've probably noticed is the large LED headlight unit. Like us, you're either in team "Love it!" or team "Leave it!".
Personally, I fall into the former camp, and here's why.
When it comes to riding at night, there isn't a bike I've yet ridden that can hold a candle to the light output of the big KTM.
I've got to say it, but when it comes to lighting, this headlight has it nailed.
Not only do you get a pretty decent beam and crystal-clear light from the LEDs, but KTM has also incorporated cornering lights into the set-up.
Canterbury | Sockburn
$44.16 p/w $176.63 p/m
Discussing it with a colleague, we were both astounded that it has taken the bike industry so long to incorporate it into bikes.
How it works on the KTM is all to do with your lean angle -- which the sophisticated electronics register as cornering.
The more lean-angle you have, the greater the number of the dedicated cornering LEDs light up.
Considering my first ride on the big KTM was in the dark as I left the office, the system was both the first thing I noticed out on the road and by far one of my favourites of the new additions to the 2017 bike.
The other impressive addition is, of course, the TFT dashboard. Though other makes have also adopted the technology, KTM has embraced it, with it not only featuring on the premium flagship models, but also way down at the entry level as seen on the new 390 Duke.
I'll admit that at first the TFT was a little bit distracting.
My eye was constantly drawn down to gaze at the razor-sharp display. Riding a bike with an LCD display will be a major comedown after riding this.
Not only is the screen razor-sharp to look at, it has a couple of clever tricks that make it even better.
First, it is physically adjustable for angle, meaning no matter how tall (or short) you are, you can adjust it so the angle is perfect for you.
Secondly, depending on whether you are riding day or night, the display will adapt to ensure you can see the screen optimally.
This means at night, when you look down, the display has a dark background with bright, easy-to-read digits. Ride until daybreak and the screen changes to a white background with blue digits to do the same.
While I'd be happy with the night-time display at all times, the day-time riding display is without a doubt incredibly clear in all the conditions I experienced and should fight glare on those warm, bright sunny days we're already looking forward to.
With all that technology, you'd be forgiven for thinking the KTM's technology masks any hint of a soulful bike, but again you'd be wrong.
The 1301cc LC8 V-Twin of our test bike sings with gusto thanks to the addition of an optional Akrapovic exhaust, which you could argue is yet more flashing, but when the throttle hits the stopper there is no arguing with this engine.
It is stonkingly powerful with 118kW and 140Nm on tap, meaning two-up touring won't be an issue, especially with the clever WP electronically adjustable suspension.
I get the feeling little ol' NZ isn't big enough for this great big KTM.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Engine: 1301cc LC8 V-twin
Power: 118kW / 140Nm
Pro: Incredibly high-tech, stonkingly powerful engine, extremely comfortable
Con: If you break it off-road, you'll probably need Nasa levels of tech support to get back to the world
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