KTM updates 1290 Super Adventure S with new electronics, including adaptive cruise control

Photo: KTM

KTM’s just finished an overhaul of the 1290 Super Adventure S. The flagship adventure bike doesn’t see many drastic mechanical changes, but it does see the electronics package overhauled for 2021.

The most noticeable update is a new adaptive cruise control system, similar to what’s seen on Ducati and BMW’s top-shelf touring bikes. Not only will this system maintain a constant cruising speed, it’s also able to maintain a safe cruising distance while following a vehicle in front of the bike. This is a Bosch-designed system, similar to what other manufacturers are using. It’s standard on the KTM, while it’s only optional on BMW and Ducati offerings at this point.

The other major upgrade is WP Apex semi-active suspension. The bike’s electro-brain is capable of adjusting the suspension’s settings in real-time, to adapt to a bumpy road surface, allowing riders to theoretically always have their forks and shock dialed in correctly. But, KTM loves to upsell, like every manufacturer, so there’s also a Suspension Pro package that allows even more adjustment.

Other electronic upgrades include a new 7inch TFT screen, with new interface for smartphone communication via Bluetooth. There’s also some revision to the ABS and traction control systems, thanks to new Bosch technology.

The engine itself also sees changes, including new pistons. The 1301cc liquid-cooled V-twin makes 160 hp and just under 102 lb-ft of torque. Thinner engine cases and re-designed oil system helped KTM lighten the engine by a couple of kg, although most riders wouldn’t notice that.

We don’t have Canadian pricing or availability for the new 1290 yet; sometimes KTM’s flagships take a little longer to make it to North America. We’d expect to see it in showrooms here sometime this year, though.


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