Chris Birch shows off new KTM 1290 Adventure R

Photo: KTM

Interested in the updated 2021 KTM 1290 Adventure R? Sadly, it’s not coming to Canada this riding season. We haven’t had our own chance to ride it, but KTM’s tame rider training coach Chris Birch has. You can see his impressions below.

Remember, Birch is a KTM ambassador on the KTM YouTube channel, so don’t expect him to come out and slag the bike. However, his little presentation will at least give you an idea of what the bike can do, in the hands of a skilled hoon.

As well, we also get a good overview of KTM’s updates. The chassis updates might be the biggest news for 2021; the frame itself is shorter, with a longer swingarm. Birch says this arrangement makes for better handling on trails and street alike. The seat height is lower, and the suspension has been beefed up. It still has the same compliance, says Birch, but with more capacity “in reserve,” so you can push the 1290 harder in the tough stuff.

As we originally told you, the engine itself seems to mostly be unchanged, but KTM’s designers have worked to move the radiator’s waste heat away from the rider. And, the bike gets Rally Mode for easier on-the-fly adjustment of traction control/ABS/throttle response settings.

The bodywork and paint also get an update, with styling similar to the old 990 series.

We don’t have an arrival date for the new 1290 Adventure R, but KTM said it wouldn’t be here for this spring’s selling season. Maybe by fall, then, or at the very latest, next winter. Too bad about the wait, but the industry is still feeling some of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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