Ride Impression – KTM 1190 Adventure R – Transmoto

26 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ride Impression – KTM 1190 Adventure R – Transmoto
KTM 1190 RC8 R

Ride Impression – KTM 1190 Adventure R

Ian Hancock

iKapture Images

The competition faced by KTM’s completely re-designed 1190 Adventure R is vastly different to what the KTM 950 Adventure did on its introduction 10 years ago. But your reaction on the first ride is exactly the same – those bloody Austrians have once again created a machine that is so well balanced, powerful and capable that it defies its large frame. This is the third major overhaul of the lineage, and is as close to a ground-up re-design as you can get.

The first question on the tip of anyone’s tongue that is familiar with the Adventure model is whether KTM has gone soft with the new Adventure R? The short answer is no. The 1190 retains a modified version of the 48mm WP fork and shock of old, while the power has increased from 114hp (on the 990 Adventure introduced in 2006) to 150hp, by using the engine from the RC8 superbike. Although the weight has increased by 12.5kg over the 990 Adventure the new 217kg 1190 is equally as offroad-worthy as the models of old.

So how does the 1190 Adventure R fit into the market segment? First, you need to get your head around the difference between the offroad-focused Adventure R (the model we’re testing) and the more road-going Adventure. Previously, the extra ‘R’ bought you little more than an additional inch or two of suspension travel and some fancy graphics.

Now, the models have diverged down two very different paths.

The Adventure is now similar to the Ducati Multistrada, with a road-going 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel combination and a monstrous V-twin borrowed from its superbike sibling. While it would be happy to venture down the odd gravel road, the absence of decent crash bars and a limited knobby tyre selection make this model unsuitable for serious adventure riding. The one big plus of this model over the ‘R’ is that the electronically-adjustable suspension comes as standard.

It’s an optional extra on the ‘R’. The Adventure R, on the other hand, remains as hard-nosed as ever, retaining the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear spoked wheel combination.

The first thing that hits you about the 1190 Adventure R is the massive 36hp increase in power. When designing the bike, KTM engineers started with the 1195cc V-twin engine out of the RC8 superbike, then built the chassis around it. In the development phase, they placed their emphasis on making the engine user-friendly and as offroad-oriented as possible.

Torque is a massive 125nm – significantly more than a Toyota Yaris – and is available from low revs. First gear is noticeable shorter than what you’d expect on a bike of this size, allowing you to navigate tricky off-road situations at walking pace without constantly relying on the clutch. Speaking of which, the new slipper clutch means you’re much less likely to stall.

For anyone familiar with the old 990 Adventure or the RC8R, you’ll be pleased to know that the 1190 Adventure doesn’t suffer from a brutal throttle response – this was solved by a twin-spark ignition system that makes twisting the throttle perfectly smooth.

Complementing the new engine is a ride-by-wire throttle and a well-developed engine management system that KTM calls MTC – Motorcycle Traction Control. The computer system is a bit tricky to work at first, but can be managed fine with your gloves on. There are three main modes; ‘Off-road’ that allows full rear wheel spin and about 100hp, ‘Street’ gives a bit more power and limited rear wheel slip, and ‘Sport’ with full horsepower and controlled rear wheel spin.

There is a noticeable difference in power between the three – a fact we’re quietly grateful for.

KTM 1190 RC8 R

As much as Ben Grabham was trying to prove otherwise at the launch of the 1190, 150hp is more horsepower than anyone could ever put to good use off-road, and can get most riders into trouble. So the MTC mode allows you to make the best of both worlds – enough grunt to keep up with almost all sports bikes on the black top, while providing smooth power on the dirt.

The other piece of electronic wizardry on the 1190 Adventure R is the new Bosch C-ABS brakes. ABS was available on the old 990, but you were limited to ‘On’ and ‘Off’ – by literally pulling out a wire. The 1190 has three modes – the ‘On’, ‘Off-road’ mode that allows the back wheel to lock completely and provides more slippage on the front wheel, and ‘Off’.

The off-road mode is a massive step forward for dirt bike riders who want full control, but with the fear of accidentally locking the front taken away.

One feature letting the old 990 down was the meagre 20-litre twin fuel tanks, combined with the thirsty LC8 donk, giving you a range of around 250km. The 1190 Adventure R moves to a single 23-litre tank, and in combination with the more frugal new motor, can give you a much more adventure-like range of 400km.

The bike feels deceptively slim in the saddle, with the tanks and instrument panel kept as narrow as possible. The seat is lower than in previous models, making the bike more accessible to shorter riders. The hands-arse-feet ratio is comfortable for a full day in the saddle, and the windscreen is manually adjustable so you can find the perfect setting depending on your height and helmet type.

Other new features include a luggage rack for ‘touring-style’ panniers built into the chassis, the option to run tubeless road tyres on the spoked rims, a wireless tyre pressure monitoring system, daytime LED lights – the list goes on.

The 1190 Adventure R has recommended price of $21,995 plus on road costs and is available on dealers’ floors now. Stay tuned next week for video footage of the 1190 Adventure R in action, as well as an online image gallery.

Disclosure: Ian currently owns and rides a KTM 990 Adventure.

KTM 1190 RC8 R

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