VISORDOWN’S Alex did the double this winter, finishing checks on each of the KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey machines. His ‘1290 double’ noticed him using each KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S and rally-ready Tremendous Journey R variations, each fashions handily fitted with that luscious LC8 V-Twin, plus this S mannequin with the radar-assisted cruise management.
Serving as an replace to Toad’s launch journey evaluation, it was my flip within the saddle for a ‘dwelling with’ evaluation of the 1290 Tremendous Journey S.
After critically having fun with a few weeks with the off-road biased brother, the 2021 KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey R, it was time to check out the road-focused ‘S’ mannequin – full with 2021 updates to the 1301cc LC8 V-twin engine , new semi-active digital suspension, a wealth of tweaks and modifications, and naturally the radar-assist cruise management.
In the event you’re an journey touring fan, this LC8 V-twin could be singing the right melody to show your head – and with the entire 2021 updates to sharpen its talents, this was an excellent few weeks with an orange beast.
KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S Value & Availability
Initially launched in 2021, the KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S was initially priced in at £14,999 – although a current 2023 announcement has outdated this version with an additional few updates and a value bump to £16,699. That is to not say this 2021 mannequin yr is now irrelevant, as dealerships could also be trying to flog these ‘older’ fashions with a lot of the identical gadgetry for a cut price basement value.
Colour choices are a spectacular KTM-staple orange, or a discreet black/gray with orange highlights. As you’ll be able to see within the photographs I had the orange version in for testing, and I genuinely assume it is a great-looking bike.
Some feedback on social media talked about the ugly faceplate, although I believe that is solely subjective – as I do not assume it is too unhealthy! Magnificence within the eye of the beholder and all that.
KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S Engine
If you have not ridden with the 1301cc LC8 V-Twin but, you merely should attempt it out. It is an outrageous little bit of equipment, with an immense quantity of torque all around the rev vary, and at any pace. Get it into the sportiest rider mode with full entry to the 160 bhp and 138Nm (101lb-ft) of torque on supply, and you will be hurtling in the direction of the horizon earlier than you already know it.
For 2021, the LC8 has been reworked to shed 1.6kg due to thinner engine circumstances, new pistons and a brand new oil circuit, updates to the PANKL Quickshifter+ gear mechanism, and exhaust upgrades to spherical off a number of mechanical tweaks and modifications.
Two radiators will information heat air away from the rider’s legs (working together with adjusted bodywork), commonplace 9300 mile/15,000 km service intervals apply, and it comes geared up with 5 rider modes masking Rain, Road, Sport, Offroad, and the non-compulsory Rally which prices one other couple of hundred quid.
The quickshifter+ works properly up & down over the 6 gears, although I discovered the positioning of the lever requiring a extremely optimistic kick up/down to totally interact the subsequent gear – this could possibly be right down to the peg place, which retains your boots tucked beneath you. The PASC slip & help clutch did work very properly, too, with a surprisingly gentle clutch really feel.
Issue within the immense suite of digital aids (lean-sensitive traction management with wheel slip and pitch angle controllers, Bosch Motorbike Stability Management with cornering ABS & off-road ABS, plus Motor Slip Regulation) and also you’re staring a critically digital transformer within the face, egging you on to profit from the motor relying on the way you wish to journey.
I had an unbelievable quantity of enjoyable with this bike, and it is simply pretty much as good for touring miles two-up with baggage as it’s for getting a bit foolish on the native backroads. Merely put, the KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S is a really versatile choice for the journey tourer who needs a little bit of motion as nicely.
Journey to Motorbike Dwell – Style of Touring
With the bike delivered right down to me, after a couple of native spins, my full ‘debut tour’ was penned in as Motorbike Dwell 2022 on the Nationwide Exhibition Middle in Birmingham – giving me circa 300 miles to become familiar with how the Tremendous Journey S would truthful in its pure habitat; the motorway.
Primarily I used to be trying to suss out the radar-assist adaptive cruise management, and having used it earlier than on a couple of different fashions, it was time to see how the Austrians assume it ought to be achieved.
Assisted cruise is a contentious matter, however I believe it is a vastly great tool. Everyone knows in regards to the automobiles that may’t fairly work out what pace they wish to go on quicker stretches of street, and that is the place this technique is available in to help you protecting a constant tempo with little to no problem. Massively helpful to make a few of these tiring lengthy distance slogs rather less fatiguing.
It really works nicely as an help software, however I might actually advocate not putting your total journey in its fingers. When setting the comply with distance setting from very near very far (and anyplace in between) I discovered it to be very correct, and it will easily gradual and pace you as much as the automobile in entrance. It’s going to observe bikes too, and round bends it would neatly control the automobile forward in your lane round a slight bend. Engineering wizardry at its best.
Going previous slowing autos in different lanes would not appear to confuse it an excessive amount of, nor does using in critically hostile climate – which I used to be ‘blessed with’ on the best way there and again from Birmingham. Nothing may seemingly shake the radar’s lock, and when the climate was terrible I fortunately set comply with distance to ‘lengthy’, and stored a stern eye on what was forward (after I may see previous the adjustable display that appeared to carry a layer of water , and thus tough to see by regardless of doing nicely to take away most buffeting when sat upright),
It is key to remain centered right here, because it’s worrying how straightforward adaptive cruise accompanies your journey to take away a number of the tiring parts of the method. You are virtually lulled right into a false sense of safety, so it is important you keep switched on and never get complacent with any sudden developments round you – naturally. You too can set it to ‘consolation’ or ‘sport’ (or off, the place it is a regular cruise management) the place it’s going to modify your acceleration and deceleration accordingly. However why you’d wish to ‘sportily’ match the pace of the automobile ‘very shut’ in entrance is peculiar, if not simply to really feel the cruise management work quicker.
Exterior of that, the KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S is excellent for touring – if you may get on it. Seat top is an adjustable 849-869mm (with decrease seats within the equipment catalog), it is a pretty weighty 220 kg dry, and it is a tall beast. For a 6’3” rider it is excellent. For anybody shorter than 6′, you will want to verify your toes can contact the bottom.
The big 23-litre tank will fortunately return 200 miles between fill-ups, and I tended to drift across the 50-53 mpg mark relying on how a lot of the LC8 I wished to interact.
I might actually take this bike on a European tour. Although you completely have so as to add heated grips – an odd factor to not have as commonplace when there may be radar-cruise – as a substitute it is a £180 add-on.
KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S Body, Suspension, Brakes
With a chassis overhaul for 2021, the KTM engineers have tweaked weight distribution with a shorter chassis, new subframe & longer swingarm. Cornering feels sharp and constant, thanks partly to transferring the steering head again by 15mm and re-locating the entrance part of the engine.
It is a powder-coated Chromium-Molybdenum-Metal trellis body, with an aluminum swinging arm, and is paired with the very good WP Apex semi-active suspension. It additionally has the trick ‘Suspension Professional’ bundle, which means you’ll be able to dive into the settings to tweak particular person damping for the fork and the shock, plus automated preload adjustment and an on/off-road Anti Dive settings.
Suspension journey is 200mm & 220mm entrance/rear, and I discovered the 48mm forks giving the entrance finish a remarkably composed character when transferring. It actually might be sharp into corners, supplying you with the right suggestions mid-corner for an ‘on rails’ really feel which you’d by no means count on for such a big machine.
Braking energy is within the fingers of Brembo, with 4-piston radially mounted entrance calipers on twin 320mm discs up entrance, and 2-piston fastened caliper on the rear 300mm disc. Spectacular on the brakes, and paired to the suspension setup and anti-dive settings, you might have full religion within the efficiency.
I might say the KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S is an entire bundle right here, and once more, for a reasonably hefty bike it appears to outperform using efficiency of different comparable tourers in all departments – if you may get on the factor!
KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S Tech options
KTM is understood to offer a tasty tech providing, and it is no completely different right here. A wealth of rider modes, rider assists and different digital trickery (smartphone pairing for one) are all tucked away within the new flashy 7” TFT show, which might be set to mechanically swap between evening & day modes relying on the ambient lighting.
Reliability rumors could lurk within the background, however from a first-ride perspective, the 1290 is a wonderfully well-built and well-specced machine.
As talked about already, you might have the semi-active suspension, 6-axis IMU with lean-angle delicate traction management and Bosch cornering ABS, motor slip management, and adaptive cruise. It actually does have all of it, although this does imply you might have the potential to fiddle away with rider settings by way of the beautiful new switchgear for much too lengthy. Or not lengthy sufficient, if that is what you are into.
Smartphone integration is feasible, although it does imply that traditional quarter-hour spent questioning why it will not simply join immediately – and although there’s a little compartment for devices up entrance (with USB inside), my iPhone 12 professional max did not slot in there, and it is not lockable. So I tended to simply chuck the keyless ignition key and a Mars bar in there whereas out for a journey.
Whether or not you are within the camp of ‘there’s an excessive amount of tech getting in the best way’ or ‘give me all of the digital assists’, KTM are typically on the forefront of the rider tech debate – with the choice to ‘unlock’ options at any stage of possession – together with the non-compulsory Suspension Professional, Rally Pack & Tech Pack.
On one hand, it is good to have bonus performance not rammed down your throat, able to activate should you determine you need it. However the different aspect is getting your head round how a motorcycle is shipped with features locked behind a paywall, and never simply given to you at no cost. Naturally, you’ll be able to chuck on all method of equipment & touring additions to make this a venerable do-it-all all-rounder.
Nonetheless, the digital suite right here as commonplace is excellent, actually including to the journey. There are many choices for equipment, too – so you’ll be able to spec up your dream touring machine in order for you extra.
What we like & dislike in regards to the KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S
what we like
- Excellent LC8 V-twin engine
- Rider tech gallore
- Real all-round tourer
What We Dislike
- Give me heated grips as commonplace!
- Very tall, could possibly be troublesome for shorter riders
- Rumors of iffy reliability could cloud a purchase order determination – wants a long-term check!
KTM 1290 Tremendous Journey S Verdict
Journey bikes are greatest after they can do all of it, particularly for taller riders. The place it’s possible you’ll be after a long-distance tourer that may additionally let its hair down, this could possibly be nicely value a glance.
General, the engine is an absolute pleasure to work with. The journey really feel is excellent, the tech is next-level, and it actually has that perspective that’s oh-so-common with KTM equipment.
Although maybe plagued with rumors of faults over long-term possession, with the entire digital bits that would go flawed on prime, it’s possible you’ll wish to make sure you carry on prime of the routine upkeep and maintain it in tip-top form.
However both manner, for round £14,999 it is a beautiful choice for a taller journey rider. Type, perspective, means – I might say this has all of it. It ended as one among my stand-out bikes for 2022, and I might actually advocate anybody to attempt it out – if you may get on the saddle!
Huge due to KTM, head to their web site for extra data (and to see should you assume it is value paying £1,500 extra for the 2023 mannequin, or this 2021 version). As of writing, KTM is providing an extra yr of guarantee (taking the tally to three years) for brand spanking new 2023 financed fashions bought new.