The 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S is now announced

The 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S has arrived with improved ergonomics, improved performance, and more technology


THE most technologically advanced bike in the KTM range has been given an update for 2021 as the new 1290 Super Adventure S is revealed to the world.

It’s a big bike for KTM as the 1290 is not just a strong seller, but also a halo model in a range that encompasses motocross, enduro, supermoto and road bikes. For 2021 though, KTM has a hare to catch, a bright red hare in the form of Ducati’s tech-laden and uber-powerful Multistrada V4. To do that the Austrian firm has rolled up its sleeves and rolled out some new tech to help it close the gap.

2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S engine

  • 160hp 103lb-ft
  • 1.6kg lighter than before
  • New exhaust system
  • Revised PANKL gearbox
  • Revised pistons
  • Improved engine cooling

The 2021 Super Adventure boasts the same power and torque as the previous generation bike, meaning there is still a handy 160 hp and 103lb-ft of torque on offer. The new engine is also now Euro5 certified and comes in 1.6 kg lighter than the previous generation. The cases are thinner, and a new oil circuit has been introduced. The exhaust system has also been redesigned and power is transmitted via a revised PANKL gear mechanism that is claimed to bring with it big improvements when used with the optional Quickshifter+. 

Internally the KTM features revised pistons to aid reliability, while the engine is now claimed to run cooler thanks to a new cooling system. Hot days in the saddle should also be more comfortable for the pilot, as revised radiators and bodywork now channel hot air away from the rider’s legs.


  • Two IMU TC controllers
  • Cornering ABS
  • WP semi-active suspension
  • Six-axis IMU
  • Adaptive Cruise Control

As is the way with the world of modern adventure motorcycles, the big battleground seems to be in the technology they offer, and the new KTM has had a significant update on that front.

For starters, the IMU controlled traction control has two different controllers, one for wheel slip and another for pitch angle, each with its own data and strategies. The Cornering ABS and Off-road ABS systems are products of the new Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control, while Motor Slip Regulation is optional. The Super Adventure S also features top-spec WP semi-active suspension that is fed information from the bike’s 6-axis IMU.

For those who want a deep dive into the settings, KTM also offers an optional Suspension Pro package that allows for individual damping for the forks and the shock. It also offers automatic preload adjustment and an on/off Anti Dive setting. And for those with a penchant for riding the rough stuff, there is even a Rally Pack featuring the RALLY riding mode and the respective MTC slip adjuster. All of the Suspension Pro and Rally Pack features can be bundled together, with the Quickshifter+, the Motor Slip Regulation, the Hill Hold Control and the adaptive brake light by opting for the all-in-one Tech Pack.


  • New 7” TFT
  • New Switchgear
  • Smartphone connectivity
  • Revised rider interface

For 2021, the Super Adventure S is also gaining an updated 7” TFT dash that comes complete with smartphone connectivity. The menu is claimed to be easier to read and navigate than before and uses infographics to indicate various sections of the bike. In the cockpit the new machine also boasts a waterproof phone storage compartment and built USB charging point – a god-send on any bike – that is joined by redesigned switchgear for this year.

Chassis and ergonomics

  • Revised bodywork
  • Improved weight distribution
  • 23l fuel tank

KTM has put some work into making the 2021 generation Super Adventure the most focused machine to date, on that front the ergonomics of the bike have been completely redesigned, with the chassis also going under the microscope in the quest for improvements.

The chassis has been optimised for improved weight distribution, with a focus on improving the bike’s agility. The steering has been moved back 15mm and a new longer swingarm has been used to improve stability.

The fuel tank is 23l in size and the bodywork has also been optimised to ensure it doesn’t impede the rider’s progress.

Radar guided cruise control

Surely the biggest talking point of the new bike is the introduction of radar-guided cruise control. Officially called Adaptive Cruise Control, the system is standard on the bike and is the product of a collaboration between KTM and Bosch. The system automatically adjusts the distance between the bike and any traffic ahead according to five stages that can be set with the re-designed handlebar switches. 


  • New ergonomics - new fuel tank, lower seat & new plastics 
  • Reworked bodywork - shorter chassis, new subframe & longer swingarm
  • Optimized weight distribution - added agility & comfort
  • New generation electronics - innovative ACC & reworked cornering MTC
  • More intuitive 7” TFT display - optimal accessibility
  • Redesigned handlebar switches, improved CCU 
  • Revised 1301cc LC8 engine - 160 hp & 138 Nm 
  • Next generation of Semi-Active Suspension
  • Remodelled optional technology - Suspension Pro, Rally Pack & Tech Pack

Joachim Sauer - KTM Product Manager said of the bike:

“The 2021 KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S is a sporty bike designed to offer unparalleled riding fun in any terrain. With this model KTM enters its third generation of big Travel-Enduro bikes for street and gravel adventurers. Collecting feedback from the market, we focused on enhancing rider feeling and ergonomics while introducing ground-breaking advancements, such as the Adaptive Cruise Control, the KTM way. To appreciate the magic of our ACC, you need to consider that the ideal roads to experience the thrilling performance of the KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE S may lie hours away. With highways in between, ACC will let you breeze through the transit keeping you ready to strike whenever possible. The new generation model will carry you as far, long and as hard as you want while keeping the original KTM DNA strong with its elevated performance potential.”   

The new 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S will be in UK KTM dealers from March 2021.

Price at the time of writing is TBC – we will update as we get this information.

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