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2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R tested by Dakar ace Chris Birch

Kiwi Dakar racer Chris Birch has been putting the new 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R through its paces with staggering results

1290 SUPER aDVENTURE r.

NEW Zealander Chris Birch has been putting the new 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R through its paces and giving us his thoughts on the new tech that is included in the big-bore adventure machine.

2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S | Adventure Tourer gets Tech, Better Ergos and Handling | Visordown

The ‘R’ version of the big KTM has long been lauded as the adventure bike of choice for those looking for the ultimate in dirt-based shenanigans. And it’s not just marketing hype either. The latest 1290 engine in the 2021 bike is a distant cousin of the engines that powered the firm's Dakar race machines in the early 2000s.

The bike also features an all-new frame, extended swingarm and lighter Euro5 engine are just the tip of the iceberg. Within the bike’s TFT dash there are updated riding modes, improved traction control, and the famous Rally Mode for proper all-out hooliganism.

Beneath the skin, the new Euro5, 160hp LC8 V-twin boasts a 1.6kg weight saving over the outgoing model, and the bike now features slimmer castings, lightweight internals, and a revised PANKL gearbox for improved shifts and less weight.

Dakar racer Chris Birch tests the 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

While Chris is suitably impressed with how the bike performs, it’s the riding on show that that makes this video actually well worth a watch. Mr Birch is New Zealand’s most successful Dakar Rally competitor finishing 27th and second in the rookie class in 2012. And he’s clearly not lost any of his skill in the intervening years!