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DT May 2018

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24 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE

24 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE MAY 2018

THE KTM 1290 ADVENTURE-S: This bike blew our minds when it was launched right here last year. It is everything that KTM set out for it to be, big, powerful – and ridiculously fast. From the lunch stop, this was our ride for the tar route back to the hotel. There is something raw about a KTM, it roars along like a prop forward in the Springbok Rugby side. This bike is a serious machine – KTM packed their strongest, baddest engine into a really comfortable chassis package that handles anything that the world can chuck at it. It’s also keyless, and you know our opinion on that – and it takes a little getting used to was when switching the ignition on, as you need to wait for three or four seconds for the most brilliant ever TFT display and ECU to become active, before hitting the start button. If you try to speed this process up, the bike doesn’t respond until it’s ready. A bit like a teenager really. Halfway into this ride a big warning light came on that said “General failure.” I was wandering if it was referring to the rider or the bike. Fortunately, the bike was running fine, so we kind of ignored it… The engine is amazing and is based on the 1290 Super Duke R’s 1301cc V-twin mill and, with some refinements, topping out at a whopping 160hp with 140Nm of torque. The figure that you notice on the road is “The engine is amazing and is based on the 1290 Super Duke R’s 1301cc V-twin mill and, with some refinements, topping out at a whopping 160hp with 140Nm of torque.” the 108Nm of torque available at a mere 2500rpm. What does that mean? Power and lots of it! This bike accelerates through the gear box with ease and with the aid of the power shift, gear changes are smooth and seamless. The hydraulically operated power-assisted slipper clutch combined with the up/down quick shifter makes back shifting without the clutch a breeze. On closed throttle a quick depress on the gear lever activates a spike in engine rpm allowing the gearbox to easily find its lower option. On those Sicilian twisties, even if the compression is a bit high on down shifts, the slipper clutch takes over and controls the chatter to allow for smooth gear shifting. As the amazing pass twisted and turned, we got to appreciate all of the technology that goes into a bike like this. Amazing handling, suspension – and, thankfully great brakes too. It is a lot of bike on a road like this and there were a few butt clenching moments when you go into a corner too hot. The 1290 S has a WP hydraulic steering damper as standard. Lean lean… lean… the combination of great tyres and electronic aids do really make you a better rider. The S model is designed to spend most its life on the black stuff, but we have used it before in the dirt. Gravel roads – fantastic. More serious stuff – too big and powerful for us mere mortals. But for a quick squirt to Cape Town from JHB – oh yes please. Big, powerful, comfortable – and a sho’t left onto the gravel roads in the Karoo? Yes please! DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE MAY 2018 25