2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S | First Look Review
KTM has announced key updates to its street-focused adventure-touring machine, the 2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S. We were huge fans of the 1290 SA-S when we last tested it. Featuring a new steel-trellis frame, revised ergonomics, a new low-slung fuel tank and refined electronics with adaptive cruise control, the latest Super Adventure S is said to be more agile and more comfortable over long distances.
Why are we reporting on a 2022 model in the beginning of 2021? Have we unlocked the mysteries of time travel? Sadly, no. European markets will receive the updated 1290 Super Adventure S this spring, while it will arrive in North America this fall as an early 2022 model.
Many of the 2022 Super Adventure S updates center around the revised streel-trellis frame, which KTM says delivers sharper cornering abilities. Sportier handling is always appreciated, and designers achieved this by moving the headtube back 0.6 inch while also rotating the 1,301cc LC8 V-twin engine forward, shifting the weight bias towards the front wheel. To balance out these changes, a longer swingarm increases stability under hard acceleration.
Bolted up to the shiny new frame is semi-active WP Apex suspension, providing automatic damping adjustment at each end. The suspension features new valves and is supplemented by a 6-axis IMU that monitors every movement. Those hoping for additional adjustment will have to peek into the KTM PowerParts catalog, opting for the Suspension Pro package that adds individual damping for the fork and shock, preload adjustment and an anti-dive function.
Contributing to better handling is a new keyless 6.1-gallon fuel tank. While there is no change in capacity, the new fuel tank tears a page from the 790 and 890 Adventure playbook, employing a low-slung design that significantly lowers the motorcycle’s center of gravity. There is also an integrated storage pocket with a USB charging port.
Ergonomics & Bodywork
From there, designers turned their attention towards improving ergonomics, utilizing a new subframe that lowers the seat height half an inch to a more manageable 33.4 inches. Liter-class ADV tourers are notoriously tall, so this change should help a wide variety of riders, and leggier pilots can exploit the two-tiered seat’s 0.79-inch range of adjustment. Also, the handlebar is adjustable, a feature commonly seen on many KTM bikes.
Visually, the bodywork still reflects the Kiska design team’s preference for angular styling, but much work has been done to smooth the Super Adventure’s lines. The tour-ready windscreen can be moved 2.17 inches upward.
During the last major Super Adventure S update, we saw the introduction of a split LED headlight. This year, a new Bosch radar sensor facilitates the bike’s new adaptive cruise control feature, automatically adjusting speed to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. This feature is commonplace in the automotive world, but only a few motorcycles have it, like the Super Adventure S’s direct competitor, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4.
And we’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to electronics. Returning to the party for 2022 is a bevy of rider aids, beginning with four standard ride modes; Rain, Street, Sport and Offroad. An optional Rally mode is available that allows you to customize settings. 6-axis IMU-supported cornering ABS, off-road ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, off-road traction control, stability control and self-canceling turn signals are still standard equipment. Meanwhile, Motor Slip Regulation, hill hold control and an up/down quickshifter optionally available.
New for this year are backlit switchgear buttons that will help you navigate the massive 7-inch full-color TFT display.
The fast-revving 1,301cc LC8 V-twin engine isn’t being left out in the cold during this update and has lost 3.5 pounds, thanks to thinner engine cases. Euro 5 emissions haven’t sapped much performance either, with KTM claiming 160 horsepower and 101.8 lb-ft of torque — down 1.4 points compared to the 2020 model. Other changes include a split radiator (not unlike the middleweight ADV bikes) and new the bodywork is designed to redirect hot air away from the rider’s legs, improving comfort.
According to KTM North America representatives, the 2022 KTM Super Adventure S will be arriving on U.S. shores in fall of 2021. There is no confirmation of pricing just yet and we will update this story accordingly.
For more information on other KTM motorcycles, visit KTM.