KTM 1190 Adventure – Best All-Around Motorcycle in the World?
Cycle World thinks so after a full road test on the 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure
Cycle World Magazine has tested the KTM 1190 Adventure before at press events and gathered first impressions. But now they’ve been given a 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure for a full test on American soil, using their advanced testing facilities. Tests have left them impressed and considering whether this bike is the best all-around motorcycle in the world.
To become the best all-around motorcycle in the world requires high ranking in three key performance areas: sport bike performance, touring comfort, and off-road capability. In terms of pure speed, the KTM clocked a 10.68 second 1/4 mile time and a top speed of 151 mph. Those performance numbers make the KTM a near match for the street focused Ducati Multistrada and put it way ahead of top competitors like the BMW R1200GS and Yamaha Super Ténéré.
The main area of improvement for the KTM 1190 Adventure has been in refinement and comfort. The original 2003 KTM 950 Adventure was designed to be a Dakar Rally competitor back when there were no displacement limits on motorcycles. The bike even competed in the 2003 Baja 1000 as a KTM factory entry. The KTM 950 may have looked out of place competing against smaller dirt bikes, but the big KTM mesmerized the crowd as it still managed to run up front.
Making a race bike into a civilized street bike is a huge challenge for any manufacturer. Over the years, KTM was able to massage the platform into a decent touring bike. But the KTM 990 Adventure was never going to match the refinement and comfort of the BMW R1200GS.
After testing the new KTM, Cycle World claims, “As an on-road machine, the Adventure has been improved dramatically.” Much of this refinement has to do with advanced electronics like the lean-angle-sensing traction control, multiple power modes, and Electronic Damping System suspension. Fueling is spot on and there are a wide-range of settings to match any road condition. Range is also improved (226 miles average) with a larger tank than the KTM 990 Adventure. The only complaint Cycle World had was for the seat which they claim is “too soft and doesn’t provide enough support for longer days.” KTM seems to have a long-standing problem with uncomfortable seats (to the joy of the aftermarket seat makers).
The KTM brand is synonymous with off-road performance, so you know the new KTM 1190 Adventure is going to perform well in the dirt. But has it lost a step after adding sport bike speed and touring comfort? Thankfully not. Cycle World claims the KTM “…is capable of things off-road that no bike its size or power output should ever be capable of.” As they see it, the KTM 1190 Adventure may not be quite as good off-road as the 990 Adventure, but it doesn’t give up much in performance.
KTM has maintained its off-road prowess by keeping weight down. The new model is roughly the same weight as the previous 990 adventure, even after increasing engine size 200cc and improving on-road creature comforts.
So is the 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure the best all-around motorcycle in the world? If you could just pick one bike and you needed it to perform well in the twisties, on the highway and trail riding, it’s hard to disagree. Cycle World sums it up perfectly, “This motorcycle does more things well in more conditions than any other bike we’ve ever tested.”
Check out the story “2014 KTM 1190 ADVENTURE – ROAD TEST – The best all-around bike in the world?” from Cycle World Magazine.