Wanna know how our brand-new KTM 1290 Adventure R and KTM 1090 Adventure R performed between Germany and Japan? We summed it up in a blog - right along this way. If you want to know how come we chose these bikes, please continue :)
Momme's bikes so far
My first bike was a SR 500. On my first ride, I made it exactly 500 meters far. That’s when I stalled the engine in the middle of a busy intersection and learntthe hard way what it means to have a kickstarter. Sometimes I still hear the horns of the traffic behind me. But that bike and I grew together. And though it’s not really suited for travelling, it took me all over Europe. From Albania to Norway. Not fast but with a lot of character. I love it and I still ride it a lot.
The SR is awesome, but I wanted something more powerful. Something modern. So the second bike I got was a Triumph Speed Triple 1050.
No initial difficulties here. I changed head lights and exhaust to a more classic look and it looked – good. Better than any other Speed Triple I’ve seen (very modest, I know). It's obviously not a great travel bike (which didn't stop me from trying). But if you treat the Speed Triple right and take it for a Sunday ride on empty country roads, you won't be disappointed. I wasn't, anyway. The engine is spectacular and it’s a great bike in general. But something was missing. It took me some time to realize that... I wasn’t in love. Getting the Speed Triple had been a compromise. And no-one loves compromise. So when I started to look for my next bike, there were basically two criteria. No. 1: no kickstarter. That’s easy enough to match. Especially compared to No.2: I wanted to fall in love again.
Momme's KTM 1090 ADVENTURE R
When we had the idea for this trip it was obvious that it’s time for an enduro. I’ve been sneaking around KTMs for some years now. I did test rides with the 640 LC4 Adventure and the 690 Enduro but didn't really see myself going around the world with them. Though many people do. The 640 is great for travelling with its huge tank and robustness. But that motor is quite something. I'm used to singles, but this one is special. Fiery, but all about vibrations. A bit too much for me, actually. So taking a closer look at the 690 Enduro seemed like a good idea since the single is much smoother. And while the 690 was great fun to ride since it’s so light and agile, turning it into a fully equipped adventure bike (with KTM Basel’s Quest or the Rally Raid kit) didn’t seem appealing to me. Yamaha’s XTZ 660 Tenere became a candidate. A solid single, adventure-ready, but a rather boring choice. Little power, less aura. I was not convinced, yet I had to come to a decision. That’s when KTM released their new adventure bikes.
I had somehow ruled out bigger bikes before because I thought they are too heavy and not as capable off-road. But the 1090 Adventure R has a wire-spoked 21"/18" wheels and with 230 kg (including 23 litres of fuel) it's not as heavy as the other big bikes. Still, it's powerful. 125 PS – that’s like my Speed Triple. But in the end you cannot decide on a bike by numbers. That’s why we went to EICMA. I jumped on the 1090 and it felt right. Instantly. I guess you have to get on it to get it. So if my feeling is right (or the first reviews (or KTM's marketing material)), this should be a bike that gets you everywhere without major cuts in comfort or power. I'll find out soon. Can't wait to get this thing to the streets. A huge thank you goes to the guys at KTM for letting us ride these beauties and supporting us along the way!
THIEs' BIKES SO FAR
My first bike was a Kawasaki Z650. My second bike, too. Let's not get into what happened to the first one. Just one thing: I didn't crash it. The second Z650 is the one to the right. A four cylinder as smooth as they get. It has horrible brakes but hey, you get used to it. It's how they made them back in the days. I took it on my first major motorcycle trip to Norway and it didn't disappoint at all. Actually, the bike was prepared better than I was. It can get chilly in Norway at times. And rainy! Anyway, these days I don't use the bike for travelling anymore. But I take good care of it and take it for a ride every once in a while. The Z650 deserves it.
I've been fascinated with the Dakar Rally for ages. Honda's Africa Twin won it 4 times in the late 1980ies. Guess which bike I got to do bigger trips? Right, I got an Africa Twin. The advantages of the old models are widely known. As you can see I also took this bike to Norway. Great decision. So much more comfortable than Z650. Not very surprising, I know. One of the bigger weaknesses the Africa Twin has is its fuel pump. I found out in Romania's ugliest city (let's not name it here, but Romanians are invited to guess!) where I stayed almost a week before the spare part arrived. Apart from that, the bike never let me down. But would I make it all the way to Tokyo with this motorcycle? I wasn't really sure.
Thies' KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
Like I said: the Dakar really gets me. When Sam Sunderland crossed the finish line this year he was giving KTM its 16th consecutive victory. 16 straight wins – it really seems like KTM know what they're doing. So when I was looking for a bike to do this trip with, KTM were in the pole position.
At EICMA, it was pretty clear which bike I'd go for. The new 1290 Super Adventure R does not only look great, it is one of the most powerful adventure bikes around at the moment. Do I need 160 PS? Well... Is it awesome to have them? Hell yeah. I'm really looking forward to see how this feels on the streets. And on gravel and mud and the likes. And by really I mean really really really. Because while the 1290 is so powerful, it's supposed to be fully capable off-road. I won't confront you with the specs but they are impressive. Good for me.