Pack your bike and go.

Back in December, 2020, KTM accidentally hit publish on the webpages it designed for its upcoming 2021 1290 Super Adventure R and S. Mistakes happen, and KTM yanked it down quickly—but not before Motorcycle.com got some good screencaps. As a result, we all learned some of the key details of the updated Super Adventures ahead of time. 

As of February 23, 2021, the 2021 Super Adventure R is officially here. As we saw with the January, 2021 introduction of the Super Adventure S, the newly Euro 5-compliant LC8 V-twin makes a claimed 160 horsepower, with peak torque of 101.8 lb-ft. KTM also shaved weight by shaving metal, to the tune of a 1.6 kg (or just over 3.5 lb) decrease over the previous version.  

The new, improved Super Adventure R also features that revised split radiator setup. Paired with clever air ducting to dissipate heat away from the rider, it should make riding more comfortable for longer periods of time. KTM also says the revised Pankl gearbox is more responsive, faster, and lighter than its predecessor. There’s also an optional quickshifter for 2021, if you want it. 

2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R - Up
2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R - Right Front Angle View

Suspension-wise, the 2021 Super Adventure R gets a fully adjustable WP XPLOR 48mm front fork paired with a WP PDS rear shock, which both offer 220mm (just over 8.6 inches) of travel. Alpina spoked aluminum wheels come shod in Bridgestone rubber that KTM also says “can be run tubeless with a reassuring O-ring sealant in the spoke nipples.”  

The slim, stepped, ergonomic seat height is set at 880mm, or 34.6 inches. There’s also a small amount of storage underneath, although KTM doesn’t give exact dimensions on that space. Team Orange does give dimensions on its capacious, 23-liter fuel tank, though. For a start, it’s a three-parter, and designed to sit as low down as possible to keep the bike’s center of gravity nice and low. Additionally, KTM moved the steering head 15mm back and also lengthened its swingarm ever so slightly to improve handling, both in cornering and under acceleration.  

Gallery: 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

Let’s talk tech. Like its sibling, the Super Adventure S, the 2021 Super Adventure R gets that shiny new 7-inch TFT dash, and can communicate with the free KTM My Ride app you can install on your smartphone. A full suite of rider aids includes a 6-axis IMU, traction control, motor slip regulation, stability control, and offroad ABS.  

You also get four regular and one optional ride mode. Rain, Street, Sport, and Offroad ride modes all do what they say on the tin. Choose the optional Rally mode, however, and you can dial in your own aggressive throttle response, as well as select any one of nine different levels of wheel spin. Hands up if you want to get dirty! 

The 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R should start rolling out into KTM dealers around the world in March, 2021. However, for North America, we’ll unfortunately have to wait until Q3 of 2021 to see them in our dealerships. Pricing information isn’t available yet, but MSRP on the 2020 started at $18,599.