KTM Adventure Bike Buyers Guide (Part 3 of 3)

Luxury Adventure Touring


This group of Adventure bikes is aimed at the decerning customer who enjoys the finer things in life. You want the adventure style and mild off-road capability, but you are simply unwilling to compromise on rider comfort. Cross Country touring is your thing…but the thought of lumbering along on a Goldwing makes your stomach turn. These bikes will allow you to access some of the countries most exclusive scenic destinations in comfort and style.

The contenders

  • BMW R1200 GS Adventure
  • Ducati Multistrada 1200 S
  • BMW R1200 RT
  • KTM 1290 Super Adventure

BMW R1200 GS Adventure

MSRP $22,045


  • Engine – 2 Cyl. Boxer, 1,170 cc
  • Power – 125 hp @ 7,750 rpm
  • Torque – 92 ft-lb @ 6,500 rpm
  • Suspension Travel Front/Rear – 210/220 mm
  • Seat Height – 35.0/35.8 in
  • Ground Clearance – 195 mm
  • Tank Capacity – 7.9 gal
  • Weight (Fully Fueled) – 573 lbs
  • Power to Weight ratio – 0.22 hp/lb
  • Service Intervals – 6,000 miles


  • LED headlight as an option
  • No fork diving with telelever
  • No chain Maintenance with Cardon
  • GPS control wheel on handlebar as option


  • Heavy Weight (573 lbs fully fueled)
  • Lower engine performance (125 hp and 92 ft-lb torque)
  • Hill hold control not available
  • Smaller 305 mm brake discs

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

MSRP $19,695


  • Engine – 90 degree V2, 1,198cc
  • Power – 160hp @ 9,500 rpm
  • Torque – 100 ft-lb @ 7,500rpm
  • Suspension Travel Front/Rear – 170/170 mm
  • Seat Height – 32.5/33.3 in
  • Ground Clearance – 180mm
  • Tank Capacity – 5.2 gal
  • Weight (Fully Fuelled) – 518.1 lb
  • Power to Weight ratio – 0.31 hp/lb
  • Service Intervals – 9,000 miles


  • TFT display
  • Lower weight
  • Desmodromic variable timing
  • 17in wheels for more sporty riding


  • 17in cast wheels are not suitable for offroad use
  • No touring characteristics and has reduced comfort and range (small fuel tank and windshield)
  • HHC, MSR and TPMS not available

BMW R1200 RT

MSRP $21,345


  • Engine – 2 Cyl. Boxer, 1,170 cc
  • Power – 125 hp @ 7,750 rpm
  • Torque – 92 ft-lb @ 6,500 rpm
  • Suspension Travel Front/Rear – 120/136mm
  • Seat Height – 31.7/32.4 in
  • Ground Clearance – n.s.
  • Tank Capacity – 6.6 gal
  • Weight (Fully Fuelled) – 604.1 lb
  • Power to Weight ratio – 0.21 hp/lb
  • Service Intervals – 6,000 miles


  • No chain maintenance with Cardon
  • No diving with the Telelever Fork
  • Low seat hight
  • GPS control wheel on handlebar as option


  • Heavier bike at 604 lbs
  • Less Performance (125 hp)
  • No offroad capability
  • No MSR, MSC, or LED cornering Lights available

KTM 1290 Super Adventure

MSRP $20,499

24890_1290 Super Adventure USA MY 2015

  • Engine – 75 degree V2, 1,301cc
  • Power – 160hp @ 8,750 rpm
  • Torque – 103.3 ft-lb @ 6,750 rpm
  • Suspension Travel Front/Rear – 200/200mm
  • Seat Height – 33.9/34.4 in
  • Ground Clearance – 220 mm
  • Tank Capacity – 7.9 gal
  • Weight (Fully Fuelled) – 549 lbs
  • Power to Weight ratio – 0.29 hp/lb
  • Service Intervals – 9,300 miles


  • Class leading power and torque
  • WP semi-active suspension
  • Seat and grip heaters
  • Most efficient wind protection
  • Cruise control standard
  • LED cornering lights
  • Class leading service intervals (9,300 miles)


  • Stock bags are not durable enough for off-road use
  • Seat height (33.9/34.4 in)
  • Limited on bike storage
  • Chain drive requires more frequent maintenance

Luxury Adventure Touring Wrapup

We were a little hard on the BMW R1200 GS Adventure in the serious off-road review…and for good reason. The big BMW simply doesn’t fit in the serious off-road category. However, the Luxury Adventure Turing category does let the GS Adventure show off a little better. This model is well equipped, comfortable and has very good off-road performance compared to others in this group of motorcycles. The frame/engine protection is up to the task in mild off-road conditions and the 7.9-gallon tank is a huge bonus for those who enjoy long distance riding. We would like to see Hill Hold assist available on this bike and the power is not quite there compared to the fire breathing  Ducati Multistrada S and KTM 1290 Super Adventure. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure is a very formidable bike in the Luxury Adventure Touring class.

The Ducati Multistrada 1200 S is all about fun! Twisting the throttle and throwing this bike into the twisties is guaranteed to make you smile. For short trips and daily riding the Ducati works splendidly…if you can get past the butt ugly looks…Okay, I realize that this is a personal opinion issue…but…. The sporty Ducati falls short on the touring and adventure sides of the coin. Yep, that is both sides of the coin in this category which makes this a poor choice for the Luxury Adventure Touring group. It simply lacks the touring characteristics and range that one would expect in this class of bike.

The BMW R 1200RT is….A touring bike. A heavy underpowered touring bike at that. This bike lacks any form of off-road capability making it a dreadful choice for anyone wanting to venture off of the beaten path. Add to the lack of MSR, MSC or LED turning lights and you have the recipe for an expensive bike with limited capability.

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure is a wonderful option for those looking for a well equipped capable Luxury Adventure Touring Bike. The semi-active suspension delivers unmatched ride comfort while ensuring the damping is always perfectly suited to the conditions, terrain, and load variables. Cruise control and hill hold assist are welcome additions to this class of bike and the 7.9-gallon tank gives you more riding time with less stopping. Power and torque are comparable to the fire breathing Ducati Multistrada 1200 S, this means you will have an ear-to-ear grin every time you ride this bike. The class leading 9,300-mile service intervals equal more time riding and less time/money spent at the shop. The KTM 1290 Super Adventure really is the full package in the Luxury Adventure Touring category… If only KTM would upgrade the dreadful side bags that come standard with the Super Adventure.

Well… That’s a wrap. I hope you enjoyed this series of articles. If you would like to through your leg over a KTM Adventure bike stop by Elite Motorsports in Loveland Colorado.



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