January 17, 2013 - I stopped by JT Motorsports in Frederick, Maryland for an oil filter for the DR650 (blog) and discovered three brand new KTM 1190 Adventure bikes on the showroom floor! Being a good webBikeWorld correspondent, I had my camera with me and whipped it out for a few quick pics.
Two of these are the standard 1190 Adventure and the bike with the standard orange crash bars is the Adventure R, which has a 21" front wheel. All of these have the revolutionary new Brembo brakes with the Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) ABS "assistance package" system that works when the bike is leaned over. It's called the "World's first lean-sensitive cornering ABS".
Wheels are tubeless spoked with Continental Trail Attack II tires specific for the Adventure (17" rear/19" front for the Adventure and 18" rear/21" front for the Adventure R).
Also included is an electrically adjustable WP suspension system. The bike is said to be a featherweight 460 lbs. and it has a 150 HP engine that can be switched to "soft" mode at 100 HP. The Adventure R also has 8" of suspension travel and a traction control system that has different modes for on- and off-road riding. List prices: $16,499.00 for the Adventure; $16,799.00 for the Adventure R.
The silver/black standard Adventure shown in the photos has a full array of KTM accessories, including the bags, tank bag, heated seat, crash bars (standard on the R) and Akrapovič exhaust.
JT Motorsports is the biggest KTM dealer around, so if you're in the area, check 'em out. It's where I bought the DR650 (blog), the Suzuki GW250 (Blog | Review) and my 2014 webBikeWorld Project Bike, the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS is on order at JT Motorsports also. Who knew I was a Suzuki guy?
Publication Date: January 17, 2014
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From "L.N." (January 2014): "Years ago I took a friend's dual sport out through the fields on his farm. I quickly understood the benefit of a long suspension travel.
I was soon out running 60 MPH across the fields. When I hit a ditch or rut the suspension just sucked it up with little drama. I was amazed. This was a 500cc or 600cc single Honda, probably leaning more toward a dirt bike than a road bike. It was tall, and I have a 31 inch inseam but I could get on and had no problem keeping it up when I stopped.
Later I had a BMW 1150 GS again I had no trouble once I got on, though I will admit throwing a leg over it was a bit difficult. I never did anything anymore adventurous than gravel and dirt roads on the BMW, but I remember hitting some gravel roads when riding with a friend on a Harley. I slowed to about 60 to 65; he slowed to about 25 and arrived at our destination white-knuckled.
My present BMW has a 32.8 inch advertised seat height, and I can flat-foot it when I stop, so I guess you have to try one to see if it fits. It had a low seat when I bought it and I changed it to a high seat which I find much more comfortable. It is also much easier to stand on the pegs, with the low seat I felt like I was getting up off the floor.
Why do you need ground clearance? Ever see a Harley contact hard parts and lift a rear wheel in a corner? You are talking about entirely different kinds of bikes with entirely different purposes.
To me the KTM looks like a hell of a bike well suited for it's intended purpose. Consider it is light weight for its size, electrical adjustable suspension, adjustable ride modes, the latest ABS...what's not to like? Seems you could get used to a high seat if you can get on. If I were in the market for a new bike I would sure try one on for size.
If you are really hung up on a low seat and don't want a Harley the Honda Grom -- it tops out at 29.7 inches."
From "D.L." (January 2014): "Amen to the posters (below). I'm in the market for new wheels and this bike sounds phenomenal. Alas, I am also a 5'9" boomer and a 34" or 35" perch puts this out of range for me.
I'm doing the Trans-America Trail this summer and will be on a BMW F650GS. I don't understand the need to build in such long suspension travel. Most of us will never need it. Offer the bike in "young buck" and "old F--T" mode. I'll be there asap."
From "S" (January 2014): "In regards to K.H.ís comments (below): Applause. Iíve been saying this for years as well as saying this to the manufacturer's representatives at shows as well.
The motorcycle industry is wondering why the motorcycle market is shrinking...except for Harley-Davidson. Harley owns the majority portion of the U.S. market share while the balance of manufacturers fight it out for the left over scraps. Why? HERE IS THE ANSWER, K.H. posted it. The demographic with money to purchase a deluxe, powerful or exotic motorcycle is older by definition; it takes a while to settle into economic stability in order to afford luxury items such as a motorcycle. The average rider in the United States is said to be 47 years old.
Now, let's add all that to generational demographics: the average Baby Boomer / Gen-X'er is five foot eight. Heck, the average American, considering all adult demographics, is 5 foot 9.5 inches.
So the motorcycle manufacturers are now tripping over themselves to make as many "tall-rounders" as they can, all with over 33-inch seat heights. And then wonder why the U.S. motorcycle market, for them at least, is going downhill.
Harley is making bikes that are comfortable for the people who can actually *afford to buy them* - wow, what amazing logic! I do not own a Harley but I understand their marketing - when selling an expensive item target the biggest demographic: a bit older, a bit more affluent, with identifiable common physical attributes.
I had words with KTM at the International Motorcycle Show; KTM has discontinued the 990 SM-T and made the 1190 Adventure their default "touring" mount, a mount with a 33-inch seat height. And my answer was: "No". I was considering a 990 SM-T, another fellow in my garage has one and it seems to be a great bike, one that I can feel comfortable on. The 990 SM-T is just at the edge of my height-based comfort range. The 1190 Adventure is not - and, therefore, bye-bye KTM.
I owned a 1984 Kawasaki ZX900R, the original Ninja 900. Keeping it on the road was a labor of love, wrench one weekend and ride the next, rinse and repeat. Out of hope, based upon my prior ownership, I looked at the new 2013/2014 Ninja 1000 (with saddlebags). So here we have the new 2014 Ninja, 30 years of technological development behind it...and it sits one inch HIGHER than my '84. Color me absolutely confused - I thought this motorcycle evolution stuff was supposed to make our bikes more compact.
The '14 Ninja weighs only 30 pounds less than my '84 and sits one inch higher; it seems that the industry only bothers to create smaller and lighter superbikes, if you're interested in anything else well then tough luck, we're putting you on fatter and / or larger.
The motorcycle industry, just like the music industry, has lost track of who has the wherewithal to buy their products. Everyone has decided to chase the BMW R-GS and they are tripping over themselves to outdo the original, and one another, and are so busy looking at the competition that they have lost sight of the customers. Every manufacturer now wants to create an "offroad-ready" tall-rounder, even if the bike can never really competently go off-road, and claim "Look at our specs! More ground clearance! More horsepower! Large saddlebags and good fuel capacity" but lose sight of what effect that has on the *rider* - higher seat and higher center of gravity.
The motorcycle journalists aren't helping - new bike with even higher seat? No problem, even better! It'll just "lose its mass once it gets rolling", a cliché I hear so often now that I wonder how much the scribe gets paid from the industry every time they include that line.
Hopefully, the rep I spoke to at Yamaha who was intently listening to me will follow though: the rest of us need an accessible, sane bike like a brand new, FZ-09 Tourer with fairing, 1 gallon more fuel capacity, saddlebags and ABS. It looks like the majority of manufacturers have lost me as a potential customer by their own choice, and over 1/2 dozen other riders in my bike garage feel the same way.
When the manufacturers start making bikes that fit a good number of riders, both physically and functionally, we'll be back."
From "K.H." (January 2014): "I see that the K1190 Adventure has one-inch smaller wheels than the even-more-dirt-oriented R model. I can only hope that the base model ends up with one-inch less seat height.
I have read that the bike has a 34" seat height when the seat is in the lower of its two positions. I have a 31" inseam, so it will be impossible for me to swing a leg over the bike, particularly if it has saddlebags. Riding the bike off of the centerstand is a bleak prospect as well. How long would it be before my big toe slips at a stoplight?
I am amazed that so many manufacturers are willing to design motorcycles that seem inappropriate for large segments of the motorcycle market. Are there that many tall riders out there? Maybe motocross riders are more comfortable riding so far up off the ground?"
Editor's Note: KTM lists 33.8"/34.5" seat height for the Adventure and 35" seat height for the Adventure R.