This wasn’t just a press launch. KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure R gig in Peru was also a deeply rewarding challenge. Riding 200km in a desert on Dakar terrain, aboard a 160bhp, 240+kg adventure behemoth in 40-degree heat sounds like a job best left for Sam Sunderland, not some balding thirty-something with mild obesity.
160bhp let loose in a desert is like taking an Uzi to a Nerf gun party. Thankfully, there’s an off-road mode which trims outright power to a more manageable 100bhp, a nobber-friendly ABS mode for off-road panic braking, and the Super Adventure R’s chassis absorbed anything we could throw at it. The fact that I didn’t crash says more about its aptitude than mine.
While the S model is your more everyday steed, the R version is KTM’s go-anywhere schlaaag: ride from the UK to the Alps, chase down some superbikes, and take the scenic route – ski pistes and all – back home. Beefier, longer travel WP suspension ensure it’s no fake off-roader and, although it doesn’t brag the electronic bouncers of the S model, there’s more than enough gadgets to satisfy any techno queen.
Given the environment, this ain’t your average review. Of the 200km test route, only a fraction was staged on the road, so it’s more of a video showcasing this incredible riding experience – or a review if you’re thinking of buying a £16k motorcycle and imitating Mr Sunderland.