Family Adventure 2015

Is KTM splitting hairs or has it produced a full range of big-bore adventure bikes which will appeal to different sets of riders?

So what’s going on; why has KTM brought out a 1050 Adventure and 1290 Super Adventure when it already has an 1190 Adventure and 1190 Adventure R in it’s line up?

And why no mention at the press launch of jungles, deserts, growing beards and crossing mountain ranges on old mule trails but plenty of references to ‘luxury’, and ‘sports’?

There’s little doubt that the adventure motorcycle sector is in the process of being sliced, diced and stretched at the edges whilst retaining the common denominator of enduroesque styling.

At the dawn of adventure bikes, it was taken for granted that a bike with off-road styling was indeed capable of both on and off-road use. Dual sports, if you will.

That’s not the case now as evidenced by the launch of the new Yamaha MT-09 Tracer (adventure sports touring!) and more recently at the KTM launch in Gran Canaria where the new members of the adventure family were introduced to the world’s motorcycle press.

With the new 1050 Adventure and 1290 Super Adventure on show, there was no mention of off-road ability and both press launch ride-outs stayed firmly on the tarmac, though, in fairness, there was a coating of dust and gravel in the odd place.

Grass routes purists will throw a Mongolian TV out of the window when I say this but looking as if it can go off-road is far more important in the showroom than actually possessing the ability to cut it in the rough stuff.

Perception, I’m sure you’ll recall, is more powerful than reality. Anyway, what’s going on can be summed up in one word; profit. And far from being a dirty word profit is the lifeblood of companies without which we’d all be bikeless and when I come to think of it, magazineless.

Ask an accountant and they’ll tell you that profit is best achieved in one of two ways or more preferably a combination of both; extra sales and less costs.

And herein lies the answer to the above questions.

KTM has placed a large development bet on the adventure market continuing to diversify and expand and carefully placed their chips on black, red and green. In other words, if the thought of a large capacity enduro styled adventure machine appeals then KTM will have a version to fulfil your particular needs.

Lower cost and A2 compliment; that’ll be the 1050: adventure styling with a sporty edge; throw a leg over the 1190; genuine off-road prowess; check out the 1190R: luxury travel; take a look at the 1290.

So if you’re a first-time entry-level buyer, ex-sports bike rider, dirt drifting guru or Mr and Mrs Smith flitting between five Star hotels on route to Monte Carlo the orange boys from Austria are your new best friends.

The cost-saving comes from using the same basic platform for all the above models. By platform, I mean the same chassis and engine, other smaller components such as the dash and headlights plus the expensive electronic technology that you can’t see.

That may suggest that the bikes are essentially the same with a few cosmetic differences for the marketing departments to play ball with. But that’s not the case.

Each of the above models has a distinctive feel, character and a set of abilities and features that’ll appeal to riders with differing wish lists.

So, there you have it, KTM is in the process of widening the appeal of the adventure bike sector and no doubt looking to take a slice of competitors’ pies in the process.