This is the maintenance schedule and service intervals for KTM’s premium adventure tourer, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, as of 2021.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure range was first announced in 2014 for the 2015 model year, and the first KTM 1290 Super Adventure R was released in 2017, with a more road-going variant being the 2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is a large adventure touring motorcycle based around the 1301cc liquid-cooled V-twin from the 1290 Super Duke R, but with different cam tuning and a heavier crankshaft. The engine makes 118 kW (160 bhp) at 9000 rpm, with 80% of its peak 138 Nm (102 ft-lb) of torque available at just 2,500 rpm.
There are two models in the KTM 1290 Super Adventure range as of 2021:
|Part||KTM 1290 Super Adventure S||KTM 1290 Super Adventure R|
|Intended use||Sport touring||Adventure touring/off-road|
|Suspension||WP SAT (semi-active tech) USD||WP XPLOR USD|
|Wheels||19/17-inch cast||21/18-inch spoked|
|Cruise control||Adaptive (radar based)||Standard (non-adaptive)|
|Min seat height||849mm (33.4 in)||880mm (34.6 in)|
|Weight (without fuel/full fuel)||220 kg / 485 lb||221 kg / 487 lb|
|External features||Windscreen, plastic engine guard||Crash bars, hand guards, metal engine guard|
Since the beginning the Super Adventure range has come with the kitchen sink, including cornering ABS and cruise control, as well as a massive fuel tank, to compete with the BMW R 1200 GS adventure.
In 2021 KTM updated the 2017-2020 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, with a host of changes
- Tank changes to hold the fuel lower (to lower the center of gravity)
- Moving steering head back 15mm
- Two separate radiators
- Easy-access air filter
- Many engine changes — lighter cases, new pistons, improved shifting, and new two-header exhaust unit
The maintenance intervals stayed the same at 9000 miles (15000 km), but the table is different.
Updated Oct 2023 with chain adjustment guidelines.
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KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Service Intervals
Service intervals for the 1290 Super Adventure R are 15000 km / 9300 mi or annually, at which point you change the oil and filter and do a host of checks.
There’s a major valve service every 30000 km / 18600 miles.
The KTM Super Adventure motorcycles have hydraulic clutches, so change the brake and hydraulic clutches together at the specified intervals.
Finally, be sure to regularly maintain the chain, particularly if riding off-road regularly.
Maintenance schedule for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
Below is the maintenance schedule for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. The maintenance schedule in the manual is broken up into two sections — required maintenance and recommended maintenance (but you should do both). But in later manuals, KTM revised this, combining them into one table.
We’ve split out a standard annual service checklist from the major service items.
There are a few items that are different between the S and R, due to the different standard features, which is why we’re keeping the maintenance schedules separate.
Major Service Items Checklist
- After the end of the service schedule, keep repeating it in this pattern.
- Follow the earlier of time-based or distance-based service intervals. For example, change the oil every 9300 miles / 15000 km or year.
|mi x 1000||0.6||9.3||18.6|
|km x 1000||1||15||30||Every|
|Perform the annual service checklist (see below)||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Change the engine oil. (Motorex Power Synt 4T 10W-50)||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Change the oil filter.||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Clean the oil screens.||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Change the air filter, clean the air filter box.||✓||✓|
|Change the spark plugs (air filter removed) (you need 2 x LKAR9DI-10 for the inside and 2 x LMAR7DI-10 for the outside)||✓|
|Check the valve clearances (air filter and spark plugs removed)||✓|
|Change the front brake fluid.||2 years|
|Change the rear brake fluid.||2 years|
|Change the hydraulic clutch fluid.||2 years|
|Change the coolant||4 years|
|Check the headlight setting||✓||✓||✓|
|Check/clean the oil nozzle for clutch lubrication||✓||✓||✓|
|Clean the dust boots of the fork legs||✓||✓|
|Check the swingarm bearing for play||✓||✓|
|Check the wheel bearings for play||✓||✓|
|Retighten the spokes||✓|
|Change the SAS diaphragm valves||✓|
|Check the frame||✓|
|Check the link fork||✓|
Annual Service Checklist
Below is the annual checklist for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. Do these checks according to the maintenance schedule above.
- [Dealer] marked items need specialist dealer tools.
- # Items not required at break-in — but simple to perform.
|KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Annual Service Checklist|
|[Dealer] Read out the fault memory using the KTM diagnostics tool.|
|[Dealer] Program the shift shaft sensor.|
|Check that the electrical system is functioning properly.|
|Check the front brake pads.|
|Check the rear brake pads.|
|Check the brake discs for warp and wear.|
|Check the brake lines for damage and tightness|
|Check the front brake fluid level.|
|Check the rear brake fluid level.|
|# Check/correct the fluid level of the hydraulic clutch.|
|Check the shock absorber and fork for leaks. Perform service as needed and depending on how the vehicle is used.|
|Check the steering head bearing for play.|
|Check the tire condition|
|Check tire pressure (see below table)|
|Check the rim run-out|
|# Check the spoke tension|
|# Check the chain, rear sprocket, and engine sprocket.|
|Check the chain tension (see below guidance)|
|# Check the cables for damage and routing without kinks (fuel tank removed)|
|Check the coolant level in the compensating tank.|
|# Check the fuel pressure.|
|Check that the radiator fan is functioning properly.|
|Grease all moving parts (e.g. side stand, hand lever, chain) and check for smooth operation.|
– Use lithium soap-based grease for major moving parts
– Use Motul chain paste for the chain
|Empty the drainage hoses|
|# Check all hoses (fuel, coolant, bleeder, drainage etc.) and sleeves for cracking, leaks, and incorrect routing|
|Check the tightness of the safety-relevant screws and nuts which are easily accessible.|
|Check the antifreeze|
|Final check: Check the vehicle for safe operation and take a test ride.|
|[Dealer] Set the service interval display.|
|[Dealer] Read out the error memory after the test ride using the KTM diagnostics tool.|
|[Dealer] Make a service entry in KTMDealer.net|
Chain Maintenance for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
You need to service your chain regularly, whether you’ve just been riding off-road, in rain or dust, or have washed your motorcycle.
At a minimum, KTM wants you to check your chain tension and alignment, and the condition of the chain and sprockets at every service (9 300 miles / 15 000 km).
Use a good quality chain lube to lubricate the chain — KTM recommends Motul chain lubricant.
To check the chain tension, put the motorcycle in neutral, make sure the motorcycle is on even ground, on its center stand, and with no load (no luggage).
- Get a small screwdriver.
- Find the chain guide between the chain and swing arm.
- Push the screwdriver into the recess of the chain guide between the chain and swing-arm. Push the screwdriver upward slightly.
The chain tension is correct when the screwdriver is parallel to the ground. You’ll note if it’s too tight (screwdriver points up) or too loose (screwdriver points down).
To adjust the chain tension, follow a fairly standard procedure. As when measuring chain slack, make sure that the motorcycle is on a level surface on its center stand, in neutral, with no weight on it (no saddlebags / luggage).
- Loosen the rear axle with a breaker bar and the adjuster lock nuts on either side of the axle.
- Turn the adjuster nuts to tighten (or loosen) the chain. Keep checking the chain tension to see if it has come within spec, using the method above.
- Keep an eye on the adjuster alignment marks on either side of the axle. Make sure that the adjustment is to the same point.
- When you’re done, tighten the axle to 90 Nm / 66 lb-ft, and tighten the adjuster lock nuts.
- Re-check the chain slack again to make sure it’s still within spec.
Make sure to also check the chain wear by measuring the top segment of the chain (which is taut) and comparing it to the spec above. Measure it in a few places. If the chain is too long, replace it.
Wheels and Tyres for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (2021+)
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R ships with 21/18-inch spoked rims and “100% tubeless” tyres.
Here are the tyre sizes and recommended pressures for longevity (not optimised for your ride style or desired handling/grip level).
|Wheel||Tyre size||Tyre pressure (cold)|
|Front||90/90-21 M/C 5RV TL||35 psi (2.4 bar)|
|Back||150/70 ZR 18 M/C 70W TL||42 psi (2.9 bar)|
About the 2021 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is KTM’s biggest adventure touring motorcycle.
KTM has been doing adventure touring for a long time. They’ve earned a reputation for making big adventure tourers that aren’t just capable of crossing deserts — they’re also exciting to ride. Since launch, the 1290 range has always been immensely powerful, only matched in recent years by the big adventure tourers from Ducati and BMW, like the latest BMW R 1250 GS.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure motorcycles are based around the now long-standing LC8 engine. Its a huge 1301cc liquid-cooled 8-valve 75-degree V-twin that makes 118 kW (160 hp) of peak power at 9,000 rpm in the 2021 incarnation, and 138Nm of torque — with most of that available at 2,500 rpm.
In previous years between 2017 and 2020, the 1290 Adventure R wasn’t updated significantly. But 2021 saw a “redesign” of the 1290 Adventure R from the ground up. The engine’s core displacement and power specs haven’t changed since the first KTM 1290 Adventure motorcycle was released, though the engine has been updated internally.
The most significant updates are:
- A revised engine with many updated internals. This is to help the 1290 Adventure R remain compliant with emissions regulations but also keep power up at 118 kW / 160 hp peak, just where people expect it — though the peak is a little higher (9000 rpm vs 8750 rpm)
- Redesigned chassis and frame with a lower center of gravity, longer swing-arm, and adjusted steerign head
- A revised oil/liquid-cooling system, with two radiators rather than one. This helps with cooling as well as to keep warm air away from the rider’s legs.
- A new 7 inch TFT display with a new layout, along with new handlebar controls
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R’s stablemate, the 1290 Super Adventure S, also got adaptive cruise control for 2021.
Alternatives to the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
If you’re looking at the 1290 Super Adventure R, then you’re probably also considering the Super Adventure S, the KTM’s road-going stablemate.
But you may also be looking at various other big-bore adventure motorcycles.
BMW R 1300 GS (2024+)
The BMW R 1300 GS (2024+), is the latest in the long line of GS boxer-powered adventure motorcycles. It’s a high-power, high-spec, and very capable adventure tourer, designed to be at home on highways or on dusty 4×4 paths. It’s powered by a 1300 cc liquid-cooled boxer engine with VVT (“ShiftCam”). The R 1300 GS replaces the already high-spec R 1250 GS, with updates including optional radar-supported adaptive cruise control, improved Telelever design, improved optional dynamic suspension, and 12 kg / 26 lb reduced weight. The R 1300 GS “Adventure” is not yet available, though the GS is available with optional 20mm longer travel suspension (just not a longer-range tank).
Ducati Multistrada V4
Ducati’s latest incarnation of its Multistrada is the Ducati Multistrada V4, powered by Ducati’s V4 Granturismo motor, which makes impressive power of 125 kW / 170 hp at 10000 rpm) and has super long 36000 mile / 60000 km major maintenance intervals, thanks to a traditional spring valve return — no desmo. The Multi V4 has loads of things that make it special, including active “Skyhook” suspension, and a popular option of radar-based adaptive cruise control.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250
Harley-Davidson released the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250, surprising markets by releasing not just an adventure motorcycle, but one with a liquid-cooled engine that’s packed with an array of tech and which makes a surprising amount of power. It combines peak power of 112 kW / 150 hp at 9000 rpm with hydraulic self-adjusting valve lifters, meaning it never needs a valve service. The Pan America has a neat trick of lowering itself at low speed, to make it easier to flat-foot at lights. On top of that, the Pan America comes with cornering ABS, cruise control, and 19/17-inch wheel combo with optional spoked rims.
Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L
The Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin is Honda’s continuation of the revival of an iconic brand that put them on the map as adventure touring manufacturers. The 2016+ models are powered by a parallel twin “Unicam” engine which has a 270-degree crankshaft, and has loads of torque and character. The Africa Twin has a 21-inch front tire and comes with tubes in some configurations, which is something to be aware of. The 1100+ model has cruise control and a 6-axis IMU for cornering ABS, and optional semi-active suspension.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S / R
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (along with its sibling, the Super Adventure S) is a bike that has so much power and character that some find it overwhelming. Both bikes are powered by the LC8 V-twin, a 1301 cc liquid-cooled high-power beast that also powers the 1290 Super Duke R. It makes 118 kW / 160 hp @ 8750 rpm, and gobloads of torque. The S is the street bike, with a smaller front rim, semi-active suspension, and radar-supported active cruise control, and the R is the off-road adventurer with long-travel suspension (non active), both rims spoked with a 21-inch front wheel, and a shorter screen.
Suzuki V-Strom 1050DE
The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and 1050 (same 1037 cc engine capacity for a while) have always been budget contenders in the adventure touring market, but this doesn’t mean they’re not capable and very well-equipped — plus stylish! For 2023, Suzuki updated the 1050 to the V-Strom 1050DE, bestowing upon it a 21-inch front wheel and letting you disable rear ABS for off-road riding. Otherwise, the V-Strom 1050DE is the same V-twin powered adventure bike with a motor that traces its architecture back to the groundbreaking Suzuki TL1000S. The V-Strom 1050DE doesn’t have all the latest tech (e.g. radar or active suspension) that its competitors do, but it has cruise and an IMU, and a much lower sticker price.
Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally / Explorer
Triumph has been making the big triple-powered Explorer 1200 for many years, but in recent years has made concerted efforts to make it more off road-ready. The Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer (and Rally Pro) replace the XE and XC models, and they’re the same concept — a big adventure tourer powered by an 1160 cc triple, powering the rear through a shaft drive, a relative rarity in this class. The Rally models have a 21-inch front wheel, still with a tubeless tire, and semi-active suspension.
Yamaha Super Ténéré XTZ1200
The Yamaha Super Ténéré XTZ1200 is almost forgotten next to its middleweight sibling, the darling Ténéré 700, but for a long time was the secret alternative to the GS. The “S10”, as it’s affectionately known, is powered by an 1198 cc big bore parallel twin with a 270-degree crankshaft, and puts power down through a shaft drive. The ES version lets you electronically control rear preload and front and rear damping. Aside from the introduction of the option of ES, the XTZ1200 hasn’t had major updates since 2014 and has been discontinued in some markets.
Manual for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (2021+)
The above maintenance schedule comes from the user’s manual for the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R for 2021.
You can get the user manual directly from KTM’s website.