Dirt Action

THE BIGGEST UNIT OF ALL

The Gloucester Tops/Barrington Tops is an area that has much to give for adventure riders. It takes me a couple of hours to get to the area, which was a good chance to give the 1290 a road run. As a big bike it’s not challenged by distance and freeway speeds, with the heated hand grips and cruise control getting a much-appreciated workout along the way. The windscreen is inadequate for any meaningful wind redirection, however. It is height adjustable but at its highest setting it’s still very low. KTM does this because it’s then kept out of the way during any vigorous dirt riding to avoid any possible rider contact, but a large percentage of adventure riding involves road and freeway sections and on the 1290 that leaves a lot of air heading straight at your helmet. It gets pretty damn loud and if you’re ambivalent about ear plugs, the 1290 will make you a convert.

As I started the climb into the mountains, the 1290’s engine enjoyed a bit of flexing on the twisty roads where it can show off its excitable nature in Sport mode and that want for fun comes into play. Pulling from low in the rev range and holding gears from corner to corner, the 1290 exploits its torque and needs little encouragement from the clutch or downshifts because its spread of power is

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