New owner 2014 Adventure comments
My nephew is a new KTM dealer, (Solid Performance), in Downingtown, PA, not far from Philadelphia. He managed to get a factory 1190 Adv demo on loan a few months ago so I made the five hour drive down from Upstate NY to visit and get a ride on the demo bike.
As background, I have been riding about half a century now. My current stable includes an '08 KTM 690 that I use for DS riding and a '10 990 Adventure, (for sale, BTW), that is my "road" bike, though they are often very bad, (good?) roads.
Given the amount of effort it took to get my 990 running they way it should, and outfitted to suit my needs, I was not expecting to be impressed by the 1190. It is an uncommon opportunity to he handed the keys to such a motorcycle and told to "have fun", so how could I not take him up on it? My brother rode his 690E with street tires and guided me all over Chester County. Even though I grew up in that area my brother gave me a fantastic tour on roads I did not even know about. Twisty country roads, gravel, highway... we did it all.
At the end of our little hundred mile demo, I parked the bike in my nephew's shop, handed him the key.... and promptly informed him that one of his incoming 1190s would have my name on it!
It has been noted by many already, and perhaps with greater eloquence, that the 1190 motor must be experienced to be believed. The dual plug ignition and FI mapping make the engine superbly well behaved from idle up. One can idle away in second gear without complaint and not a hint of the engine coughing or quitting. With a tighter steering radius than my 990 one can do first gear slow speed figure eights at idling speeds with complete engine and chassis control. The bike does indeed feel lighter than the 990 even though it is in fact ever so slightly heavier.
On the road, the bike is a "natural". Feels like it is on rails at all times. The brakes are superb. The motor traction control is utterly amazing. Pull off a paved road onto dirt - gravel and grab a handful of throttle... the rear wheel gives the tiniest wiggle and the bike rockets forward. The power delivery feels seamless. Truly amazing technology.
Ditto the ABS. I practice emergency stopping routinely and on a non ABS bike this requires paying attention. On the 1190 no matter what combination of brakes you apply the bike remains stable and stops very, very well. In real world street riding, this technology could save your bacon.
The fly by wire throttle has a pretty stiff return spring, which I am at a loss to understand the reasoning for, but the connection to the motor is perfect and not at all sensitive to "throttle jiggle". I intend to fashion some sort of mechanism to counter act the spring to lessen the wrist effort, but in truth, it did not really cause me any discomfort over the several hours I rode it. My early cycles, (old Harleys), had push - pull throttle cables with no spring return at all, (pre Federal standards), and I consider the hard spring returns of today to be ridiculous, but that is another story. I like to be able to rest my hands and even remove them from the grips briefly every now and then. Impossible with the current throttle spring, which appears to be largely tamper proof.
Some have called the seat "hard", but for my bony ass, it is amazingly good and I am not going to change it at all. It sits a little lower than the single piece seat of my 990 and allows me to easily flat foot the bike. I think it adds to the perception of it being lighter than it is.
Are there any faults? Aside from the throttle spring the most annoying feature is the turn signal switch followed by the high low beam switch. The signal switch has very little movement and thus very little tactile feedback. Without checking the dash for the indicator I was never sure if I had actually succeeded in turning them on. The high low beam switch is very easily flicked unintentionally, up or down. Admittedly, I was riding with winter gloves and I have big hands. These issues will probably be of less concern with my lighter summer gloves and more familiarity, but the design choices here could be improved.
I am very fussy about helmet noise due to turbulent airflow. I spent a lot of $ getting that problem fixed on my 990. The 1190 is better, but IMO, not great. Not even good, really. I have no idea why designers insist on putting the little reverse curl on the top of so many windshield designs... maybe it is supposed to look cool or sexy, but it adds turbulence to the air hitting the rider. At highway speeds I found the pressure "flutter" experienced by my ears to be utterly unacceptable in-spite of molded ear plugs. Other reports have deemed the wind screen pretty good. Hard for me to fathom that.
Then there is the issue of speedo error. Both the demo and my new bike, (yes it is sitting in the barn waiting for good weather), read optimistically by quite a bit... 6-7 mph at an honest 60 mph (GPS). I fixed that problem on my 990 with a Healtech recalibrator, but the 1190 is CAN bus so that device is not an option. I am hoping to learn that there is a way to use the internal software to make corrections. TBD. Why a motorcycle with 21st century technology is delivered with such an out of whack instrument dumbfounds me. This is a very high performance motorcycle. It needs an accurate speedometer.
I got a call from my nephew just before xmas that his allotment of 1190s was coming in all at once so the March delivery I expected took place over the xmas - new years holiday. Santa really delivered this year!
The weather has been mostly very cold and snowy so I have only put about 80 miles on my new bike. Every mile it impresses me more. I ordered the optional really short Adventure R wind screen and this is much better for me than the stock one. I also added some rubber washers under the lower screws to decrease the attack angle a little.
I installed the Adventure kit and the orange crash bars that are stock on the R model. The accent on the bike is gorgeous and I love the overall styling of the 1190 Adv. A matter of personal taste to be sure, but a great looking bike IMO.
I am not the least bit concerned about reliability and maintenance issues and I will be doing those chores my self.
Sorry to ramble on, but I figured I may be one of the first actual 2014 Adv owners in the USA so I thought I would pass on my early observations. If you are considering one, I can't imagine anyone regretting taking ownership of this magnificent machine. Don't wait too long. My nephew has already sold every one and Spring is months away!
'14 KTM 1190 Adv, '08 KTM 690E