Johannesburg - KTM's 1290 Adventure R is the 2017 Pirelli South African Bike of the Year.
A panel of judges voted for the Austrian-built adventure motorcycle ahead of 14 other motorcycles that were selected as finalists for the 2017 competition.
This makes KTM the first two-time winner of the competition, with the 1290 Super Duke R having won the 2014 title. The five-year old contest is run by Mat Durrans and Harry Fisher of The Bike Show.
The 15 finalists were all tested in Gauteng this past Friday and Saturday by journalists from various motorcycle publications around the country, including this writer. The bikes were evaluated on public roads, as well as the Gerotek test circuit near Pretoria where their handling abilities were put to the test.
The versatile 1290 Adventure R is the flagship model of KTM's dual-purpose range of motorcycles, built for road and offroad. With its powerful twin-cylinder 1301cc engine, which makes outputs of 118kW and 140Nm, it's capable of hanging with most sports bikes on the road while its comfortable seating position ensures laid-back long-distance touring. When the tar ends, its generous ground clearance, long suspension travel and wire-spoked wheels make it a machine equally capable of playing in the dirt.
The R217 000 price tag comes with advanced electronics. Dynamic safety features include lean-sensitive ABS brakes, tyre-pressure monitoring, and lean-sensitive traction control that can be set to four different modes: Sport, Street, Rain and Offroad - ensuring optimum grip for the prevailing riding conditions. Cruise control, a slipper clutch, an LED headlight with integrated cornering light, adjustable windshield, remote key system, and luggage racks complete a formidable specification package.
The 1290 Adventure R also sets the new standard in rider interfaces with its large and vivid 16.5cm TFT display, which automatically adjusts its brightness to ambient light.
A cellphone compartment with an integrated USB socket keeps your phone charged, and the optional incoming calls and audio function links the phone to the bike via Bluetooth.
The other finalists in the 2017 Pirelli SA Bike of the Year competition were:
BMW GS 1200 Rallye
Ducati Multistrada 950
Honda Fireblade SP
Indian Scout 60
Kawasaki Versys 300
KTM 1090 Adventure R
Suzuki SV 650
Triumph Street Scrambler