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2019 BMW R Ninet Roadster
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Chalk and cheese...

I just purchased a 2020 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R as a stablemate for my 2019 Ninet.

I live on the east side of the Cascade mountains in Oregon and there are lots of fantastic opportunities to ride a bike off the beaten track onto some spectacular gravel and dirt roads. There are also many twisty mountain roads that can be ridden to get to the dirt. With that in mind I have been considering a adventure bike to add to the garage. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R at the local dealer. It had 1,500 miles on it. The previous owner had bought it during the height of the pandemic and had ultimately decided it was not for them, and so I picked it up.

The bike is big, it's intimidating (at least to me), and it is heavy! I'm 6ft with a 32" inseam and I can't flat foot it. But once it gets going it completely belies it's weight with its handling. It is shocking how easy it is to ride on twisty roads given the large knobby tyres with which it is currently shod. Tipping it into corners is effortless, and it is happy to lean way over. Oh and what an engine... the power is endless and intoxicating. On gravel and dirt, it is surprisingly stable and rewarding to ride.

All that said, the big KTM has made me appreciate my R Ninet all the more. Let me explain:

As you can imagine, I have been riding the new toy exclusively for the past several weeks. Today, however, I decided to ride the BMW right after I had ridden the KTM. And what a difference it was! As I wrote earlier: Chalk and cheese.

Where the 1290 smooths out the bumps and imperfections in the road with its supple suspension and host of electronic doodads, the BMW is raw and honest refusing to isolate the rider from the road. To the contrary it insists on connecting the two. It's a bike with which one bonds, and riding it is quite emotive - I found myself grinning and hooting as I rode along various backroads. Yes it surprisingly needs to be muscled into and around corners more than the KTM, and it doesn't have the same power, and yet it is so satisfying, visceral and timeless. It is the difference between a modern luxury SUV and a classic sports convertible.

The KTM is a great bike. I really enjoy riding it, but I know one day I will sell it. But my friend the R Ninet will always remain with me.

(Disclaimer: I replaced the stock BMW suspension with Ohlins which made the world of difference to my bike)
 

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Nice comparison, thanks for taking the time to post. :)
 

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Chalk and cheese...
Thanks for the interesting write-up. I have been searching for my next bike off and on all summer. For a while I thought it would be the KTM 890 Adventure because I'm new to Oregon and want to explore the back country where roads often become dirt, and even my driveway is a steep, loose gravel road. But the dealer couldn't give me the time of day, when I said I was looking for a new bike, and there was no other person in the shop. At first I thought I wanted a Triumph Tiger, but the closest dealer is almost 300 miles away. Then I found out about the RnineT Urban GS, stopped by the dealer who spent loads of time talking to me about that and other options. So I'm 99% sure to go that way, if I can figure out the accessories I need, which I almost have now, thanks in large part to this forum.
 
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