KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE: Semi-active suspension from WP
What lies behind the semi-active suspension from WP.
As the flagship of the range, the new 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE meets all requirements for luxury and travelling comfort. Modern electronic rider aids help to improve riding pleasure and safety, thanks to MSC (motorcycle stability control) with cornering ABS and lean-sensitive traction control. The buzz is provided by a cultivated 160hp of peak power and divine acceleration throughout a wide rev range. Sebastian Sekira, Head of the Street department in KTM Development, adds: “This engine is a dream for everyone who enjoys pulling out all the stops or just travelling along lazily with next to no gear changes. Even climbing Alpine passes in fourth gear couldn’t be simpler or smoother.”
One special innovation in the extensive equipment is the semi-active chassis from WP. This makes the fine tuning of fork and shock absorber particularly easy, as the rider can choose between “Comfort”, “Street”, “Sport” or “Offroad” settings on the handlebar.
An electronic controller on the semi-active chassis ensures that the suspension is adapted to riding style and road surface while on the move. The necessary information for this is supplied by suspension travel sensors on fork and shock absorber plus accelerometers at the front and rear. Tuning is based on characteristic maps stored in the system.
The suspension reacts constantly in real time to unevenness or potholes in the road (or offroad track), subject to setting selection and speed. Suspension components use the integrated sensors to measure the speed of spring compression and the compression travel. The higher the value in each case, the harder the suspension reacts. The control unit regulates the damping of USD fork and shock absorber by opening and closing the hydraulic bores.
The semi-active suspension on the 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE has the greatest effect in comfort mode, because the basic setup is soft and the valves only close purposefully for harder, tauter damping when the road surface is really rough. The sportier the selected setting, the tauter the basic shock absorber setup, because the flow through the valves is reduced correspondingly.
Sebastian Sekira on the semi-active suspension: “This technology opens up new dimensions for riders. As with the riding modes, the chassis of the motorcycle can also be adapted to both personal taste and the respective situation, depending on whether you want to be travelling comfortably, normally, sportily or in an offroad manner. Especially in comfort mode, the semi-active suspension makes it feel as if you’re floating, but with very good road contact. You’re not decoupled, there’s always plenty of feedback and you’re completely safe. Even when vicious potholes or sudden unevenness crop up, the motorcycle remains dynamically stable.”
One positive side-effect is that the semi-active suspension provides a slight anti-dive when decelerating. Sekira: “We utilise that of course. Since this in turn allows more efficient ABS tuning, which helps to reduce the braking distance when it really matters. In addition, the pitch compensation reacts to the load. The sensors adjust damping accordingly. This means fewer pitching movements while riding two-up when accelerating and braking, with hardly any detriment to ride dynamics. Consequently, riding pillion is also more comfortable for the passenger.”
Photos: Buenos Dias | H. Mitterbauer | R. Schedl
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KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE: Semi-active suspension from WP – KTM BLOG
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I have had 4 KTM’s , I just traded my 1190R for a 1290S and I do not like the suspension. The choppy ride over small bumps is not enjoyable. The 1190 R soaked up bumps with ease , the 1290 S transfers jolts through the seat and bars . It just feels to hard in the spring with to much compression damping. The bike is awesome in all other areas but the suspension is real let down for a quality motorcycle. If I ride it hard its not so bad but in any mode at cruising speed it is just aweful. I have tried lowering the tyre pressures but nothing works. I am wondering if I should have brought a 1290R and stuck with suspension I can adjust properly !
My Nov 2016 Super Adventure has done 6600 miles and the rear suspension doesn’t move, The rose joint are moving freely, the bike looks like new, but even after a full re flash the rear hardly moves. Its solid, been back 3 times they say its OK, yet they have the same model in approved used and it has soft squidgy suspension and mine has a scaffold pole instead of a shock.
Dealership, kept dropping ride height in software – last visit this weekend just had it put back to standard sag. ….
With suspension in
off road – damping,
single rider – load
still no movement, if anything it was even stiffer
110kg rider, 10kg in the top box and as my passenger 60kg as she jumped on the bike, the rear didn’t even drop 1 mm – just solid. With us bouncing up and down no movement detected at all !!!
Then after a 30 mile ride home, I parked up waiting outside some shops, when I restarted the bike I noticed the rear had movement for first time in 5 months !!! Couldn’t believe it, way too stiff for off road riding but maybe 5” of movement. Put it back to sport and rock solid. Switched back to off road…. no movement . In out of menus for 5 mins then heard a loud click as I turned the key on. And if feels as if the sag has slipped back down 2” and a little bit of movement.
I have a 2018 1290 SA S – I love it. The suspension is only slightly clunky in the Street mode, but overall it works well.
However, I just changed the fork oil to the spec’d 4W (Motorex), and it transformed the forks! No more clunking, but supple and compliant.
I am concerned I could only put in 650ml in the left side but the spec calls for 680ml. Same on the right, it calls for 430ml but I could only put in 400ml. Th oil that came out was lighter and thinner than the 4W I put in, but it cured the looseness that I was feeling.
Consider changing the fork oil to cure the clunky suspension.
I have same issues with the fork clunking, but the major issue for me and many other owner on forums is that feel always quite stiff in response, and not many difference between settings, a more confortable “confort” setting will be a good thing for everyone, when more support is needed just change in street or sport, it is easy.
I don’t know why ktm can not improve this software, maybe because it is not the latest model so no intention to spend money, and try to push owners to go to the new released models..
I heard about some suspension sw improvements for the 1290 gt and maybe newest 1290 sadv s, increasing readings from the sensors from one to three times in the same frame, this will certainly help, is anyone aware of this and if applicable also for ours 1290 T ??
I agree 100 percent. I’ve just bought a new 1290 S Super Adventure. I get klunky feeling over bumps. My comfort suspension is not comfortable at all. Plus afrer riding for a long time i cant get my feet down as the bike has lifted and takes a while to sag to a normal height. Very concerning
for the latest models 1290S there is available an upgrade to the suspension sw to ktm dealers, like for 1290 GT.. try to ask to the dealer.
problem is actually for 1290 T that is a forgotten model.
Could you please someone tell me how often I need to replace oil at the rear suspension at 1290 SAS?
Oh lord……. this horrible suspension allowed me to run away from a large group of “top shelf” sports cars. bugatti…. lexus…. AMG…. this horrible suspension wailed them all up to Bishop’s Castle.
I notice ALL the changes when I switch between modes. I did extensive work on race bike suspension and getting things to handle correctly…. perhaps the suspension is so good you have TIME to notice the things you didn’t before.
I really don’t have an answer for all the complaints – mine goes like a bat outta hell and handles those bumps I know so well on familiar roads like they’re not even there. Places where I used to slow down on my sportbike I could hold my speed on this “faulty” motorcycle.
I must’ve gotten the one good one.
You must have
Wish I’d read this blog before purchasing a 2015 1290SA. Suspension when it hasn’t got a fault is awful. Clunks through the bars from the forks over any kind of bump. Sport and street mode are especially bad, confort less so. Tend to use comfort mode for this reason but then the rear lacks damping I feel. It’s been back to the dealer after it started occasionally saying suspension fault, but no faults were logged. They also said the clunking is a “feature” of the semi active suspension. It’s been parked up for 3 weeks now with air leaking out of the rear spokes, new seal cured it but back to suspension fault today. I do 20k per year on bike and usually change every 2 years. This bike will be gone long before then. 🙁
Are you guys having issues with the suspension being stiff as a brick even with the bike off. Is this normal ? I just bought a 2015 and had fork seals changed. Now I noticed that forks are extremely stiff. but the zip tie shows that its going 95mm of travel. I can push the forks up and down even when riding slow and hitting the brakes it seems stiff but obviously its moving according to the zip tie.
Bought a 1290 super adventure s 2017. After just 3300km the front fork is leaking an you can feel a play in the inner leg. No warranty, and the same problem after repair. Will see how this goes but right now I’m not happy.
Just finished a 1875 Mile trip. 1290 SA ran flawlessly. No clunking here. Even took it on some gravel roads in Yellowstone NP.
I have a 2015 S.A. and I too am annoyed by the clunking. My dealer said “Just ride it… there’s alot going on inside those forks.” Well, I am about to find out what’s “inside” those forks, as after a trip from the Seattle area to Anchorage, Alaska, I now have a blown right fork seal. I can find NO repair information on this semi-active fork at this point, so this shall be a learning experience for me… Once I actually receive my nearly impossible-to-find overnight-shipped fork seals in the mail.
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Thank you guys for your feedback and so sorry you are having this experience after spending $20K…. that kinda $$$$ means you’re supposed to have a great experience. Shame on KTM for their lame response.
I’m in the market for a 2017 sport tourer and have been looking at the Yamaha FJR1300 and the KTM 1290 Superduke GT, which has the same WP suspension as the Adventure… Up ’till now, I was leaning towards the GT, it is a very exciting and innovative bike with a beast of a motor, and it’s 100 lbs lighter than the FJ. Meanwhile, the FJ is an older model and to the purest is likely viewed as less than spectacular bike (read: boring), however the Yamaha appears to be very well sorted AND comes in a non e-suspension model. Now it appears, we know why.
It’ll be March/April before a pull the trigger, but suffice it to say, the boring FJ is looking brighter every minute.
PS: The KTM dealer I visited was a great guy who runs a very successful shop with KTM and Kawasaki. I have to believe there is a fix coming at some point for these issues.
I have a 2014 FJRES and a 2015 KTM SAS. Haven’t had either very long. But, my initial response is to sell the FJR and keep the KTM. Handles better. But, can you beat the Yamaha reliability?
i cant really feel any difference in any suspension mode—-comfort is still very harsh—i think its just a gimmick—i dont think the differnet modes do anything—all i get is a stiff harsh ride—-also i have not really noticed front shock knock due to the terrible rear knocking that i hear over rough roads at slower speeds—going back to dealer for them to see what it is—its so annoying that i dont enjoy the ride as im listening for the knock knock knock knock—!!!!
My 1290sa has done 9000klms. Just finished a 8000klm ride and the clunking from the front suspension drove me crazy.. Both my mates own one as well and have same issues. I think the SAS need to be refined. Australia
mine makes a real annoying knocking at the rear over bumps at low speed—i thought possibly chain slap—but i dont think so—it sound like the centre stand is baning against the frame—but its not that—going back to dealer to find out
Probably the chain that is running over the guide and protector on the rear swingarm. I have the same issue. When I use chainoil all the time the noise is a lot less.
5.000 KM on my super adventure and had to buy a new SHOCK because I blew mine on a 2k km trip, KTM is not giving me any warranty!!
Hello, is interesting for the International Customer Service, hear for what reason your waranty claim mono-shock was been refused. Could be possible to Feedback us your VIN number?
I have to agree with Kurt and Feraud, my 1290 Super Adventure klunks and gives very harsh feedback up through the handle bars. I am not very happy with the SA suspension at all. It sounds like the internals are loose and banging around whenever I hit a drop off, expansion joint, or a rough country road. I have tied using all the settings, but that does not seem to make a difference. Eventually, I’m afraid something will break and their won’t be a fix, yet. I liked the suspension on my 2014 1190 Adventure and wish I could put on this bike. Waiting for a fix!!
Same here since day one !!
Have to live with it they told me. If I had known this before I would have chose differently.
I OWN A NEW KTM 1290 SA, FRONT SUSPENSION CLUNKING WHILE RIDING, VERY DISAPOINTED TO SPEND 20K ON A NEW BIKE WITH THIS SUSPENSION ISUES AND KTM IT IS NOT RESPONDING WITH A SOLUTION!!
Same here since day one !!
Have to live with it they told me. If I had known this before I would have chose differently.
Less than two months and 2000 kms and the suspension system is out of order : we do not have solution, this is the only answer I received so far ….. and as I know, close to 50% of the customers faced the same problem …..
I am one of them.
Great! Watcha got cooking for my 1290 SD-R? Any plans for Cornering ABS or Active Suspension?
Keep up the great work,
Spero in una versione veramente ktm col 21 anteriore 18 posteriore Carlo Giossi
KTM leads yet again!
Marketing your novel ‘Semi-Active Suspension’?
Superior cycle CONTROL, thereby SAFETY, on ALL Roads!
Mattighofen’s Sales Schema?
IMPROVED, OBSERVABLE cycle ‘CONTROL and SAFETY’ afforded by our 1290 Super Adventure product!
Begs this question – ‘To CRASH or NOT’?
Congratulations on your ever improving Annual SALES!
I guess the objectives are changed with KTM. Money before riders.