Community Commentary Lieback’s Lounge: KTM Passenger Comfort Surprise

Lieback’s Lounge: KTM Passenger Comfort Surprise

KTM 1190 Adventure R Tales

My day’s work was complete, and my wife Pam had arrived home early from a doctor’s appointment. We had about an hour before we had to pick up Enzo from daycare.

After weeks of temps below freezing, the sun was bright and lonely in the sky, and the temps were nearing 70 degrees. There was only one thing to do under such limited time—go for a motorcycle ride.

Out of all the bikes, from new press bikes to my second-gen Multistrada, Pam’s favorite ride remains the ’98 Honda VFR800. I completed a full touring build on the VFR, and attribute much of the comfort to the Sargent seats.

Lieback's Lounge April 2018: KTM Passenger Comfort Suprise
KTM 1190 Adventure R

But there’s also the psychological factor, considering the bike entered my life when things got serious with Pam something like a decade ago.

I since have put the VFR back to stock, and have her ready for shows one day. I may be biased (okay, I am), but once you get spoiled with new bikes and their high horsepower—controllable due to the amazing modern electronics that make things safer—riding anything else only feeds the nostalgia mindset rather than the crave of just riding.

I was curious to see what Pam thought of the newest member of our moto family—the KTM 1190 Adventure R I recently brought home.

Pam now got her first ride on the KTM Adventure R, which I purchased for serious off-road ADV riding this year now that Pam’s surgeries are done. I thought she was going to hate it due to its tall seating and off-road attitude. I was completely wrong; she absolutely loved it.

The Adventure R has three riding modes—Sport, Street and Off-Road—and I used Street for its softer throttle response. The suspension was not tweaked yet for off-road, but I heard zero complaints from my passenger. And this is a woman who said the Multistrada was uncomfortable!

Our ride was less than an hour hour, but I did take her on some ADV style roads, which are basically our standard side roads after the snowplows puncture them with deep holes. The 21-inch front rim and long suspension travel definitely helped soak some of the harshness, and I was impressed at how comfortably stable the chassis was with a passenger.

The other reason for comfort is the Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 tires, which are 70 percent road and 30 percent dirt. They don’t feel like a dirt tire, though i will have Continental TKC 80s on soon. That will surely make for a different passenger experience.

Again, the KTM wasn’t purchased for two-up touring; it was purchased for serious ADV touring that will see most of its time off road, and likely on its side. I’ve ridden a 1190 R before with TKCs, and its off-road prowess impressed me.

With these Scorpion MT 90 A/T tires, the on-road capabilities of this bike are as equally as impressive, though I’ve yet to give it a proper off-road beating with these tires. With base tire pressure, I did do some dirt sections, but didn’t like what I felt.

I still have about 500 miles left on the Scorpion MT 90 A/T tires, so I guess Pam will be enjoying the KTM as much as I do. But once those new dual-sport tires go on, well, the loud humming and rough on-road ride will likely change Pam’s mind about comfort.

Since the VFR is now basically a collector bike, I’ll have to figure something out. Hmmm…maybe a base 1190 with street-bias tires? There’s always room for one more, and making the wife comfortable creates the perfect excuse.

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Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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