This article is a record and review of the accessories, mods and farkles I added to my 2020 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (SAR). Most of them applicable for any adventure motorcycle. I’m keeping this article up to date as I add things. More detailed review articles will be written for some of the accessories as time goes by. A link to those dedicated articles will be included here.
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Background: why the KTM SAR?
I picked up my 2020 KTM Super Adventure R, or SAR for short, from the dealer beginning of November 2020. I owned many bikes before, but always bought second hand. This was the first brand spanking new one, so it was an exciting moment for me. It took me many months and comparisons against 9 other adventure motorcycles, to eventually decide for this bike.
Nothing like the ‘new car smell’ they say. Well, for motorcycles it’s the same minus the smell of course. Nothing like that ‘new motorcycle feeling’ I guess. I still remember the ride home from the dealer 🙂.
Background: Why this list?
Obviously that new motorcycle feeling is amazing, and one of the best things about a new bike. The other good thing about a brand new motorcycle is that it’s an empty canvas… it’s completely free of any previous owner accessories, ready for you to personalise it to your needs and your liking.
I for one, am a sucker for accessorising and farklink my bike. I like it almost as much as riding itself 🙂. I love doing research on what is the best this and the most handy that… scouring the smallest crevasses of the motorcycling internets to find that perfect piece with the best bang for my buck that does exactly what I need it to do!
My guess is that there are many people out there like me, looking for that perfect accessory for their bike. My hope is that this article and the dedicated review articles, will be helpful to those looking for similar products. If nothing else, I hope these articles will give you some reading pleasure and provide you with some general knowledge in the process.
The list of accessories, mods and farkles
So, even before my bike was ready for pickup, I started looking around for accessories to make this brand new KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (SAR) mine. Here’s the complete list so far. I’ve added some thumbs up and thumbs down too, to indicate how happy I am with it.
Travel Pack (Quickshifter, Hill Hold Control & MSR) 👍👍
This is a KTM OEM (KTM powerparts) accessory. It’s basically a software upgrade to the bike’s ECU, enabling the quickshifter, hill hold control and motor slip regulation. The quick shifter alone is earning the double thumbs up! It’s simply awesome. The Hill Hold and MSR are ‘nice to haves’.
Heated Grips 👍
Having heated grips is definitely not a must in Mexico, but, even though Mexico has a warm climate in general, the early mornings can be quite cold, against freezing temperatures in winter. I opted for the KTM OEM (KTM powerparts) heated grips, as those don’t require an additional switch to be mounted to the handle bars. They can be controlled by a setting in the TFT dash that is enabled by the dealer upon installation.
Off-road Dongle 👍👎
This, again, is a KTM OEM (KTM powerparts) accessory. As the name suggests, it’s a dongle. It simply plugs into a connector which is located under the saddle. With this dongle installed, your traction control and ABS settings are remembered between starts. So, even if you stall the bike and have to restart it, the traction control and ABS will keep its setting. Without this dongle, the traction control always defaults to ON and ABS always defaults to Road when you start the bike, even after a stall. Not handy when you stall the bike on an offroad trail for example.
In some countries it is mandatory that ABS is always on when on the road. That’s why, when the dongle is installed, you’ll get a big yellow warning ‘NOT LEGAL’ every time you start the bike. You’ll have to push the down button on the left hand switch control to get rid of it, every time you start the bike. This is a small inconvenience compared to having to go deep into the menu structure to set ABS in off-road mode every time you turn on/off the bike while off-road. Of course you can also opt to connect the dongle only for bigger off-road trips. It’s relatively easy to disconnect and connect.
Panniers: Kriega OS-32 and OS-22 soft panniers 👍
I picked these up while I was visiting family in Europe, even before I knew what my next bike was going to be. There was a big sale and I figured they’d fit on just about any future bike. I knew I wanted soft panniers and Kriega’s OS (Overland-System) bags got raving reviews, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with them. So far I’ve only tested them during a short ride. Once I give them some real usage I’ll write a dedicated article on them.
Luggage rack: Outback Motortek X-Frame 👍
I wanted pannier racks as apposed to a rack-less system. Simply because it looks cleaner and the racks themselves have some crash protection. I needed a rack that could hold the Kriega soft panniers. Kriega does sell a platform plate that basically mounts to every rack, but I opted to get Outback Motortek’s X-Frame racks, which already come with tie down points for the Kriega’s. A more detailed review on the racks will follow.
Toolbox: Outback Motortek 👍👎
Other than the tie down points, the Outback Motortek luggage racks also come with an X-Frame plate which mounts inside the hoop. These x-frames are mostly used to mount a rotopax on, but Outback also sells a little toolbox which can be mounted on them. Emphasis on little… as indeed it’s quite small and the opening is even smaller. For example… it’s hard to stuff my KTM provided toolset through the opening. I mounted that toolbox on the inside of the left pannier rack (so that I can still have the Kriega on the outside).
Tall screen: Givi D7706S 👍👍
Definitely the best accessory investment to increase comfort on this bike (and honestly… on any bike I’ve ever owned). This screen reduced helmet noise tremendously for me, making my rides a lot more enjoyable. With the stock screen the helmet noise was almost unbearable at +100 km/h speeds. Even with earplugs and my Schuberth C3 Pro it was loud and tiring. Now, with this Givi screen, I can even wear my Arai XD-4 without earplugs (for short distances of course… for longer rides I always wear earplugs or in-ear headphones).
Of course your mileage may vary. Wether this screen works for you depends on many things, including your height. I’m 1,79 (5’10”) with a 32″ inseam. If you’d like to know more about helmet noise and how to reduce it… have a look at my very detailed and scientific article: https://scenic.app/windscreens-and-other-causes-solutions-for-noise-and-buffeting-in-motorcycle-helmets/
Givi also has a bigger variant of this screen… the D7706ST, which is a bit wider and higher than the one I got.
Chain Oiler: Tutoro 👍👍
One important advantage that the BMW 1250 GS has over the KTM 1290 SAR (at least for me) is that it has a maintenance free drive shaft in stead of a traditional chain which needs cleaning and lubing all the time. Enter the chain oiler! I never used one before but decided to finally give it a go. After some online research I ended up with the Tutoro Chain Oiler and I’m very happy with it. No more cleaning and lubing for me!!! Here’s my full review of the Tutoro Chain Oiler, including my installation video.
Top Case: SW-Motech Trax 👍👍
I actually had this case on my previous motorcycle and liked it so much I decided not to sell it with the bike. I simply ordered a new base plate from SW-Motech so I could install it on on the SAR. Of all the accessories on this list, I think the top case is the one I get most practical usage out on a day to day bases. When I ride around town it’s big enough to put some groceries in, or hold my helmet when I have to enter into a store. And if I go on big off-road trips (where I prefer to take soft luggage only) it takes about 30 seconds to take it off the bike completely and make room for a duffle bag.
Tank bag: SW-Motech EVO Engage 👍
Just like the top case, I had this tank bag on my previous bike as well. I only ordered a compatible tank ring for it and now I use it on my KTM. I don’t use it all the time, but on my last few longer rides I tried something new. I inserted a hydration bladder in there, filled with ice and water. It worked pretty well and think that’s a keeper. More on that in a future article.
Aux lights: Denali DR1 👍
These auxiliary lights I also harvested from my previous bike. Denali is a well known and respected brand in this regard… and for a reason! I love these lights. Not only do they add to my visibility during the day (a must in Mexican traffic), but at night they light up the road unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. Their beam is wide enough to see the sides of the road and far enough to react to unexpected circumstances. Take care in how you mount them though, as to not blind oncoming traffic.
This is the only accessory I have not installed on my KTM yet, as it requires quite some work. I’ll have to take off the tank in order to put the wiring harness in place. I’ll add a picture ones they are installed.
Side stand foot – AliExpress 👍
Got this foot of Ali Express for a few bucks. I figured it was worth a shot. The standard foot is a bit small and sinks into soft dirt and mud quite easily. This foot makes the stand a bit wider. No need to spend big bucks on an item like this when a cheap Ali Express version does the trick.
GPS Mount – AliExpress 👍👎
This I also got of Ali Express. It works and it’s functional, but I probably will get a better quality one in the future. It just seems a bit flimsy… and I’m not sure about the position it’s mounted (to the wind screen). The wind screen vibrates a lot so obviously the phone does too. Not so much as to damage the phone (see my review on the Quad Lock Vibration dampener), but still it could be better.
Headlight Guard – AliExpress 👍
I think this is a cheap copy of the Touratech headlight guard. It fits rather well though… and you can easily take it off without tools (for cleaning the headlight). I like the look of it and it helps protect the rather expensive headlight should a rock come flying that direction.
Short levers – Wild@Heart 👍
I’m a ‘shorties’ fan. Had them installed on almost all my bikes. The real advantage, to me at least, it that I can keep my inner two fingers on the controls, while my outer two hold on to the handlebars. Useful on the road, but even more offroad. Of course this can also be done with normal levers, but it’s just easier with shorties and your outer two fingers can’t get stuck / pinched. Another advantage is that short levers don’t stick out as far, so they break less easy should you drop the bike.
This is the first time I tried the Wild@Heart’s though. Read about them on a KTM 790 forum.. and decided to give them a try. They are really good and fit just as well as the original ones. The cheap Chinese ones tend to have too much up and down ‘play’ in my experience. Not the case with these!
Heat guards – AliExpress 👎
One of the quirks of the 1290 SAR is the engine heat it produces. In slow traffic on a warm day you can really feel the heat against your thighs. These heat guards from Ali Express were a poor fit. Had to struggle quite a bit to make them work. They are made of plastic. The only thing they do is guide the heat a bit further down towards my calves. I wouldn’t spend my money on this again and might remove them in the future.
Rally pegs – AliExpress 👍
From all the stuff I got from Ali Express, these were the most expensive. For a reason though I guess… they are really good and sturdy. I like them a lot. They are quite a bit wider and longer than the standard pegs. Especially when standing on the bike this is a real plus point. I don’t really miss the rubber of the standard pegs, which supposedly helps dampen the motorcycle vibrations. It does take a little getting used to as these pegs are a bit in the way when you want to put your foot down (at a traffic light for example).
Phone mount – Quad Lock (incl vibration dampener and wireless charging head) 👍
I’ve been using Quad Lock mounts for years now. I really like the one handed ‘twist and go’ system and the secure hold they provide. And now with the vibration dampener they appear to have found a solution for motorcycle vibrations damaging camera modules of moderns phones. If you’d like to know more about this, check out the Quad Lock Motorcycle Kit and my complete Quad Lock reviews here and here.
Removal of Canister under seat
All big KTM’s have this canister diagonally mounted under the seat, basically leaving no storage space under there. This canister is there for environmental emission norms. Basically it catches fuel vapour from the gas tank and redirects it back into the fuelling system. I’ve read many posts and saw many videos on removal of this part… is it safe, does it have side effects, etc. My conclusion (and experience) after the removal… but please do your own research… is that it does not affect the performance nor any other aspects of the motorcycle. There are removal kits out there sold by aftermarket suppliers, but for this simple canister removal I found these not to be required. The only thing you need to be careful about is that the fuel tank can still breath after you remove the canister and plug the tubes. I followed this video (watch to the end for a crucial part of the removal). I have now ridden more than 1000km without the canister and have not noticed any difference at all.