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Discussion Starter #1
New to the forum, first post. I'm looking at purchasing my 1st adventure bike. I have 50 yrs. of riding experience, 10 years of motocross racing and trail riding when I was young. I currently own a Honda CR250 that I occasionally take to the track. So I feel very confident off-road. I've ruled out the GS, I have an RT and it's great on the road, but I'm not interested in two cylinders hanging off the side when I'm off-road, it's not a matter of if I'll drop it, it's a matter of when.

I live on the East Coast of the U.S. and my local dealer doesn't allow test rides. So I rode to the next closest dealer 45 minutes away and test rode a 2018 1290 SAR back in October. They sent me out alone and directed me out of town to the twisties. I was totally sold on the bike, I couldn't believe how the knobbies stuck to the road and loved wheelieing out of the corners by simply twisting the wick. However, I wasn't about to make an impulse buy and wanted to do more research before laying down the cash. So, I found this forum and started reading as much as I could and determined that buying the 1290 was a bad idea. Based on reading this forum it seemed like there were way too many problems with the 1290 SAR. I got a taste of what it's like to get a bike serviced that is made overseas this past summer when my 2017 Triumph Street Cup needed a safety recall done and a warranty claim for a miss at higher RPM. Bottom line is the bike sat in the shop for 3 1/2 weeks and they ended up taking the parts off a bike from their showroom to get me back on the road.

The adventure bike purchase is intended to fulfill a bucket list item which is to ride to Alaska and to hit some BDR routes in the lower 48. Reliability would be key.

Now I understand that there are lemons when it comes to just about anything that is man-made. Typically these are a small percentage of any given product, but these few can spoil it for the rest.

So I started researching the Honda AT and more or less decided to go that route. Until after finding a post in a forum for the AT and a guy said he bought one based on the bad reviews of the KTM, like me he didn't want to spend his weekends working on his KTM or waiting for months for parts, so he bought the Honda. However, two of his buddies bought KTM's and love them. Now he wishes he had bought orange.

So I would like to hear what "actual" owners of 1290 SAR's have to say. Assuming I get a "good" one, what do you think I have to look forward to? I'm seriously considering a 2018. They had been on sale for the month of October for $15, 999.00 (U.S.) but are now back up to $17,999.00 with .99% financing, which I look at as free money. Any constructive input would be very much appreciated.
 

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First off I have a 1290 SAS, not an SAR. However aside from the wheels and the suspension, the bikes are exactly the same.

I purchase my bike in April and have about 5200 miles on it now. If you look down the list of threads there is another thread where some of use provide real world reviews after months of riding and highlight issues.

So far I can tell you the only issues I had which I would categorize as wear and tear are a failing rear wheel TPMS and a leak in my fork seals. The first was replaced under warranty and the second wasn't because KTM considers fork seals a wear and tear item, even at low miles.

Aside from that the bike has given me zero issues, and I ride it hard. I even took it off roading in Death Valley, (with knobbies), which I'm sure is what cause the seals to go and probably crushed my TPMS since I rode with deflated tires. I did also bend my front wheel there, hitting a rock, but you won't have that issue with the SAR because you have spoke wheels. I was also surprised at how cheap a replacement wheel was and it came in 5 days.

So yeah, most of what you will read here will be horror stories because those of us with issues on the bike will ask around on the forum, but in my experience this is a solid bike that can take pretty much anything.

My dealer did say explicitly to ignore any software updates if the bike runs well, recommending to adopt a "if it ain't broke..." approach.

Closing argument for me is that if I was to wreck it or if it got stolen, I would replace it with the same bike. I love that motor so much I replaced my Ducati 999S with an RC8 and couldn't be happier with that one as well..

so there you go. No horror stories from me. Only pure joy riding that machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank You DGJ, much appreciated

My dealer did say explicitly to ignore any software updates if the bike runs well, recommending to adopt a "if it ain't broke..." approach.

Closing argument for me is that if I was to wreck it or if it got stolen, I would replace it with the same bike. I love that motor so much I replaced my Ducati 999S with an RC8 and couldn't be happier with that one as well..

so there you go. No horror stories from me. Only pure joy riding that machine.
DGJ, thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a detailed answer. This is exactly the type of information that I'm looking for, and it is very much appreciated.

I have several bikes and can cover most types of street riding, but an adventure bike is lacking. Your input will help me in making my decision.

Thanks again and be safe out there.
 

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I know I'm outdated by the year of my SA which is a 2015 but it has been a great bike. Only issue I had was a plugged fuel sock from a dirty tank. Point being of my post is mine being the first year would make me expect some bugs but that hasn't happened and I'm sure it's been refined even more now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Xmxer

XMXER, thanks for your reply, and you are right in expecting some issues with a first model year, glad to hear that hasn't been the case.

Thanks again, I appreciate your input.
 

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+1

2017 1290 SA /R. Absolutely love this bike. It does everything so well it's difficult to find fault. The only issues I've had so far is the fuel level sensor that would stick at full (replaced with new and improved version by dealre) and "key not in range" warning occasionally. It never left me stranded but I've taken to using the spare key instead anyway because it's less bulky to carry around in my pocket. Just need to remember to turn off the power when you get off because in it won't turn itself off after awhile like it will if you use the fob. I too plan on doing the AK run, but it will probably be a year or two before I get around to it. I bought a leftover for 15,900 as well and haven't regretted it one bit. Mods so far - Touratech racks and hard panniers, Akrapovich slip-on, and Rottweiler stage 3 intake. :grin2:

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Threeputt (Jeff)

Thanks for your input, I'm glad to hear there are folks that are happy with their bikes. In my eyes, little glitches that the dealer will take care of are not a problem, it's the high dollar issues that make me wary. It sounds like you've had no major concerns and your changes are in line with what I had in mind. Apparently I missed the big sale in October and thought the price would come back down, but so far that hasn't been the case. It's just a matter of time. Thanks again for your input.
 

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Purchased a 2017 KTM SAR brand new in December 2017. As far as the engine goes the motorcycle is very reliable after 5,590 miles. Here are the items that have had issues:
1) Fuel gas cap refused to open reliably and was replaced by KTM. In hindsight I may have been the reason for it not opening reliably because of over torqued bolts that mount the cap to the tank. I had installed a ring mount for a tank bag.
2) Fuel level sensor finally quit working reliably after about five months of riding. It would stick at the top or "full" position then sometimes suddenly drop when the fuel level got to 1/4 full. This did not keep the bike from operating it just was an annoyance that KTM replaced under warranty.
3) After refueling the control system most of the time will not recognize the key fob unless it is placed right next to the lower left side of control panel. Again, an annoyance but not a deal killer. Sometimes it will also display "Key Out of Range" for a while then go away.
4) The tubeless rims used on the SAR leak air quicker than most tubeless rims. Carry an air compressor if you plan on any multiday rides.
5) Gasoline boiled in the tank when ambient temperatures reached 90°F. I removed the OEM heat shields from the underside replacing them with DEI Gold under-tank heat shield. More underside area was covered with this modification. It solved the problem too.

The motorcycle has had the Travel Pack installed. The hill hold and quick shift are wonderful added features. Motor Traction Control (MTC) is also included in the Travel Pack. This function is so subtle that it is hard to tell what it does really. The Travel Pack cost $500 extra.

My Ride was installed at no extra cost. This feature is puzzling to use because it requires an app on your smart phone to use its navigation capabilities. When I link up my iPhone and Cardo Packtalk to the bike it does give one a visual notice of a cell phone call received and who is calling, this is because it uses your contact list. Supposedly a new update to My Ride now allows one to use the left handlebar menu buttons to control your music selections on your phone. I have not used My Ride for navigation because I have a Garmin Zumo installed on the bike for that.

So mechanically the motorcycle is very reliable. Its the bells and whistles that cause minor angst. Also, heat from the engine causes some minor discomfort on the underside of my left thigh. I have installed a heat shield panel, see my thread on this, to mitigate the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Rick

Rick, thanks for the input, it's nice to hear that you've had no issues that would leave you stranded.

When I did my test ride, the salesman recommended getting in the habit of holding the fob close to the sensor for the initial start. He claimed there wouldn't be any issues if I did this routinely, and said it's only necessary to get the bike started. He said he's never heard of any reports of a bike cutting off while riding and the fob appears to stay connected after the initial connection. So that's what I did for the test ride and everything went well.

Thanks again and ride safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Enjoy Sininja

In MN they are $14699 no freight no setup and .99% I pick mine up tomorrow ?
Sininja, enjoy the new bike. If I had a deal like that before me I would buy one.

I keep watching the 2018's in my area. They are holding firm at $17,999.00, but they have 4 in stock. A 2019 can be had for a $500.00 bump, so they would have to deal to make it worthwhile for me to take a 2018. I would rather not buy one right now anyway, insurance is really pricey in my zip code and it would sit for a few months to get through the winter.
 

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As far as fobs go, they seem scarier than reality. My kawasaki concours14 had a fob too. Yes, sometimes it would randomly flash fob codes while riding but it never shut the bike off, and the bike never failed to start. As long as the fob battery is good, and your bikes battery is strong and charged it's not something that would scare me. I usually leave mine in my Stich sleeve pocket and it never comes out.
 

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Sininja, enjoy the new bike. If I had a deal like that before me I would buy one.

I keep watching the 2018's in my area. They are holding firm at $17,999.00, but they have 4 in stock. A 2019 can be had for a $500.00 bump, so they would have to deal to make it worthwhile for me to take a 2018. I would rather not buy one right now anyway, insurance is really pricey in my zip code and it would sit for a few months to get through the winter.
I would go in a few days before they shut for Christmas and try again
 

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Hello,

I bought my SAR in the spring of 2018 and it is a leftover 2017. I have 9k on my SAR and have loved every mile. I have had some of the same small problems as other. Key fob, fuel level float sticking, and the KTM my ride is not the best. The seat can get a little hard on the back side. I do have a slight head shake at 45 mph but I also moved my forks up 20mm and took as much preload out of the rear shock to help reach the ground with my 28" inseam. I have tried to use the my ride a few times and it would not connect and then it would. I gave up and went back to Google maps. I might try it again in the spring when I go on a trip. The TFT display is great the power is amazing. The SAR has never done anything unexpected no matter how hard in the corners I have pushed it. This has been a great motorcycle.
 

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MyRide app on my iPhone updated itself this morning. One of the changes mentioned was compatibility with the new firmware on the bikes coming next year. I haven't had any real issues with it the way it is now, although there aren't many features.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Threeputt & Fordnutt - Thanks for the Input

Thanks for your input, I'm glad to hear that so far nobody has been complaining about catastrophic engine or transmission failures. In other words, nothing major and nothing that could leave me stranded so far away from home and my tool chests.

Thanks again for your input.
 

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I purchased a 2018 1290 SAR in September of 2018. I installed a two piece Ergo seat since I ride 2 up half the time. Also a larger windscreen to prevent the buffeting I experienced with cross winds and the most important as far as rider comfort for me was the bigger and wider Rally pegs. Purchase price for the bike was 15,499 USD with .99% financing which like you I figure is free money. Although I only have about 1500 miles on the bike I've experienced zero issues. This was absolutely the right choice for me. At 5' 11" with a 32" inseam the bike seems a little tall at first but you quickly adapt to that.
 
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