1290 SAR vs 790 R?

Discussion in 'Ridiculous streetbikes with 6 CPUs and too much HP' started by BambiRides, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Hello all, doing some research for a bike purchase that’s a long time out. Just can’t help myself from window shopping. Heading overseas for a while and plan to use that sweet tax free pay to get back on an adventure bike when I get back. Previous bikes include a KLR650, DRZ400 SM, and a Ducati Monster S2R1000. I ride about 80/20 road dirt but Pendleton here has so much good off roading in the form of mostly fire roads but some sweet double track as well. Gripes about the KLR was a top heavy feel, soft ass suspension, and lack of any technology haha

    All that said, is waiting for a 790 going to make me that much happier than the 12? I love the idea of a 1090 but I’m irrational and don’t want the analog display. I love that TFT hahaha the 790 tempts me because of the lightness vs 1290 and having most of the same tech as well. Heavily leaning towards the 1290 as it’s a tried and tested design, especially by the time I’m back.

    Any thoughts ?
    #1
    EUBikeDude likes this.
  2. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,390
    Location:
    Star Tannery, VA
    Wildassguess. You'd appreciate the comfort, power, and better wind protection of the 1290 on the street. You'll find wrestling it harder off pavement as soon as it gets the slightest bit technical or soft.

    The 790 should be easier to manhandle when nessasary off pavement, should be able to traverse challenging terrain at a bit faster pace with the same amount of effort, and of course be easier to pick back up.

    So... the obvious answer to which will suit you better is "It depends"

    I had an 1190R (not 1290 but pretty similar). Hell of a fun bike and could boogie thru semi technical hard terrain. Sure got old picking it up when things went south though.
    #2
    95Monster and EUBikeDude like this.
  3. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    In my head I picture myself on the technical stuff every weekend but when I had my KLR I didn’t enjoy/or get off road near as much as I wanted. I know a test ride of both will depend hugely. But think after the Monster I’m ready for some comfort and spoiling tech hahaha riding it from San Francisco to San Diego was certainly an experience I learned a lot about my tastes on hahaha
    #3
    EUBikeDude and windblown101 like this.
  4. Hammy713

    Hammy713 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I agree, its hard telling without riding both but the 1290 is a very capable bike, even off road. It feels like a big dirt bike BUT we all have to be realistic on what these bikes are, they are not full on dirt bikes and neither is the 790. They will do adventure rallies very well, hit mountain peaks with lookout towers with ease, cruise across the county with comfort, hit remote spots that no Harley will ever get to and more. If your trip includes endure type stuff, the 790 might be a little better but that isn't what they are made for, especially for how much these bikes cost. And the 1290 is far from top heavy, especially compared to my Triumph Tiger.
    #4
    EUBikeDude likes this.
  5. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Yeah I am definitely leaning towards the 1290. The 790 is badass but I’m wary of a first year KTM bike haha I found a leftover new 18 1290 SA R at my local dealership for $15k so I’m betting when I’m back that the deals will be fantastic. I wanted a tiger for a long time but I took a day trip on one and hated how much hot air was funneled into me lol.
    #5
    EUBikeDude likes this.
  6. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor TrackBum

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,815
    Location:
    Seattle
    Well you have a very good question! I have a 1290 SAR and plan to trade it for a 790r, but I am not 100% sure I am doing the right thing. I got one of the first 1290s and have had no issues with it, jut a lot of fun. As others have said, the bike is surprisingly good off road but has that big engine to make highway cruising effortless. My only issue with the bike is picking it up after a tip over. I can barely do it, but recently bought a Dirt Napper to help lift the bike. I think the 790 will hit the sweet spot between highway riding and off road riding. I am hoping that in addition to lighter weight, the lower center of gravity will make the bike even easier to pick up. Also it should have a longer fuel range. I still think that the 1290 will be the king for highway cruising at 80mph combined with ability to do decently off road. Also the rider aids are what really transform the big bike for me. Off road ABS and traction control really are helpful dealing with the mass of the bike on loose gravel.
    #6
  7. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Yeah the electronics and LED/TFT equipment are what completely eliminated the 1090r from my hunt. Finding the right 790 will be the tough part. Since the cruise and quickshift are options. Depends what the dealers get during the first runs. Figure an 1290 SAR will be easy enough to trade towards a 790 if I get tired of the bigger bike though. I think the 1290 is a better one bike solution if more than half of your riding is going to be commuting to and from work. At least for me
    #7
  8. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,390
    Location:
    Star Tannery, VA
    Unless the 1290 has much better heat management than the last production year 1190 (the one with all the heat mgmt fixes] I suspect you'll find the 1290 is just as hot as the Tiger.

    As an aside I never understood the top heavy comments about Tigers. They have a street oriented front geometry which can be a handful in some situations off pavement. I suspect this is what folks mean when they say top heavy feel because having picked up both the KTM and the 800XC many times I can assure you the 800xc is not more top heavy than the Big KTMs.

    Ride and decide! :)
    #8
  9. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Yeah I have seen that KTM cooks your back side pretty well. Saw some heat shielding on the 1290 sears underside but haven’t had time yet to test. Yeah when I think top heavy I think about my 94 KLR650 haha that thing had 99% of its weight at my chest level it felt like.
    #9
  10. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor TrackBum

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,815
    Location:
    Seattle
    I never had any heat issues with my 1290. Massive heat from my Ducati Panigale V4s. Almost to the point of having to get off the bike! I also has a 2008 KLR 650 and that bike was incredibly top heavy and just a pig. I poured a lot of money into the usual suspension upgrades and it did not make much difference. The 1290, despite being much heavier than the KLR, can ride circles around it because it has so much better frame and suspension. I went from a 500 EXC to the 1290. Apples and oranges I know, but even coming from the 500 the 1290 did way better off road then I was expecting. A lot of trails became off limits on the 1290 though. Fall off a 500 on single track and not usually a big deal to pick it up and get going again. Do that on the 1290 and it might just become a permanent part of the landscape!
    #10
  11. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Hahaha yeah I didn’t put anything into the KLR besides an LED headlight bulb. Couldn’t handle how squishy and heavy it all was haha and let’s not even discuss the brakes. I want allllll the tech on my next bike now lol
    #11
    STLR likes this.
  12. kaertner

    kaertner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    634
    Location:
    Europe
    The comparison is the Tiger 1200 with the KTM 1290.Tiger 800 compares with the KTM 790
    #12
  13. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    I’m aware of the engine size comparisons. However if I’m only shopping KTM I’m looking to justify the price/size difference if I step up to the 1290. I’ve already ruled out the triumphs from some test rides, not my cup of tea. Africa twin has been ruled out due to lack of tech and power even though its a beautiful bike with Honda reliability. Ténéré and Multistrada have also been ruled out due to Ténéré being weak off road and the MS being obnoxiously expensive even used haha coming from a prior Ducati rider
    #13
  14. STLR

    STLR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    SoIL
    Now that is comical, and has been my modus operandi for vehicle purchases over the last 30 years: I swing from one extreme to the other!
    #14
  15. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Oh very much haha I just sold my 1970 K20 pickup and now as far as 4 wheeled objects go it’ll be a mustang or firebird next. Of a more modern vintage haha
    #15
    STLR likes this.
  16. BDO

    BDO Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    Transporter Tube
    I just sold my 1290 SAR. Wonderful bike, even off road but adding 40 lbs of camping gear to an already heavy bike limits some off road excursions- for me. On the highway it was great and it felt fantastic on fire roads. If you only can get one bike and ride a fair amount of road and dirt get the 1290 SAR.

    I also have a 990 and have a deposit on the 790. I’m torn to sell the 990 as it’s great off-road and it’s fully setup. I did the WABDR last year with three other guys on 990’s and it performed great - I love riding it without the weight of the camping gear and that’s what I’m hoping the 790 will be, a lighter weight ADV bike that performs well on the highway.

    Totally agree about the TFT and cruise. Brother has a 1090 and although it feels more nimble than my 990 in the dirt I’m spoiled now and want the TFT and cruise on my next bikes.

    BTW - Be careful about trying to trade in a 1290 SAR. Dealer will give you maybe $11k no matter miles, condition or farkles.
    #16
  17. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Really? That’s surprising. They don’t seem too common at dealers and I guess that’s why haha they’re all listed $14-16k as well. Makes sense, probably easy money selling a lightly used one.
    #17
  18. BDO

    BDO Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    Transporter Tube
    Actually at this time of year they are struggling to sell anything - good time for buyers!

    Case in point, local dealer has a 2017 SAR with over $4K in farkles (and 3K miles?) that has been sitting in his lot for 2+ months at $14K. Not one bite on it, crazy right??
    #18
  19. BambiRides

    BambiRides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    NorCal
    Wow! Yeah like I said I saw a brand new leftover 2018 for like $15-16k in San Diego of all places. Not known for cheap dealers haha
    #19
  20. BDO

    BDO Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    Transporter Tube
    2017 left overs were selling for $13999 last year. I would wait for the next round of incentives - either a cheap finance deal or a rebate or both!
    #20