Capitalizing on knowledge gained from its success in the Dakar Rally, KTM has made a monumental impact on the adventure-bike market. Over the past 20-plus years, the Austrian manufacturer has introduced a multitude of single- and twin-cylinder machines across a range of engine displacements. Latest in the lineup is the highly anticipated 790 Adventure and more off-road-focused 790 Adventure R. Both machines are based on the oversquare, liquid-cooled, dual-counterbalancer-equipped parallel twin that also powers the 790 Duke (and rumored 790 Duke R). A steel tube chassis is fitted with WP suspension front and rear, a low-slung 5-gallon-plus gas tank, and enduro-size wheels with either street or more dirt-friendly rubber.
As with KTM’s larger streetbikes, electronics play a critical role in the 790 Adventure’s performance both on- and off-road. Street mode is intended for situations where grip is plentiful. Off-road complements the standard tarmac-oriented rubber and works even better with knobbies. Rain reduces engine performance and dulls throttle response. Rally, optional on the base model and standard on the R, introduces 10 levels of lean-sensitive traction control, plus three engine tunes—Street, Off-road, and Rally—to dial in throttle response and wheel spin.
Likes: Excellent ergonomics; engine power delivery tailored for off-road adventure
Dislikes: Buy now or hold out for a 2020 Yamaha 700 Ténéré? Decisions, decisions…
Verdict: Think a 950 or 990 Adventure is the only real off-road ADV option, think again
2019 KTM 790 Adventure/R Reviews And Comparisons
“The 790 Adventure R sets a new standard in the adventure segment for dirt-worthiness,” Senior Editor Justin Dawes wrote following a KTM press ride in the Moroccan desert. “The low center of gravity, narrow chassis, great ergos, impressive engine, and unbelievable suspension will put all other ADV bikes on their heels.”
2019 KTM 790 Adventure/R Competition
The definition of a “middleweight” motorcycle has evolved quite a bit over the past few decades. Nowadays, the 790 Adventure falls nearer the lower end of the category’s displacement scale, with some of its competitors edging toward a full liter. But if you’re a buyer, it’s nice to have options.
2019 KTM 790 Adventure/R Specifications And Pricing
Where might a 790 Adventure take you? Answering that question will help you decide how to outfit this new midsize twin. Do you need the largest-available aluminum cases and maybe even a top trunk? Or will a tank bag and a waterproof duffel suffice? Either way, KTM has a solution.
Manufacturer Claimed Specifications
Cycle World Tested Specifications