Tag Archives: KTM Reviews

2020 KTM 390 Adventure | Road Test Review

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
The new-for-2020 KTM 390 Adventure is a lot of bike for the money, with off-road ready WP suspension, traction control, cornering ABS and a spunky single-cylinder engine. Photos by Mark Tuttle.

“Who woulda thunk it,” as my dad would say. A KTM adventure bike that costs less and makes more power than a Kawasaki KLR650, has fuel injection, electronic rider aids and weighs nearly 50 fewer pounds to boot? What mythical beast is this? It’s the 2020 KTM 390 Adventure, and it’s no myth. In fact I’ve spent the last few days on one, cruising the urban streets, farm roads and mountain highways near my home (taking a rain check on the hard core off-road stuff in these unusual times — see our “To Ride, or Not to Ride…?” editorial here).

With a base price of just $6,199, the new 390 Adventure is a lot of bike for the money, with an impressive list of standard features that make it a serious threat to value-oriented Japanese competitors like the Honda CB500X and Kawasaki Versys-X 300, as well as BMW’s G 310 GS. Adjustable front and rear WP suspension, a full-color TFT display, lean-angle sensitive traction control and Bosch 2-channel cornering ABS are all standard, with a quickshifter offered as an option.

Read our Tour Test Review of the KTM 790 Adventure here.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
Five-inch TFT display can be hard to read at a glance, but contains lots of useful info including fuel consumption data and range to empty.

Powering the 390 Adventure is the same 373cc, 4-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled single used in the popular RC 390 and 390 Duke sport bikes, which generated 44 horsepower at 8,800 rpm and 27 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm when we last put it on the Jett Tuning dyno — that’s nearly as much as the Honda CB500X’s larger parallel twin. It’s fitted with a gear-driven counterbalancer to tame the worst of the vibes, although we noticed a fair amount in the grips and the cleated footpegs (rubber inserts are included but were removed from our test bike). Passing at freeway speeds, especially on hills, requires either a little patience or a downshift, but the 390 cruises at the SoCal traffic standard of 75 mph without complaint. The feisty single is mated to a 6-speed gearbox fitted with a slipper clutch and, in the case of our test bike, KTM’s excellent up/down Quickshifter+.

Up front is a 43mm WP Apex USD fork with 6.7 inches of travel and adjustable compression and rebound damping; in the back is a WP Apex shock with 7 inches of travel and adjustable spring preload and rebound damping. Brakes are BYBRE, Brembo’s Indian subsidiary, with a 4-piston radial caliper gripping a single 320mm disc up front and a single-piston floating caliper/230mm disc combo in the rear.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
The 390 Adventure comes standard with Bosch 9.1MP cornering ABS, which includes an off-road mode that disables ABS to the rear wheel. MTC (traction control) has only two modes, on and off.

Jenny’s Gear
Helmet: Arai XD4
Jacket: Klim Artemis
Pants: Klim Altitude
Boots: Sidi Adventure Gore-Tex

Bosch 9.1MP cornering ABS has two settings: on and off-road, which disables it in back (it cannot be completely disabled). Lean-angle sensitive MTC (traction control), on the other hand, is either on or off (there are no special modes) and can be changed on the fly, although you’ll have to hold a button on the left switchgear and release the throttle for several seconds to do so. Off-road enthusiasts take note: the MTC will revert to the on position when you shut the bike off using the ignition key, but as far as we can tell it stays off if you only use the kill switch. Like its larger siblings, the 390 Adventure includes a 12V power socket as standard, located front and center underneath the TFT display, so mounting a phone for use as a GPS or just keeping it charged in a strap-on tank bag atop the plastic fuel tank is easy.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
Cast wheels are designed to fit tubeless tires, simplifying road- or trailside repairs. Brakes are quite good for a bike in this price range.

With its 19-inch front/17-inch rear cast wheels, 70/30 Continental TKC 70 tires, plastic skid plate (augmented with metal in front of and below the exhaust pipe), and modest suspension travel and ground clearance (we measured seven inches), straight off the showroom floor the 390 Adventure is best suited to gravel and fire roads. While the WP suspension is stiff enough to perform well on smooth, sporty rides and soaks up gnarly pavement and rough dirt roads, I would want to keep extended rocky encounters to a minimum. On the plus side, bikes for the U.S. market come standard with tipover bars that protect the sides of the engine and radiator. Spoon on some knobbier tires, bolt on KTM’s accessory aluminum skid plate and you’re ready for some hard-core adventure.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
Plastic shrouds extend past either side of the radiator, which has the added protection of tip-over bars (standard on bikes sold in the U.S. market). Skid plate is plastic, with a metal reinforcement around the exhaust pipe.

For a bike of such modest size, power and entry-level pretensions, we were somewhat surprised by the height of the 390 Adventure’s seat. On paper it’s not so bad, listed at 33.6 inches, but the seat is hard and fairly flat, with sharp edges that make it difficult to get your feet on the ground. It narrows a bit toward the front, but at that point it also slopes up and gets even taller. Even with my 34-inch inseam, if I’m wearing stiff ADV-style boots I’m on my tiptoes at a stop, and forget about backing up even the slightest of inclines while seated on the bike. Fortunately the 390 is a featherweight, tipping the scales at just 387 pounds fully fueled, adding confidence to one-footed stops and making it easy to push around. And there’s another upshot: the long reach from seat to footpegs leads to a relaxed bend in the knees and makes standing up for off-road riding a cinch.

Elemental protection from the short, non-adjustable windscreen isn’t bad, although I definitely experienced some windblast, especially at freeway speeds, on my upper chest, shoulders and helmet. Ergonomics are smaller-frame-friendly (well, apart from that tall seat), with a short reach across the 3.8-gallon tank to the handlebar and its backlit switchgear. At 5 feet, 9 inches, I found the handlebar to be too low for stand-up riding, requiring a pronounced forward lean; a bar riser would be on my must-have list. 

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
A tall seat and low handlebar make for a slightly sporty riding position when seated, and requires a forward lean when standing.

Romping through a set of corners is a joy, with the 390 exhibiting a taut, stable character that might surprise those who expect less from a small, “entry level” motorcycle. Brakes are above average for a bike in this price range, with solid bite and good feedback in front, though the back feels a bit wooden initially. Combined with a stiff chassis and firm but compliant suspension, this is a truly fun to ride machine, and those riders who pick up a 390 Adventure with no aspirations of ever touching dirt, perhaps drawn primarily to the upright, commanding “ADV” riding position, can look forward to miles of curvy smiles. The bike responds best to a firm hand, especially off idle; too gentle with the throttle and the fueling cuts out, threatening a stall — possibly the price paid for Euro 5 certification on such a high-strung motor. Once underway it still prefers to be wrung out a bit, and doesn’t respond with much below about 4,000 rpm; keep it north of that and you’ll have a ball. It’s also worth noting that even with a heavy throttle hand, fuel economy averaged 53 mpg, for an estimated range of 202 miles. 

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
Mud puddles are hard to resist! The 390 Adventure is small and lightweight enough to be accessible and non-threatening even to novice dirt riders.

KTM already has a laundry list of accessories for its 390 Adventure, including a slip-on Akrapovič silencer that shaves off another 2.2 pounds, Ergo rider and passenger seats, hard and soft side bags and more. A centerstand, unfortunately, is not on the list. Other than that, though, it wouldn’t take much to turn the 390 Adventure into a capable on- or off-road adventurer, and even in stock form it’s a fantastic commuter that’s ready for just about anything.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure Specs

Base Price: $6,199
Price as Tested: $6,559 (Quickshifter+)
Warranty: 2 yrs., 24,000 Miles
Website: ktm.com


Type: Liquid-cooled single
Displacement: 373cc
Bore x Stroke: 89.0 x 60.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.6:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 9,300 miles
Fuel Delivery: Bosch EFI w/ 46mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 1.8-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet slipper clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain


Ignition: Bosch EMS
Charging Output: 230 watts max.
Battery: 12V 11.2Ah


Frame: Steel trellis, cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 26.5 degrees/3.9 in.
Seat Height: 33.6 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, adj. for compression & rebound damping, 6.7-in. travel
Rear: Single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping, 7.0-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single 320mm disc w/ 4-piston radial-mount caliper & ABS
Rear: Single 230mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 2.50 x 19 in.
Rear: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 100/90-19
Rear: 130/80-17
Wet Weight: 387 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 440 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 827 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 3.8 gals., last 0.4-gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 AKI min. 53 mpg avg.
Estimated Range: 202 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 5,200

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 KTM 890 Duke R | First Look Review

2020 KTM 890 Duke R
The 2020 KTM 890 Duke R will be available in dealerships this spring.

We needed some good news, and KTM North America has delivered, announcing the early availability of the brand new 890 Duke R, unveiled in Milan last November and originally intended to launch in late 2020 as a MY2021 machine. Instead, KTM will be bringing in a “very limited number” of 890 Duke R models this spring as 2020 models.

Read our First Ride Review of the 2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT here.

Basically a more powerful and aggressive version of the impressive-in-its-own-right 790 Duke, the 2020 890 Duke R features a new 890cc parallel twin with an increased bore and stroke, higher compression ratio and redline, larger valves, a new piston design with new connecting rods and a new crankshaft, new individual mapping adjustment on each cylinder, a knock sensor and new engine cases. The new mill churns out more horsepower and torque, and KTM also says it provides better rideability due to increased rotating mass.

Brakes are by Brembo, with larger discs and Bosch ABS that includes a Supermoto setting, suspension is fully-adjustable WP Apex front and rear, and electronic rider aids include new-generation traction control and ride modes with optional Track mode and Quickshifter+, all aided by a new 6D lean angle sensor.

Befitting its “super scalpel” mission, the 890 Duke R has a lower, flatter handlebar and footpegs that are higher and more rear-set for a sportier riding position and greater lean angle. It makes no pretensions at being anything other than a twisty-munching or track-attacking machine, with a solo seat and no pillion footpegs. It’s you and Mr. Duke, that’s it.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but barring any supply chain disruptions we should see the bike in dealerships sometime this spring.

2020 KTM 890 Duke R

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 KTM 790 Adventure | Tour Test Review

KTM 790 Adventure
The desert can be an unforgiving place, with miles of lonely highways and even more unpaved roads and trails. The KTM 790 Adventure is an ideal choice for venturing into the great wide open, with a 280-plus-mile range, off-road bona fides and creature comforts for the long haul. Photos by the author.

KTM has garnered a reputation (deservedly) for building high-performance, hard-edged machines that cater to what we might call the “one percent” of adventure riders. Let’s just say, you don’t hear jokes about KTMs and Starbucks parking lots. Its highly anticipated, new-for-2019 790 Adventure exemplifies that philosophy (read our comprehensive on- and off-road review here): an eminently capable lightweight ADV tourer that was designed for excursions into some pretty gnarly territory, especially in the off-road oriented R variation.

But what if you aren’t necessarily a “one percenter?” You like the idea of an adventure bike that isn’t gargantuan (a seat height of less than 35 inches would be great, thanks), but is comfortable, with adequate power for touring and high-speed passing and ample luggage capacity. Yet it can still tackle whatever “shortcut” your GPS throws at you — or worse — without breaking a sweat.

KTM 790 Adventure
The 790 cuts a unique front profile in the Arizona desert.

That pretty much describes me, so when our KTM 790 Adventure test bike showed up I snagged the keys and have clung to them stubbornly ever since, logging more than 3,000 miles commuting, canyon carving and road tripping, including a weekend ride up the coast for Babes Ride Out and this weeklong road trip to New Mexico to visit my mom and stepdad. They live on 80 acres of desert about 10 miles southeast of Deming, and getting there involves considerable highway slabbing along with a home stretch of a few miles of sandy dirt road, plus a quarter-mile of washed-out dirt driveway. In between are numerous opportunities to scrub the edges of the tires on pavement as well as non-paved detours to mines and other points of interest. Adventure bike territory.

Escaping Southern California took the better part of a day, heavy Orange County traffic giving way to sweeping low mountain vistas and finally, in Borrego Springs, at the bottom of a long, winding descent, the low, sprawling Colorado Desert, part of the 100,000-square-mile Sonoran Desert that covers much of southwestern Arizona and spreads southward into Baja California Sur and Sonora, Mexico. It is home to several unique species, including the iconic symbol of the American Southwest, the saguaro (“sah-WAH-roh”) cactus.

Ajo Arizona street art
The tiny town of Ajo, Arizona, sports some seriously cool street art.

I’d timed my trip well; a week later, heavy rain poured for days, part of the massive winter storm that would wreak havoc on Thanksgiving holiday travel for much of the U.S. But on this ride, the skies were sunny and dry, and with lightly insulated gloves I only needed my heated liners in the early morning (our test bike was not equipped with the optional heated grips). The 790 has a comprehensive electronics package that includes three ride modes, Street, Rain and Offroad, that alter throttle response and IMU-based MTC (traction control), plus separately switchable Bosch 9.1 MP cornering ABS.

With its firm, flat, adjustable two-piece seat in the lower (32.7-inch) position, the 790 Adventure put me, at 5 feet, 9 inches, into a comfortably compact riding position while nearly allowing me to get both feet flat on the ground. Footpegs, which have rubber inserts to muffle any vibration, are high enough to allow ample off-road ground clearance and the handlebar, which is adjustable in six positions over a 1.2-inch range, is not as wide as some other larger ADV bikes. I put the windscreen into the higher of its two positions and found it deflected air around my helmet with very little buffeting.

La Misión San José de Tumacácori
La Misión San José de Tumacácori was built by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s to early 1800s south of what is now Tucson.

Therefore I was comfortable and smiling the next day as I rolled into the town of Ajo (“AH-ho”), Arizona, some 38 miles from the U.S./Mexico border. This old mining town is experiencing a revival of sorts, with its gleaming whitewashed Spanish-style buildings lining the central plaza, a beautiful old school that’s been renovated into apartments for artists-in-residence and a hotel and conference center, as well as new coffee shops, cafés and artisans’ markets. It’s the kind of place that gives you hope for the future, with residents representing what they call the Three Nations: Caucasian American, Mexican-American and native Tohono O’odham.

Ajo Farmers Market & Café
Friendly locals at the Ajo Farmers Market & Café served me a stellar cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast bowl made from locally sourced ingredients.

Part of the appeal of an adventure tourer is the ability to explore at will, so when a local told me about a gravel road that looped around the old pit mine I was keen to check it out. The 790 Adventure’s 21-inch spoked front wheel, shod with tubeless Avon Trailrider 90/10 tires, rolled easily over the low rocky shelves and washouts, its 7.9 inches of suspension travel front and rear (non-adjustable except for rear preload) taking everything in stride, if a bit stiffly at the lower speeds at which I was traveling. It’s not just on dirt and gravel that a bike like the 790 Adventure shines, however. Keen to avoid the traffic in Tucson, later that day I found myself on narrow, bumpy, twisty Arivaca Sasabe Road, connecting State Route 286 with Interstate 19 through a lonely landscape where the only other vehicles I saw were U.S. Customs & Border Patrol units.

Another highlight was Apache Trail, a.k.a. Arizona State Route 88, a perfect ribbon of sinuous asphalt rippling into the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. I’d intended to go all the way to Roosevelt, with the asphalt giving way to dirt less than halfway up, but the road was inexplicably closed at Tortilla Flat. Too bad. I just had to turn around and retrace my corner-carving steps — carefully, as this was clearly a popular road for local riders as well as sports car-driving racer wannabes and pickups trundling along with boats in tow, headed to and from Canyon Lake.

KTM 790 Adventure Apache Trail (Arizona State Route 88)
The paved section of Apache Trail (Arizona State Route 88) heading northeast out of Phoenix is a street motorcyclist’s playground, a perfect ribbon of tarmac snaking through the Sonoran Desert.

Not all roads on this trip were so fun, however, with several hours-long 75-to-80-mph slogs on Interstates 8 and 10. The 790 Adventure’s 799cc liquid-cooled LC8c parallel twin has dual counterbalancers for smoothness, with a 75-degree crankpin offset and 435-degree firing order for V-twin-like character, and with 88.4 peak horsepower and 59.4 lb-ft of torque on tap (per the Jett Tuning dyno), it’s got enough spunk to hang at those speeds with room to spare, though sometimes at the expense of fuel economy. In a stiff headwind and at freeway speeds my mileage dipped as low as 34 mpg, but favorable conditions brought a high of 63 on this trip, averaging somewhere in the 50s, which meant my 5.3-gallon tank was good for close to 300 miles between fill-ups. The one caveat is that the 790 requires premium, which can be tough to find in the loneliest desert areas.

Hi Jolly Monument
After following signs for the “Hi Jolly Monument” in Quartzsite, Arizona, I found this memorial to a Syrian-Greek man brought to the U.S. to tend a herd of experimental government camels, a project of Jefferson Davis (future President of the Confederate States). A story worth looking up.

Apart from that minor detail, though, the KTM 790 Adventure is the rare lightweight adventure tourer that, depending on whether you choose the R version and how you equip it, works for the “100 percent”: it’s supremely capable off-road yet a pleasure to ride on long highways, and it’s downright fun in the twisties. Perfecting it for me would mean adding the optional centerstand, heated grips and cruise control, and maybe even some hard luggage, but even without all that I enjoyed all 1,787 (give or take) miles of my trip—and will continue to enjoy more until it’s time to give it back. With the 790 Adventure, the only question becomes: where do you want to go? 

KTM 790 Adventure Deming New Mexico mural Jesse Kriegel
I discovered a lot of amazing street art on this trip, including this incredible 40-by-12-foot mural in Deming, New Mexico, depicting traditional native Mimbres pottery and motifs, by local high school art teacher Jesse Kriegel.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure Specs

Base Price: $12,699
Price as Tested: $13,059 (Quickshifter+)
Warranty: 2 yrs., 24,000 miles
Website: ktm.com


Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin
Displacement: 799cc
Bore x Stroke: 88.0 x 65.7mm
Compression Ratio: 12.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 18,600 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 42mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Semi-dry sump, 3.1-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain


Ignition: Electronic w/ digital adjustment
Charging Output: 400 watts max.
Battery: 12V 10AH


Frame: Chromium-molybdenum tubular steel w/ engine as stressed member, cast aluminum subframe & swingarm
Wheelbase: 59.4 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.9 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 32.7/33.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, non-adj., 7.9-in. travel
Rear: Single PDS shock, adj. for spring preload, 7.9-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/ radial opposed 4-piston calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 260mm disc w/ 2-piston floating pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Spoked tubeless, 2.50 x 21 in.
Rear: Spoked tubeless, 4.50 x 18 in.
Tires, Front: 90/90-21
Rear: 150/70-18
Wet Weight: 469 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 523 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 992 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals., last 0.75 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 34.0/54.2/62.6
Estimated Range: 286 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,100

Source: RiderMagazine.com

KTM Ride Orange Street Demo Tour

2020 KTM 390 Duke
2020 KTM 790 Duke

KTM North
America has announced its nationwide Ride Orange Street Demo Tour for 2020,
giving U.S. motorcyclists more opportunities than ever before to test ride KTM’s
lineup of Street models.

The 2020 Ride Orange Street Demo Tour is set to kick off Saturday, February 29, and Sunday, March 1, at KTM’s North American headquarters in Murrieta, California. The tour will continue making stops across the nation with participating KTM dealers at some of the largest motorcycle events in the country. Among the tour’s nearly 30 events are a stop at the U.S. MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), several stops in conjunction with the American Flat Track Championship and a stop the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) in early October.

Participants who
take part in the KTM Ride Orange Street Demo program will ride KTM’s 2020
Street model range pre-planned routes that navigate through some great riding
areas. Participants will also receive a $500 Ride Orange VIP voucher for KTM
PowerParts, PowerWear and SpareParts on select Street models (model year 2020

Participants of
the KTM Ride Orange Street Demo must be 25 years or older for motorcycles 690cc
and above and at least 21 years or older for 390cc machines. Participants 21 to
24-years-old can ONLY ride 390cc motorcycles. Experienced riders only (no
beginners). All riders must show a government-issued photo ID with motorcycle
endorsement. Demos are on a first-come first-served basis and registration will
take place on-site the morning of the event.

For a list of Ride Orange Street Demo Tour locations and to connect with your local participating dealer, please visit ktm.com/us/events/ or email [email protected] Follow KTM USA on all social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on events.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT | First Ride Review

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Cornering lights get progressively brighter as lean angle increases. Photos by Kevin Wing.

KTM’s 1290 Super Duke GT is a sport tourer that checks all the right boxes. It has a powerful, torque-rich, visceral V-twin, high-tech yet easy-to-use electronics, transcendent semi-active suspension, 30-liter locking saddlebags and enough comfort and wind protection for long-haul days, all in a svelte, lightweight package. Acceleration is addictive. Handling is sublime.

When the GT debuted for 2017, we gushed. EIC Tuttle described it as “nearly flawless, the perfect sport-touring bike for a rider who doesn’t want to give up sportbike levels of engine performance and handling.” The superlatives continued following our six-month, 3,500 mile test: “the GT is designed to excite you more than pamper you…few bikes feel so eager, so ready to take your breath away” (also in Rider, April 2017). No surprise, then, that it was on our short list for 2017 Motorcycle of the Year.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Among the updates for 2019 is a full-color TFT display with Bluetooth and navigation.

Updates for 2019 gave us an excuse to request a new 1290 Super Duke GT for our indulgence…er, I mean, testing purposes. Its liquid-cooled, 1,301cc LC8 V-twin has new lightweight titanium inlet valves and intake resonator chambers for smoother low to midrange torque delivery. Its WP semi-active suspension, which has three modes (Sport, Street and Comfort), has been revised. Other newfangled newness includes an LED headlight, hand guards, cruise control switches moved to the left handlebar, a reshaped windscreen with a manual height adjuster, a redesigned front fairing and the 6.5-inch, full-color TFT display with KTM My Ride navigation we’ve seen on other models. As before, the GT has riding modes, multi-mode cornering ABS and traction control, an up/down quickshifter, keyless ignition and fuel filler cap, heated grips, tire-pressure monitoring and a 6.1-gallon fuel tank.

Even though it’s gained a few pounds (our 2019 tipped the scales at 533 pounds, up from 524), the GT’s on-road performance is every bit as thrilling as it was before; it goes fast, turns fast and stops fast with a level of precision and control that’s hard to beat. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the 2019 GT cranked out 157 horsepower at 10,100 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 7,400 rpm at its rear Pirelli Angel GT sport-touring radial. Being tall of gear, the 1290 chugs along at 60 mph in top gear at just 3,200 rpm. Set the cruise control and leave your worries behind. Or exit the highway, find a sinuous road and watch the TC light flash as it tames the torque that easily lifts the front wheel on every brisk corner exit.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Deep-lean corners are where the 1290 Super Duke GT really stands out. Its light weight, compact dimensions and stout chassis impart intuitive handling.

Issues we raised in earlier tests — a speedo that reads too high, a low-fuel warning that comes on too early and excessive engine heat on warm days — have yet to be resolved. The first two are easy to live with; the engine heat can be a real drag when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in August, but such may be the price for having such a potent engine right between one’s knees. To my eye, the 2019 styling refresh was a step backwards. All of the sharp angles and surfaces on Kiska-designed KTMs have always been fine by me, but the GT’s new proboscis is too disconnected from the windscreen above it. I’ve always been more of a function-over-form guy, so all it takes is a twist of the throttle to make me forget about aesthetics. Bring on the blurred scenery!

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
KTM’s 1290 Super Duke GT is a high-tech, high-speed sport tourer that sends 157 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel.

2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT Specs

Website: ktm.com
Base Price: $20,499 ($20,599 for 2020 model)
Motor Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 75-degree V-twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,301cc
Bore x Stroke: 108.0 x 71.0mm
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Wheelbase: 58.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.9 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 32.9 in.
Wet Weight: 533 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 6.1 gals., last 0.9 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 35.2/37.3/40.5

Keep scrolling for more photos…

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
The 1,301cc LC8 V-twin, which gets new titanium inlet valves and intake resonator chambers, churns out huge heaps of torque and a blistering top-end rush.
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
The 30-liter saddlebags are easy to remove, re-install and pack.
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Massively strong Brembos are backed up by multi-mode cornering ABS.
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
A new headlight arrangement mimics other KTM models, but its overall execution leaves something to be desired.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 & 2021 KTMs: 1290 Super Duke R, 790 Adventure R Rally, 890 Duke

In addition to the new 390 Adventure, KTM revealed several new and updated machines at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy this week that should further its reputation as a performance-oriented brand. The 1290 Super Duke R returns to the lineup completely revamped, and a Rally version of the 790 Adventure R promises heaps of off-road ability — both are expected at dealers in February 2020. The cover was also lifted from the new KTM 890 Duke R, which will come to North America in the fall of 2020 as a 2021 model. Details on the latter bike weren’t readily available, but we imagine giving a displacement bump to what appears to essentially be a 790 Duke is to compensate for Euro 5 emissions restrictions.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
MSRP: $18,699 USD

Though the name hasn’t changed, the 2020 1290 Super Duke R is so improved from its predecessor that it’s essentially an all-new motorcycle. Coming in at a claimed 416.6 pounds dry, the bike is said to be lighter and more powerful and have better handling than its predecessor.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

An updated more powerful 1,301c LC8 V-twin, with titanium inlet valves and resonator chambers on the cylinder heads, gets new top-feeder injectors and 56mm throttle bodies for improved air/fuel mixture at high rpms. A new ram air intake positioned in the new headlight mask also maximizes flow by forcing air into the combustion chambers. New thinner engine casings and revised water and oil cooler mounts have resulted in a 1.7-pound weight savings, and new exhaust headers optimize gas flow. An updated Pankl gearbox provides quicker shift times, shorter shift action and lighter lever modulation.

A new ultra-lightweight chrome-molybdenum steel frame carries the engine as a stressed member. The combo is said to be 3 times stiffer and 4.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor. A new lighter composite subframe combines a number of functions to save weight and increase functionality, and a longer single-sided swingarm has been repositioned closer to the output sprocket for more control.

An updated, lighter 48mm WP Apex USD fully adjustable split front fork has separate damping circuits. The newly developed WP Apex rear shock absorber features separate gas and oil reservoirs, making it lighter and more compact than its predecessor. A “no-tools-needed” manual preload dial eases rear shock set-up, and new linkage at the rear helps smooth out rough roads.

New CAD designed wheels offer a lighter build while keeping strength, and new Bridgestone S22 tires were developed with a specific carcass in the rear for the KTM 1290 Super Duke R that provides a more stable ride in corners, improving grip and performance.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Reworked and updated ride modes have been designed to be less intrusive in all modes, with smoother anti-wheelie functions. MSC (Motorcycle Stability Control) with Cornering ABS by Bosch includes Supermoto mode, Ride mode technology and multi-stage, lean angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC). The lean-angle sensitive MTC uses a 6-axis lean angle sensor and two different controllers to keep things in check. The wheel-slip controller regulates the amount of spin or break in traction at the rear wheel. A pitch angle controller identifies and regulates abrupt changes in front wheel lift.

Optional “Track mode” includes launch control, 9-level spin adjuster, a track ride mode and anti-wheelie off function. Optional “Performance mode” takes the basic concept of “Track mode” but adapts it for the street. An optional dealer-installed Performance Pack combines Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) and Quickshifter+, and cruise control adds long distance convenience. KTM’s Race On keyless system means less hassle and increased security.

KTM My Ride is standard on the 1290 Super Duke R and features a Bluetooth connection to the rider’s smartphone to control audio playback and accept phone calls. A new LED headlight and LED daytime running lights improve visibility, and the new multifunctional TFT-dashboard with increased functionality displays information in a clear and bright display. Finally, new colorways and bodywork are aggressive and lean — every panel and plate has been calculated for optimum thickness and minimized wherever possible.

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
MSRP: $19,499

With only 500 units planned for production worldwide, the limited edition KTM 790 Adventure R Rally adds top-line suspension components from WP Pro to make it the most off-road-capable ADV bike in KTM’s lineup. Based on the KTM 790 Adventure R, the Rally model has the same steel trellis chassis, compact LC8c parallel twin engine and the R’s electronic rider aids. The major difference is the addition of the special WP Xplor Pro suspension, which was developed in the same department as WP’s Factory Racing equipment for superior performance. It also adds 30 mm of suspension travel front and back and raises seat height to 35.8 in.

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

KTM says that the WP Xplor Pro 7548 fork uses cone valve
technology that allows unlimited opening, so harshness of the suspension is
reduced, while the closed cartridge construction ensures reduced friction, consistent
performance over longer periods and improved responsiveness. The WP Xplor Pro
6746 shock absorber uses KTM’s trademark progressive damping system (PDS),
which allows progressive damping without using a linkage for reduced weight and

Other upgrades to the 790 Adventure R Rally include a completely new and unique color scheme, Akrapovic titanium silencer and an off-road-specific air filter from the KTM PowerParts line. The bike also has special high-strength DID Dirt Star rims, a high, race-specific straight seat and Rally footpegs.

2021 890 Duke
Here are photos of the 2021 890 Duke. Besides the addition of a passenger seat cowl and bump stop and passenger footpeg delete in this European-version photo (and obvious color and graphic changes), we don’t yet know what else has been changed besides displacement. KTM’s “Scalpel” 790 Duke certainly didn’t lack for power, so perhaps it was done for Euro 2020 reasons…we’ll find out soon enough!

2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke

Other street-legal KTM models returning for 2020 include:
RC 390
390 Duke
690 Enduro R
690 SMC R

790 Adventure
790 Adventure R

790 Duke
1290 Super Adventure R
1290 Super Adventure S
1290 Super Duke GT

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 KTM 390 Adventure | First Look Review

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure

The ranks of lightweight, entry-level adventure bikes will grow by at least one in 2020 with the introduction of KTM’s new 390 Adventure. Ready for touring and light off-roading at a claimed 348 pounds dry with a 33.6-inch seat height, the bike’s high-performance heart is the liquid-cooled, 373cc DOHC single with four valves from the 390 Duke, which has EFI, a balancer shaft, PASC slipper clutch and a Ride-by-Wire throttle for smoother and more refined response. The engine is carried in a steel trellis frame with a bolt-on seat subframe and die-cast, open-lattice swingarm similar to the larger 790 Adventure’s.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure

The 390 Adventure’s WP Apex 43mm upside-down fork was originally developed for enduro riding and features 6.7 inches of travel with a spring on both sides; compression and rebound damping are separated into the left and right fork legs respectively. The WP Apex shock has 6.9 inches of travel and adjustable spring preload and rebound damping. Extra robust cast wheels — a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear — are fitted with tubeless Continental TKC 70 tires for a blend of street performance and off-road grip.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure

The 390’s Bybre brake package includes a 320mm front brake disc and 4-piston radially mounted front caliper, and a 230mm rear disc with a 2-piston floating rear caliper. An ergonomically designed 3.8-gallon fuel tank gives the 390 Adventure a claimed range of more than 249 miles. Rider aids include Off-Road and Cornering ABS and Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), and the 390 Adventure comes standard with an adjustable windscreen, LED lighting and KTM My Ride, which allows for a Bluetooth connection to control incoming calls and an audio player through the full-color, 5-inch TFT display with multifunctional dashboard. An up/down Quickshifter + is optional for the 390 Adventure, along with a number of KTM Power Parts accessories. The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is priced at $6,199; availability is TBD.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rider Magazine’s 2019 Motorcycle of the Year

Rider Magazine 2019 Motorcycle of the Year

It’s seldom (if ever) easy to pick a Motorcycle of the Year…not that anyone ever feels sorry for us and our “but we had to ride so many motorcycles” tale of woe. For example, we took our initial ride on the first of this model year’s crop of Contenders, the Yamaha Niken, way back in May of 2018. We can’t even remember what we had for dinner last Tuesday, but fortunately Yamaha jogged our memories of the bike by unveiling the tour-ready GT version of its three-wheeled LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) in April 2019.

In the interim, Royal Enfield released a pair of highly anticipated 650 twins, designed, tested and engineered at its brand-spanking-new R&D facility in England and built at one of its sprawling factories in India. Triumph showed off its truly off-road capable yet still pleasantly retro Scrambler 1200 XC and XE. Harley-Davidson, meanwhile, was creating a lot of very different noise with its LiveWire electric motorcycle, but as a 2020 model it’s not eligible for this year’s award. The rightful successor to the dearly departed V-Rod, the dragbike-inspired FXDR 114, is a 2019 contender though. At the decidedly non-dragbike-inspired end of the motorcycle spectrum, Honda, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in the U.S. this year, brought us two absolutely adorable throwback models designed to both tug at Boomer heartstrings and appeal to vintage-loving Millennials, the Monkey and the Super Cub. Indian tapped into another vein of nostalgia and good ol’ Americana with its FTR 1200 S flat-track replica, one of the best-performing American bikes we’ve ridden in a while. Meanwhile BMW managed to improve once again on its bestseller by introducing the R 1250 GS, and Suzuki did the same with its venerable V-Strom 650 XT Touring.

So no, it’s never easy. That said, one machine stood out above the rest as our pick for the 2019 Motorcycle of the Year, and not just because it’s capable of scrabbling to the top of a mountain—then carrying you and your stuff comfortably home again. Our choice, as always, goes to a machine that succeeds best at its intent and could be considered a game-changer in its category. We celebrate all new motorcycles, as they each represent the opportunity to get more people on two wheels, experiencing this great adventure we know and love. Congratulations to all the manufacturers, and thank you for keeping our passion alive!

Check out Rider‘s 2018 Motorcycle of the Year

The Contenders…

BMW R 1250 GS

2019 BMW R 1250 GS
2019 BMW R 1250 GS (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Read our 2019 BMW R 1250 GS First Ride Review

BMW’s big GS
gets ShiftCam variable valve timing that broadens the powerband, increases fuel
efficiency and decreases emissions, a full-color TFT display, updated
electronics and a bump in displacement (and power) from 1,170 to 1,254cc, making what was already arguably one of the
best all-around motorcycles even better.

Harley-Davidson FXDR 114

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Read our 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 First Ride Review

The V-Rod is dead, long live
the V-Rod! Well, sort of. The newest member of the Softail family is a long,
lean power cruiser that channels the spirit of the VRSC V-Rod, with a 114ci
Milwaukee-Eight V-twin, raked-out cartridge-style USD fork, 33 degrees of lean
angle and a 240-section rear tire wrapped around a solid-disc rear wheel.

Honda Super Cub

2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS
2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS (Photo by Drew Ruiz)

Read our 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS First Ride Review

years ago, the original Super Cub proved that motorcycles needn’t be feared by
the masses, and this new version continues to make good on that promise, with a
4-speed semi-automatic gearbox, 244-pound wet weight, timeless styling and
modern conveniences like keyless ignition and ABS on the front brake.

Indian FTR 1200 S

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S
2019 Indian FTR 1200 S (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

Read our 2019 Indian FTR 1200 S First Ride Review

The FTR 1200 S is a light, fast, agile street tracker
inspired by Indian’s championship-winning race bike. It’s also a breath of
fresh, young air in the cruiser orthodoxy that’s dominated American-made
motorcycles for decades, and features include a liquid-cooled, DOHC V-twin and
a six-axis IMU-based electronics package.

Royal Enfield 650 Twins

2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT and Interceptor 650
2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT (left) and Interceptor 650 (right)

Read our 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT and Interceptor 650 Road Test Review

The Interceptor 650 and Continental GT are completely new,
the first global models for India-based Royal Enfield and the first to be
designed, tested and engineered at its new facility in England. Powered by an
air/oil-cooled 648cc parallel twin, both bikes manage to evoke the simple
pleasure of riding for riding’s sake.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT Touring

2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring

Read our 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT vs V-Strom 1000XT Comparison Review

While we haven’t yet ridden
the 2019 version, we’ve spent many thousands of miles aboard Wee Stroms, and
this is the best-equipped one yet. With tubeless spoked wheels, locking side
cases, hand guards, a centerstand, cruise control, ABS, Easy Start and Low RPM
Assist, it’s ready to take on almost any adventure for just $9,999.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC/XE

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE (Photo by Kingdom Creative)

Read our 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE First Ride Review

Most modern scramblers talk the talk, but don’t walk the
walk of off-road capability. Enter the Scrambler 1200, a full-on adventure bike
with minimalist, retro styling—and a 21-inch front, nearly 10 inches of Öhlins
suspension travel on the up-spec XE model, multiple riding modes, switchable
ABS and traction control.

Yamaha Niken/Niken GT

2019 Yamaha Niken GT
2019 Yamaha Niken GT (Photo by Joe Agustin)

Read our 2019 Yamaha Niken First Ride Review

Read our 2019 Yamaha Niken GT First Ride Review

They’re a bold, groundbreaking move from Yamaha, and they nearly snagged our top honor. The Niken and Niken GT, based around the Tracer 900—a fantastic bike in its own right—work surprisingly well, with ridiculous front-end grip that must be experienced to be believed and that lovely 847cc in-line triple at their hearts.

And the winner is….

KTM 790 Adventure

2019 KTM 790 Adventure
2019 KTM 790 Adventure (Photo by Sebas Romero & Marco Campelli)

Read our 2019 KTM 790 Adventure/R First Ride Review

It’s no secret that adventure
bikes are exploding in popularity, as riders discover the utility and versatility
of their combination of upright seating position, decent ground clearance and
suspension travel, wind protection, the ability to carry luggage and, to
varying degrees, venture off-pavement. ADV bikes have been getting increasingly
bloated, however, bigger, more powerful—and heavier—each model year. Hard-core
ADV-ers have been clamoring for years, begging for a bike that returns
adventure riding to its truly adventurous roots. Something lightweight and
trail-capable, yet with enough elemental protection, power and luggage capacity
to comfortably travel cross-country, and modern fuel injection and electronic
rider aids wouldn’t hurt.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

At long last, KTM answered
the call, and what an answer it is. The 790 Adventure and its even more
off-road-oriented R sibling manage to check all the boxes: light weight at a
claimed 417 pounds dry, a state-of-the-art 799cc liquid-cooled, DOHC LC8
parallel twin that produces a claimed 95 horsepower and 65.6 lb-ft of torque
delivered low in the rev range for optimum grunt, and spoked tubeless wheels in
21-inch front/18-inch rear sizes. The standard, more touring-oriented model has
a still-respectable 7.9 inches of travel from its WP Apex suspension and a
fairly accessible, adjustable seat height of 32.7/33.5 inches. Multiple riding
modes (Street, Offroad and Rain) adjust throttle response and lean-angle
sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) settings, and power reaches the
rear wheel by way of an assist-and-slipper clutch, a 6-speed transmission and
chain final drive. The more off-road-oriented R model gets a Rally ride mode,
fully adjustable WP Xplor suspension with 9.4 inches of travel and a 34.6-inch
rally-style seat.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure (left and right) and 790 Adventure R (center) (Photo by Sebas Romero & Marco Campelli)

A defining characteristic of
the 790 Adventure is its rally racer-inspired, 5.3-gallon horseshoe-shaped gas
tank, which keeps the bike’s center of gravity low, creates less bulk between
the knees for stand-up riding and makes air filter, battery and fuse access
easy, plus it does double-duty as engine protection in case of a tip-over.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

On paper the 790 Adventure is
impressive, and riding it is confirmation; the seat is flat, spacious and
comfortable, the wide handlebar is six-position adjustable and the long-travel
suspension soaks up road irregularities at high and low speeds. Bosch 9.1 MP
cornering ABS backs up powerful brakes and many useful features are standard,
such as an aluminum skid plate, a 12V dash socket and an underseat USB port.
Cruise control, a centerstand, a quickshifter, heated grips and TPMS are

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

At long last, the empty slot
between a street-legal enduro and an open-class ADV tourer has been filled, and
that sound you hear is the cheering of all those riders looking for a bike to
rule both mountain and highway.

Congratulations KTM, for the 2019 790 Adventure, Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year!

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R | Video Review

2019 KTM 790 Adventure R
Rider magazine traveled to Morocco to test the new KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R. (Photo by Sebas Romero)

KTM’s all-new 2019 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R are middleweight ADV bikes that are powered by a 95-hp, 799cc parallel twin, weigh just 417 lbs dry and are highly capable off-road. The 790 Adventure is aimed at general adventure-touring enthusiasts while the up-spec 790 Adventure R is aimed at more demanding off-road riders. Rider magazine tested them both in Morocco. Click on the player below to watch our video review, or the link below to read our full evaluation.

Read our 2019 KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R First Ride Review

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 KTM 790 Adventure/R | First Ride Review

KTM 790 Adventure R
According to KTM, the new-for-2019 790 Adventure was designed to be the most off-road capable touring bike and the 790 Adventure R (shown above) was designed to be the most touring capable off-road bike. (Photos by Sebas Romero & Marco Campelli)

We’re streaking across the northern edge of the Sahara Desert, following a meandering two-track road that’s a mix of sand, gravel and hardpack. The riders ahead are within sight, but I hang back to let the dust clear and keep an eye out for sudden drop-offs or sharp turns. The herd of camels we pass couldn’t care less about our noisy caravan of bright-orange KTMs. Again and again, as the road dips to cross sand washes, nearly 10 inches of well-calibrated suspension take the gravity drops in stride and a light tug on the handlebar lofts the front wheel over rises on the far side. By the end of the day, our route will have taken us more than a hundred miles across wide-open flats, over and around ancient limestone formations and into the golden sands of the Erg Chebbi dunes.

KTM 790 Adventure R
Erg Chebbi is one of several dune fields in Morocco formed by wind-blown sand. The KTM 790 Adventure R’s combination of (relatively) light weight and responsive power help it charge through the deep, soft sand.

With 18 consecutive Dakar victories, KTM has been stoking desert rally fantasies for years. So where better to showcase its new 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R, which were developed alongside its 450cc rally racer, than Erfoud, Morocco, home of the Merzouga Rally and training grounds for KTM’s race team. For those who don’t want or need the size, weight and triple-digit horsepower of an open-class ADV bike, KTM’s 790 Adventures provide a smaller, lighter alternative, with both models designed to be highly capable off-road yet comfortable and versatile enough for long-distance touring. Built on a common platform, the 790 Adventure is aimed at general adventure-touring enthusiasts while the taller, higher-spec 790 Adventure R is geared towards more demanding off-road riders.

KTM 790 Adventure
Compared to the R, the standard KTM 790 Adventure has less suspension travel and adjustability, a lower dual-height seat, a taller windscreen, more street-biased tires and no Rally mode.

Weighing just 417 pounds dry (claimed, probably 450 pounds wet), the 790s are much lighter than their 800cc counterparts from BMW and Triumph. Contributing to their low weight is the 799cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC LC8c parallel twin that also powers the 790 Duke sportbike. Its compact dimensions and vertically stacked gearbox allow for a short wheelbase, a traction-enhancing long swingarm and a moderate seat height. Dual counterbalancers keep vibration at bay while a 75-degree crankpin offset and 435-degree firing order produce the sound and feel of a V-twin. As a stressed member of the tubular chrome-moly steel frame, the LC8c saves weight and contributes to chassis stiffness. Further weight savings come from the engine’s high-pressure cast aluminum cases, lightweight camshaft, Nikasil-coated aluminum cylinders, forged pistons with DLC-coated pins and low-mass crankshaft.

KTM 790 Adventure LC8c parallel twin engine
KTM’s first parallel twin, the LC8c is light, compact and tuned for strong low to midrange torque.

A distinctive feature of the 790s is their horseshoe-shaped fuel tank, which runs from the central filler down both sides of the bike and expands into two large pods that protrude from either side of the engine. Adapted from the tank on KTM’s 450 Rally Replica, the design’s advantages include a lower center of gravity, protection for the engine, less bulk between the knees for stand-up riding, the largest in-class fuel capacity at 5.3 gallons and easier maintenance since the air filter, battery and fuses are accessible under the seat. An exhaust pre-chamber beneath the bike also keeps mass low and centralized, while a short, high-mount silencer allows plenty of ground clearance.

KTM 790 Adventure gas fuel tank
Inspired by KTM’s rally bike, the 790 Adventure’s horseshoe-shaped fuel tank offers many advantages. Not shown in the photo is a hose that connects the two lower parts of the tank to keep fuel levels balanced in both sides.

Given the off-road and touring missions of the 790 Adventures, the LC8c has been tuned accordingly. Compared to the 790 Duke, the Adventures make less peak horsepower (95 vs. 105) but slightly more torque (65.6 vs. 64.2 lb-ft) that’s delivered at 6,500 rpm instead of the Duke’s 8,000, with the entire torque curve shifted down in the rev range for stronger low to midrange grunt. Multiple riding modes (Street, Offroad and Rain) adjust throttle response and lean-angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) settings, and power reaches the rear wheel by way of an assist-and-slipper clutch, a 6-speed transmission and chain final drive.

Read our 2019 KTM 790 Duke review

KTM 790 Adventure R
Gas on, brain off! Riding the KTM 790 Adventure R off-road, the limiting factor was not the bike, it was me. The 790-R did yeoman’s work to keep me out of trouble.

With spoked tubeless wheels in 21-inch front/18-inch rear sizes, both models are ready for any type of terrain, but the standard model gets more street-biased Avon Trailrider 90/10 tires while the R model gets Metzeler Karoo 3 70/30 tires. As the more touring-oriented of the two, the 790 Adventure has less suspension travel (7.9 inches front/rear), separate rider/passenger seats with a lower, adjustable rider seat height (32.7/33.5 inches), a tall windscreen (height adjustable over a 1.6-inch range using a hex key in the toolkit) and a low front fender. The only adjustability on the 790 Adventure’s WP Apex suspension, which includes a 43mm upside-down fork and a PDS (Progressive Damping System) shock, is rear preload.

KTM 790 Adventure wheel brakes
Both KTM 790 Adventure models roll on tubeless spoked wheels in 21-/18-inch sizes. Radial-mount 4-piston front calipers and multi-mode ABS are standard, as is the aluminum engine guard.

Since the 790 Adventure R is likely to spend more time in a wider variety of off-road conditions, it’s equipped with a Rally mode that allows on-the-fly changes to traction control over nine levels as well as a separate, more aggressive Rally throttle map. The 790-R’s WP Xplor suspension, with a 48mm upside-down fork and a PDS remote-reservoir shock, is fully adjustable (including high and low speed compression on the shock) and provides 9.4 inches of travel. It also has more ground clearance, a 34.6-inch rally-style seat, a short adjustable windscreen and a high front fender.

KTM 790 Adventure
The KTM 790 Adventure has a moderate seat height, a wide handlebar and a comfortable, upright seating position. The R is very similar but with a taller seat and a shorter windscreen.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Scorpion EXO-AT950 Tucson
Jacket: Scorpion Yosemite XDR
Pants: Scorpion Yosemite XDR
Boots: Sidi Crossfire 3 TA

A half-day of street and light off-road riding on the 790 Adventure gave me an appreciation for how much more accessible it is than other models in KTM’s lineup, such as the 690 Enduro R (35.8-inch seat) and the 1090 Adventure R (35-inch seat). Not only is the 790 Adventure’s seat much lower, it’s flat, spacious and comfortable. On both 790 models, arms reach out to a wide handlebar that’s six-position adjustable over a 1.2-inch range and fitted with wind- and brush-blocking hand guards, and feet rest on large cleated pegs with removable, vibration-absorbing rubber inserts.

Read our KTM 690 Enduro R review

Read our KTM 1090 Adventure R review

KTM 790 Adventure
With fuel carried low, curb weight around 450 pounds and a high-performance chassis, the 790 Adventures have very confidence-inspiring handling on- and off-road.

Our street route was on flat, mostly straight roads sandblasted by crosswinds, so conditions were not ideal for testing cornering performance. Nonetheless, the LC8c engine felt lively and responsive and the 790 Adventure’s long-travel suspension has the stroke and tuning to absorb bumps and dips gracefully at high and low speeds. Even riding across tire ruts and down a rough dirt road, the 790 Adventure maintained its composure, aided by a steering damper that’s standard on both models. Hard braking–such as when a stray dog ran across the road in front of me–was made easy with dual 4-piston radial-mount front calipers squeezing 320mm discs and a 2-piston rear caliper squeezing a 260mm disc, backed up by Bosch 9.1 MP cornering ABS. A full-color, 5-inch TFT display and intuitive buttons on the left bar make it easy to select among the various modes and settings, though a larger font would make the information easier to read at a glance.

KTM 790 Adventure R
The KTM 790 Adventure R is well-suited for stand-up riding, with an upright handlebar, a slender feel between the knees and weight that responds well to footpeg pressure.

The 790 Adventure R was clearly the main focus of the launch, with KTM devoting a full day of testing to the bike, spooning on Continental TKC80 50/50 on/off-road tires for better traction and installing the optional Akrapovič titanium slip-on exhaust for more bark and bite. KTM even enlisted some of its former Dakar racers as ride leaders; fortunately, I was assigned to the group led by Jordi Viladoms, a 10-time Dakar competitor and KTM’s Rally Sport Manager, who set a spirited but reasonable pace. Going from the 790 to the 790-R isn’t a transition from soft to hard. The R is taller, but it’s seat is still comfortable and the rest of the ergonomics are just as agreeable. The big step up with the 790-R is it’s Xplor suspension, which offers an incredible degree of damping control and consistency over everything we encountered—rough pavement, soft sand, loose gravel, hardpack dirt and embedded rock. With ABS in Offroad mode (which disables the cornering function and ABS at the rear wheel) and MTC in Rally mode, I was able to back the rear wheel into and out of corners with control. Standing up or sitting down, the 790-R delivered the engine response, maneuverability, well-balanced weight and electronic assistance to help an intermediate rider like me push my limits with confidence.

KTM 790 Adventure R
With its standard Rally mode, the KTM 790 Adventure R offers a more aggressive throttle map and on-the-fly changes to traction control.

At $12,499 for the 790 Adventure and $13,499 for the 790 Adventure R, these bikes deliver serious performance and wide-ranging capability for the money. Many useful features are standard (such as an aluminum engine guard, LED lighting, a luggage rack, a 12V dash socket, an underseat USB port and water-resistant smartphone pocket, storage compartments behind side panels and Bluetooth connectivity using the KTM My Ride app), while others cost extra (such as a centerstand, a quickshifter, cruise control, heated grips and TPMS). Accessories for both models include a low seat (35.2 inches), various types of luggage, additional crash protection and more.

KTM 790 Adventure R
The KTM 790 Adventure R stands taller than the standard model thanks to its 9.4 inches of suspension travel. This bike has several accessories mounted as well as non-OEM Continental TKC80 tires.

If most of your time will be spent on the road or if seat height is a concern, then the standard 790 Adventure is the obvious choice. But if you enjoy exploring backcountry roads and trails, the extra $1,000 for the fully adjustable Xplor suspension and standard Rally mode is money well spent. Since seats, windscreens and accessories are interchangeable between the two and Rally mode is available as an option on the standard model, there’s plenty of room to tailor either 790 to your liking. Either way, you’ll be a lot closer to turning your adventure fantasies into reality.

KTM 790 Adventure colors
The standard KTM 790 Adventure is available in orange (left) or white (right) with black hand guards, and the 790 Adventure R is available in a racier orange/black/white color scheme with orange hand guards.

Check out Rider’s Guide to New/Updated Street Motorcycles for 2019

(Scroll down for more photos)

2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R Specs
Base Price:
$12,499 / $13,499
Website: ktm.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 799cc
Bore x Stroke: 88.0 x 65.7mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-slipper clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Wheelbase: 59.4 in. / 60.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.9 degrees/4.2 in. / 26.3 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 32.7/33.5 in. / 34.6 in.
Claimed Dry Weight: 417 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals.

KTM 790 Adventure TFT display
Both KTM 790 Adventures have a full-color, 5-inch TFT display. Below it is a standard 12V socket, and above it is a mounting point for a GPS.
KTM 790 Adventure seat
The standard KTM 790 Adventure has a two-piece seat with a height-adjustable 32.7/33.5 inch seat.
KTM 790 Adventure engine tank
The KTM 790 Adventure’s LC8c parallel twin is hidden behind the low-slung fuel tank, which provides some engine protection.
KTM 790 Adventure air filter
Thanks to the fuel tank design, the air filter, battery and fuses are easily accessible under the 790 Adventure’s seat.


Source: RiderMagazine.com