2022 KTM 390 Adventure - Performance, Price, and Photos

KTM put big-bike features in a small-bike package

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KTM built on the success of its 790 Adventure with the new-in-2020 390 Adventure model. The 390 Adventure borrows elements from its larger-displacement siblings for much of its design DNA. It’s built with a definite off-road bias, but with the promise of good road manners. A torquey thumper provides the power with the bare minimum in the way of safety or ride-quality features to deliver an essential riding experience.

  • 2022 KTM 390 Adventure - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2022 KTM 390 Adventure Performance and Capability

2022 KTM 390 Adventure - Performance, Price, and Photos
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The 390 Adventure is a small-displacement KTM, so of course it rolls with a thumper for power delivery. An 89 mm bore and 60 mm stroke give it a 373.2 cc displacement and 12.6-to-1 compression ratio, plus it has dual over-head cams to time the four-valve head and keep the reciprocating mass at a minimum.

Throttle control is purely ride-by-wire. This gives the Engine Management Unit a chance to automatically reconcile the difference between rider demand and what the engine can smoothly deliver for smooth transitions across the range.

KTM borrowed the electronics suite from the 790 Adventure to give the smallest Adventure the same, corner-sensitive traction control enjoyed by the mid-size sibling. The piston comes with a diamond-like carbon coating to help prevent wear, and there’s an oil jet that hits the bottom side of the crown to draw some heat away from that hottest of spots.

With the KTM 390 Adventure producing 43 horsepower and 27.3 pound-feet of torque, power numbers are similar to the 390 Duke. Power delivery is similar as well. That power flows through an anti-hopping clutch allowing for a certain amount of slip that bleeds off the excessive backtorque so you don’t lose traction or over-rev the engine on hard downshifts and engine braking.

A six-speed transmission lets you keep the mill in its powerband. It comes with a chain final drive with an overall gearing that turns in a 390 Adventure top speed of 93 mph at the redline in top gear.

Engine & Drivetrain
Engine: single cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 373.2 cc
Bore x Stroke: 89 mm x 60 mm
Power: 43 hp
Torque: 27.3 lb-ft (37 Nm)
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Wet sump
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated
EMS: Bosch EMS with RBW

Design

2022 KTM 390 Adventure - Performance, Price, and Photos
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The factory took a 390 Duke as a starting point for this platform and took pointers from the 450 Rally bike to turn out the 390 Adventure model. Inverted front forks need protection down low so the factory covered the swept area of the inner fork tubes with tall uprights.

The uprights double as supports for the close-fit front fender leaving the Adventure looking more like a sportbike and less like a dirtbike. That design thread continues into the minimal headlight housing that also mounts the front turn signals and tops it all off with a short, clear, rally-style, adjustable windscreen, all in a neat little package.

Short-rise handlebars place your hands in a comfortable, neutral position. The rest of the rider’s triangle is such that you can sit with an erect back or operate the bike from a standing position for rough terrain and technical work.

The lines of the headlight housing mirror those of the angular dangles that sweep forward to form a very KTM-esque cowling. This visually ties the fuel tank to the front end more than anything else. The side galleries of the radiator screen the profile of the actual heat exchanger making it as unobtrusive as possible. I gotta say, it does just kinda’ disappear into the black hole behind the similarly blacked-out forks and fender.

In a break from what has become the norm for adventuresome models, the 3.8-gallon fuel tank keeps a fairly low profile. The seat extends forward over the tank enabling some fore-and-aft weight shifts and protecting the tank finish from friction with your britches.

A slight shoulder segregates pilot from pillion with just enough of an offset to keep your butt in place. Large J.C. handles and fold-up footpegs form up the other points of contact for your riding partner.

The handles and flattish pillion pad make a good spot for some open-air storage, but as always with KTM products, the upholstery falls under the “firm” category. If you’ve been taking the no-ass-at-all pills like me, the stock seat is gonna’ tax your butt something fierce and leave you feeling like this is less of a tourer.

2022 KTM 390 Adventure - Performance, Price, and Photos
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LED taillights and turn signals ensure you stay visible to following traffic, no matter how bright the ambient light conditions might be. At the handlebar, the entirety of the instrumentation is all concentrated on the configurable, five-inch color TFT display, and the Adventure comes with an infotainment feature that lets the system network with your smartphone for phone and music functions.

KTM 390 Adventure Specs
Ground Clearance: 7.9 inches (200 mm)
Seat Height: 33.7 inches (855 mm)
Tank Capacity (Approx.): 3.8 gals (14.5 l)
Dry Weight: 348.3 lbs (158 kg)
Top Speed: 93 mph

Chassis

2022 KTM 390 Adventure - Performance, Price, and Photos
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The 450 Rally’s influence shows up again in the design of the steel Trellis frame on the 390 Adventure, keeping overall weight low by using the engine as a stressed unit to complete the structure. Clearly tuned for off-road work, the steering head establishes a rake angle of 26.5 degrees over a 56.3-inch wheelbase to put the Adventure firmly in the agile category.

A steel Trellis subframe finishes the tubing with a cast swingarm to finish up the standing structure. The cast wheels represent a departure from the norm for an off-road-oriented machine since steel-laced, steel, or aluminum rims are the usual choice for such activities.

All-around WP Apex suspension components deliver a fully-adjustable ride in both the 43 mm inverted front forks and the coil-over monoshock that supports the rear end and tames the swingarm. Byre supplies the stopping power with a four-pot caliper that bites a single, 320 mm front disc and a twin-piston anchor that binds a 230 mm rear disc.

A two-channel Bosch ABS feature comes with a street mode, off-road mode, and “Off” so you can dial in for your desired intervention levels, plus it rocks an IMU so the ABS delivers lean-sensitive intervention. The stock hoops come with generous street flats, but are clearly set up for traction on soft surfaces as evidenced by the tread pattern.

Chassis & Suspension
Frame: Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Suspension Travel, Front/ Rear: 6.7 inches (170 mm)/ 7.0 inches (177 mm)
Steering Head Angle: 63.5 °
Front Brake: 320 mm disc, Four-piston radial fixed caliper
Rear Brake: 230 mm disc, Single-piston floating caliper
ABS: Bosch 9M+ Two-channel ABS (incl. offroad mode, disengageable)
Chain: 520 X-Ring

2022 KTM 390 Adventure Price and Availability

The 2022 KTM 390 Adventure costs $6,599. As far as paint goes, there are two paint packages, both of which have varying amounts of black, orange, and white components and graphics.

Color: White, Orange
Price: $6,599

KTM 390 Adventure Competitors

KTM’s 390 Adventure enters a robust market. Competition comes in on-road and off-road biases in the small displacement field.

BMW G 310 GS

I have only to jump over to the neighboring Bayerische Motoren Werke for a likely subject in the G 310 GS. Beemer channels much the same spirit in the overall build with spikey elements at the cheeks, lots of visible frame structure, and that unmistakable adventure-bike flyline.

2021 BMW G 310 GS
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One major difference when looking at the KTM 390 Adventure vs BMW G 310 GS is the KTM is at home both on-road and off-road while the Beemer is clearly set up for the urban jungle.

Power comes in at 34 horses with 20 pound-feet of torque from the 313 cc BMW thumper against 43/27.3 to cede a significant performance advantage to the Austrian mount. The G 310 GS rocks the Motorrad ABS for solid anti-lock protection, but this is the closest it gets to higher electronics, so it’s a fairly raw ride.

Not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, just that it is. It certainly explains some of the price difference that has the G 310 GS rolling for $5,695 base MSRP.

Suzuki Versys-X 300

Another contender comes from Japan, Kawasaki specifically, in the Versys-X 300. The Versys carries plenty of that ADV-bike yummygoodness with a short bill, rally-style windshield, tall fuel-tank hump, and deep-scoop pilot’s seat.

2022 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 - Performance, Price, and Photos
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It also rolls in as a street-centric commuter, even if the laced wheels are contrary to the usual blacktop setup. Suspension is generous for the street but barely there off-road at 5.1 inches and 5.8 inches on the front and rear, respectively.

Displacement falls off at 296 cc with a concurrent drop in torque down to 19.2 pound-feet. This leaves the Kawi with a $6,099 sticker for a razor-thin advantage at the checkout.

He Said

“Is it a cool bike? Sure. Is it necessary? That’s debatable. On the one hand, it should make a dandy trainer for would-be globetrotters, but how small does a trainer have to be before it stops being more suitable than, say, a dirtbike with stealth knobbies? Since this bike was an MY20 release, I reckon the American buyer base is going to answer that question, and that right soon.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “When I first starting looking at the 390 Adventure, I said, ’Yeah adventure-lite maybe.’ But you know, I’m eating my words. In this displacement range, it is nice to have fully adjustable suspension. Did you get that? Front and rear, fully adjustable.”

“It’s a nice engine. It’s the same 390 as in the 390 Duke and RC 390, just remapped for its intended purpose. The bike is nimble and agile but retains ample straight-line stability, and it has lean-sensitive ABS and traction control. That’s a really nice electronics package in this displacement range. It’s the same electronics package as the 790, so yeah, a really nice suite at this displacement.”

“I’m sold. It’s small enough to be unintimidating but packed with big-bike features and wizardry. You can call it entry-level, but it still has that fun-factor for everyone.”

KTM Photographer Credits: R. Schedl, KISKA, F. Lackner

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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