Riders Asked For It - KTM Delivers It

KTM hits 2019 with a new platform for adventure fans; the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R. The factory credits its own customer base with the design of this new adventuresome duo, as they’re both based on direct feedback from same. As a result, they come off the showroom floor with a definite head start in the comfort and rideability departments; or at least they will after the Spring ’19 U.S. launch, that is. Today I aim to discover what all KTM has in store for us, and to build the anticipation for this long-awaited pair that will cover both the on- and off-road subgenres.

  • 2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel-Twin
  • Displacement:
    799 cc
  • Price:

2019 KTM 790 Adventure & Adventure R Design

2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
- image 811794
The difference in intended usage creates a divergence in design right off the bat, with the Adventure being the road-oriented model and the 'R' being the offroad-tastic sibling.

While it’s unclear how much the riders’ input had to do with the aesthetics, I reckon this is the closest you’re ever likely to get to a true off-the-floor custom. The difference in intended usage creates a divergence in design right off the bat; a full fender contains the fling from the front wheel on the base model, and it rocks a tall screen that punches a hole in the weather for your torso. That’s in stark contrast to the decidedly off-road “R” model that leads off with a tripletree-mount mudguard and naught but a small flyscreen up top.

Naturally, these rides sport different rubber with tire profiles matched to their appropriate machine, but to its credit, the factory opted for laced rims for a bit of an off-road bias no matter which you choose. KTM didn’t abandon its spiky bodywork; it shows up in the cheek fairings that lead with an aggressive angle and completely screen the radiator in profile.

Bash plates at the turn of the cradle come with an added belly pan to protect both the engine and the exhaust system from terrain strikes. Tapered aluminum bars come with a six-position adjuster that let you dial in the bar position to suit your body type and comfort range, and the footpegs are set to allow for a standing posture as well as a comfortable, upright seated riding position.

Both models come with a five-inch color TFT screen as the sole instrumentation, and as if to prove it’s serious about chasing strange horizons with these bikes, the factory made both bikes GPS ready with a mount just above the instrumentation for a global-positioning receiver.

A 5.28-gallon fuel tank gives the flyline that characteristic, adventure-bike hump and a 250-mile range that is certainly more than your butt can handle at a stretch. In the case of the “R model, you’ll appreciate that great capacity and range should you decide to traipse over hill and” dale. The saddle on the “R” is almost benchlike with only a slight shoulder to define the pillion, but the base model rocks a very definite break betwixt pillion and pilot and a strong set of J.C. handles that are sure to instill some confidence in your passenger.

A minimal mudguard mounts the license plate and winkers with the taillight tucked away beneath the seat, and like the rest of the bike, they utilize LED technology for maximum visibility.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure & Adventure R Chassis

2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
- image 811807
Overall, they make for a stable platform that feels eager and nimble, especially with the fuel tanks slung low in the chassis.

The factory chose strength over lightness with a Chrome-Molybdenum frame that uses the engine as a stressed member in order to completely eliminate the downtube- and cradle-sections of the frame, so I guess KTM didn’t completely neglect the scales. A steel-Trellis subframe forms the tail, and the swingarm is die-cast with a shape that’s built for rigidity.

Both bikes rely on blackout rims with polished spokes to mount the 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear. But, while the base model’s Avon Trailriders are mainly street-centric, the “R” rolls on Metzeler Karoo 3 tires that are decidedly more dirt-tastic with deep and wide grooves between the street knobbies, and they promise to provide superior soft-terrain performance.

The steering head comes with a damper to take the edge off any potential kickback for an overall increase in stability, and it sets a 25.9-degree rake angle to make these bikes feel eager and nimble, especially with the fuel tanks slung low in the chassis. A set of 43 mm, WP Apex forks float the front end with adjustable compression- and rebound-damping features that let you dial the base model in to suit yourself, but it looks as though the coil-over, direct-link monoshock only delivers the obligatory spring-preload adjustment. That’s a little disappointing.

The “R” boosts the inner fork-tube diameter up to 48 mm for a bit more strength from its WP XPLOR forks, and as with the base model, the “R’s” stems deliver adjustable compression- and rebound-damping features for somewhat limited ride-quality control.

Brakeage is consistent across the board with a pair of four-pot, opposed-piston anchors that bite dual, 320 mm discs to control the front wheel. Out back, a twin-piston caliper and 260 mm disc takes care of business. You can switch between the cornering ABS feature that lets you get the most out of your brakes, even in a corner, and the Off-Road ABS feature that turns off the rear ABS and acutely dumbs down the front-brake intervention to give you some leeway when you want to let it all hang out in the rough.

Model: 790 Adventure 790 Adventure R
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated
Front Suspension: WP upside-down Ø 43 mm WP USD Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP Monoshock WP-PDS Monoshock
Steering Head Angle: 64.1° 63.7 °
Suspension Travel (Front): 7.8 inches (200 mm) 9.4 inches (240 mm)
Suspension Travel (Rear): 7.8 inches (200 mm) 9.4 inches (240 mm)
Front Brake: 2x 320 mm radially mounted 4 piston caliper 2x 320 mm radially mounted 4 piston caliper
Rear Brake: 260 mm 2-piston floating caliper 260 mm 2-piston floating caliper
ABS: Bosch 9.1 MP (incl. Cornering-ABS and offroad mode, disengageable) Bosch 9.1 MP (incl. Cornering-ABS and offroad mode, disengageable)

2019 KTM 790 Adventure & Adventure R Drivetrain

2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
- image 811796
This is technically the same engine as the 790 Duke, though it's tuned to be more off-road friendly with a deeper torque well than the streetbike version.

That lean-sensitive fandanglery continues into the engine controls. It modifies the traction control while taking into account the shared traction between power/braking and steering forces and adjusts accordingly. A Ride-by-Wire throttle control “talks” to the Bosch EMS, which in turn controls the LC8c parallel-twin engine after washing the signal through the TCS. Plus there is an Off-road Ride Mode that allows for a little slip before it intervenes to liven things up once the blacktop turns to brown.

This is a next-gen mill that runs an 88 mm bore and 65.7 mm stroke for a total displacement of 799 cc. It is liquid cooled with dual oil pumps that deliver plenty of oil to the critical areas and draw off some heat as well. Both the engine and the six-speed transmission are stuffed into a common case, and that comes canted forward in the frame to make for a compact installation. A PASC “anti-hopping” clutch makes the coupling between engine power and the gearbox, and it adds yet another layer of traction safety.

Regardless of which model you choose, you’ll get the same 95 horsepower at the top end with a pair of counter-balancers to offset some of the vibration inherent in the 270-degree firing order. Dual over-head cams time the eight-valve head, and though this is technically the same engine as what goes in the 790 Duke, it’s tuned to be more off-road friendly with a deeper torque well than the streetbike version. After the gearbox, a tough chain drive delivers power to the rear wheel. In spite of their differences, the entirety of the drivetrain is consistent across the board on these two.

Engine: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin
Displacement: 799 cc
Bore x Stroke: 88 mm x 65.7 mm
Power In Kw: 70 kW
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated
EMS: Bosch EMS with RBW

2019 KTM 790 Adventure & Adventure R Pricing

2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
- image 811811
When they hit U.S. showrooms in 2019, I expect price fall around the $10k for the base model; and for the 'R,' maybe $11.5k

Price is still TBA at this time. I expect it will fall around the 10 K mark for the base model and maybe 11.5 K for the R model. We’ll see soon enough when they hit U.S. showrooms sometime in the first half of next year.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure & Adventure R Competitors

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 716556
2019 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
- image 811804
In all honesty, both bikes fit the mold, but where KTM presents its usual spiky face to the world, Yamaha takes a softer approach.

For my head-to-head, I wanted to see how the KTM 790 Adventure stacks up against one of the Big Four, so I grabbed the Super Ténéré from Yamaha. The “ST” carries a snub nose, not unlike Honda’s Africa Twin; and if I’m honest, I prefer the look of the Yammy here. The front fairing carries itself in an all-business fashion with a narrow, rally-style screen to punch a hole for the upper torso with no wasted coverage.

In all honesty, both bikes fit the mold, but where KTM presents its usual spiky face to the world, Yamaha takes a softer approach. Oh, and Yammi’s seats are more comfortable too.

Yamaha supplies its ST with fully adjustable front forks and adjustable rebound-damping to go with the spring preload tweak out back. The brakes come under the watchful eye of both the Unified Brake System and the Anti-lock Brake System, so the Yamaha is arguably the more stable of the two under heavy braking actions. Yeah, it may be a bit unfair for KTM once we get to the powerplants; Yamaha packs 1,199 cc into its 270-degree parallel-twin, and unsurprisingly, claims the lion’s share of the power with 110 ponies on tap against 95 horsepower from the KTM. It’s a slight advantage, but it’s an advantage all the same.

Is it enough to overcome the potentially great price differential at $15k? I’m kinda’ doubting it, but if anything is going to act as the tiebreaker, I’m gonna’ say it’s the aesthetics ’cause KTM has a look that appeals to KTM fans, and little else.

He Said

“Yeah, that’s right, it came down to looks. Let’s be honest, KTM has a definite look about it. You’d better like orange, and you’d better like spiky body panels. Many may find it a bitter pill to swallow. Me, I love the colors, but not the panels so I’m torn on that, but not so much that I wouldn’t pay a little extra to do without that KTM look.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I dunno, I might have looked at the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx or the BMW F 850 GS to go head-to-head, but there really isn’t a shortage of competitors in this mid-displacement adventure market anymore. Even though it’s the same engine as the Duke, it has less horsepower, but since the 790 Adventure is only 416 pounds (dry), it has a very favorable power-to-weight ratio, not to mention that the low center of gravity afforded by the fuel tanks give you awesome slow-speed balance and high-speed stability. I think the Yamaha Ténéré 700 is going to be too late to the party once the 790 Adventure hits showrooms in a couple of months (vs a year+ for the Ténéré).”

2019 KTM 790 Adventure & Adventure R Specifications

Model: 790 Adventure 790 Adventure R
Engine: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin
Displacement: 799 cc 799 cc
Bore x Stroke: 88 mm x 65.7 mm 88 mm x 65.7 mm
Power In Kw: 70 kW 70 kW
Starter: Electric starter Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"
EMS: Bosch EMS with RBW Bosch EMS with RBW
Chassis:
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated
Front Suspension: WP upside-down Ø 43 mm WP USD Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP Monoshock WP-PDS Monoshock
Steering Head Angle: 64.1° 63.7 °
Suspension Travel (Front): 7.8 inches (200 mm) 9.4 inches (240 mm)
Suspension Travel (Rear): 7.8 inches (200 mm) 9.4 inches (240 mm)
Front Brake: 2x 320 mm radially mounted 4 piston caliper 2x 320 mm radially mounted 4 piston caliper
Rear Brake: 260 mm 2-piston floating caliper 260 mm 2-piston floating caliper
ABS: Bosch 9.1 MP (incl. Cornering-ABS and offroad mode, disengageable) Bosch 9.1 MP (incl. Cornering-ABS and offroad mode, disengageable)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Ground Clearance: 9.2 inches (233 mm) 10.3 inches (263 mm)
Seat Height: 33.5 inches (850 mm) 34.6 inches (880 mm)
Tank Capacity (Approx.): 5.3 gals (20 l) 5.3 gals (20 l)
Dry Weight: 416.7 lbs (189 kg) 416.7 lbs (189 kg)
Fuel Consumption: 56 mpg (4.19 l/100 km) 56 mpg (4.19 l/100 km)

Further Reading

Yamaha Super Ténéré

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
- image 777328

See our review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré.

KTM 790 Duke

2018 KTM 790 Duke
- image 783561

See our review of the KTM 790 Duke.

Honda Africa Twin

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin
- image 781532

See our review of the Honda Africa Twin.

Triumph Tiger 800 XCx

2018 - 2019 Triumph Tiger 800XCx
- image 811205

See our review of the Triumph Tiger XCx.

BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS

2018 - 2019 BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS
- image 749306

See our review of the BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS.

Yamaha Ténéré 700

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
- image 809164

See our review of the Yamaha Ténéré 700.

KTM

no article
- image 799936

Read more KTM news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ktm.com (photographer credits: F Lackner, Kiska, J Bergauer), yamaha-motor.com

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