Bike Expressions: KTM 790 Adventure R
The baby adventure with a big heart
I recently tested the new KTM 790 Adventure R. At first glance I wondered why KTM would have an adventure bike with a 790 engine (799 cc). Alas I gave it the benefit of the doubt and decided to rather ride it before making an opinion.
The bike itself has a presence. To the average eye, you could mistake it for a 1190 adventure. The reason for this is the design and where the fuel tanks are located (more about that later).
What stands out for me is the low centre of gravity. This is due to the fuel tanks being low down and on either side. The bike feels nimble and after a few hours on it I felt extremely comfortable splitting lanes and so forth. I also handled the 189 kg dry weight quiet comfortably.
Off-road is where the bike really shows its true colours. The test unit is fitted with 80/20 Michelin tyres. These perform perfectly off-road, whether on hard compact gravel, soft sand or mud. These tyres really eat up the terrain, coping well with the 70 kW of power. This is coupled with a 21-inch front rim and an 18-inch rear rim (both spokes).
KTM 790 Adventure R has three different ride modes: road, off-road and rain. The modes modify the throttle response and, of course, you have the option to turn off ABS and traction control.
The down side for me, and this is on all adventure bikes, is once I choose the setting for off-road, and I stall or turn off the bike, I have to spend time going into the menu to reinstate the setting.
The 5-inch TFT display gives you valuable information like trip meter, fuel range, ABS settings and ride modes. On the fly, the rider can select which information and where to have it displayed on the screen. The display’s configuration is variable and automatically adapts to variations in environmental light. The rev counter blinks to indicate when to shift.
With a fuel range of 450km, you won’t have to carry extra fuel on your adventures. This makes the KTM 790 Adventure R a perfect long-distance bike capable of going the distance with the bigger adventurers out there.
OPTIONS TO LOOK AT
The test bike was fitted with an Akrapovic Slip on line exhaust, carbon fuel tank protection set and aluminium hand guards. Another potential upgrade is a thicker skid plate and some crash bars just to give extra protection for those fuel tanks.
The bike is a fantastic off-road adventure that will do well if someone wants to get into adventure riding but doesn’t like the bigger bikes that might be intimidating to some. KTM has really done well to cater for the medium adventure market and I’m sure this model will do well in South Africa.
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