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With the world in lockdown, going global is probably the last thing on most minds, unless your code name is Covid-19. But that’s exactly what KTM intends for its smallest adventure bike to date

Not unseasonal firestorms, biblical sandstorms, nor pandemaniacal shitstorms could put a stop to KTM going about its business. So in solidarity, and against the overwhelming tide of fleeing international bike journos, I sculled a flagon of hand sanitiser, dug out my old Jofa face mask, got myself wrapped by one of those plastic-film luggage wrappers at the airport and headed for the world launch of KTM’s 390 Adventure.

Except… it wasn’t. That happened a few weeks earlier, curiously, in India. KTM’s development and manufacturing partner Bajaj somehow managed to, unexpectedly it would seem, beat them to the grand reveal with their own local Indian-only press launch. Still, these little miscommunications can happen in any marriage. And on the developmental aspects of the 390 Adventure project at least, everything seems to have been conducted in complete harmony.

I’d been looking forward to riding the firm’s miniature adventure model for some time. Hoping KTM, of all motorcycle companies, wouldn’t dream of diluting the enviable off-road reputation of its Adventure brand.

‘Ready to Race’ KTM, wouldn’t dare enter this new adventure-lite market with nothing more than a jazzed-up Duke, would it? This is certainly a 390 Duke derivative, sharing its engine and chassis fundamentals with that most delightfully nutty of small-capacity nakeds. But KTM hasn’t just dressed the Duke up in Dakar duds purely for Toby Price promotional purposes. Nope, this isn’t a quick cynical cash-in, this is a serious attempt to foster soft-focus adventure riding with a new audience.

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