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KTM 390 Adventure confirmed | NEWS

Baby Kato release heralds a year of new launches

KTM has confirmed the 2019 release of its long-awaited 390 Adventure. It promises to be a premium product in a booming new market segment and marks 2019 as a year of new models across all adventure-bike categories.

News on the 390 Adventure was provided by KTM’s Indian partner Bajaj rather than the Austrian firm directly. The Indians are getting edgy because BMW’s G 310 GS has just gone on sale. Local media are even predicting KTM may offer an extreme version of its Adventure to make a powerful market statement.

In a nod to the apparently slow progress on the development of the 390 Adventure, Bajaj president Amit Nandi said: “With the 390 Adventure we would be making our long-awaited entry into the niche premium dual-sport segment, which is a very apt segment for Indian roads.”

Adventure-branded models have long been among KTM’s strongest sellers worldwide, so it seems strange it has taken the firm so long to put its 373cc single into a no-brainer project.

The KTM 390 Adventure has been spied in prototype form since 2016 and rumours of its existence go back as far as the original Duke 390 in 2012.

Large markets such as India are driving small-capacity motorcycle sales, which is having a flow-on effect in Australia, with dozens of low-priced models on offer in all market segments.

New spy photos reveal the near-completed 390 Adventure prototype is a well thought-out machine with off-road-oriented suspension and wheels, quick-release panniers and adjustable-height screen.

With Bajaj’s announcement, the 390 Adventure now looks like a sure-fire certainty for KTM’s 2019 model range, where it will join the planned – and also much-spied – 790 Adventure parallel twin and revised versions of the existing 1090 and 1290 Adventure models.

1. Much of the chassis, as well as the engine, is based on the existing 390 Duke.

2. Long-travel suspension and revised steering geometry is allied to a 19in front wheel and 17in rear, shod with off-road-capable rubber.

3. Styling is typical KTM, including the firm’s vertically-split headlight arrangement. The intriguing Perspex wind deflectors either side of the nose appear to be clear to allow the rider a better view of the front wheel. The small screen looks to be height-adjustable.

4. Quick-release pannier brackets are built into the tail unit, suggesting there will be a range of luggage options.

By Ben Purvis