KTM’s middleweight all-roader snapped in showroom ready form
Just a few weeks ago KTM’s 790 Adventure R prototype was a concept bike starring at the EICMA show in Milan. Now the production version is on test and looking very close to showroom-ready.
It’s a machine that will surely give makers of other middleweight adventure bikes some sleepless nights. While KTM hasn’t revealed the specs, we know it’s closely based on the new 790 Duke. It shares the same 77kW RC8c parallel-twin engine and appears to have much the same chassis and similar WP suspension, albeit jacked up to give the right off-road ability and appearance.
That means it should also be close to the 790 Duke’s 189kg ready-to-ride figure. Or, to put it another way, the 790 Adventure promises to blow its rivals out of the water in terms of power-to-weight ratio.
Its closest competitors will be the newly updated Triumph Tiger 800 and BMW F850GS. Both those machines make 70kW, a full 10 per cent down on the KTM if the new 790 Adventure gets the same engine tune as the 790 Duke. What’s more, the F850GS is 229kg wet. The Tiger 800XCx, meanwhile, comes in at 205kg dry. You can add at least 20kg to that to estimate its wet weight. Even if the new KTM 790 Adventure is 10 or 20kg heavier than the 790 Duke – and there’s little reason to expect it will be that much fatter – it will undercut its rivals considerably.
Step up a size class to the 1000cc ballpark, where Honda’s Africa Twin is currently the catch of the day, and the KTM promises to have an advantage too.
And that’s not all. It’s fair to assume that the KTM 790 Adventure will also carry much of the same electronic equipment as the 790 Duke. If so, it will get cornering ABS as well as lean-sensitive IMU-guided traction control, plus launch control.
The images we have seen show three varieties of the 790 Adventure. On all versions, the nose is the biggest departure from the EICMA concept. It gains KTM’s new vertically split headlights. There’s also an adjustable-height screen. It’s made of an unusual tinted, textured, semi-opaque plastic on the versions (pictured) with lower screens, but clear material for the touring model, since its screen is tall enough that you might actually be looking through it.
Other changes from the concept include aluminium grabrails that merge into a luggage rack. It also has pillion ’pegs and the exhaust is rather bulkier than the Akrapovič can on the prototype.
Despite the near-finished state of the prototypes, we’re not expecting to see the 790 Adventure reach showrooms before 2019.
by Ben Purvis