KTM 390 Adventure! This is THE bike we all enthusiasts were waiting for. Ever since KTM Bajaj stable announced that they are working on an ADV back in the year 2017. 3 years down the line and a thousand spotting and spy shots later the Austrian ADV broke its cover at EICMA. It was part of unveiling at IBW Goa. In the time between 2017 and 2020 few things had changed a bit, the touring scene in India is catching up like wildfire. All manufactures trying to lure the buyers with offering something or the else to every class of rider.
The gap also saw the fall and rise of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. From an unreliable machine to a hybrid of a tourer cum budget off-roader, and ultra-expensive (class wise) but equally potent BMW G310 GS which was developed with TVS and to the latest entrant who plays hide and seek ala KTM. The hero Xpulse also makes its presence felt, mush so because of it lightweight setup and high on affordability nindo. More recently it also got a factory Rally kit making it a true weapon for weekend trails and off-roading routines. So coming back to the KTM, why was the wait so much, was it worth it? And how relevant it would be with the above-mentioned rivals, let’s find out in our first ride review.
Looks for KTM 390 Adventure
Looks are subjective they say, and in Adventure 390 it is no different. Tall stance and sheer size of the machine make you feel like you are standing next to a multi-cylinder ADV. The Bike looks imposing for sure. But yes even if the front is purpose-built for an adventure tourer stance it does look a bit odd at some angles, but saying that the look and feel is completely purpose-built and functional. For example, the steering geometry is light and relaxed, since the headlight and the instrument cluster are mounted separated. The handlebar is wide and comes with factory fitted knuckle guards. The Tank ever so sharp as a KTM is larger in size but non-metallic from the outside. It has a 14.5 Liter fuel capacity with a claimed range of 400 kms.
Hardware for KTM 390 Adventure
The seat is a split seat, and by far the best KTM seat ever on the Indian line up. But saying that the seat height is a real issue here. I being a shade over 5.8 but with a generous construction found myself tiptoeing. But I guess slimmer riders should reach with similar height as the construction of the seat is narrow and the bike overall is slim, one can easily adjust and slide over the seat for the sweet spot. We would urge you to visit the nearest showroom and check this for yourself. The pillion seat is also accommodating, soft and comfortable. Large grab rails accompany the pillion seat which looks neat and tidy. The bike gets an all-LED tail light. Adventure 390 gets and completely new radiator assembly, which gets a curved construction and 2 fans for better heat management.
The Engine is carried forward from Duke 390 but in its BS6 iteration. Surprisingly it makes exact same amount of power and torque as the outgoing BS4 version. The catalytic converter is visible and the ADV 390 gets an all-new tiny looking exhaust. The frame, its a gem similar to its earlier iterations is also carried over with and extended sub-frame mounted at the rear to accommodate the large seat, swing-arm, and wheelbase. The Adventure 390 comes with a company fitted engine crash guard. It is really sturdy, adjustable brake, clutch levers, and engine bash plate (brownie points!!).
The instrument cluster of Adventure 390
The Adventure 390 gets the same full-color TFT instrument cluster from duke 390 with tons of information at fingertips. It also now shows turn by turn navigation if you opt for an official Ktm application. The switchgear is also the same as duke 390. It allows you to select the abs mode, yes the adventure 390 comes with an off-road ABS which disable the ABS intrusion on the rear wheel. The instrument cluster itself is properly visible is high sunlight and night as well. The cockpit also houses an adjustable windscreen, which apparently can’t be adjusted on the fly. It also gets a GPS bracket space where you can add a power part to mount the GPS. The bike comes equipped with a 12v charging port which is a great addition. The lights are an all-LED affair like the duke 390 and should suffice the daily needs.
The Suspension and Tyres of KTM 390 Adventure
When the bike debuted at the EICMA it got us all excited as it came with a proper suspension setup. The suspension setup was adjustable and added that much customization option to one’s personal riding style. What we get here is a 170 mm travel suspension from WP which is non-adjustable. And a 177 mm travel suspension as the rear which can be adjusted for preload. It’s kind of a hit and miss because as an enthusiast it left us wanting more. The Tyres as well, as showcased in ECIMA (continental TKC) were replaced with Metzelers Tourance 19 inches at the front and 17 at the rear for dual purpose use which is paired with newly designed cast iron alloys. All this was done to keep the cost down and price it competitively. We should discuss this later in the blog.
This is perhaps a point where it stands leaps and bounds ahead of the league, at least on the paper. The bike comes with features like slipper clutch, ABS modes, ride by wire throttle, cornering ABS, and Motion traction control. The motion traction control (MTC) also can be turned off for off-road expeditions. The adventure 390 in India comes shod with a bi-directional QuickShifter which KTM calls as Quickshifter+, as a standard. The next bike which gets all of the above features sits well over the 7 lakh mark. Any guesses which bike it is? (Comment Below)
The bike sure looks tall and intimidating at first and knows that what a hoot KTM 390 motor is we didn’t expect any less from it. Swing your leg over the bike has a different yet distinct exhaust note; there is no buzz at the idle. Slot it into the first gear and let go the clutch there are few things you will notice instantly, the clutch is light and so is the bike, easy and maneuverable in traffic. Also, the engine even though with the same gearing and power figures feels a bit relaxed and less vibey as the previous iteration. The main reason for it is the relaxed steering geometry, longer wheelbase, added weight, and weight distribution.
More into the ride in the city you realize that even though 200 mm of ground clearance is not class-leading but is adequate for out high and low-speed breakers alike even at decent speeds. The Seating position is great and commanding, where the rider sits upright and the rider triangle is also relaxed making it a great commuter and a tourer. There are vibes felt from the front wind visor which is a bit annoying but something can be fixed as well. Don’t be fooled by the initial relaxed feel this at the end of the day is a 390 which is known for its performance, open the throttle and you would not be disappointed. The bike reached the high rev band quickly and easily and likes to stay there, lugging around is not in its character, but surely with time and proper accelerator modulation, it can do just fine.
Is the Ktm 390 Comfortable ?
The suspension is a bit on a stiffer side but in a good way, it still induces the sense of agility and confidence you can take this bike into corners. On the rough terrain, it leaves you wanting more, but still, it does the job. The ride is stable and comfortable; this bike can cruise all day long easily at a pace of 100 to 120 kmph. The Tyres are good neither great nor bad. In city traffic and off-road bit, the low end was missed. It would take time to get used to how to modulate the accelerator and clutch inputs to prevent the bike from stalling in lower gears. The fuel efficiency is also good on highways.
Braking of Adventure 390
Let’s move to one topic we didn’t speak about yet, the brakes. They are superb, the front brake is a 320 mm 4 piston radial fixed and the rear is a single-piston floating caliper, provided superb stopping power and coupled with cornering abs it works superbly. There little we tried with the traction control but we found that every time we switched off the bike the Traction control would turn on again. The quick shifter worked properly on our bike as well.
The Pros for Ktm Adventure 390
- The Electronics Kit on offer
- Great riding posture
The Cons of KTM 390 Adventure
- Seat height
- Low-end torque
Our verdict on Adventure 390
We know many of you must be surprised to see us not crib about the non-availability of the spoke wheels or adjustable suspension. Let’s ask ourselves how many of us are going to take this off-road every day or even once a week. If your answer is once a month, then I feel there’s a lot less to dwell about. The test on the alloys shall be answered only over the time and yes the low-end performance of this bike is a glaring concern and will leave you wanting more on the critical circuits, but saying that it can be fixed as well.
There would be a lot of aftermarket accessories, sprockets and ECU mods to fix this. All in all Ktm adventure 390 is not a perfect bike if you considering out and out an off-roading bike, but take that out of the equation and think of it as a tourer which can travel length and breadth of this country and do occasionally off-roading it makes a great value for money proposition. And at 2.99 L ex-showroom, we feel it’s a package we can’t ignore. It undercuts the BMW and it does not have a competitor with that price point and equipment list.
Ready to Race? No, Ready for Adventure!
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