At the ongoing EICMA 2018, Milan, KTM finally pulled the wraps off the brand new 790 Adventure R to an excited audience. The radical motorcycle has the potential to redefine the midsize adventure bike segment.
Before we delve into the juicy details of the new KTM ADV, some backstory is in order. KTM is more about Motocross and Enduro than ADV touring. Indeed, the company’s offerings hitherto in the segment have leaned more toward the Enduro side than touring. Bikes like the 1290 Super Adventure R and 1090 Adventure R embody the Austrian bike maker’s ‘Travel Enduro’ moniker for the segment.
The 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R is the latest offering from Mattighofen. It sits between the 690 Enduro R and the 1090 Adventure. The conception of the 790 Adventure R has been a very exhilarating journey to follow. KTM actually went out and gleaned real-world feedback from customers around the world as to what their ideal adventure motorcycle would and would not have.
Over many hours of research, soliciting KTM loyalists at different rally events across the world, and prototyping according to the responses achieved, the new ADV bike finally began to take shape. But that was not enough for KTM. The company took the prototype rallying, entering it in many of the hardiest overland races in the world.
What’s more, customers who qualified under the company’s motorsports program were each given a prototype with full factory support. “Go race, come back, tell us what is lacking, we will fill the gaps.” The kind of customer feedback that has gone into the 790 Adventure R is nothing short of phenomenal.
So what exactly did customers want from their ideal ADV bike? Basically, an 800cc twin-cylinder engine, long travel suspension, low kerb weight, long-range fuel tank, and rugged, go-anywhere ability above all.
Following the extensive research and testing, KTM is finally confident it has the perfect adventure motorcycle for the world. And what a bike the 790 Adventure R is! Powering the midsize ADV is a 799cc parallel-twin that makes 93hp. Incidentally, this is KTM’s first parallel-twin engine featuring a 270-degree firing interval. The 790 Adventure R gets 240mm of suspension travel on both ends and sits 263mm above the ground.
Dry weight is quoted at 189kg, and the fuel tank can swallow up to 20 litres of petrol. That brings the bike’s fully fuelled mass to a little more than 200kg. The specifications put to rest half the demands of customers pining for a perfect ADV. The design answers the rest. KTM has cleverly repositioned the fuel tank, splitting and placing it on either side of the engine. This liberated a lot of space up top, which has been taken over by the long, Enduro-style seat.
A high-slung exhaust and a short windscreen over a split LED headlamp come together to give the 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R an unmistakable Enduro profile. Yet it still has recessed brackets to mount hard luggage, space for a navigation device above the full-colour TFT dash with Bluetooth connectivity, and space on the seat for comfortable two-up touring.
The 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R looks like no other midsize ADV on the market right now, making bikes like the BMW F850 GS and the Triumph Tiger look porky in comparison. From the looks of it, KTM is not going to have too hard a time selling this lithe adventurer. I know I want one!
Expect KTM to formally launch the 2019 790 Adventure sometime in mid-2019.