It seems that every manufacturer is trying their hand at small capacity adventure motorcycles. Just when everyone had their bikes in the market, KTM showed up with the 390 Adventure. KTM is known for big adventure bikes, but they have now been downscaling. They recently added the 790 Adventure to the range, and earlier this year, launched the 390, the smallest of the lot.
The bike is based on the 390 Duke platforms but the styling cues are form the 790. And that is not a bad thing at all. I loved the 790, and having ridden it in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, it showed its off-road prowess. The 390 will probably never perform any serious off-road duties, but it sure looks the part.
At the front, you have the familiar KTM headlight. There is a small rally screen that is marginally adjustable. Behind it sits a full colour TFT. I was astonished to see this on KTM’s entry level bike. It is basically the same unit as on the 790 and can connect to your smart phone. With the connection made, you can have turn-by-turn navigation using the KTM app.
There is a 12 V socket below the dash and if you look closely, under the handlebars, you will see that the front WP shocks are adjustable. At the price-point of the KTM, full colour TFTs and adjustable suspension is simply unheard of!
The seat is another plus on the 390. It is very comfortable and supportive. The seat is 25mm higher than on the Duke and the Adventure has 200mm of ground clearance. Shorter riders may not be too happy about how tall the bike is, but that is unfortunately the nature of adventure bikes.
The engine is a 373 cc unit that produces 32 kW of power. I can remember how much I enjoyed the 390 RC and this bike is no different. It pulls away with gusto and will keep going way past the 160kmh if you let it. The engine and gearing are probably the biggest selling points of this bike. The only other manufacturer that might compete is if Kawasaki shoves their 400cc twin into a Versys. Beyond that, no-one comes close.
The bike also has a full suite of electronic aides in the form of traction control and ABS. It even has lean sensitive ABS!
The only chink in the armour might be the rims. They are of the alloy variety and although KTM wants us to believe that they weaved a bit of Superman’s cape into the material, alloys make you tread more cautiously. That being said, you must take into account the market for which this bike was made: The Urban adventurer. For that role the alloys should be perfect.
I was mighty impressed with this little machine and it is priced right. So if adventure riding is your thing, the KTM is, in my opinion, the leader in this category.
The KTM 390 Adventure sells for R 93 999-00