KTM 640 ADVENTURE (1997-2007) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Untouchable for handling, presence and rugged toughness"

KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding

"Untouchable for handling, presence and rugged toughness"

  • At a glance
  • 625cc  -  54 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  260 miles range
  • Insurance group: 11 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • High seat height (945mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

If you’re used to smooth riding, civilized singles like BMW’s F650 range then KTM’s 640 Adventure will come as something of a shock. It’s very vibey, absurdly tall, not that comfortable and pre-2004 models suffer from patchy engine reliability. Having said that in the muddy side of its dual-purpose role it’s untouchable for handling, presence and rugged toughness.

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5

The KTM 640 Adventure is very vibey, even for a single. Vibration runs through your arms, legs and groin and a long ride leaves you feeling like you’ve got fizzy pop not blood running through your veins. And while the screen may look impressive it’s largely useless above 80mph. However, if you can ignore those whopping shortcomings the handling is extremely good thanks to the sophisticated WP shock and forks, with excellent braking courtesy of two 300mm discs up front.

Engine 3 out of 5

The KTM 640 Adventure's liquid-cooled, SOHC single cylinder motor has been around in various KTMs for years (Duke I and II and the extensive SMC and LC4 supermoto range). But some pre-2004 Adventures suffered from main bearing failure, which comprehensively lunched the whole plot. There is an official fix, but if you’re buying secondhand check it’s been carried out.

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

KTM enjoys a reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality kit, but the 640 Adventure is a bit of a rogue in many ways. Pre-2004 spokes are poor, clutch cables snap, the electrics are often fickle and the vibes cause mechanical disharmony and dislodge bolts if they’re not Loc-tited home. Keep it well away from winter salt.

Insurance, running costs & value 2 out of 5

Frankly, you’re better off buying a BMW F650GS Dakar.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Although the KTM 640 Adventure is well specced with WP suspension, Brembo brakes and Renthal bars there’s a vast aftermarket to make it even better – companies like Touratech provide lighting, panniers, protections and even cockpit conversions for the full Paris-Dakar look

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their KTM 640 ADVENTURE (1997-2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Better off!

12 August 2012 by warewolf

Firstly let me get something off my chest... Better off with the F650? Are you serious or delirious? They are completely different bikes: the KTM 640 is a civilised dirt bike, the BMW 650 is a dressed-up street bike. Check the action pictures in each... Read more review before you disagree! So it really depends on your intended usage. btw the 158kg is weight without fuel, so it is 20kg lighter than the F650, more powerful, and real-world testing shows it has a much stronger top end than their close top speed figures might suggest. For the record: twice, a good few years apart, I test rode different generation F650s but with much deliberation I bought something lighter, cheaper and more dirt capable. The vibes are nowhere near as bad as you report, but some are worse than others. Mine's somewhere in the middle but that doesn't stop me doing 1000km days. That cost the engine one star rating. Ride and handling with the correct springs is sublime for something so versatile. Braking was and is excellent without the overkill second disc added in 2004; in fact the inertia from that disc noticeably slows the bike's flickability so just get rid of it. The screen I think is a beaut! It's no full-monty tourer but then it's not supposed to be. It does a heck of a lot of work keeping wind pressure and weather off you at all speeds. Try standing up on the pegs above 80 mph if you really think the screen is useless, I guarantee you'll change your mind. Mine has had a few minor mechanical niggles (all well-enough known to be sorted with help from the interweb) but no show-stoppers. It'd have to be perfect to get 5 stars. Value... the cheaper KTM 640 Enduro with optional large tank and comfort seat is possibly better value. But the Adventure comes fitted standard with large tank, fairing, decent headlights, comfort seat, hand guards, bash plate, rear rack and power socket. All of which has been useful and faultless, so 5 stars for equipment. I don't know of any other bike that has all those as standard equipment. Overall, 5 stars. This bike is incredibly fit for purpose. Mine gets used for everything from long-distance touring to off-road racing. A couple of years ago I looked hard at replacing it, but found there is no single bike on the market today that will match it. 50,000 km of hard use and counting... love it!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Adventure

30 June 2009 by Mzungu

Clue is in the title. Use this on a trip and you will fall in love with the damn thing. I have crossed 2 continents and a number of countries with mine. Its fantastic 1 up with luggage etc. Really good. Takes a while to service but I bodged it in... Read more Egypt and still did 5000miles off road before the next oil change and it was fine. For around town, its loud and visible. That's a good thing. I'm 5'11 and only just tall enough for it though. The vibes are not that bad, though its not as easy to ride as a CB500. Its very vibey and not the smoothest. Anyway, recommended. Buy one, get some panniers on it and ride to Cape Town.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2007
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 54 bhp
Max torque 41 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 260 miles
Specification
Engine size 625cc
Engine type 4v single, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 28 litres
Seat height 945mm
Bike weight 158kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 140/80 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

1997: Concept introduced as the 620 Adventure. Comes with 609cc LCD motor and weighs 166kg.
1998: New 625cc motor and 8kg weight saving.
2007: Model deleted.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Instruments
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Instruments
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Front view
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Side view
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Instruments
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Instruments
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Front view
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Riding
  • KTM 640 Adventure motorcycle review - Side view