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KTM 390 ADVENTURE (2020-on) Review

Published: 18 March 2020

Updated: 18 March 2020

The KTM 390 Adventure is small but almost perfectly formed

KTM 390 ADVENTURE  (2020-on)

The KTM 390 Adventure is small but almost perfectly formed

  • At a glance
  • 373cc  -  44 bhp
  • High seat height (855mm)
  • New: £1

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The KTM 390 Adventure certainly boasts a spec sheet capable of delivering. It comes with a slipper clutch and a strong six-speed gearbox which perfectly suit the water-cooled, four-stroke 373cc single.

The family resemblance to KTM’s bigger adventure brothers, the 790 and 1290 Adventure, are obvious. The smaller 390 has LED lights all round and comes with a quickshifter as standard.

KTM has proved on many occasions that they can build sturdy, reliable motorcycles for every occasion and condition but when you use the word Adventure in a bike’s name it had better be fit for purpose.

What's the KTM 390 Adventure really like? 

The Adventure 390 is a very good motorcycle that can take you everywhere, no matter the conditions. It has enough on offer to serve up a decent road ride and its easy-going nature will make commuters or the less experience grin from ear to ear.

And if you want to cover some decent distance, it’ll oblige, although wind blast and bvibrations will take their toll eventually. And it’s a brilliant bike off road. For anyone wanting a practical, top-value commuter with the ability to tackle the occasional trail... the KTM 390 Adventure ticks a whole lotta boxes. Read on for our in-depth review.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The 390 is not a hardcore rally bike for square-chinned Dakar wannabes – instead it’s for riders dipping a toe in muddy waters for the frist time. It is, say KTM, "aimed squarely at motorcyclists who are profoundly curious but perhaps unaccustomed to light off-roading."

The Adventure differs from the Duke by virtue of longer suspension, with 170mm of wheel travel from the adjustable WP forks and 177mm from the longer shock. There’s also a taller 19-inch front wheel to help it roll over off-road obstacles, with new tyre sizes of 100/90x19 and 130/80x17.

Seat height is 855mm and at 5ft 7in I can reach the ground with my toes. The LED instrument panel is clear and easy to read and a switch to the left gives me the option of Tarmac or Dirt mode. There’s ABS and traction control, too; not bad for £5499. The cornering ABS was pioneered by Bosch in cooperation with KTM.

I have no problems getting adjusted to the 390; an adventure machine is always forgiving. I sit comfortably and the bike just floats along. The easy action of the quickshifter makes the ride even easier and strong acceleration from low down makes overtaking slow-moving Tenerife traffic a breeze. It sounds good too.

As I carve  through narrow alleys, up steep hillsides lined with old, derelict stone constructions and across bridges that look thousands of years old, the Adventure 390 pulls properly, using its 44bhp to good effect. The seating position is perfect on this well-proportioned bike and the upright riding position and high, wide handlebars all work wonderfully together. 

This nifty little lightweight bike can be flung into corners with gusto and the WP APEX 43mm upside down forks and rear shock work well. Each fork leg has its own spring, with individual characteristics. Left regulates the compression damping and right looks after rebound and adjusting them is easy.

As a road bike, though, there’s a lot to like, but it’s time to see if the 390 Adventure can also deliver in the dirt. Flick the bike into the off-road mode and the electronics barely interfere.

Engine 3 out of 5

The 390 engine is good enough for proper dirt riding and combined with a dry weight of only 158kg it really is a proper tool when the going gets grubby. And if it does go wrong, the bike is light enough to pick up on your own. I should know!

The 390 Adventure will also suit the less experienced. The 390 has enough of everything without being intimidating and, of course, offers that off-road riding option.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

After about two hours in the saddle I feel that the seat could do with a little more padding. The standard screen is not adjustable and I’m feeling a bit wind weary. There are a few annoying vibrations, too, mostly caused by the knobbly Continental TKC 70 tyres.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

That sensible 44bhp and light weight makes it great fun on trails and at just £5499, this little funster could prove a surprise hit for 2020. BMW’s G310GS is a tad cheaper (£5320), but not as accomplished as the KTM. Honda’s CB500X offers bigger cc for just £700 more, but it only has 3bhp more and won’t tackle the trails as well as the 390 Adventure.

It's also a rival to the Honda CRF250 RallySuzuki V-Strom 250Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and Royal Enfield 400cc Himalayan

Fuel consumption for the day of our test was about 56mpg so the 14.5-litre tank should give a 150-mile range.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The standard 390 comes with a black plastic bashguard, which looks okay but won’t stand up to much abuse. KTM offers a much tougher, aluminium version for an extra £165.

Smaller, more powerful LED lights on the 390 Adventure look good and work well. There’s still that split face, but the design has been refined and now looks striking rather than plain weird!

Some of our machines are equipped with Akrapovic cans; one of the options for the 390 Adventure. There are actually no less than 160 KTM Powerparts available for the Kid Adventure 390. (The Akrapovic does have… more sound.) 

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2020
Year discontinued -
New price £1
Used price -
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £44
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 44 bhp
Max torque 27.3 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 373cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single
Frame type Steel
Fuel capacity 14.5 litres
Seat height 855mm
Bike weight 158kg
Front suspension WP APEX 43mm upside down, fully adjustable
Rear suspension WP APEX adjustable return damping and spring
Front brake Single 320mm disc, four-piston radial caliper
Rear brake Single 230mm disc, single-piston floating caliper
Front tyre size 100/90x19
Rear tyre size 130/80x17

History & Versions

Model history

Read our news about the KTM 390 Adventure here.

Other versions

None. 

Owners' Reviews

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  • KTM 390 ADVENTURE  (2020-on)
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