KTM 640 ADVENTURE (1997 - 2007) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £300
Power: 54 bhp
Seat height: Tall (37.2 in / 945 mm)
Weight: Low (348 lbs / 158 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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

Next up: Engine
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £300
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 11 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 54 bhp
Max torque 41 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 14 secs
Tank range 260 miles

Model 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.

Owners' reviews for the KTM 640 ADVENTURE (1997 - 2007)

6 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.

Review your KTM 640 ADVENTURE (1997 - 2007)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £300
5 out of 5 Best bike(s) i've ever owned, both of them, bar none.
18 December 2019 by GodSilla

Year: 2003

Annual servicing cost: £300

A fantastic machine, unique in the motorcycling world, it is a factory-built basic Rallye bike. If you didn't get a factory allocation for the Dakar (and lets face it, who did?) then this is what you bought and accessorised/modified to suit. 2003 was the last and major upgrade to this model, and KTM didn't hold back, throwing a LOT of stuff into the bike directly from their hugely successful Rally racing program, and it shows. Unlike competitor efforts, this bike has it all fully integrated from the factory. Need to add a GPS? The power plug and wiring are already there. Need to power your roadbook and drive it? No worries, the plug is already there and the switches are cheaply purchased from KTM. Need more fuel range? the already stonking 28 litre tank is extendable with genuine KTM-made subtanks. Expecting crap quality low-octane fuel? The Kokusan ignition already has the low-octane switch built-in. These things are the business.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Like a GP bike, the harder you ride it the better it handles. The ergos need setting up for the individual, I use Pivot Pegz and bar risers for instance, plus a steering damper, and the suspension has been re-sprung and re-valved for my weight and riding style. It is an all-day bike that rewards standing and using the throttle and footpegs to control it in the deeper sand.

Engine 5 out of 5

Stonking power for a single. One of mine is a real freak, it goes a LOT harder and faster than my 1150 GS BMW. Where my XR600R is running out of steam and just making noise, this bike is pulling really strongly and just coming into the real power band, where it feels like a 2-stroke hit. A single shouldn't go this hard, but it does. it absolutely flies. The other one is not tuned so well but it still hauls arse.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Exceptionally robust, very long life, and high-performance too - you aren't supposed to have it all, but these 4th gen LC4 motors deliver in bucketloads. Quality components all-round, Magura hydraulic clutch, Brembo brakes, and the fantastic WP suspension, there's really nothing I have been abvle to fault on this bike. Or the other identical one I own. (Yes, I bought another one they are that good....).

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I use 15-40 diesel oil, so oil costs $12.50 per service, and I change it every 2500 kilometres, filters at 5000 kilometres as per the schedule. It shits on the expensive crud. These things love it. parts compare MORE than favourably with my Japanese and German machines too, and hardly use any.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The 48mm WP MXMA suspension is a standout. What a front end. The rear shock is also a top-spec unit. Magura hyrdaulic clutch. Brembo brakes Everything is quality - all of it.

Buying experience: Bought as the 3rd owner, not applicable.

5 out of 5 Best bike(s) i've ever owned, both of them, bar none.
18 December 2019 by GodSilla

Year: 2003

Annual servicing cost: £300

A fantastic machine, unique in the motorcycling world, it is a factory-built basic Rallye bike. If you didn't get a factory allocation for the Dakar (and lets face it, who did?) then this is what you bought and accessorised/modified to suit. 2003 was the last and major upgrade to this model, and KTM didn't hold back, throwing a LOT of stuff into the bike directly from their hugely successful Rally racing program, and it shows. Unlike competitor efforts, this bike has it all fully integrated from the factory. Need to add a GPS? The power plug and wiring are already there. Need to power your roadbook and drive it? No worries, the plug is already there and the switches are cheaply purchased from KTM. Need more fuel range? the already stonking 28 litre tank is extendable with genuine KTM-made subtanks. Expecting crap quality low-octane fuel? The Kokusan ignition already has the low-octane switch built-in. These things are the business.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Like a GP bike, the harder you ride it the better it handles. The ergos need setting up for the individual, I use Pivot Pegz and bar risers for instance, plus a steering damper, and the suspension has been re-sprung and re-valved for my weight and riding style. It is an all-day bike that rewards standing and using the throttle and footpegs to control it in the deeper sand.

Engine 5 out of 5

Stonking power for a single. One of mine is a real freak, it goes a LOT harder and faster than my 1150 GS BMW. Where my XR600R is running out of steam and just making noise, this bike is pulling really strongly and just coming into the real power band, where it feels like a 2-stroke hit. A single shouldn't go this hard, but it does. it absolutely flies. The other one is not tuned so well but it still hauls arse.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Exceptionally robust, very long life, and high-performance too - you aren't supposed to have it all, but these 4th gen LC4 motors deliver in bucketloads. Quality components all-round, Magura hydraulic clutch, Brembo brakes, and the fantastic WP suspension, there's really nothing I have been abvle to fault on this bike. Or the other identical one I own. (Yes, I bought another one they are that good....).

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I use 15-40 diesel oil, so oil costs $12.50 per service, and I change it every 2500 kilometres, filters at 5000 kilometres as per the schedule. It shits on the expensive crud. These things love it. parts compare MORE than favourably with my Japanese and German machines too, and hardly use any.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The 48mm WP MXMA suspension is a standout. What a front end. The rear shock is also a top-spec unit. Magura hyrdaulic clutch. Brembo brakes Everything is quality - all of it.

Buying experience: Bought as the 3rd owner, not applicable.

3 out of 5 KTM 640 Adventure. The underrated adventure bike
24 March 2019 by Frank Guernier

Year: 2003

Annual servicing cost: £300

Its great features are: Light weight and can pick it up without help. Excellent fuel range. Adequate power especially on dirt yet cruses at legal speeds on the road. Worst features are few but the engine is noisy because of the single skin engine pipes. I have to check for oil weeps around the filters and pipe unions. Cost of spare parts is higher than the Japanese equivalent.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

With a suspension upgrade the overall ride is good but it's a no-no for pillions. The passenger on back gets heaps of "buzz" through the bum. One trick is I filled the handlebars with silicone. It greatly improved the hand vibe feel for the rider. I

Engine 4 out of 5

The engine for capacity has heaps of power on dirt and that's where it excells yet it cruises on road at 100kmh easily. Below 2500rpm it's piggy in technical stuff and clutch feathering is needed.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

25,000km of adventure riding in out back Australia. Never let me down and probably saved my life whilst overtaking a road train in northern Australia. I got it really crossed up cutting back in front of a Road train on a single track dirt road. Thanks to the suspension its controllable nature plus good luck I survived. I have enjoyed the 14 years owning and riding it with more to come.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

28-litre fuel tank. Balanced ride feel. Quality components.

Buying experience: Purchased new from dealer in 2004. Approximately $16,000 (AUS) with all extras.

5 out of 5 Across the deserts it's the ideal weapon out here in Nevada, Utah
23 July 2016 by Tinnose

Year: 2003

Myself and 3 other guys purchased 640 Adventures and love them. Mine has over 25,000 hard miles on the clock. For a bike that weighs 350 pounds and carries 7.5 gallons of gas it handles like a dream. Great flawless engine, great suspension and brakes. For long haul trips (+250 miles without gas stops) across the deserts it's the ideal weapon out here in Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. What vibration? I'll keep this bike until KTM makes a viable replacement.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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