KTM 790 ADVENTURE R (2019 - 2020) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
With its true adventure bike stature along with its light weight the new 790 R is a breath of fresh air in the adventure bike class. Instead of ever bigger, heavier and more powerful, huge-capacity bikes that dominate the class the KTM is coming at things in a different way.
Its top spec suspension and true off-road wheel sizes 21” front and 18” rear it has a go anywhere feel whether that’s on road or off.
Well equipped as standard there are plenty of creature comforts and tech to play with and all the info is displayed neatly on the TFT dash.
As an overall package it feels classy, substantial and confidence inspiring especially off-road where it excels. Perfectly suited for a rider with off-road experience or someone who wants to undertake their first true adventure ride but is currently not willing to take their big heavy adventure bike onto the dirt.
In 2021 the 790 was replaced by the KTM 890 Adventure R.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
With fully adjustable, top spec WP suspension front and rear you can make the bike as soft or stiff as you like. In standard settings it’s taut but compliant on road and its lack of weight (189kg) means it doesn’t sag down deep into its stroke the moment you take it off the side stand.
While the riding position feels focused it’s comfortable with the firm seat giving the support needed for long days. There is plenty of room to move backwards and forwards and the handlebar clamp position can be adjusted to suit within a range of 40mm.
Off-road the suspension does an incredible job of ironing out bumps even in the harsh confounds of the world launch in Morocco. Helped by the low slung fuel tanks which sit either side of the engine it’s well balanced and its low centre of gravity helps technical riding and high speed stability.
The 880mm seat height is reasonably tall, but with the bike being thin and light it’s easy to get your feet down and handle at slow speed.
There’s plenty of braking power on tap thanks to the twin 320mm discs and four pot calipers but with plenty of feel for off road performance. It features specific road and off-road ABS as well as cornering ABS.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Power comes courtesy of the same 799cc double over head cam parallel twin motor first introduced in the KTM 790 Duke in 2018 but with revised mapping for more mid range.
With 95bhp at 8,000 rpm and 65ft/lb torque at 6,600rpm it has similar figures to the Honda Africa Twin or BMW F850GS, but due to its weight – 43kg lighter than the Honda it feels livelier and more responsive.
While it’s not fast like it’s big brother KTM 1290 Super Adventure or Ducati Multistrada Enduro what it does have is easy to access and fun to play with. There is a great throttle connection giving precise control everywhere in the rev range.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
It’s an all-new model so no user data is currently available. Service intervals are generous, with an oil change every 9320 miles and valve check at 18,000.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
You get a lot of tech and equipment as standard on the KTM, but there are a host of extras available including.
- Quickshifter up and down
- Cruise control
- Heavy duty wheels
- Extra protection
- Heated grips
Utilising class-leading Bosch electronics there are four engine modes including the new Rally mode, which enables you to play with the amount of rear wheel slip easily from levels one to nine whilst riding. It means you can tailor the electronics to the terrain from wet roads and mud through smooth tarmac or deep sand.
Cornering ABS is standard along with specific road and off-road settings. Off road changes the parameters of the front ABS while allowing the rear wheel to lock.
The TFT dash is clear, concise and not overbearing, instead displaying the info you need with the right priorities. The up and down quick shifter is an optional extra, but works well and makes clean positive gear changes.
|Engine type||2-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC Parallel twin|
|Frame type||Chromium-molybdenum-steel frame using the engine as stressed element, powder coated|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||WP-USD Ø 48 mm|
|Rear suspension||WP PDS shock absorber|
|Front brake||2 × radially mounted 4 piston caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm|
|Rear brake||2 piston floating caliper, brake disc Ø 260 mm|
|Front tyre size||90/90-21"|
|Rear tyre size||150/70-18"|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£300|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||95 bhp|
|Max torque||65 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||280 miles|
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: KTM 790 Adventure R delivers on its potential
The start of every year is always filled with such high expectation of rides, adventures and quality time on your bike. But life is busy and it’s so easy for the summer months to drift past and you suddenly find yourself staring down the barrel of a UK winter without having achieved those exuberant …
Owners' reviews for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R (2019 - 2020)
3 owners have reviewed their KTM 790 ADVENTURE R (2019 - 2020) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
Annual servicing cost: £300
Nice bike, with real offroad capability, but a bit snatchy and has reliability issues.
Good brakes, even though the rear could be more efficient. Ride quality is great, suspension can be tuned very precisely and reacts to small changes.
Powerful, but not very pleasant below 4000rpm: lots of mechanical noises, snatchy throttle and not really torquey. Everything gets better over 4000rpm, even the sound of the engine. It's a KTM (had a 690 before): the engine wants to rev and tht can be a pain on days when you want to ride softly and quietly...
Leak from front sprocket (repaired under warranty). Screen gets misty (sometimes): waiting for KTM to decide what to do... Mechanical noises (I hate that) that make me question long term reliability.
Servicing at KTM dealers is expensive. First service isn't much more than oil change and is charged 200€...
Comprehensive: cornering ABS, engine modes (which are really different), cruise control (should be mandatory on any bike over 500cc!), quick shifter, traction control with 9 settings that can be changed at the press of a button (in Rallye mode). But will all this work over time ?
Buying experience: New from local KTM dealer
Great bike for off roading , novice friendly , but vibration through bars on long journeys , worried about reliability after off roading trip to the Pyrenees and clutch failed at only 1500 miles from new , I feel it has too much electronics that can go wrong in time .
Great power delivery
£160 seems a lot for a first service which I normally get thrown In for free , comes with slipper clutch , quick shifter but you have to pay £300 to get dealer to enable it through a software upgrade.
Slipper clutch and auto gear shift
Buying experience: From dealer
This is a great bike lovely engine only let down by the niggles listed below.
Great suspension on the R model, Brakes very good.
Engine is lively pulls well. Will lift the wheel easily off the throttle in Rally mode.
Brought this bike brand new. Problems so far: TFT screen mists up. It's July now and I have to wait until October as KTM have a backlog! Rear panel paint has faded. Oil leaking from front sprocket area. Exhaust leaking water residue on to swinging arm. All of the above other than the panel paint (not covered under warranty) are being dealt with under warranty.
Good standard equipment but you will have to pay for quickshifter which on this bike is a great works really well.
Buying experience: Brought from a dealer all good