KTM 790 ADVENTURE (2019 - 2020) Review


  • As the name implies, adventure-spec middleweight from Austria
  • More road-biased than R version
  • Plenty of options for added flexibility

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £340
Power: 95 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: Medium (417 lbs / 189 kg)


New N/A
Used £6,800 - £7,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

KTM launched their middleweight adventure bike range in 2019 with the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R. This standard version was the ever so slightly tamer and more road biased version of the flagship R model.

The 790 was replaced in 2020 by the 890 Adventure, a more powerful and technologically advanced version. Then, KTM announced the 2023 790 Adventure - a cheaper base model of the bike manufactured in China by partners CFMoto.

Although more road focussed, it can’t hide its off-road credentials and while it has less ground clearance, suspension travel and lower-spec forks, it retains its true adventure credentials thanks to its true off-road wheel sizes: 21” front and 18” rear.

KTM 790 Adventure side profile on desert with dust

Well-equipped as standard, there are plenty of creature comforts and tech to play with, all the info displayed neatly on the TFT dash.

As an overall package it feels classy, substantial and confidence inspiring. Perfectly suited for any rider who wants to get more out of their adventure bike and feel less intimidated by the physical size and power of modern machines.

See our video review of the 790 Adventure and Adventure R here:

Ride quality & brakes

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

With WP suspension front and rear the bike feels well supported and firm - all of which is helped by its relative lack of weight. The rear shock is adjustable for pre-load, but the forks are non-adjustable yet still deliver good feedback on or off-road.

While the riding position feels focussed, it’s comfortable with the firm seat giving the support needed for long days. There is plenty of room to move backward and forwards and the handlebar clamp position can be adjusted to suit within a range of 40mm.

The low-slung fuel tanks which sit either side of the engine mean it’s well balanced and has a low centre of gravity, and that helps technical riding and high speed stability.

KTM 790 Adventure front action shot on hard standing

The 830mm seat height feels right for the size of bike and can be raised to 850mm with a new seat or lowered right down to 800mm with a lower seat and shorter rear shock.

There’s plenty of braking power on tap thanks to the twin 320mm discs and four pot calipers with plenty of feel for off-road performance. It features specific road and off-road ABS as well as cornering ABS.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Power comes courtesy of the same 799cc double overhead cam parallel twin motor first introduced in the 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 850GS, but due to its weight – 43kg lighter than the Honda - it feels lively and more responsive.

While it’s not fast like its 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.

KTM 790 Adventure on the road

Reliability & build quality

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

Owners' reviews are limited but reliability isn't flagged as an issue. We also ran this bike's successor - the KTM 890 Adventure R - on the MCN Fleet in 2021 and had no reliability issues.

The reliability section in owners' reviews for the KTM 790 Duke does contain a few issues with reports of water ingress in switchgear, leaking coolant and oil, sensor failures and jerky quickshifters all mentioned.

Service intervals are generous, with an oil change every 9320 miles.

KTM 790 Adventure skid from rear view

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Originally published in MCN November 6, 2019, by Phil West

There was a time ‘adventure bike’ meant 1000ccplus leviathans built to transport two around the globe with price tags to match their proportions. Not any more. BMW set the mid-size adventure bike class rolling with their first F800GS in 2008, closely followed by Triumph and their Tiger 800 in 2010.

An enlarged F850GS debuted in 2018 while Triumph’s 800 is one of Hinckley’s most popular and successful all-rounders. But, despite the debut of other worthy newcomers such as Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 and Ducati’s Multistrada 950, the most notable recent arrival has surely been from Austrian adventure bike specialist KTM.

Their 790 Adventure not only draws on the success of its bigger, V-twin bikes, it also matches the Bavarian benchmark for power (95bhp), powertrain layout (an almost identikit parallel twin) and price. But is it actually better than the BMW and what exactly do you get for the money? Time for the MCN250 to find out...

KTM 790 Adventure takes on BMW F800GS

KTM 790 Adventure vs BMW F850GS: The verdict

This is one of the closest 250 contests I’ve ridden. The GS benefits from 10 years of development and refinement to be a brilliant all-rounder, while nearly £2k of accessories give it luxury the KTM can’t hope to match. But underneath I can’t help but feel the F850 is showing its age.

The KTM, meanwhile, mostly matches it yet is newer, fresher and slightly sharper, if blighted by a harder seat and less proven reliability. My head says BMW and my heart KTM, but prices of these versions also play a big part and don’t forget Triumph’s brilliant Tiger 800 with rumours of an even better 900 for 2020.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

Using class leading Bosch electronics, there are three 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. This is an optional extra.

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.

Other items you can add to the KTM 790 Adventure spec include:

  • Cruise control
  • Luggage
  • Heavy duty wheels
  • Extra protection
  • Heated grips

KTM 790 Adventure side profile on desert with dust


Engine size 799cc
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
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 189kg
Front suspension WP-USD Ø 43 mm
Rear suspension WP 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 £117
Annual service cost £340
New price -
Used price £6,800 - £7,500
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 65 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

The KTM 790 Adventure joined the model range in 2019 using the 790 parallel-twin engine first used in the 790 Duke. In 2020 it was replaced by the 890 Adventure.

However, late in 2022 we got word of a 2023 KTM 790 Adventure, which will be built by CF Moto in China.

Other versions

Owners' reviews for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE (2019 - 2020)

4 owners have reviewed their KTM 790 ADVENTURE (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.

Review your KTM 790 ADVENTURE (2019 - 2020)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £340
5 out of 5 great machine though dealer unbelievable shockingly awful .
18 December 2023 by Davey

Year: 2019

great wee bike but the service at dealers was shocking very very bad the boss was back from Isle of Man was looking to upgrade bike but had a tax bill , he said only the poor pay tax !!! no wonder Isle of Man he likes .

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

Buying experience: terrible KTM dealer Northern Ireland

5 out of 5
30 May 2023 by Paul Chatfield

Version: s

Year: 2019

For a shorter rider, the adjustable seat height is a godsend, especially at low speeds. It is surprisingly nimble off-road, but it's still a big bike when transitioning from a 690. On the road, manners are top-notch and the seat is very comfortable over long distances.

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 4 out of 5

The only thing that I really found I didn't like was the fuel gauge. It would take a few miles to decide how much it had in the tank from startup in the morning. I think, because of the large tank with low-slung portions the fuel migrated to one side when on the side stand overnight.

4 out of 5 A great light adventure bike
19 December 2020 by Phil James

Version: S

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £400

I come to motorcycling late in life. I played with my brother's motorbike as a youth and rode illegally. When I got to 17 I drove cars for 30 years then traffic drove me to a 3 wheeler because I could drive it on a car license. Once I had made the transition, I went and did a bike license but in Spain you cannot do a direct entry so I did the A2 and bought the 790. I bought it because it is a light bike with good performance and offroad capability. Bike is expensive and some of the extras should be standard at the this price. (i.e. centre stand, cruise control) the KTM my ride app sucks. You have to buy it and then it doesn't work properly. it cannot connect properly to either Iphone or android and only the Nav part works not the phone. you cannot dial no.s only receive a call if someone calls you. and you have to pay for it to get it unlocked!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the bike and I go out on it to ride for fun. I use my 3 wheeler scooter mostly for commuting as it has better weather protection, is easier to ride and bomb proof. But for touring and fun riding the KTM is the machine of choice.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

It is a great tourer and can ride for hours I did Madrid to Malaga and back in a weekend (that's 5 hours each way). Brakes are excellent and the handling is really good and predictable particularly at high speed

Engine 5 out of 5

this is a great engine but I am waiting to get the A2 restriction removed as it obviously reduces power and torque, but even restricted you have most of what you need for daily life. The bottom end is great I will have to see about top end when they take the restrictor off in July

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

When I bought it it kept stalling don't know whether this was just the engine was tight or what? I have done 22,000 KM now in 17 months and I have had no failures or problems

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I understand that the 30k service is expensive

Equipment 4 out of 5

Everything works but the quickshifter can under certain circumstances lead to a jolt on upshift in low gears and I have had quite a number of false neutrals. I don't know if this is inexperience and carelessness or if this is to do with the bike. Love the cruise control it is a great addition for longer trips and legal compliance on speed managed roads. Pannier and KTM topbox are rather small inside considering their outside dimensions. My scooter topbox will hold 2 fullsized helmets while the KTM struggles to hold one. I had heated seat and grips added when I moved to Poland they work fine but the heated seat does not appear to turn off once on and you aev to turn teh bike off to get it to turn off.

Buying experience: I bought new from a dealer. The problem is that as an A2 license holder most shops are not prepared for an A2 license holder and do not have a restricted bike to do a test ride so you are more or less forced to buy the bike without a test ride....!!!!!!!!!!!!! The will of course restrict the bike for you once you have paid the money! And only then! In Spain they are obsessed with the certification of A2 I had to get it inspected (MOT) then the bike shop did the restriction (electronically) and certified it and they took it round to the test centre again to get the vehicle registration logged as a restricted A2 model. Just to make it easier they refused to register it until I had insurance and most insurers with internet insurance will not give you a policy without a plate an obvious catch 22.!

5 out of 5 The bike i asked for 8 years ago is here, and better than i imagined.
07 August 2019 by rogern

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £270

This is the best balanced bike i have ever ridden. Felt natural from the start. I mostly use if for commuting in town (workdays), weekend road rides, going into forest track rides. It has a shorter seat than the 790R, which is why i chose the 790. Nothing has gone wrong with it. As with any bike, test ride it before you buy it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brakes are great. At start seat was uncomfortable - after 1 hour needed a break. But it has bedded in, and not uncomfortable now - did a 4 hour ride between breaks. Taken it on forest track which hadn't been graded in a long time with exposed rocks. Really good going - though i should have taken the rubber inserts out of the pegs, and will likely add handlebar risers. Weight is low down.

Engine 5 out of 5

Swapped BMW F800GS for KTM 1290 Superduke R then swapped that for this bike, so the engine is a totally different, but compares well to previous BMW F800GS. Engine is still warming up. The bike is really quiet. The akrapovic exhaust would be great, but at a cost.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only done 1500 km - no issues. Low fuel does come on a bit early (with about 4-5 L remaining). It probably does take 1500-2000 km to bed in, you can really notice how it improves as time goes by.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

15000 km servicing periods. I did a highway ride, got 434 km before the fuel light came on, then filled up with 15.5 L - so over 500km definitely possible. During town commute, I get about 400km on a tank.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It has most of what i want pivot pegs, hand guards, bash plate, doesn't feel like it needs crash bars, seat started out uncomfortable but after a few weeks it is fine so i wont be going for comfort seat. It is missing heated grips as standard (ordered), missing centre stand (but that would just add weight), cruise control not standard (probably will buy that later). I'm still deciding on screen for motorway riding. The bike came out before all the equipment was available. TFT screen works well, but i have to get a handle on the connectivity - currently leaving the sat nav to my phone attached to the handlebars.

Buying experience: Purchased in Australia KTM Brisbane from a dealer - went in for Superduke servicing, they gave me a 790 Adventure for the day. Brilliant. Went back on Saturday, got a good trade in deal, purchased the bike.

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