First look: KTM 790 Adventure R

Published: 28 June 2018

After months of concepts, spy shots and speculation, KTM have officially announced that the 790 Adventure R will go into production in 2019. KTM made the announcement at their European Adventure Rally, where multiple enduro champion Chris Birch was on hand to show people how it handles.

Rally bike on a budget

The new 790 Adventure R will be powered by the 799cc parallel twin LC8 engine, as fitted to the 790 Duke although KTM say it’s been retuned for a wider spread of torque. The Duke makes 103bhp in standard trim, so we’d expect the Adventure to be around 90bhp. This should give it plenty of go on faster roads, while also keeping it easy to use once you hit the dirt.

Having been developed alongside the latest 450RR Rally bike has obviously had an influence both on its styling and practicalities. The 790 has inherited similar low-slung fuel pods, that give it a staggering claimed range in excess of 250 miles while maintaining a low centre of gravity for ease of handling.

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Long-time partners WP provide the suspension, which KTM says is long travel and fully adjustable, so it should be able to handle hardcore off-road work. The shock absorber also uses KTM’s Progressive Damper System, which forgoes a suspension linkage in favour of direct mounting. Despite the tall suspension, KTM say the 790 will have a low seat height and adjustable ergonomics, so that it remains user friendly.

Further focusing the off-road intentions, the 790 Adventure R will come with 21/18” spoked wheels to offer a large range of off-road tyres and will have the option of off-road ABS. It’s also assumed it will have other electronic rider aids such as traction control and adjustable riding modes.

Sat on the fence

So is it a little adventure bike, or a big enduro bike? KTM say it’s both and that it’s been designed to bridge that gap, adding that it’s been designed for ‘extreme travel enduro riding’ and will offer ‘unrivalled performance in its segment’. Speaking at the unveiling, KTM’s PR manager said: “Make no mistake, this new KTM will be the most performance-focused middleweight travel enduro on the market with a spec sheet to rival machines of a much bigger displacement.”

We don’t know about you, but here in the MCN office we’re pretty bloody excited about both this and Yamaha’s similarly styled Tenere 700. For now it’s just a waiting game as full details will be revealed at EICMA, Milan in November.

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