After years of waiting, here’s the KTM 390 Adventure

It’s been rumoured for years, and it’s finally here. KTM has finally released the 390 Adventure.

There was considerable speculation the 390 Adventure would never make it to market, replaced by a lineup of 490 cc models, but here it is. It’s powered by the same made-in-India 373 cc liquid-cooled thumper as the rest of KTM’s 390s, but the rest of the bike looks a lot different.

That’s mostly due to the long-travel suspension; KTM uses WP Apex forks and shock on the 390 Adventure, with compression controlled by the left fork, rebound controlled by the right, and a spring in each fork.

The KTM 390 Adventure uses a 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear, with cast rims, so it still isn’t made for extreme off-roading, but it certainly looks reasonably capable. No doubt the aftermarket is already looking at providing spoked wheels for this bike as well.

KTM provides TKC 70 tires for the 390 Adventure.

The frame itself is KTM’s standard trellis affair (although set up specifically for this ADV application, not recycled from the 390 Duke). It has a die-cast lattice swingarm and bolt-on trellis subframe, a welcome feature for adventure riders who may need to replace the subframe after a tip-over.

The engine may be KTM’s entry-level thumper, but it has a PASC slipper clutch and a ride-by-wire throttle, so it’s definitely not your daddy’s beginner bike. The bike has a 5-inch TFT display,  and comes with KTM MY RIDE app integration as standard, allowing for Bluetooth integration with mobile devices.

Incredibly, the 390 Adventure even comes with offroad ABS function (allowing the rear brake to deactivate ABS and reducing the front brake’s effect), and traction control. Cornering ABS is also included—a basic, but complete electronics package on an entry-level motorcycle. A quickshifter is optional, but available.

LED headlight and taillight are standard. The fuel tank has a 14.5-liter capacity, and KTM claims that’s good for a 400-km range. The windshield is adjustable, and a tapered aluminum handlebar is standard. Seat height is 855 mm, dry weight is approximately 158 kg.

And get this: KTM is claiming a $6,799 MSRP for this machine in Canada. Considering the standard equipment, that could be a very good deal.


Check out all the pics that go with this story!


    • P.S. – I’m a fan of small-displacement bikes. I find the current state of affairs in which a 900cc-class bike is considered “middleweight” or a 600-class a “beginner bike” to be utterly ridiculous. Moto journalism has sincerely and seriously lost the plot.

      • Well some of this comes down to semantics, some of it comes down to who the bike is marketed for, and some of it is just reality.

        The CB300R is a beginner-oriented bike. The BMW G310 GS is a beginner-oriented bike. The Ruckus is a beginner-oriented bike. Lots of experienced riders have them and like them, but that’s who these machines are primarily aimed towards, and (I’d contend) their primary buyers. That certainly doesn’t make them any less of a motorcycle.

        Anyone who’s been around here a while knows that CMG, and I in particular, have no problem with small bikes. I mean, we used to run a scooter rally and a 250 rally. Until last year, I hadn’t owned a bike bigger than 650 cc in well over a decade. When I went to Labrador this summer, I took my WR250R, not my 650 or even my 350 duallie.

        • I think part of the issue might actually be related to the fact that 40 years ago, an avg build guy might be in the range of 70-80 kg. These days, I think avg probably starts at closer to 85 kg and goes up from there. Phat Bastids needs the Bigly Powerz.

          • There’s something to that (although I’m a big guy and so was Rob, and we both liked small bikes). There’s also something to the fact that people are taller than they used to be.

          • Our expectations of highway speed has gone up too.

            I’ll also add that modern bikes have smoother throttles, better brakes, better tires, better handling than anything 30 years ago did. So a novice rider can be confident on a larger bike, that can do highway speed for more than a brief stint.

            • I dunno, Terence. I might be off in the weeds, but I don’t recall ever having trouble with highway speeds on a ’76 Yamaha XS360C (my first bike). And there was definitely no problem on the ’79 RD400F Daytona Special, which I would never in good conscience label as a ‘beginner bike’. The Daytona would happily take a swipe at you if you let your guard down for an instant.

              I think, therefore, it depends on how we define ‘highway speeds’. If we’re two-up and cruising at 110-120 kph, most 300cc-up bikes will happily do that. If we’re two-up, heavily packed and want to quickly accelerate from 120-to-180kph, then obviously our definition of highway speeds vs use case are considerably different.

              Personally, I really never found a need to go more than about 120 kph, especially since that was the Daytona’s sweet spot with regard to smoothness.

  1. I suppose it’s worth commenting that the 390 has more than a passing resemblance to its bigger brother, the 790. No doubt it is quite intentional, which I find rather unfortunate. I think this was an excellent opportunity for KTM to introduce a fresh, rally-style look to this eagerly anticipated model. Honestly, does anyone actually like that horrendous proboscis KTM seems bent on grafting to its ADV bikes?

    • I am a older rider of over 55years of riding age 72 yr. and I happen to like the look of the KTM 390 Adventure very much, a bit like the praying mantis, look. And I love it when they have there own look, am tired of look a likes. To each his own, I remember the days and one glance at a car or bike and you new what make it was, now they all look so close. KTM is bringing that back and I like it. THANK YOU KTM.

      • To be honest, I mostly agree on the unique looks. Cars got pretty bad for the Uni-Look in the late ’90s, and bikes followed.

  2. I agree that it is unfortunate that smaller displacement motorcycles are considered “beginner” bikes by both moto journos and OEM’s alike. I would really like to see some smaller mc’s with higher spec components. The Kawasaki ZX25R looks to be a real departure from the small cc means low spec beginner bike. Hope it sells well. This KTM 390 seems to be heading in the right direction, and I bet many who buy it will not be beginners. It will be interesting to see what the aftermarket does to address some of its shortcomings.

    • When we ran the D2D rally (250s only, then 500s and under), we found there were two distinct clientele groups: Those who just bought a motorcycle and were pretty clueless about riding, and those who had a whole pile of motorcycles and were experts on two wheels. Keeping the first group safe and the second group out of high-priced traffic tickets proved to be challenging at times. It was indeed The Best Of Times, though.

  3. When are you going to stop calling any bike smaller than a 600 supersport a “beginner” bike? Are you trying to destroy motorcycling? Younger entry level riders, especially young men don’t want a “beginner” bike. That is an insult, a disparaging term that needs to be eliminated. I have a Ninja 300, I love it. It is a small displacement bike that has its own advantages and disadvantages. I am 57 and riding around 30 K Km/year, I ain’t no f’ing beginner. Stop using that word, stop, please. If I see that word in another CMG article, I am not coming back, ever. I started riding on a Honda 175, it was awesome. Back in the late 70’s no one called it a beginner bike. Even in your article about the Ducati 950 you felt compelled to tell me that 113 HP is “enough”. Really!! My 1998 Honda VFR has a measly, piddly 100 hp. It will go an indicated 250 kph, is that not fast enough on public roads? We all “need” 200 HP sport bikes? I am getting sick of all of this male ego posturing. I love the new Aprillia 660. 169 kg, less weight than my Ninja 300, but “only” 100 hp. Oh no, it might not go over 300 kph, well then I guess that would be a “beginner” sport bike. You guys are losing me, everyone in North America who derides smaller bikes. In the UK they celebrate cool smaller bikes because if it is “cool” then people want one. Just look at the idiotic SUV/pickup truck craze. Tell men they are cool and they will buy it. Tell them it is for beginners they won’t even look at it. You moto journalists are the ultimate bike snobs, ruining the sport you profess to love. Even the Suzuki TU250 is not a beginner bike. It is a small bike that should not be taken on high speed divided highways, it would be an amazing commuter bike. I am so sick of people who use the B word in this context. If you get this far I am sure you have figured that out. I don’t remember Rob using that word, but he was from the UK, and he was not a snob. Cam

    • Cam trying to save us from ourselves. Cheers for saying what many are thinking. Sadly, most will go right back to overcompensating.

    • Well said except that in the UK and even on the continent many now share the same mentality. Still they sell more 125cc bikes and scooters than all other categories due to different license rules and although i do not have numbers it seem that A2 license holders tend to favour bigger A2 compliant bikes to smaller one

    • dead on about beginner bikes, that has to be so stupid, a bike is a bike no matter what size it is. Some times I get the feeling that they are trying to shame people in to getting a bigger bike, and spend the dollars. I have ridden bikes from 50 cc to well over 1000 cc, and enjoy them all, The largest bike I now ride is a 650 cc one is the Suzuki S40 and the other a DR 650, also ride a Versys x 300 and enjoy these bikes much more that the bigger ones. Love the saying ( it is more fun riding a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.) Had a lot of friends that had these so called super bikes and they spent more time at the coffee shop bragging about there bikes than they did riding. Also had many times where people who had these supper bikes could not keep up to me on the corners, all that power and different programing is not worth nothing if you do not how to use it. In fact it is a death trap for a lot of people, have known some that are now in a wheel chare and some that are 6′ under. Let people ride what they want and Stop Putting Labels on them, don’t need people feeling they need bigger than they can handle, because you feel the need to label, some bikes as beginner bikes.

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