Is KTM about to release an “adventurized” 390 Adventure?

The current 390 Adventure model can get you pretty far off the beaten track, but a set of spoked wheels and a more robust chassis would be even better. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

What could improve the KTM 390 Adventure?

According to Zac, who rode the wheels off one last summer, “not much.” Well, aside from more power (the perpetual complaint of almost any motorcyclist) and perhaps a more adventurous layout.

The first suggestion, nobody is going to do much about. The 390 Adventure makes 43ish hp in stock trim, and that’s plenty for a bike in this price bracket. More torque would also be nice, and maybe we’ll see that in a future re-tuning, but don’t expect this bike to get to 50 hp anytime soon.

But the other suggestion, of making the bike more adventure-ready—spy shots indicate KTM is indeed working on such a plan.

The standard KTM 390 Adventure model comes with cast 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. They work great on pavement, and can handle a bit of off-road, but if you push them too hard in the dirt, those rims will end up beat-up and incapable of sealing to the tire bead. This is a bad thing!

That’s why you see spoked wheels on dirt bikes and dual sports, even on big-bore full-power ADV bikes: Spokes have give, and don’t get destroyed with a bumpy offroad ride.

In the past, KTM actually sold a spoked wheelset as accessories for the 390 Adventure, but they seem to have become unobtanium. For that reason, some riders have taken to adapting the spoked wheelset off the Royal Enfield Himalayan, but that’s a less-than-optimal solution.

If spy photos are correct, though, KTM is working on a new version of the 390 Adventure that comes with a set of proper spoked wheels from the factory.

Crack spy photographer Benhard M. Höhne has snapped photos of this bike undergoing testing. You can find them in several spots online (here’s a link to some high-quality photos on Cycle World). The images themselves look pretty legit, but they’re even more convincing when you remember that there have been rumours of this bike for at least two years already.

From the photos, it looks like KTM is tinkering with several other pieces of the bike, not just the wheelset, and it’s possible the chassis may be upgraded to handle off-roading at a faster pace than the standard 390 Adventure, which was basically a massaged 390 Duke.

So, stay tuned: The 390 Adventure might be about to get a lot more adventurous. Let’s just hope that if that happens, the price stays as reasonable as it has been for the past couple of years.

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