After a couple of years of cancellation, it appears the KTM 790 Adventure is about to return to the manufacturer’s lineup—although there are some interesting changes, and it’s not clear if it’s coming to Canada or not.
When we last saw the 790, it was KTM’s entry-level middleweight adventure bike. That name might sound a bit convoluted, but that’s what it was—for riders ready to move up from small-cc single-cylinder bikes, the 790 was the next step before buying one of KTM’s big V-twin ADVs. The 790 was the first adventure bike using KTM’s new LC8c parallel twin engine, and as Costa wrote in our 2019 review of the machine: “The 790 Adventure R has completely reset my bar for what an adventure bike should be. This is a true middleweight adventure bike that acts like a hardcore dual sport.” Or as Zac put it: “There are definitely bikes that work better on the street, and bikes that work better in the dirt. However, as far as I can tell, there is no other motorcycle that offers as much fun in both worlds as the KTM 790 Adventure R. As Ferris Bueller says, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
A few months later, the 790 was axed from the lineup, replaced by the 890 Adventure for 2021. Wait, what? KTM put all that work into the 790, just to cancel it after a couple of years?
Turns out that isn’t the case. Just like its resurrection of the 790 Duke, KTM plans to resume manufacturing its 790 Adventure. And just like the updated Duke, KTM plans to make the 790 Adventure in China.
That was the rumor originally—that the 790 series would be made in China. But that plan was delayed, probably by COVID-19, and it’s taken a few years for it to become reality. A press release on KTM’s global website says:
“The 2023 KTM 790 ADVENTURE was re-designed and redrafted in Mattighofen, Austria but the production run will be carried out by KTM’s close and potent partner, CFMOTO, with their first-class facilities in China and to the highest standard. The process will be supervised by KTM staff on the ground. The transcontinental cooperation is not the first for KTM and will ensure the adventure spirit can feed directly into the furthest corners of the globe.”
That’s probably the most notable update, but the release also notes that the bike has some mechanical updates for next season, including more rotating mass, reworked throttle bodies, exhaust and quickshifter, new clutch, new IMU, and updated suspension components:
“The 2023 KTM 790 ADVENTURE is now more stable at constant speed and has gained more cornering poise thanks to a 20% increase of rotating mass; an alteration that hasn’t compromised the highly rated agility of the motorcycle. Reworked throttle bodies bring a cleaner and more efficient connection due to the enhanced combustion, and the ‘knock control’ sensor affords a higher state of ignition and better capacity for low octane fuel; a reassuring characteristic for the different qualities of gasoline found while travelling. A reconfigured optional Quickshifter+ enables faster shifting; all of which can be heard through the very latest exhaust system with 2023 catalytic converter and pre-muffler. This is one of the largest modifications to ensure this vibrant generation of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE will be an impeccable choice for moving in, around and then outside of the city limits. The 15,000 km service intervals remain in concrete.
The dependability of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE is hiked with the reworked Power Assist Slipper Clutch with new friction plates and the engine breathes freer with a new airbox. The bike also benefits from the latest 6D sensor, otherwise known as the Inertia Management Unit, that can be found on larger KTM siblings like the KTM 890 ADVENTURE and KTM 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE models. This sophisticated device informs the Cornering Motorcycle Traction Control and other aspects such as ABS, Motor Slip Regulation and the administration of Ride Modes. In terms of features the KTM 790 ADVENTURE holds very similar billing to its larger sibling: the KTM 890 ADVENTURE. ABS programs now automatically switch between the Ride Modes, removing the need for more configuration. KTM has installed an innovative ‘DEMO’ function on the 2023 KTM 790 ADVENTURE; owners can trial the full slew of optional riding extras for the first 1,500 km before deciding which settings they’d like to purchase and keep.
Refined feeling comes from the ‘23 spec 43 mm WP APEX Suspension fork at 200 mm travel with the same allotment for the shock, which has preload adjustability. The construction of the CroMo frame, in which the engine is used as a stressed member, guarantees a robust and stiff constitution for pillion and load-carrying as well as clever positioning of the rear shock for a low seat height (840 mm).”
So: A familiar bike, but with quite a few updates and made in China by CFMoto, which should theoretically drop the price. The question now is: Will it come to Canada, and if so, how much of a discount will we get over the 890?