KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R motorcycle comparison test


New icon, Easy Adventure

95 hp at 8,000 rpm and 89 Nm at 6,600 rpm

KTM, it was the master of the single cylinder, then of the maxi trail but was absent for a long time at the medium displacement level until the arrival of the 790 Duke roadster.. Particularly demonstrative, both in terms of aesthetics, mechanics and chassis, the twin-cylinder was expected in its exploratory version, at the height of its DNA. And finding a replacement for its icon 990 which appeared in 2006 was not easy…. Today’s wish becomes reality with better than a single machine. KTM thus offers both a road trail with the 790 Adventure and another more extreme with the 790 Adventure R. And there is much more than a letter between the dummy twins, whose skills show quite marked differences in the field. And speaking of terrain, to test them well, we had to take them where the mechanics can be put to the test, ie on the tracks of Morocco. Direction Errachidia to test the new adventurers in their natural element.

KTM 790 Adventure on trackKTM 790 Adventure on track


Offer a mid-size travel machine that is the most capable of getting off the road. This is the idea behind the design of the new KTMs. The standard model would be an efficient road with excellent off-bitumen capabilities. The R version is an excellent offroad machine, coupled with a long-haul traveler. Crossover concept or Austrian dilemma, the 790s are extremely similar but each inherits specificities determining their future route..

The road version of the KTM 790 AdventureThe road version of the KTM 790 Adventure

Racy, the style of the two machines is dynamic. Clean, they both evoke efficiency, performance and travel. They differ, aesthetically, by their mudguard, flush for the road, perched high on the R model and accompanied by hand guards, already evoking the offroad, a short bubble on the more adventurous, much higher on the version. standard and adjustable in two positions (40 mm difference) by unscrewing a central fixing. In detail, the graphics of their decor are also a little different. Two large triangular lights block the front, including daytime running lights. Plunging and tapered, the scoops frame the radiator and run towards the sides, surrounding a large 20-liter tank.

KTM 790 Adventure R with its high front mudguard and monoselleKTM 790 Adventure R with its high front mudguard and monoselle

Innovative and stylish, this tank is an essential point of design and conception, giving an important and elegant presence to the front of the Adventure. Molded in a piece of thick polyamide, it deploys its volumes around the machine to place the masses as low as possible. A solution already used on the 990 and optimized here. This lowers the center of gravity for more agility and frees up space on the front of the bike when standing. Its bases are reinforced with protective plates in the event of a fall. It is also noted that most of the heaviest parts of the 790s do not extend beyond the saddle horizon. Behavior should be greatly affected. Finally, the front volumes can accommodate the large radiator. Two fans are responsible for evacuating the calories, even in a very hot climate. Lower down, a large aluminum shoe protects the lower engine as standard.

Belly pan KTM 790 Adventure RBelly pan KTM 790 Adventure R

A double seat accommodates the crew on the standard version. The saddle is monobloc on the R and flatter. On both sides, both models offer handles to ensure passenger support. They then join in a useful rack dominating a compact light and concluding a narrow and sheathed stern. Reinforced to carry significant weight, the steel trellis of the rear loop is bolted to a tubular frame of the same metal with chromium molybdenum. The structure uses the motor as a supporting element.

KTM 790 Adventure, the road versionKTM 790 Adventure, the road version


The latter features the 799 cc (88 x 65.7 mm) LC8c parallel twin with dual camshaft and four valves per cylinder. KTM always takes care of its mechanics with two balance shafts. Here it has nikasil-treated aluminum cylinders and forged pistons with three segments, connected to cracked forged connecting rods. The assembly drives a one-piece forged crankshaft whose crankpins set at 75 degrees, imitate the character of a V-twin. The profile of the cams is modified to satisfy the offroad use of the 790 Aventure. Likewise, the air box and injection are optimized. Thus, the unit delivers a little less power and slightly more torque than the Duke, but the whole is much more available: 95 hp at 8,000 rpm and 89 Nm at 6,600 rpm (against 105 hp at 9,000 and 87 Nm at 8,000….).

The twin-cylinder of the KTM 790 AdventureThe twin-cylinder of the KTM 790 Adventure

The 790 Adventure incorporate a lot of electronics, with an inertial unit controlling the anti-skid angle, engine brake management and ABS. But all these aids can be deactivated independently, allowing the pilot to easily configure his machine. The Bosch EMS system also controls a Ride by Wire type throttle with three engine modes, Street, Rain and Offroad. The latter softens the throttle and allows a significant level of skating before intervening. It also allows traction control to be disconnected and is not tilt sensitive. In addition, the ABS is then reduced on the front and deactivated at the rear..

Ride-by-Wire and engine modes for the 790 AdventureRide-by-Wire and engine modes for the 790 Adventure

Adventure R adds a Rally mode, optional on the standard. Traction control intervention can then be set to nine different levels at any time. This makes it possible to adapt traction to the state of the terrain and the desired riding style. Engine responsiveness is also sharper.

The misdsize katoches are equipped with an assisted clutch and limited slip to avoid locking the rear wheel in the event of heavy braking or significant downshifting. Finally, an optional quickshifter up and down gear as well as a cruise control equip our test bikes..

Engine block LC8 parallel twin, 4 stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC, 8 valvesEngine block LC8 parallel twin, 4 stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC, 8 valves

It is on the cycle part that the 790 admit the most differences, inherent in their use, especially in geometry and suspension. The Adventure R aims for even more stability with values ​​higher than that of the standard model; its caster angle is 26.3 ° against 25.9 ° and the trail is 110.4 mm against 107.8 mm. Its wheelbase is 1,528 mm while that of the more road is reduced to 1,509 units (-10 mm). Finally, the most adventurous has 263 mm of ground clearance against 233 in the Adventure.

KTM 790 Adventure R swingarmKTM 790 Adventure R swingarm

The latter is equipped with a non-adjustable 43 mm WP Apex inverted fork, with 200 mm travel. Its preload adjustable WP shock absorber has the same value. More broadly dedicated to offroad, the Adventure R receives an imposing 48 mm WP Xplore inverted fork and a WP PDS shock absorber, both fully adjustable and deflecting 240 mm. In addition, KTM equips its trails with a steering damper to reinforce their stability. A good thing when you know the lightness of the Austrian front end. Finally, in die-cast aluminum, the boxed swingarm receives the shock absorber in direct mounting, without connecting rod.

KTM 790 Adventure R WP inverted forkKTM 790 Adventure R WP inverted fork

With their claims out of bitumen asserted, the 790 are equipped with wheels in consequence. Their spoked aluminum rims show 21 inches at the front and 18 at the rear. The Adventure is fitted with the Avon av53 Trailrider in 90/90 and 150/70, the R on the Metzeler Karoo 3 of the same dimensions.

KTM 790 Adventure rimsKTM 790 Adventure rims

To stop female travelers, two radial 4-piston radial calipers attack 320mm discs up front. The opposing 2-piston clamp grips a 260mm disc. The whole is controlled by a deactivatable Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with cornering monitoring in turns and offroad mode.

KTM 790 Adventure rear brake caliperKTM 790 Adventure rear brake caliper

At KTM, efficiency takes precedence over flash. No glossy paint on the dresses of the 790s. The firm makes extensive use of mass-tinted plastic, both for the fairings and the raw color of the tank. But all surfaces are neat as well as the housings of the twin LC8c. Under the left rear cladding, there is a fairly complete tool kit. Practical, the air filter is placed under the saddle, very easy to access. A central stand can be fitted to the machines. Finally, maintenance intervals are now spaced 15,000 km apart.

KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R colorsKTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R colors

In the saddle

880 mm high for the saddle of the 790 Adventure R! Dwarves therefore refrain with high-placed trails. Fortunately, the Austrian manufacturer wanted to make its trail midsize as accessible as possible with adjustable seats between 830 and 850 mm for the 790 Adventure. There are even "low saddle" versions at 800. But those who find that the origin is not high enough can have saddles high at 865 mm for the standard and 905 mm on the more adventurous. Fortunately, the seats are narrow near the tank and well defined. In particular, they allow a lot of recoil and movement. In addition, they are interchangeable between the two models! Remarkable comfort in spite of their density, the saddles very slightly tilt the bust forward. The flexion of the legs is natural, ideal for long distances. Modular, the ergonomics of the 790s allow the pilot to find the most suitable position. The hands fall on a large handlebar with variable diameter, whose saddles allow 6 positions and the levers are adjustable in spacing.

Seat height of the KTM 790 Adventure RSeat height of the KTM 790 Adventure R

In front of you, a large 5-inch color TFT screen brings together all the useful information. And above all in one of the most ergonomic ways. This is the first time that I fully appreciate a purely digital instrumentation. Most of the display houses a large right-hand turn counter, including fuel gauge and engine temperature. The level of the various assistances as well as a gear indicator engaged complete this set. The latter is next to, on the left side, a configurable summary of the other information available (odometer, partial with average consumption for each. We will also scroll through all the functions, data and settings available via the left control unit. Perfectly readable and rather educational, the instruments are a real benchmark of the genre.

Dashboard KTM 790 AdventureDashboard KTM 790 Adventure

Finally, a 12V socket conveniently located under the screen allows you to easily power a GPS.

Energetic pulsations inhabit the twin, which snores severely, on the throttle. As an original exhaust, the KTM 790 unit is not outrageous and will not affect your peace of mind on long journeys. On the other hand, the Akrapovic silencer cracks much more sharply during acceleration and gives more character to the machine..

The Akrapovic silencer of the KTM 790 Adventure RThe Akrapovic silencer of the KTM 790 Adventure R

In the city

Giving great ease to the handlebars, the Adventure offers a comfortable space for the rider. They are also compact and easy to take in the motley traffic of southern Moroccan towns. Large 4X4 and, many cyclists rub shoulders with carefree pedestrians and hypotraveled carts. The weather sometimes seems a little frozen there, the traffic conditions too. ABS and MTC traction control are not too much to avoid trouble, as the asphalt is slippery. Real permanent ice reduces any grip, leaving the machines to skate in a straight line on the strongest accelerations ….

Natural, the 790 are guided by sight, hardly encumbered by their only 209 kilos fully loaded. Docile and available on intermediates, the twin evolves in 4 from 2,500 laps without hiccups. Flexible clutch and precise selection combine with the mechanics for pleasant urban evolutions. Docile in the city, Austrians are avid travelers who yearn for more space. And here is not what is missing.

KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R in the dunesKTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R in the dunes

Motorways and expressways

No tolls on the horizon, nor wide lanes, but an often straight ribbon drawn and clear in the middle of the desert of rocks. Without forcing, the 790s hang 200 km / h, proving the good health of the block. We can take him further still. At these high speeds, the course is flawless. And the double balance shaft limits the vibrations of the unit at any speed. On the Standard Adventure, the protection is very good with the screen in the high position. Only the top of the helmet is licked by the air flow (1.84m) and the shoulders are more exposed. Legal, the twin booms quietly at 5,000 rpm on the last gear, ready to effectively relaunch the crew.

Practical, cruise control makes long motorway trips less painful. Easy to use, it allows precise control of the pace. In desert ship mode, don’t forget to branch off to narrower and winding paths.

KTM 790 Adventure on the roadKTM 790 Adventure on the road


It is difficult to fully judge the behavior of the new KTM trails on the secondary network. We did not use these routes very often and often in straight lines. However, the twin LC8c is really more pleasant than that of the Duke. Reworked, the block delivers much better pleasure over a wide range of engine speeds, especially since it is less demonstrative in high speeds. Here, we appreciate more the intermediaries. The revivals are straightforward and sustained, especially after 5,500 revolutions when the torque is approaching its maximum of 89 Nm, 1,000 revolutions later. Less sharp and more available, the mechanics energize the road evolutions and give a more marked character to the katoches. We also appreciate the quality of the electronic gas management. Finely calibrated ride by wire and precise injection allow excellent throttle control without any jerking.

The dynamic ergonomics of the 790 also provide an ideal position to handle tight bends. When the grip improves, the road feel is appreciable despite the large suspension travel. Mass transfers are thus less marked on the standard version. The machine therefore dives less under braking under the somewhat harsh action of the front calipers. In addition, the inertial unit makes it possible to take advantage of additional safety on the braking angle. This quality damping on both machines delivers top-notch comfort. Dry or heavy compressions are swallowed with equal effectiveness. And the upholstery adds to the ease over long distances. What to enjoy the landscape while riding on the couple.

KTM 790 Adventure on the highwayKTM 790 Adventure on the highway

Offroad – 790 Adventure R

Designed for large spaces, the 790 Adventure are designed to "go into the scenery". In the standard version, the offroad possibilities are already very correct and allow you to drive on rough tracks or even to evolve more boldly in the landscape. The slightly flexible adjustment of its suspensions and the default tire fitting will, however, limit a more committed progression..

It is on the handlebars of the Adventure R that we can approach the desert more frankly. For the occasion, KTM fitted its Continental TKC80 machines, tires more suited to the program. Equipped with electronic Rally mode, the most adventurous of trails allows you to avoid any intrusive assistance and to control the desired level of traction on the handlebars at any time..

In the depths of Morocco, it is easy to leave the bitumen ribbon to go into the unknown. The more we advance, the more sandy, thicker the tracks, towards rocky buttresses lost in the middle of wide spaces. The Adventure 790 offers a more natural and efficient riding position than it is for such a machine. Matighoffen’s expertise in this area is still impressive. Standing on the footrests, rather placed on the front, we benefit from excellent control of the steering gear, the handlebars falling ideally under the gloves. Magic of the place, we often leave the trail to go on an adventure, creating a bit of our own raid in the midst of stones, bleeding and other sometimes tricky terrain. The WP suspensions of the 790 Adventure R transform the motorcycle into a flying carpet. Perfectly managed, compression and rebound effectively control the sag of the fork, especially at the end of the stroke. The absorption capacity is impressive and makes the crew fly over the terrain.

KTM 790 Adventure R in the fesh feshKTM 790 Adventure R in the fesh fesh

Further in the sand of the dunes, we also appreciate the availability of the block and the control provided by the millimeter accelerator. Drifts and reminders are thus managed with precision. Barely less angry than a V-twin LC8, the parallel twin never lacks strength or extension. And its relative flexibility allows excellent control in more technical passage.

But the truth is elsewhere, in this cycle part which is obviously quite impressive off-road for a machine of 209 kg. Balance and lowest center of gravity are very noticeable, especially in slow movement or tight maneuvers. The work with the legs is all the more effective there. The Adventure shows a rather sensitive "tumbling" effect, forgiving a lot of mistakes. This distribution of the masses is a real asset. A little profession can save a lot of the situation. And when the machine falls at low speed, it does not carry off the pilot with violence. No damage to fear on the tank which rests on its thick protection.

Agile, intuitive, the Adventure R leaves a good capacity for improvisation on the handlebars. Another good point is the up and down quick-shifter fitted as an option on our testing machines. Its transparent operation and its precision both upshifting and downshifting is a real plus when maneuvering.

KTM 790 Adventure RKTM 790 Adventure R


With their low weight, one of the most rigorous cycle parts and the judicious arrangement of their innovative fuel tank, the KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R benefit from remarkable balance. The set provides an intuitive grip and remarkable offroad efficiency, both for novices and the more seasoned..

Despite a non-adjustable fork, the standard Adventure enjoys excellent comfort and premium damping quality. The R model is superlative, able to go anywhere

Its fork allows it to fly over obstacles and the whole shows an always appreciable balance..

Luggage KTM 790 AdventureLuggage KTM 790 Adventure


Powerful, the front radial-mount calipers deliver a somewhat straightforward attack. A little restraint allows the deceleration force to be effectively dosed. The rear element is just as flexible, providing additional guidance, especially in offroad.

Front brake two 320 mm discs, radial 4-piston calipersFront brake two 320 mm discs, 4 piston radial calipers

Comfort / Duo

Although having told him the thousand and one qualities of the machine, Scheherazade did not accompany me on the 790 Adventure. Too bad, it would have benefited from a wide and comfortable saddle, well-designed handles, significant suspension comfort and…. of a charming pilot. New road adventurers, or the reverse, the KTMs can be equipped with plastic or aluminum suitcases.

KTM 790 Adventure two-seater seatKTM 790 Adventure two-seater seat


4.5 to 4.8 liters per 100 according to the electronic brain. A value in line with the 450 km of autonomy claimed by the brand. Over such a distance, we bet you’ll drink before the machine ?

Great traveler in KTM 790 AdventureGreat traveler in KTM 790 Adventure


Claimed and legitimate heirs of the 990, the KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R combine innovative design, attractive mechanics, high-performance suspensions and reassuring electronics to compose real long-distance adventurers. Their capacity out of bitumen is astonishing, making it possible to consider distant journeys or raids engaged without hesitation. Much easier than their predecessors in the Austrian range, the novelties provide an ideal compromise and may well establish themselves as versatile vessels in the segment. Priced at € 12,499.00 as standard and € 13,499 for the R version, the 790 Adventure promises to face competition that is already well established,.

Starting with the Europeans: BMW F850 GS and Adventure at € 12,250 and € 13,300, Triumph Tiger 800 XRx and XCx for € 12,100 and € 13,200 make up an efficient and well-equipped offer. But they seem far from the general performance of KTMs.

On the Asian side, the Honda CRF1000L is asking for € 13,599. Its superior torque and overall capabilities do not hide a higher weight, higher perched and less extensive electronics. Finally, it is above all the expected Japanese novelty, reviving a legend on two wheels, the Yamaha 700 Tenere that we are now waiting for, offered at € 9,699 (€ 9,299 in pre-order online). Less efficient in mechanics, the athlete with tuning forks admits 3,000 € less to cut the dunes. To see after test…


Strong points

  • Motor
  • Intuitive cycle part, balance and distribution of masses
  • Suspensions
  • Configurable electronic assistance
  • Overall dynamic efficiency
  • Comfort

Weak points

  • Non-adjustable suspensions

Adventure R

Strong points

  • Motor
  • Intuitive cycle part, balance and distribution of masses
  • Suspensions
  • Configurable electronic assistance, powerful Rally mode
  • Overall dynamic efficiency
  • Comfort

Weak points

  • One-piece duo saddle
  • Very short bubble

The technical sheet of the KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R


March 2019

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: winding roads with variable surfaces, dry.
    Offroad: earth, rocks, sand, fechfech.
  • weather: sunny, from 13 ° to 25 ° C
    200 km offroad, 100 km road

  • Problem encountered: ras

Test equipment

  • AGV AX9 helmet
  • Dainese Centauri GoreTex Boots (offroad)
  • Dainese Explorer Gran Turismo Jacket
  • Dainese Explorer Antartica Trousers

Standard equipment

  • 12V socket on the dashboard
  • ABS can be deactivated
  • MTC-MSR traction control
  • Inertial unit
  • Accessories
  • Quickshifter: € 392.46
  • Speed ​​regulator: € 244.92
  • "Rally" driving mode: € 195.78

Related articles

  • KTM 1190 Adventure R test

    An obvious aiR The year 2013 marks a change of era in the trail segment, both because of new arrivals and remarkable changes. This last point evokes of…

  • KTM 1290 Super Adventure S motorcycle test

    Her Serene Adventurer 1290 V-Twin LC8 of 1,301 cm3, 160 hp and 138 Nm, 220 kg dry, electronic suspensions, adaptive regulator, 18,599 euros The ancestor…

  • Yamaha Tracer 9 and Tracer 9 GT motorcycle test

    Cross-country sprinters 3 cylinders in line, 889 cm3, 119 hp and 93 Nm, 213 kg full made, from 11,499 euros Road trail, sport-touring, road … the names…

  • Comparison test for KTM 690 SMC-R and Enduro R motorcycles

    Mono multi-pleasures Single cylinder LC4, 690 cm, 74 hp and 73.5 Nm, WP suspensions, Brembo brakes, 10,799 euros The very DNA of the brand, the…

  • KTM 390 Adventure test

    Accessible adventure Single cylinder, 373.2 cm3, 44 hp and 37 Nm, 172 kg full made, WP suspensions, ByBre brakes, ABS in curves and Offroad… Since…

  • Ducati Hypermotard 950 and SP motorcycle comparison test

    The art of irreverence L-Twin of 937 cm3, 114 hp and 9.8 mkg, 200 kg full made, from 12,690 euros What is a Hypermot ‘? If we say it’s a mix of supermot…

  • KTM 990 Adventure motorcycle test

    GO TO ORANGE !! From 950 cm3 to 990 cm3 in 2006, the KTM 990 Adventure is an atypical motorcycle, both big road trail and capable of going off-road. Its…

  • Yamaha MT-07 2021 motorcycle test

    Generic anti-depressant Twin CP2, 689 cm3, 73.4 hp, 67 Nm, 184 kg, 7,299 euros The face of bikers in the medium-displacement segment, the Yamaha MT-07…

  • Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE motorcycle test

    3rd evolution for the shock road trail hybrid 4 cylinders in line, 1,043 cm3, 120 hp and 102 Nm, KECS electronic suspensions, 257 kg, 16,899 euros…

  • KTM 1050 Adventure test

    The backpacker’s guide In just a few years, KTM has particularly developed its family of maxi-trails with a promising name. The committed Austrian…

3 thoughts on “KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R motorcycle comparison test

  1. !!

    Ah, no, especially not !

    When you are lucky enough to have a job like ours, to travel and drive in regions and conditions that are not very accessible to most people … and on the very latest models..

    , we measure all our luck and we forget fatigue and painful moments to appreciate the extraordinary of the situation.

    It’s also passion.

    Two days ago I was in Morocco, today in Kyoto…

    Privileged !

    Home … it’s the airport…

    to smile

  2. Kyoto in addition …

    Lucky wink

    (although you probably don’t have time to visit much)

  3. Yeah, we’re intoxicating pro.

    Well, we got them from KTM pardis, they will be power parts.

    Dealers are often less well informed, alas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *