EICMA Goes Apesh*t for KTM 790 Adventure

KTM's middleweight machines get a very positive response at Milan's big moto show

If the nonstop attention its bikes received at EICMA is anything to go by, KTM may have an extreme success on its hands in the form of the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R it unveiled this week.

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As soon as KTM’s officials allowed the world’s press and trade visitors to do so, the bikes were crowded with people eager to poke, prod, and throw a leg over these high-performance middleweights. The crowds did not die down at any point during the two days of press events; I wasn’t ever able to take a clear picture of the bikes, because there were simply too many people swarming around.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

I’ve honestly never seen such intense and lasting enthusiasm for a bike before. I mean, there’s always a scrum around a bike when it’s first revealed at EICMA (and Intermot) but journalists know they can usually come back later in the day, or the next day, and have plenty of time and space to take pictures or shoot video. No such luck here. Seemingly everyone wanted a chance to inspect the bikes up close.

It’s clear the 790 Adventure R is targeted at hardcore enthusiasts – perhaps those who feel they’ve been left behind by the quiet demise of true dual sports like the Kawasaki KLR650. KTM describes it as “a lightweight, agile and technically advanced machine for adventurers that endeavor to challenge themselves while tackling tricky terrain.”

2019 KTM 790 Adventure R

Whereas the 790 Adventure – the bike I’m interested in because I prefer to keep expensive motorcycles on pavement – is more road focused, with its Austrian maker describing it as a machine “for travel enduro fans of every ambition and ability.”

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Having fought my way through the scrum to sit on the 790 Adventure myself, I’ll admit to being surprised by the overall look and feel of the bike. There’s something weirdly sexy about the awkwardly styled moto. It looks better and feels more substantial than you would guess from pictures.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

Both bikes are powered by the same 799cc LC8c parallel twin that drives the batshit crazy 790 Duke, though power has dipped slightly here for the sake of tractability. According to KTM, the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R achieve a still-very-respectable 95 horsepower. Both bikes also benefit from a 20-liter tank that promises a 450km range. That’s roughly 280 miles. I’ll bet no one will ever achieve that, though; KTM’s aren’t supposed to be ridden in a fuel-saving manner.

“Each of these rugged bikes have been developed by some of the best adventure riders in the world, in conjunction with the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team,” says KTM. “They provide a confidence-inspiring chassis with a low centre of gravity and riding ergonomics to suit riders of all size and spirit.”

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

Focusing specifically on the 790 Adventure, it comes standard with lean-sensitive traction control, cornering ABS, multiple riding modes, and the de rigeur TFT display we’ve come to expect from pretty much every new bike (Yamaha’s 1970s calculator dash for the Ténéré 700 looks a bit lazy in the face of pretty much everyone else’s offerings). Lighting is full LED and yes, of course, there’s an app with which you can connect your phone and bike.

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Throw down some extra dinero and the 790 Adventure is also available with a quickshifter and cruise control. KTM has not yet said specifically when these bikes will be hitting dealerships, nor how much they’ll cost. If the enthusiasm at EICMA is representative of general public response, you may want to call your local dealer and reserve one now.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure R