Test KTM 390 Adventure: how it goes, strengths and weaknesses


We drove the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 in Marbella and we complained because the road conditions were too good to understand its behavior (Motociclismo 3-2020), but here were the same conditions: the presentation of the bike it is in fact carried out in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, which are facing the west coast of Africa, but are politically belonging to Spain. Here too, therefore, there was an ideal climate, asphalt similar to granite, curves with perfect radius and “highway” dirt roads. We had talked about this fairytale island in the June 2019 issue of Motorcycling and the wonderful roads that start from the sea and climb up to almost 2,400 m, so imagine how nice it must be to cover them with this new KTM. But we are sure that we will get a complete idea of ​​its behavior when we can finally use it on our paths. Anyway, from the photos on the dirt road, where the bike is in constant drift, you can understand the outcome of this first taste: fast, easy and ready engine. The 790 seems to be in the saddle. The driving position is surprising, if you have already tried the 790, because it looks the same, including the handlebar too low for standing. We therefore have a lot of space on board for the driver and passenger and the typical hard KTM floor, which at first seems uncomfortable, but which in the long run is less tired than expected. Having such a stiff saddle makes communication with the bike better when facing asphalt roads with curves. Compared to the 790, however, the little sister is much lower, compact, light. The saddle is located at 855 mm from the ground, which is a low value for an off-road vehicle. Starting is clearly electric only. If you think the engine is the same as the KTM EXC350F, you are … off-road (hahahaha). Apart from the slightly higher displacement (it is a 373 cc obtained with a less bore / stroke ratio), the two in fact have elements in common such as the 4-valve twin-cylinder head, the electronic injection and the 6-speed gearbox, but they are different in appearance, philosophy and performance. This has the Bosch injection, the Keihin injection. The Adventure has an oil capacity greater than one and a half liters (with a change of lubricant every 7,500 km), while racing has a little more than one liter and the oil must be changed every 1,000. One delivers maximum power at 9,000 rpm, the other at 10,000. They both push hard on the bass and love to go up very fast. Under 3,000 rpm, the 390 starts to tear up a bit, so it’s better to shift down a gear. It is exactly the opposite of rival Royal Enfield Himalayan, which gently descends to 2,000 rpm and then resumes with peaceful pum pum. This one loves to turn higher, definitely. At 6,000 rpm, when the Indian engine has given everything and calls for a change of gear, the KTM has just begun to express itself as it pleases and stretches up to 10,000 rpm. The more the gas opens, the more it vibrates, however, despite the countershaft: it is normal, being a single cylinder.

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