The KTM 390 Adventure has just made its India debut. It promises to be the fast, first-class and (relatively) affordable motorcycle that the Indian market has so far missed. The 390 definitely looks good and is quite present. Personally, you will find that the 390 ADV is a considerably large machine – it is larger in every dimension than the BMW G 310 GS and larger and wider than the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Fortunately, it's not as heavy as the 199 kg Himalayas, but with an empty weight of 177 kg, it's about 8 kg heavier than the BMW.
It may be considerable, but the 390 Adventure is certainly not a nice one. Just like the large ADV family from KTM, the insect-like design is immediately recognizable – but not for everyone. However, there are some interesting details. For example, the plastic of the fuel tank is not painted but colored, and this should help keep it looking cleaner after a period of wear and tear.
In terms of comfort and functionality, this bike is far ahead of all other KTM offers in India. The 14.5 liter fuel tank is the largest KTM ever made in India, and with a full tank you should be able to travel well over 300 kilometers. A new subframe has given the driver plenty of room to sit, and there is also a decent pillion seat.
Technologically speaking, there is the now well-known full-LED headlight, which comes directly from the 390 and 790 Duke. The TFT display is also almost identical, but this can show turn-by-turn navigation aids if you purchase the optional KTM MyRide navigation app for £ 600. And then of course there's the headline-grabbing electronic assists. The bike has a bi-directional quick shifter that works properly, even if it's not as smooth and crisp as the 790 Duke's system. There is also a three-axle IMU that enables cornering ABS function and a corner-sensitive traction control system.
Our first foretaste of the 390 ADV was on some rocky gravel roads with some steep climbs littered with large boulders. First things first: the ergonomics are pretty decent in terms of foot positioning and the shape of the fuel tank, but most of us agreed that we would have liked a bigger handlebar to get up and ride.
Switching to the faster, more open trails was a lot of fun for the rough power delivery of the 390, especially if you exceed the magic mark of 6,000 rpm. But just as the 390's superb top end thrills on fast trails, its grumpy bottom end makes it a pain to climb steep and technical trails at low speeds. There is no significant train below 3,000rpm, and you'll have to slip the clutch a little to get things going if you lose momentum. A shorter gearbox (or at least a change in the axle ratio) would have been nice here, but the setup is identical to that of the 390 Duke.
In the dirt, the off-road ABS mode that deactivates the rear wheel intervention worked wonderfully, but the same does not apply to the traction control. Some of us encountered an unusual problem where the TC happened to turn on briefly and robbed you of all of the performance. This was done with the system completely off and the engine running.
On the road, the 1.5-degree increase in the steering rake and the 77-mm increase in the wheelbase of the Adventure show their greatest change compared to the 390 Duke. Although we couldn't judge the stability at high speeds, it's clear that this bike doesn't feel as fidgety or nervous as the Duke. Instead, there is a pleasant feeling of stability, which, despite the 19-inch front wheel, manages without great losses in agility and front-end feel.
As far as comfort is concerned, the driving position is outstanding and simply outstanding. What you should know is that this is a bike that is easier for taller riders. On the road, the 855mm seat height is almost manageable if you are over 5 feet 6 inches. However, off-road it can be difficult if you don't have long legs to hide a lack of talent.
In terms of performance, the BS-VI engine delivers the same 43 HP / 37 Nm as the BS-IV engine in the 390 Duke, although the exhaust note sounds a bit more subdued. What is new, however, is a newly designed curved cooler with two fans. The aim is to improve cooling efficiency and to direct the hot air away from the driver.
The KTM 390 Adventurealso seems to be a fantastic long-distance road bike. The price of £ 2.99 lakh from the showroom is staggering considering how much this bike has to offer. If KTM can offer a reliable and wobble-free experience right from the start, the 390 Adventure could be a very special machine.