Looking for a middleweight motorcycle with ultimate adventure chops? KTM’s 790 Adventure or R model (with up-spec’d suspension) is one that will fit the bill. When the prototype was introduced at the 2017 EICMA, it caused quite a buzz in the ADV world with its off-road purpose. When it was released in 2018, it was “Billed as the most hardcore of KTM’s Adventure line, the 790 Adventure R is fitted standard with tires and suspension capable of serious off-road duty.” While both models share the same 799cc LC8c motor, the R is primarily differentiated by its WP suspension with more adjustability and longer travel. The 790 Adventure and Adventure R are, as KTM says in its press material, “developed with the intent of adventure riding but to also be accessible for riders of all sizes, experience, and ability.”
In our 2019 review of both models, Cycle World Senior Editor Justin Dawes covered that “No adventure motorcycle feels this thin between the rider’s knees, optimizing body positioning for aggressive off-road riding. You can toss the bike around like a big enduro, thanks to the compact chassis and narrow feel.” In regard to the engine, “Right off the bottom, a torquey yet controllable snap pushes the 790 forward with authority. Lofting the front end over obstacles requires just a slight tug at the clutch. The engine’s willing grunt is perfectly suited for negotiating technical terrain; all the power you need is right there off the bottom and midrange to tackle any issue that might arise on the trail.”
After talking about the suite of electronics, Dawes found, “All of this makes for an excellent adventure motorcycle, but the WP suspension takes the 790 Adventure R to a level that no other ADV has yet to achieve. This motorcycle is an off-road weapon, a wolf in orange clothing, and a revolution in the segment.”
The above praise is possibly enough to sell you on this motorcycle, but you also probably have tabs on Yamaha’s Super Ténéré ES, Yamaha Ténéré 700, Honda’s Africa Twin, Suzuki’s V-Strom 650/XT, BMW’s F 850 GS, and Kawasaki’s Versys 650.
No major updates for the models, however, for 2020 KTM introduced its limited-edition 790 Adventure R Rally which is limited to 500 units worldwide. It is based heavily on the 790 Adventure R, with the same chassis and engine, the major key difference is the addition of the fully adjustable WP Xplor Pro suspension. The Rally is topped off with additions like an Akrapovič exhaust, carbon fiber tank protectors, and Quickshifter+ as standard. While the standard 790 Adventure price starts at $12,699, the Adventure R is $13,699 and the Rally is $19,499.