James Oxley rekindles his love affair with the KTM 790 Adventure.
Swinging my leg over my new KTM 790 Adventure long-termer for the first time felt like greeting an old friend. As I fired up the engine, I was immediately reminded of three glorious days I’d spent riding in the Austrian Alps on an identical machine.
My biggest takeaway from that journey was that KTM’s middle-weight adventure offering was highly accomplished at every type of riding and surface I threw at it. It was agile and eager in tight mountain twisties, it cruised along motorways with comfort and ease, and it was sure footed and a huge amount of fun off road. By the end of that journey, I’d come to the conclusion that the 790 Adventure was the most capable all-round adventure bike I’d ever ridden. It really was that impressive.
However, I’m aware that any conclusions drawn while riding some of the world’s best roads, through spectacular landscapes, amid great company, and with nothing to do but enjoy myself all day, may not stand up to scrutiny on a dull, wet motorway slog battling my way to work. So, I was overjoyed when the lovely folks at KTM said they were willing to lend ABR a brand new 790 Adventure as a long-term review bike.
As I rode out of KTM’s UK headquarters in Silverstone, I was immediately reminded why I found this bike so impressive. I’m about 6ft tall and I find the hands, backside, leg triangle to be as near perfect for my body shape as you can get. I can also plant both of my feet firmly on the floor with a little leg bend to spare thanks to a relatively low 850mm seat height. In fact, there is nothing intimidating about this motorcycle in the way some larger adventure bikes can be. I’ve never felt as if it were about to topple over, or that I was wrestling a giant hunk of metal around.
My only concern is with my backside. The stock seat is on the hard side, and while it didn’t cause discomfort during some spirited riding in Austria, I do wonder how it will feel after a four-hour stint sat in one position on a UK motorway.
However, I soon forgot about the seat as I had rekindled the joy of throwing this agile bike around a few twisty country lanes. A combination of sharp handling and a selection of electronic rider aids inspire a huge amount of confidence in the 790 Adventure’s road handling abilities. It just feels so planted all the time. This feeling is partly due to a low centre of gravity created by its 20l fuel tank hanging low either side of the machine, rather than above the engine.
Those 20l of fuel should take me more than 200 miles between fill ups, which is just one of the factors that point towards the 790 Adventure being a capable long-distance tourer. is thought was reinforced as I joined fast moving traffic on the M40 motorway. e bike cruises and overtakes comfortably at high speeds and there’s plenty of wind protection from the screen. I do wonder if a lack of a fuel tank high up may reduce weather protection to my legs, but I’ll have wait for a wet ride to find out.