The 2020 KTM 790 Adventure is the ultimate adventure touring machine. It has enough performance and top-shelf accessories to make mile-munching on asphalt a dream, but in a lightweight and compact package that makes it agile and nimble enough to navigate through uncharted territories. Whether you’re traversing deserts or conquering the urban jungle, the 790 Adventure is more than a match for whatever you throw at it.
Powered by KTM’s latest generation 799cc LC8c parallel-twin engine that produces an impressive 95 horsepower and 66 lb-ft of peak torque, the 790 Adventure has more than enough power to tackle anything. While it’s underpowered compared to other models in the same class, the 790 Adventure’s compact and slim-line engine gives it a favorable power-to-weight ratio that comes into its own at speed, but also excels for slow speed maneuvering too.
While the base 790 Adventure doesn’t have the same suspension and tires as the “R” designated model, it does come equipped with brawny WP Suspension springs, a unified braking system, and Avon Trailrider rubbers. The base model also benefits from the same top-notch riding aids too, including traction control, cornering ABS, a dedicated Rally mode, and a superb Off-road mode that includes off-road ABS too. All in, it’s the ideal weapon for both on-road and off-road enthusiasts.
For 2020, the awesome KTM 790 Adventure is available in orange and black with white accents or black and white with orange accents, with an MSRP of $12,699.
On this page:we’ve curated specs, features, news, photos/videos, etc. so you can read up on the new KTM 790 Adventure in one place.
KTM’s new generation LC8c in-line twin-engine with 95 hp (70 kW), combined with modern electronics and a 6-speed sequential gearbox, ticks all the boxes for a travel-enduro motorcycle that can be ridden up to 450 kms between fuel stops on the open road. Smooth long-distance travel is assured thanks to two balancer shafts, which keep vibration to a minimum. With long service intervals of 15,000 km, you can ride for days on end without a worry.
The 8-valve DOHC cylinder head contains twin chain-driven camshafts and two spark plugs (one per cylinder). The camshafts are assembled, making them lighter than forged camshafts, while the cam profile has been developed to create an especially torquey engine. The steel valves are opened by DLC coated finger followers and a hydraulic chain tensioner tensions the camchain.
Forged pistons with three piston rings connected by a plain conrod bearing, combine with a DLC coated piston pin for reduced piston weight and less reciprocating mass. This results in a faster revving engine and allows for a lighter crankshaft, with reduced rotating masses and improved handling.
KTM’s ride-by-wire system electronically translates the throttle commands of the rider into optimum throttle valve positions for the specific riding situation.
When punching out those long days in the saddle, linking up offroad sections with big tarmac stages, uncomfortable engine vibrations are kept to a minimum thanks to two balancer shafts, one in front of the crankshaft and the other in the cylinder head between the two camshafts.
The nicasil-coated aluminum cylinders are an integral part of the sleeveless engine casing. The open deck cylinder construction allows for optimal cooling, improved production tolerances, and reduces the potential for cylinder warpage during production.
High quality pistons are connected to the crankshaft by forged conrods, which are carried by plain bearings.
A forged one-piece crankshaft is held firmly in place by plain bearings with a 75-degree offset. The 435-degree firing order produces a sound similar to that of the larger LC8 engine, which makes the KTM 790 ADVENTURE feel like one of its V-twin ADVENTURE brothers when cracking the throttle open.
The horizontally split crankcases are high-pressure cast from aluminum. This allows for reduced wall thickness, weight savings and optimized surfaces, offering the engine designers more freedom in their design. The open-deck cylinders are integrated into the crankcase.
The 6-speed sequential gearbox’s stacked configuration reduces engine length, which enables it to be more compact. Gear shifting is very smooth, and by using the optional Quickshifter+ clutchless up and downshifts can be performed effortlessly.
The PASC (Power Assist Clutch) requires minimal rider input to operate it. The slipper clutch on the LC8c is similar to that on the LC8, but more compact and therefore lighter. It prevents destabilizing rear wheel chatter when braking sharply or decelerating. It also reduces the hand force required for changing gears, allowing the clutch to be controlled with one finger – saving you energy when riding.
Oil circulation is based on a compact semi-dry sump system to minimize friction losses. The oil is actively pumped out of the crankcase, clutch housing and gearbox, which ensures that oil does not unnecessarily flow through the engine. The oil sump is integrated into the oil pump housing, together with two pumps (one scavenge, one pressure) and a pressure regulation valve. To cool down the oil, the engine is equipped with an oil cooler similar to the larger LC8 V-twin engines.
The overall geometry of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE was developed for light, sporty handling on the street, comfortable for longer distances and with impressive offroad capability. Strength was a big consideration in the design, so a tubular CroMo steel frame is used with the engine acting as a stressed member to reduce weight and overall size. All design and engineering innovations are focused on being compact and light.
When fully loaded for adventure, the bike underneath you need to be built to last. The steel trellis subframe was developed to be compact, lightweight and also strong enough to carry a passenger and luggage under the hard conditions that can be expected when adventure riding.
The signature die-cast, open-lattice swingarm is precisely manufactured and has been optimized for stiffness and stability while still offering excellent flex characteristics. By using a direct link for the rear shock, complexity and parts are reduced. The relatively long swingarm aids in traction, stability and suspension setup.
Ergonomics & Comfort
An aluminum-tapered handlebar allows maximum control while offering a comfortable riding position. The handlebar can be mounted in six different positions, which results in 30 mm of adjustment range allowing for a personal fit.
Bodywork & Graphics
Reading valuable information like trip meter, fuel range, ABS settings and ride modes on the fly is made easier with the 5-inch, full-color, state-of-the-art TFT display. The rider can select which information and where he would like to have it displayed on the screen. The display’s configuration is variable and automatically adapts to variations in environmental light. The rev counter blinks to indicate when to shift.
LED lights are used on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE as the main headlight, taillight and indicators. LED lights offer great illumination and visibility. They are compact, so they help reduce the overall volume of the motorcycle.
Software & Electronics
Electronic rider aids provide more control, performance and enjoyment to the rider under a wider range of circumstances. Designed to enhance your riding experience, the latest ABS and MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control) technology, along with different ride modes, is tailored to allow you to easily adjust the various rider aids to suit a range of riding conditions. These features can be selected, deselected and utilized to maximize the bike’s innovative technology and equipment across a much wider range of terrain.
MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control)
The MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control) is a lean-angle sensitive traction control system that reacts immediately the instant rear wheel rotation speed becomes disproportionate to the riding situation. In mere milliseconds, MTC reduces engine output with an extremely smooth, barely perceptible intervention at the throttle valves until slippage is reduced to optimum proportions for the selected ride mode and current angle of lean. For particularly ambitious riders, the traction control can also be switched off.
KTM’s cornering ABS system allows riders to always use the full power of their brakes while the system adjusts brake pressure to match the lean angle of the motorcycle, for safer and more predictable braking across a wider range of conditions and scenarios. It can be turned off for offroad conditions.
Braking demands are very different in sand, mud, gravel or rocks from the predictable grip of asphalt. By selecting ‘offroad ABS’, the ABS function is deactivated on the rear wheel, while the front wheel ABS intervention is reduced and lean-angle sensor data is ignored to accomodate the many potential cornering, steering and control scenarios offroad where the plane of movement might vary (such as leaning into a berm, rut or sand dune). This allows riders to lock up the rear wheel, which can be used to steer into corners, a useful skill for experienced riders seeking to maximize their riding experience offroad. “Offroad ABS” reduces the prevalence of the ABS on the front wheel on looser surfaces, which better balances decent stopping power with secure braking in the dirt. These settings were developed for maximum braking power with minimal electronic intervention in all scenarios. If you’re going offroad, use this mode to unlock the full dynamic riding potential of your KTM 790 ADVENTURE R on the most adventurous terrain.
Offroad ride mode
“Offroad ride mode” takes the sophisticated parallel-twin power of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and uses sophisticated sensors to adapt the power delivery through the ECU for effective and confidence-inspiring offroad use. Peak horsepower is reduced slightly, the throttle response is smoothened out and the amount of wheel slip allowed before electronic intervention is raised to allow for a more dynamic ride on loose surfaces. On such low-grip surfaces, a certain amount of wheel slip is needed to ensure forward motion. This feature allows riders to break traction to a fair degree and to facilitate rear-wheel steering. Anti-wheelie is not used in this mode, so riders can easily lift the front wheel over obstacles. Unlike some other modes, “Offroad ride mode” is not lean-angle sensitive, meaning that traction control does not intervene when a rider uses a berm, sand dune or rut to lean into a turn.
In the more advanced “Rally mode” which comes standard on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, the rider can adapt the character of the bike more freely. “Rally mode” gives an even sportier version of the throttle response level offered in “Offroad ride mode”. Slip adjust can be changed in 9 levels, varying from a high intervention level of 9 (comparable to rain mode) to hardly any intervention at all on level 1, with 7 progressive steps of intervention in between. With these settings, the slip adjust can be very precisely matched to the condition of the surface, the skill level of the rider and the requirements of the ride. Reducing slip levels can also help in conserving tires for longer when taking on further-reaching or longer-lasting rides.