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KTM 790 ADVENTURE: Which path to take?

With the arrival of the new limited edition KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY in 2020, KTM will soon offer three LC8c-powered ADVENTURE models. So, what are the differences of these bikes and who are they for?


To help answer that, we first have to ask what is adventure? The craving to explore new places and travel to the unknown? To take risks? A state of mind? Adventure isn’t governed by length, rules or agenda; it has a unique meaning to us all.

From its experience, KTM knows that a rider of one of its ADVENTURE machines is someone driven by curiosity, a hunger for performance and – of course – adventure. That nagging wanderlust and a desire to discover the hidden thrills and pleasures that lie just beyond the horizon.

To match the attitudes and ambition of such riders, they need a motorcycle that takes everything further; machines that channel the adventure mindset and allow them to exploit any path in front of them – even the ones yet to be explored.

KTM responded to customer feedback and demand by using its experience, talented engineers, incredible KISKA designers, development feedback of some of the finest adventure riders and partnerships with leading component suppliers such as WP Suspension, to create arguably the most exciting Travel Enduro machines ever.

But what are the differences between the three members of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE model family and who are these exciting new machines for?

POSITIONING: KTM 790 ADVENTURE: The most offroad capable travel bike KTM 790 ADVENTURE R: The most travel capable offroad bike KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY: The most travel capable rally bike

For those who spend more time on the tarmac but with the bravery to push their personal boundaries, and curiosity to explore trails, the KTM 790 ADVENTURE quenches this thirst. Addictive street performance that will make every ride – no matter the distance – a memorable adventure.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R satisfies the most hardcore riders; enduro and rally pilots who demand that same extreme offroad performance but in a package capable of doing the distance all-day – no matter the terrain – while carrying all the essentials to keep going over the horizon and the one after.

And when it wasn’t expected that more could be possible, the new arrival KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY is for those riders who demand the most extreme performance and the very best suspension equipment available. This is the machine that will easily cross continents in order to ride to the start line of a multi-stage rally.




BODYWORK: The KTM 790 ADVENTURE has a front fender, mounted closer to the wheel while retaining enough clearance from the tire even for offroad use. The ‘R’ and ‘R RALLY’ have an enduro-style mudguard, mounted under the headlight for maximum ground clearance.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is available in orange or white versions, with the ‘R’ a combination of orange, white and black. The ‘R RALLY’ is in blue and white with a unique graphic design together with carbon fiber tank protectors to finish off the unique package. Aside from the graphics differences, the ‘R’ also features orange handguards and black rear panels, as opposed to black and white, respectively, on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY.

Rear pillion handles combined to a luggage plate come installed on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE but are also supplied with the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY.

SCREEN: The ‘R’ and ‘R RALLY’ use a shorter design (tinted and clear finishes, respectively) to allow for less restriction when riding offroad standing up, as opposed to the larger, weather-deflecting, transparent design employed by the KTM 790 ADVENTURE. Each screen is 40 mm height adjustable, by way of undoing a single Torx bolt, and are interchangeable between both models.


SUSPENSION: This is the biggest difference component-wise and to the riding character between the three bikes. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE uses a split fork design (rebound controlled in the right tube, compression in the left) with an APEX shock absorber. Apart from rear preload, these are not adjustable but provide ultimate feel and control in all types of riding situations; from street to dusty trails, riding solo or with a passenger.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R’s fully adjustable WP XPLOR setup is the result of an incredibly intensive testing program to help it be the most offroad capable Travel Enduro bike with true street comfort.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY is equipped with a WP XPLOR PRO suspension, built in the same department as WP’s Factory Racing equipment, which offers similar levels of performance for extreme riding. An additional 30 mm of suspension travel front and back helps clear the most demanding obstacles and also creates a seat height of 910mm for this unique model.

SUSPENSION TRAVEL KTM 790 ADVENTURE: 200 mm front/back KTM 790 ADVENTURE R: 240 mm front/back KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY: 270 mm front/back

CHASSIS: Physically, the chassis and swingarm are identical on both bikes, but the main chassis and subframe are painted black for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and orange for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY.

To suit its more offroad focus, the ‘R’ has slight geometry changes; wheel base of 1,528 mm (compared to 1,509 mm), steering head angle of 63.7° (compared to 64.1°), trail of 110.4 mm (compared to 107.8 mm) and benefits from a ground clearance of 263 mm (compared to 233 mm).

Featuring the same orange frame, the ‘R RALLY’ has minor geometry changes due to its extra 30 mm of suspension travel. The ‘R RALLY’ also receives KTM rally footpegs for comfort and grip when standing for long days, together with a longer sidestand to compensate for the longer suspension.


SEAT: The design of the seats differs for the intended use. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE runs a split design with a pronounced step to separate passenger and rider, with the latter being easily adjustable between 830 mm or 850 mm. It features an underseat phone pocket (USB charger also available from KTM PowerParts).

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R has a seat height of 880 mm and uses a one-piece design with only a small bump stop to allow maximum movement on the bike for a variety of riding situations.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY has a seat height of 910 mm and uses a one-piece design with a high, straight racing seat to improve racing ergonomics.

All seats are compatible with each bike and multiple KTM PowerParts options include Ergo seats in standard (with three stages of heating control), +20 mm and -10 mm heights. An official lowering kit is also available for the KTM 790 ADVENTURE that brings the seat height down to 805 mm.

ELECTRONICS: All three bikes feature a comprehensive suite of electronics and are navigation ready thanks to KTM MY RIDE, only requiring an app for onscreen, turn-by-turn directions.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R & R RALLY come ready with the new Rally ride mode installed (an option on the KTM 790 ADVENTURE) while the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY also comes as standard with Quickshifter+ and cruise control, which are optional for the other bikes.

WHEELS/TIRES: To give riders free choice of tires without changing their wheels, identical sizes are use on both bikes.

The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is fitted with Avon Trailrider; a road tire in an offroad size that provides incredible street handling. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R wears Metzeler Karoo 3 to suit its more offroad orientated attitude but still with street performance. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE R RALLY also uses Metzeler Karoo 3, but with narrower rims with tubes for hardcore offroad riding conditions.

There you have it … Three different motorcycles that give confidence to push boundaries both mental and physical. Vehicles to chase dreams, satisfy wanderlust or to begin the rally that never has to end. Adventure is what you make of it and it appears that whatever the ride, route or rally, a KTM 790 ADVENTURE is the best way to make it. So, which path would you take?


Photos: KTM

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