Let’s get 790 happy

The annual Milan spectacle saw KTM unveil two new bikes that will excite riders of the travel enduro category. What was under the wrappers at EICMA?

Seven years of continual growth for KTM and a burgeoning street division meant that the company were not rocking on their heels for 2019. A packed presentation area in Italy saw the unveiling of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and an accompanying R model to further extend the family around the 799cc LC8c twin-cylinder engine concept.

253833_790 ADVENTURE 2019 254115_790 ADV R MY19 90-Left

The travel enduro models are the ‘orange’ highlights of the massive show that will last the rest of the week at the Fiera in Milan. The KTM 790 ADVENTURE is a unique offering in the segment with the LC8c tweaked to offer more torque lower in a powerband that will spit out 95hp. The motorcycle has been chiseled to be smooth but also light and very nimble: the exact characteristics that a rider demands from a bike that will produce the goods offroad but then also be apt for a street cruise that will test the extent of the 450 km fuel tank capacity.

Some aspects of the popular ADVENTURE ‘siblings’ at 1290 and 1090 make it onto the 790, such as the three mode electronics (with optional ‘Rally’ setting), WP APEX suspension, 5” TFT display dash and integrated KTM MY RIDE app. The rally and enduro DNA of these bikes comes through the ergonomics, and traits such as the low ride height, the slim tank and the use of the LC8c as a stressed member of the chassis to assist with the dropped centralization. This motorcycle isn’t a road bike with some offroad AVON tires slapped on; KTM have mined their competitive roots and unparalleled success on tracks and trails to make sure that the KTM 790 ADVENTURE handles as it should on the loose stuff, and is then a powerful and practical prospect for the tarmac.

KTM 790 ADVENTURE MY2019 © KTM/F. Lackner

The R version takes the offroad emphasis to another level and with the focus squarely on ‘performance’. Apparently the KTM 450 RALLY was a strong touchstone for the R with a number of tweaks over the standard KTM 790 ADVENTURE accentuating the ability for this bike to give experienced trail fans a satisfying kick. The street element is not found wanting. Again the electronics stand out: MTC (motorcycle traction control), cornering ABS and four ride modes to tailor the output of the throaty LC8c. Alternate WP technology and Metzeler tires are just some of the other specs.

Media and guests that were lucky to get the first views of the KTM 790 ADVENTURE and the R were struck by a slightly different look. The bikes clearly pack some of that rally and ‘enduroesque’ styling thanks to the narrow front end and straight, functional seat unit that only enhance the travel enduro sensation.

There were a few other surprises at the 2018 EICMA, click on our future stories to feel ‘the buzz’.

Photos: KTM | KTM/F. Lackner