KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

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troy
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KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by troy »

...and the 890 is supposed to be even better!

This past Monday, I returned from 6 days of riding through Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, and other parts of Southern Nevada and California. My steed was a KTM 790 Adventure R.

Image

As you can surmise from the title of this thread, I LOVED this motorcycle! Everyone's riding experience and style is unique, and all things are relative--I can only compare the 790 to other adventure class motorcycles I have ridden.

Those of you that know me, understand I tend to lean towards "dirt"--the more technical, the better...up to a certain point where I #FAIL! :-D I also know that I am going to beat the crap out of any motorcycle I own. I've proven that a few times!

For the past 10 years, I have been beating up my 2011 BMW F800GS. When that bike launched back in 2008, I lusted it BAD. I kept scanning for deals on used ones, and in early 2011, finally broke down and bought a new one--I couldn't resist the white color scheme.

I have loved my F8! It has lived up to it's promise in my eyes. It really feels like a dirt bike in relatively gnarly terrain....until you drop it and have to pick it up. My F8 has taken me thousands of miles through Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming, etc.

I have experience on other "adventure class" machines such as: KLR650, DR650, Vstrom 650, Africa Twin, KTM 690, 990, 1090, 1190. I think I've only ever ridden a big BMW GS a few feet, so can't really compare it. I do remember being amazed at how well balanced it is with a low center of gravity.

So what about the KTM 790?:

IN EVERY WAY YOU CAN MEASURE, THE KTM 790 ADVENTURE R IS SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than my BMW F800GS.


This is a little unfair since my F8 is 10 years old, but when compared to my F8, the KTM 790:
  • Seriously less weight, AND that weight is lower on the bike
  • A LOT more power
  • Seriously better suspension--like WOW
  • Better brakes
  • Incredible engine braking--almost like having a "downhill assist" feature
  • Lower seat height
  • Higher ground clearance
I rented the motorcycle complete with luggage and riding gear from Barry Durbin at http://nevadaadventurerentals.com/. The bike's 5.3 g tank was full of gas. Once I loaded all my gear--including camping gear and threw my leg over the bike my jaw dropped. The bike did not feel top-heavy at all. This was the first time I've sat on a LOADED adventure motorcycle and not thought, "OMG this is top-heavy". The bike carries the gas WAY down low, and while I think it's a bit ugly, the result is simply incredible.

As I started down the highway, the love affair started to bloom. The 790 on the highway is almost as good as any fine sports-touring machine I've ridden! It is a dream on the pavement. I was on knobbies. A good set of street tires would make the bike a no-compromise sports touring bike.

Once into the rougher roads, that super low center of gravity, incredible power and suspension really started to shine! I'm not sure of the exact specs, but the 790 is at least 50 lbs lighter than my F8. Then consider how much of that weight is down low on the bike, it's a HUGE difference.

I ran through some roads that had the equivalent of whoops sections, and this bike's suspension is like a honey-badger when it comes to the rough stuff: IT DON'T CARE. Don't tell Barry, but I got airborn more than a few times. Normally, landing a loaded ADV machine is a bit "interesting"! The 790R didn't seem to care at all. In fact, I think she liked it and wanted more.

On the other end of that suspension spectrum, when in slow, very technical rocky bits, it was too harsh. I clicked her all the way plush. This helped a lot, but it was still quite harsh when hitting rocks at slow speed. Being able to run through whoops at 50 mph, though, makes up for it!

My only real complaint about the bike is she doesn't have any torque below 4,000 RPM. HOWEVER, if you read about the new KTM 890 Adventure, this is one of the main reasons the 890 was created--it supposedly solves the low-end lugging thing and adds even more improvements...at the cost of about 15 more pounds as I understand. I wouldn't hesitate to own a 790, though! A little throttle and clutch slipping, and you have all the "low-end" you need!

Simply put, the 790 is the least compromise motorcycle I've ever enjoyed. I've never been more comfortable in all terrain conditions. I've never been more comfortable at the end of 300 rough miles.

I have a fever, and the only cure is more 790....or 890!
More about meBlueRibbon #42185 ■ 14 KTM 300 XC-W ■ 11 BMW F800GS ■ 99 KTM 300 EXC

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Re: KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by RDW »

Troy, I'm glad you had a good trip and shared the tale, and review, with us. I wish you the best on obtaining the cure for your fever. Get "well" soon!

Take care, RD
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Re: KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by troy »

Thanks, RD!
More about meBlueRibbon #42185 ■ 14 KTM 300 XC-W ■ 11 BMW F800GS ■ 99 KTM 300 EXC

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Re: KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by troy »

As of about a week ago

Letko reported to me their first 12 were pre-sold, but they have 2 more coming in this month, and one is not spoken for yet.
https://www.letko.com/

B's Moto Lab in the Wichita metro has 2 unclaimed 890 Adventure R's on the floor.
https://bsmotolab.com/
More about meBlueRibbon #42185 ■ 14 KTM 300 XC-W ■ 11 BMW F800GS ■ 99 KTM 300 EXC

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Re: KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by troy »

Some more things I love about the 790/890 that I forgot about in my original post!

KTM has made the battery and air filter very easy to access.

On my BMW F800GS, I have to remove a top plastic cover which is 6 screws, 2 of which are a bit tedious up in the steering area, as well as an electrical connection to the key switch--real pain in the ass. Then there are 4 more screws--2 of which are somewhat hard to reach to get to the air filter.

On the KTM, you just remove the seat with the key and you can access the battery for charging or jump starting yourself or another rider. The air filter is 2 easy to access screws once the seat is removed.

Air Filter Change
https://youtu.be/1UGTNEjg2qg
More about meBlueRibbon #42185 ■ 14 KTM 300 XC-W ■ 11 BMW F800GS ■ 99 KTM 300 EXC

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Re: KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by troy »

I should probably stop comparing the KTM 790/890 to my F800GS if I want someone to BUY my F800GS! ....which will probably be for sale cheap in the not so distant future.
More about meBlueRibbon #42185 ■ 14 KTM 300 XC-W ■ 11 BMW F800GS ■ 99 KTM 300 EXC

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Re: KTM 790 Adventure R is Freakin' Amazing

Post by Stu »

My friend's 790 Adventure weighs what Troy mentioned. When he dropped it sliding out in loose gravel, tank side down, it took both of us to get it upright. On the other hand my 500 EXC with its 4 gallon tank dropped similarly can be picked up by me without aid. The 500 is superior off road to the 790. It is not as capable on road but part of that analysis depends on one's tolerance for low level vibration and more dirt focused suspension. Passing on the road from 70 to 90 and the 500 is fierce. You don't even need to downshift. This is not your father's single BSA B50 from years ago. Maintenance? After 1,.475 miles of dual sport riding in Colorado and Utah I finally changed oil. The 1.3 quarts coming out looked good. Nothing needed adjusting. I did swap out one valve shim because it was a bit tight from the factory. Both the 790 / 890 and the 500 are superior dual sport bikes. You have to decide what level of comfort you need and whether you are going to take it on long road trips or not. If the latter the 790/890 is without doubt superior. I just need room in my garage for three bikes.... Troy, get that 890 Adventure!

Stu

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