Ever since its launch in January this year, the KTM 390 Adventure’s off-road credentials have been strongly disputed. Considering KTM’s outstanding record at the Dakar Rally, and the larger ADVs that the brand has on sale globally, expectations from the product were sky high even before its debut. But the high-strung heart of the 390 Duke was never going to be the right fit for off-road adventures. With that in mind, let me tell you that the 390 Adventure hasn’t won its place in our ‘Best for 2020’ mega test for its off-road ability. It is as far from being an honest off-roading machine as Donald Trump is from being a great leader!
The lack of low-end punch, the high-revving nature of the engine, low handlebar, and firm suspension make off-roading on it a bit of a task, but that’s not to say that it cannot take the path less explored. It’s reasonably capable off the road, but just not very forgiving. In fact, it smugly demands that you improve your skill as a rider.
What really makes the 390 Adventure shine is the all-round package that it offers. With a potent 42.9bhp motor, the 390 Adventure is as much of a hooligan as its naked sibling. It’s fast and can easily hold higher than legal speeds while touring. The motor revs freely and comes to life after crossing the 4,500 – 5,000rpm mark, making it an absolute blast to ride on the road. The engine, in typical KTM fashion, is quite characterful too.
The upright riding posture, wide handlebar, neutrally positioned footpegs, and wide seat make for a comfortable riding posture. Sure, at 855mm, the seating position is quite high, but it really isn’t much of a bother – at least not on the road. Set up on the stiffer side, the 390 ADV is incredibly fun to ride on a winding section of the road. It leans in beautifully despite its tall stance, and the Metzeler Tourance tyres perform quite well.
Just like all other products from the Mattighofen-based brand, the 390 Adventure offers phenomenal bang for your buck. It has, in fact, changed the game with the equipment it packs – switchable dual-channel ABS, a slipper clutch, ride-by-wire, traction control, a quick shifter, and coloured instrumentation, with Bluetooth connectivity. It really is miles ahead of anything in its price range in the features department.
The 390 Adventure isn’t a perfect motorcycle – not that one exists anyway – but it packs incredible performance, comfort, and practicality. It isn’t an out-and-out off-road machine, but the little off-roading that it does is, in fact, just the cherry on the cake. All things considered, the 390 Adventure’s pros far outweigh its cons. It, sure as hell, is a motorcycle that will bring an ear-to-ear grin on your face every time you ride it. And that’s what makes it a winner in our books.