KTM Adventure Shootout! 390 or 790R?

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By John Burns

Yeah, well, maybe it is kind of a ridiculous comparison, but who went on a nice day-long adventure ride while you were locked down? Ryan Adams and I did, that’s who. Really it’s not even that ridiculous. The KTM 790 Adventure R sells for around $13,500; the 390 Adventure‘s less than half that at $6,200. Ryan came back from the 790’s launch in Morocco last year calling it the best adventure bike in the world. Then it won a three-bike comparo starring Eric Bostrom…

The Middleweight Adventure Triad

Then I came back from riding the new 2020 390 Adventure around our local mountains, alone again naturally, saying for me, for the money, compared to its real competitors – Kawasaki Versys-X 300, BMW G310GS – it’s pretty, pretty good. Maybe good enough to make it preferable to the expensive 790 for lots of us who aren’t necessarily “Ready to Race” every time we turn on the ignition. Usually I’m more “Ready to Ride at My Own Pace,” or “Ready to Not Get Hurt.”

One makes 84 horsepower, 57 foot-pounds of torque and weighs 467 pounds; the other one makes about 40 horses and 27 ft-lbs of rear-wheel torque – but weighs about 80 pounds less, at 386.

What we can’t escape is the theory of relativity: it’s all relative. If you’d never ridden the 790 like me, you’d think the 390 is swell, which it is. We’ve quoted Kaz Yoshima before: The most expensive thing is lightness, and the 390’s definitely got that going on for itself. Also a low(ish) seat, just low enough at the 33.6-inch claimed height for me to easily hop on and off of, and stop in …read more

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