KTM 390 Adventure: Road Test Review

16 March 2020, 06:00 PM Neil Nair

Introduction

KTM 390 Adventure Action

Pros: Comfortable ergonomics, loaded with electronic aids, good value for money

Cons: Vibe-y engine, clunky gearbox

An educated guess would suggest that you must have read our KTM 390 Adventure First Ride Review wherein we explored the motorcycle’s abilities to take the roads less travelled. Well, from there we compiled that the 390 Adventure isn’t of the hardcore off-road variety and would rather prefer its roads well-paved.

So, we rode the motorcycle for a good number of days, to find out how the KTM 390 Adventure would fair in the likeliest of conditions it will find itself in - the chaos of city traffic and long, open and possibly decent patches of tarmac which we dare to call highways. And here is what we came back with.

Quality

KTM 390 Adventure Left Front Three Quarter

However, before we get to the crux of the matter, let’s look into the build quality of the KTM 390 Adventure. For starters, majority of the bodywork is fibre and in this matte shade of orange, might look plastic-y from afar. But mind you, it is anything but flimsy. The quality of components on the 390 Adventure has a sturdy feel and look like they would survive a decent amount of thrashing. Overall, the 390 Adventure is put together quite well with hardly any gaping panel gaps or eyesores in its 790 Adventure-inspired design. 

Comfort

KTM 390 Adventure Fuel Tank

The 390 Adventure is a tall motorcycle. An average-height Indian perched up on its seat height of 855mm would surely be tip-toeing with both feet on the ground. Nevertheless, the slim design of the fuel tank makes it less intimidating when required to keep a foot down. In terms of comfort, KTM has hit all the right notes with the 390 Adventure. The motorcycle offers a large and accommodating seat for both the rider and the pillion. This seat stretches just the right amount into the tank to support the thighs. Moreover, the combination of its wide handlebar and neutral set footpegs offers a comfortably upright riding posture. 

KTM 390 Adventure

KTM 390 Adventure

  • Displacement373 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)42.3 bhp
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 2,98,084

KTM 390 Adventure Action

It also gets a visor that buffets winds quite well making long highway hauls less fatiguing. When it comes to ride quality, KTM has focused the suspension setup for road use. It feels firmer on smaller bumps and undulations as well as on the larger potholes at low speeds. Upwards of 60kmph, the suspension flattens out the small bumps but the larger potholes are still felt as prominently. 

Things are mostly sunny on the ergonomics part of the 390 Adventure although, the downside comes in the form of engine vibrations. These tingling vibrations creep in on the handlebar, seat and footpegs from the start and are there to stay all through the mid-range. While it lessens on the handlebar as speeds increase, the footpegs continue to be victims to the vibes.

Performance

KTM 390 Adventure Engine

Let’s get numbers out of the way first. The 390 Adventure is powered by the same 373cc, single-cylinder engine as the 390 Duke with the same power output - 43bhp and 37Nm. It also has the same gearing ratios although the Austrians have tweaked the motor to suit the Adventure’s character. Now, all of its torque lurks in the mid-range and starts to show up around 4000rpm. Above this mark, the motor feels peppy and revs enthusiastically to 9500rpm. On the highways, the motorcycle feels completely unfazed while cruising at 130kmph. Give it some more gas and it rushes to hit a top speed of 165kmph effortlessly.  

KTM 390 Adventure Action

Nevertheless, the fast-revving engine lacks torque in the lower end and the short gearing ratios mean it requires constant shifting between first and second gear in city traffic. Speaking of which, the transmission on the 390 Adventure feels clunkier than the one on the new 390 Duke; and this is even after the quick-shifter is turned on. On the contrast, the clutch pull is light and the downshifts are extremely smooth and precise.

Tipping the scale at 158kg (dry), the 390 Adventure is 9kg heavier than its streetfighter counterpart. However, being a well-balanced motorcycle, none of the extra weight can be felt; be it at standstill or on the move. The 390 Adventure feels just as nimble and agile as the Duke while filtering through traffic.

KTM 390 Adventure Action

And given its short turning radius, the Adventure is easy to ride around tight sports as well. To put a leash on the 43 ponies, the 390 Adventure employs disc brakes at both ends. While the front offers sharp bite and good feedback, the rear brake could do with more feel. We never had the chance to specifically test the cornering ABS, but the system works discreetly well on a straight line. 

Technology

KTM 390 Adventure Instrument cluster

On the electronic front, it packs in more than any other motorcycle in its price range. There is a bi-directional quick shifter that can be turned off, switchable ABS, cornering ABS, traction control and ride-by-wire throttle. It also gets the same full-colour, Bluetooth enabled TFT display that can be operated via the switchgear as well as a USB charging socket above the instrument cluster. The 390 Adventure also sports a full-LED headlight which provides substantial illumination at night. 

KTM 390 Adventure Headlamp

Fuel Efficiency

KTM 390 Adventure Right Side

On our city test route which involves heavy traffic and a dozen traffic lights, the 390 Adventure returned an average of 25.7kmpl. On the highway, it managed an average of 28-29kmpl. Combine these figures with a fuel tank capacity of 14.5-litres, and the 390 Adventure should have an impressive range of 370-400kms on a single full tank. 

Fitness of Purpose

KTM 390 Adventure left rear three quarter

The KTM 390 Adventure fits the bill perfectly for a buyer who wants a comfortably fast and electronically loaded motorcycle in a budget of around Rs 3.5 lakhs. It competes directly against the BMW G310 GS which is Rs 50,000 more expensive and the Royal Enfield Himalayan that is more affordable but lacks the electronic aids of the KTM.

Our Take

KTM 390 Adventure Action

The KTM 390 Adventure, apart from the engine vibes and the clunky gearbox, is a great package overall. It is fast, comfortable, decently fuel-efficient and can go through most potholes and bad terrain without breaking your back. Essentially, it replicates the 390 Duke but also has the ability to go places that the streetfighter would struggle in. And with a sticker price of Rs 2.99 lakhs (ex-showroom), KTM has managed to introduce a value-for-money product yet again!   

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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