KTM 390 Adventure - First Ride Review

27/01/2020 - 17:00 | ,  ,   | Suvil Susvirkar

The KTM 390 Adventure has landed on the Indian shores and we got an opportunity to test ride the motorcycle at 19-Degree North, Aamby Valley. We rode the motorcycle on the off-road track and open roads of Aamby Valley to bring you the first ride impressions. So is it worth that INR 2.99 lakh* cheque? Here's our first ride report.

Also Read: KTM 790 Duke available with up to INR 1 lakh discount

KTM 390 Adventure Styling

The motorcycle is built around a trellis frame that features a bolted sub-frame. The primary frame is based on the unit that underpins the 390 Duke, although KTM says to have made changes to suit the character of the 390 Adventure. The sub-frame is said to be an all-new unit.

The styling resemblance with the bigger KTM Adventure series motorcycles, especially the 790 Adventure, is instantly evident. The front-end features a split-style, full-LED headlight that is accompanied by LED indicators and a short windscreen. The windscreen is adjustable for 40 mm, although it requires an Allen key to adjust the height. The windblast protection hardware also comprises additional deflectors that sit on either side of the motorcycle, right under the front LED blinkers.

The cockpit brings a familiar layout, and the colour TFT instrument cluster on the 390 Adventure is similar to the unit on the 390 Duke. The display gives a plethora of information along with access to the settings for Bluetooth Connectivity, Motorcycle Traction Control, ABS and Quickshifter+. Bluetooth connectivity for accessing phone calls and music comes as standard, although the Turn-By-Turn navigation function is an optional extra. KTM has added a mount for GPS system above the TFT display to install a separate navigation system.

Ktm 390 Adventure Review Stills Left Front Quarter
The KTM 390 Adventure has been launched in India at an ex-showroom price tag of INR 2.99 lakh, which is INR 50,000 lower than the BMW G 310 GS' retail price.

The welcome message “Ready To Race” greets you at the start. The start-up routine is followed by a home screen that is dominated by a tachometer on the right side of the display. The speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge and electronic rider aid settings occupy the ride side of the display. A warning indicator (for example “Kill Switch” and “Side Stand” warnings) is visible on the left-top of the display. The Trip Meter, Trip Timer, Date, Battery Voltage meter and a Clock are visible on the left side of the screen. The rider can customize the information as per his choice through the settings.

Telltale indicators sit around the display. We did see a Cruise Control sign on the telltale indicators, although that’s most likely because the 390 Adventure shares the hardware with bigger KTM models.

The switches are taken directly from the 390 Duke as well, and thus you would find the user-friendly layout even on the 390 Adventure. The engine kill switch and starter button are located on the right side, while the left side has the controls the functions on the display, turn indicators, high/low beam with integrated pass function and horn. Adjustable brake and clutch levers add utility while enhancing the premium-ness of the vehicle.

Ktm 390 Adventure Review Details Instrument Cluste
The information-packed instrument cluster can be customised to show data that the rider desires to see. The colour TFT display is Bluetooth enabled to control calls and music, although the turn-by-turn navigation is an optional extra.

The cockpit is followed by the biggest fuel tank that is available on any KTM motorcycle in India. The 14.5-litre fuel tank is claimed to offer a range of 400 km. Bolted shrouds add a muscular look the overall appearance of the 390 adventure. A step-up seat follows the fuel tank, and it is sufficiently large to accommodate two adults. Convincing your parents or your better half to get the permission to buy the 390 Adventure just got easier, didn’t it? A pair of sturdy pillion grab rails offer plenty of space to grab on to the vehicle. The tail section comprises LED tail light along with LED blinkers and a tall-set number plate.

The KTM 390 Adventure is available in two colour options – White and Orange – both featuring a matte finish. The motorcycle tips the weighing scale at 163 kg (dry).

The motorcycle rides on alloy wheels (19-inch front/17-inch rear) that are wrapped in Metzeler Tourance tyres. The setup managed to sustain the heavy off-roading sessions, and none of the riders from our batch suffered from any damage to the wheels.

The overall build quality is solid. There were a few rattling sounds too, but do remember that these motorcycles were pushed through some of the most challenging terrains, and dropped several times during the media rides at the 19-Degree North off-roading track in Aamby Valley. This brings us to the next question - How does this model perform?

KTM 390 Adventure Engine and Performance

The KTM 390 Adventure shares its engine with the 390 Duke and, unlike the chassis, the motor does not come with any tweaks. The motor of the 390 Adventure is BS-VI compliant, and the same engine will be installed on the latest iteration of the 390 Duke. The single-cylinder mill uses two catalytic converters and a fuel tank ventilation system (EVAP system).

Despite complying with the BS-VI emission norms, the motor continues to deliver the same power and torque output numbers as the BS-IV compliant engine. Thus, the 373.2 cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 4-valve, DOHC engine produces 43 hp of maximum power at 9,000 rpm and 37 Nm of peak torque at 7,000 rpm. The single-cylinder mill is paired with a six-speed transmission that benefits from a slipper and an assist clutch mechanism. Moreover, the Indian-spec 390 Adventure also packs the Quickshifter+ as standard.

Ktm 390 Adventure Review Details Engine
Despite complying with the BS-VI emission norms, KTM has managed to keep the power and torque output figures the same.

We spent a major part of the day riding the vehicle on the off-road course of the 19-Degree North, where we found ourselves in the first and the second gear for almost all the time. We also took the motorcycle for a short spin around Aamby Valley to learn about its character on the open roads. The motor feels slightly uncomfortable under the 3,000 rpm levels. It starts to pull away cleanly from 4,000 rpm onwards with a step-up in power delivery from 6,000 rpm onwards. The 5,000 rpm is a sweet spot to cruise on the highway, with minimal vibrations and easy access to the power for quick overtakes.

The six-speed gearbox is crisp, and the Quickshifter+ mechanism makes life much easy. However, we did feel that the upshifts took slightly longer on several occasions. The Quickshifter+ system can be completely turned off when needed.

The braking setup is taken from the 390 Duke, and thus the stopping power comes from a 320 mm disc with four-piston, radially mounted calliper at the front and a 230 mm single rotor with a single-piston floating calliper at the back. The braking setup offers solid feedback as the motorcycle sheds speed at a commendable pace. The adjustable brake levers come handy as well.

The KTM 390 Adventure is also the first motorcycle in its segment in India to offer a wide range of rider aids. The motorcycle comes standard with Traction Control and ABS – both lean-sensitive. There are no selectable levels for the Traction Control system, and you can either keep it ON or OFF. ABS settings include two selectable options – Road and Off-Road. The system works well, although the only flaw is that the Traction Control turns itself ON when the engine is stopped and started again.

It’s commendable that KTM managed to retain the power and torque output numbers despite complying with the BS-VI emission norms. The electronics package further enhances the experience, and apart from the Traction Control system’s default settings, we wouldn’t change anything about the 390 Adventure.

KTM 390 Adventure Ride and Handling

The 19-inch front/17-inch rear wheel combination on the KTM 390 Adventure aims to deliver a balance between on- and off-road riding. We spent most of the day riding the vehicle on the off-road terrain, and the motorcycle tackled the entire terrain quite efficiently. The 390 Adventure comes with Metzeler Tourance tyres as standard. The tyres deliver a decent performance although serious off-roaders should consider a separate, more off-road focussed set of rubber.

Ktm 390 Adventure Review Details Footpeg And Brake
Riders can remove the rubber pads on the footpegs for off-road applications. (Note: The liquid on the ground is water and not oil.)

Test mules of the 390 Adventure were seen with wire-spoke wheels, and those could be introduced as optional extras internationally but not in India. The stock alloys, however, do a decent job, and despite pushing the motorcycle on unforgiving terrain, we did not see any bike suffering from a damaged wheel.

A tall-set handlebar offers upright and comfortable ergonomics. The tall position of the handlebar also comes handy while off-roading. The footpegs come with removable rubber pad for quick conversion to off-road applications.

The saddle, as mentioned above, features sufficiently large space to accommodate two adults comfortably. The seat height, however, can be a big problem for average riders. The KTM 390 Adventure boasts a seat height of 855 mm. Thus, shorter riders will have issues planting their feet firmly on the ground. At 5 feet 9 inches, I had a tough time while reaching the ground in the off-roading bit of the ride. The Royal Enfield Himalayan, which boasts a respectable ground clearance of 220 mm, comes with a very accessible 800 mm tall seat.

The stock windscreen, while being absolutely perfect for off-road riding, does not provide enough protection against windblasts, and we suffered a fair amount of by buffeting on the helmet. KTM should offer a taller windscreen as an optional extra. If you’re someone who plans to purchase the motorcycle for touring, the taller windscreen should be among your first purchases in the accessories department.

The 390 Adventure boasts a longer wheelbase (1,430 mm) than the 390 Duke (1,340 mm). Thus, the 390 Adventure trades the manoeuvrability for better straight-line stability.

Ktm 390 Adventure Review Details Headlight And Win
Unlike the international model, the India-spec KTM 390 Adventure misses adjustable front forks.

The shock absorption hardware comprises WP-sourced upside-down forks at the front and a preload-adjustable mono-shock at the back. Unlike the international-spec model, the KTM 390 Adventure misses the adjustability function for the front forks. The front and rear suspension travel is rated at 170 mm and 177 mm respectively. The setup is on the firm side, although it’s not very stiff.

The KTM 390 Adventure boasts a ground clearance of 200 mm, which is 15 mm higher than the 390 Duke's. Thus, the Adventure series model glides over most of the obstructions without bottoming out. In case the ground clearance does run out, the sump guard offers good protection to the engine and other crucial bits.

On the downside, the vibrations are evident from 6,000 rpm onwards. Thus, as mentioned in the Engine and Performance part of the review, the 5,000 rpm mark is an ideal level to cruise on the highway.

So what’s the final word?

KTM 390 Adventure Verdict

The KTM 390 Adventure is an appealing package that boasts more power and features than its direct rival in the Indian market, the BMW G 310 GS, while retailing at a lower, affordable price tag (INR 2.99 lakh* vs. INR 3.49 lakh*). The styling and build quality are commendable while the feature list is comprehensive. The safety functions such as Traction Control and ABS – both featuring lean-sensitive functions as well – enhances the overall value of the package.

On the downside, the tall seat height of 855 mm may keep certain buyers away. The vibrations, too, will cause some discomfort on long highway hauls. But the list of pros is too long to be affected by a couple of cons, and there is no denying the fact that the KTM 390 Adventure is among the best motorcycles in the sub-500 cc segment of the Indian market.

Ktm 390 Adventure Review Stills Right Front Quarte
The KTM 390 Adventure makes a strong case for itself, although the tall seat height (855 mm) and the vibrations (evident from 6,000 rpm onwards) work against it. It is, however, the most feature-packed motorcycle in its segment.

Also Read: Here is a list of KTM dealerships where you can buy Bajaj Chetak e-scooter

The KTM 390 Adventure should be available across all KTM showrooms to test ride very soon. While there is no option for a 21-inch front wheel, we’re curious to know if owners, who do not prefer to go off-roading, can directly replace the 19-inch front wheel on the 390 Adventure with a 17-inch unit from the 390 Duke to improve its on-road manners and call it a 390 GT. KTM, are you listening?

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