KTM 790 Adventure S – The Perfect Adventure Motorcycle?

KTM 790 Adventure S – The Perfect Adventure Motorcycle?


welcome to MOTOTREK. I’m Bret Tkacs. I’m a
professional motorcycle instructor and a world traveler and over the years I’ve
ridden a lot of adventure motorcycles today I get to ride to KTM 790 Adventure
I’m gonna explore the roads and trails around Mount Rainier. Come back, and let you know what I think of it. Our friend David loaned us his brand new KTM 790 Adventure S.
the bike is stock with only a couple of minor changes. he put on a set of Mitas E-07 Plus’s to give it a little better traction on the dirt and then also he
anteed up to pay the extra to have the Rally Mode enabled I have a particular preference for
middle-sized adventure bikes. I love the 800 class I wrote an 800 GS for over a
hundred thousand miles through multiple countries I own the Tiger 800. not only
does the KTM come in as the lightest bike in its class but it gets to stay that
way because you don’t have to add on a bunch of extra stuff to protect it. the
radiators are tucked well inside of the motor in the shrouds the lower engines
protected by the fuel tank and the fuel tank has plastic that covers the outside
in case it tips over on the trail the bike comes from the factory with a skid plate and
with hand guards I’ve spent time on the KTM’s before. I’ve owned a 990 I’ve spent
considerable time on the 1190 and some time on the 1290 I expected the new 790
Adventure to be a performance bike to have good power output to have good
suspension to work really well offroad the real question was is “what would make
this bike stand out from its big brothers and what would make it stand
out from the competition” This bike had the rally mode enabled which allowed me
to get into more control over the ABS system and the traction control
throughout the day I went through each and every one of the ride modes I tried
rain mode off-road mode and rally mode I also went through the different settings
for how much interference I had in the traction control and then how much
interference I had with ABS the traction control the ABS is both tied
into the lean sensor so the traction control works even when the bikes leaned
over traditionally what I’ve noticed with traction controls when I got really
difficult situations very loose rock very loose gravel muddy surfaces when
you roll on that traction control has a tendency to cut out to really be
interfering in what you’re trying to accomplish even when I turn the traction
control into a height interference mode where it really wanted to kick in when I
had slip it was very very very smooth when I turned it all the way down so I
had all control of it the bike just felt really natural I never felt it to be
at all it always kept the bike moving forward this is the best traction
control I’ve ever used just like the traction control the ABS
on this bike was very smooth and did nothing but enhance my riding experience
on the bike the other electronic enhancement that’s
worth noting is the throttle controller you can change the modes to change the
amount of input on the throttle how quickly it adds power so you can have a
very very very immediate in a rally mode all the way down to a rein mode where
it’s very forgiving and very soft it doesn’t change how much horsepower is
being put out it just changes how smoothly delivers that power for me I
preferred the rain mode or the regular off-road mode Thank You KTM to things
that you did that I’m just absolutely in love with number one whatever settings I
put into the bike stay there when I turn the bike off and turn the key back on I
don’t have to go through and reset settings the second thing is the screen
is really bright and easy to read and I can navigate through with my left thumb
on all the different modes of traction control abs inputs and I can do those
while I’m in motion I don’t have to stop the bike go through some ritual or turn
the bike off or put it neutral I can make the changes on the fly while I’m
moving the S model is the least expensive of the KTM 790 adventure
models that means it comes with non adjustable suspension but even with non
adjustable suspension it was very good offroad it really likes we’ve ridden
hard just like it’s big brothers the 1290 like its older siblings like the
990 adventure it likes to be ridden like an off-road bike
that means when you’re getting on those trails when you’re hitting hard berms
when you’re hitting hard bumps it’s very happy but it also means when you slow
things down to a more relaxed pace you’re gonna feel it it’s much much
stiffer and the bike will bounce you around quite a bit more in some places
so much so that you’ll start skipping kind of over those rocks on washboards
and things of that nature the R model and the rally model come
with adjustability I didn’t get a chance to play with that but if you like riding
hard you’re not gonna mind the suspension if
you really like a relaxed chill out ride you’re gonna probably find this much
harsher compared to bikes like the F 800 GS or
the Triumph Tiger 800 you might be trying to decide whether you want the s
model which they consider to be a touring bike ready for the trail or the
R model which they consider a trail bike ready for the street the difference
between those really boils down to mostly the suspension the arm model is
going to have an extra ground clearance is going to have extra adjustability in
suspension they’re both running 18-inch rims on the rear 21 inch rims on the
front they both have all of the power modes available to them although on the
street model you’ll have to pay to enable the rally mode but all the
electronics are still there the street model has a lower fender the arm model
has a high fender what it really boils down to is just what your gonna do with
the bike most of the riders I ride with and most of the riders I’ve trained
would be just fine riding the S model and eight hours of riding going over the
rocks going on the the single track trail not one time did I wish I had more
ground clearance or more suspension here’s what makes the KTM 790 adventure
different than all the other bikes in class if you look at the Africa twin the
the Triumph Tiger the F 800 GS and and the new 850 GS is so large and in price
it does even class but even looking at those the KTM has more horsepower than
its competition and it has significantly less weight but what really makes the
KTM 790 adventures stand out from the other bikes on the market is the way the
bike is balanced it carries its weight very very low on the bike other bikes
they lose their weight once they go into motion the KTM loses the weight before
it even starts moving they use a saddlebag fuel system on the bike and
they hang down on both sides of the bike the same as the Dakar Rally racers do
this keeps the weight very very low seeing these tanks kind of bubbling
around the base of the bike how did some concern for me I was thinking man that’s
gonna run into branches or logs now my tanks are hanging out there but these
are and if you don’t like the way they look
I suggest riding the bike and not looking at it the KTM 790 adventure is
already the lightest bike in its class and it feels a hundred pounds of lighter
than it actually is this bike made me want to go play it was
just fun to ride off-road the power band was quick to come on the electronics
were smooth and unintuitive and the suspension just loves to be ridden hard
the balance is so so good it’s so low on the bike that I almost felt like I was
riding my dirt bike the other aspect of that is riding the large adventure bikes
have become very custom to having more mass up on the top of the bike which
allows me to wedge into to lean forward to relax on when I’m touring the 790
adventure doesn’t have that it’s very narrow at the seat it’s very narrow at
the top because all of that fuel space all that mass that’s usually at the top
sits so low on the bike and we’re at first I felt it a little uncomfortable
because it didn’t have anything to wedge into once I started playing with the
bike and really getting into riding I I forgot all about that on the street the
suspension worked really really well and that’s what the S model is really
targeting is the street rider who wants to go off-road rather than the off-road
brighter who wants to go on the street on the road the KTM felt exactly the way
I thought it would it was sporty it was stable and it was
fun on the pavement what did stand out is how stable it was
when we put a 21-inch wheel on the front of a bike a lot of times they start to
feel a little bit Wiggly they don’t feel quite as planted his bikes that run
19-inch rims the KTM 79 adventure didn’t have that same wiggly feel it felt super
solid and tracked the road really well the other thing I really noticed about
it was that when I got the bike up to speed and I didn’t spend a lot of time
on the pavement but I did get it up to at least 70 miles an hour and wrote it
for a short while there it was very smooth and much smoother than like my
old F 800 GS not quite as smooth as my old tiger 800 XE I’ve written a lot of
adventure bikes and this is the most fun I’ve ever had off-road on a midsize
adventure bike this thing was a hoot the power was good the suspension was good
it had great handling it had phenomenal balance is this the perfect adventure
bike maybe it depends what you want to do I did like the bike and it was a lot
of fun offroad and definitely if you’re if your goal was to do technical riding
and trail riding it’s gonna be hard to have anything beat this but when it
comes to adventure riding that’s a pretty broad market it depends how you
define it if your goal is to do long-distance touring then the the f800
GS or the new 850 GS the Africa twins these are beautiful bikes on the road
very smooth very comfortable they have a very broad powerband where the KTM
really likes be run hard I’m really trying to come up with a way to say that
the other bikes are just as good or that the 790 isn’t the best bike on the
market but I gotta be honest I think this bike may just be a game-changer
hi I keep trying to come up with something I don’t like about it and I’m
digging pretty hard to find anything

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