Orange Brigade’s little ADV sees minor refinements and electronic upgrades.
The 390 Adventure is KTM’s entry-level ADV inspired by big bikes. KTM
* Nice suite of electronics that just keeps getting better.
* Confidence-inspiring braking power.
* Suspension works well for both street and dirt applications.
While big-displacement ADVs are the golden ticket for long-distance exploration, there’s an argument to be made for smaller, lighter adventure bikes to help introduce riders to the category while still having a good time on the trail. KTM’s 390 Adventure is a perfect example of a small-displacement ADV that is easy to ride but fully capable of delivering full-spectrum fun.
The motorcycle market has long prioritized highly capable, yet large, adventure motorcycles suitable for riders with years of experience. That meant there are only a few ADV machines for beginners. KTM spotted the gap, resulting in the 2020 KTM 390 Adventure launch.
The Austrian manufacturer reused the heart of its entry-level-appropriate 390 Duke and RC 390 and wrapped the engine in a chassis suitable for tackling tougher terrain. With input from multiple Baja race winner Quinn Cody, the handling and suspension were developed for off-road chops. KTM claimed its trellis frame was similar to that found on the 450 Rally, placing greater emphasis on the 390 ADV’s off-road spirit.
For 2022, KTM sprinkles a little more ADV pixie dust on the 390 Adventure to bring it closer to its big brothers. Updated electronics with off-road riding modes and «beefier» cast wheels make this latest offering even more capable. The new paint also brings it visually closer to KTM’s Dakar bikes.
A welcome place for the traction control off-road mode. KTM
The bike remains essentially the same machine, with an unaltered steel trellis frame wrapped around a water-cooled 373cc single-cylinder DOHC water-cooled engine that makes an impressive 43 hp and 27 lb-ft. of torque Recently updated to meet Euro 5 emissions limits on KTM’s home continent, that mill gets a new set of electronic rider aids for 2022.
The traction control system now has an off-road mode along with the standard street setting, allowing the wheels to slip more before intervening to reduce torque. Meanwhile, the updated ABS now includes a cornering system that works when the bike is leaning.
The 2022 bike also has new 10-spoke alloy wheels that are said to be stronger than previous rims.
Powertrain: engine, transmission, and performance.
The Adventure’s Euro 5-compliant 373cc single-cylinder engine is the same one found in the 390 Duke. Although motivated by a single-cylinder under 400 cc, the bike has plenty of big-bike attitudes.
This liquid-cooled single makes 37.5 hp at 8970 rpm and 23.2 lb-ft. at 6,990 rpm when spinning its rear wheel. There’s plenty of torque for dirt or road applications and ample power for the highway, though riders should expect to use the upper edge of the rpm range when running at highway speeds. With the wind at our backs, we noted that its top speed could exceed a ton and reach triple-digit speeds.
The 390’s road manners are excellent. KTM
Quinn Cody, a decorated off-road racer turned KTM R&D rider, provided feedback on the 390 Adventure’s suspension and handling, resulting in a WP Apex suspension that exceeds expectations. The suspension is stiff enough to handle technical off-road sections but still performs admirably on the road, being planted and taut in those conditions. The fork is adjustable for compression and rebound, while the shock is adjustable for preload and rebound.
The bike turns easily thanks in part to a 56.3-inch wheelbase and lightweight packaging. If traction becomes uncertain, the lean angle-sensitive TC is there to help. In addition to the Street driving mode, the electronic suite now comes with Off-Road mode to accommodate off-road driving. As noted above, «The 390 Adventure can handle any terrain that comes it’s way as long as you attack it at the right speed.»
Braking performance from Brembo’s budget-conscious ByBre units is excellent. The radial-mount four-piston front caliper clamps firmly to a large 320mm disc and a floating two-piston unit grips a 230mm disc. Cornering ABS can be disabled, while
Off-road mode completely disables the anti-lock braking system at the rear and reduces intervention at the front.
KTM says the new cast alloy wheels provide increased stiffness compared to the outgoing units. KTM
Real-world fuel economy and MPG.
KTM claims a fuel economy of 100 km/3.37 liters (about 62 miles/0.9 gallons).
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility.
The two-piece fanned seat is ideal for longer rides; the bar reach and peg are quite roomy and comfortable. There is ample room to move around the saddle. Seat height is somewhat high at 33.7 inches.
An impressive 7.9 inches of ground clearance gives the 390 Adventure a good cushion between hard parts and rough topography. The stubby windshield offers some wind protection and doesn’t intrude on the rider’s line of sight.
Despite being a smaller bike, KTM loaded the 390 Adventure with an impressive array of electronics that allows it to excel regardless of conditions. Off-road mode allows for some rear-wheel slip in adverse conditions and maintains its setting in the event of an engine stall; Off-road ABS balances traction without over-regulating brake control on a trail; and KTM’s motorcycle traction control system is lean-angle sensitive.
KTM doesn’t just put «Adventure» in a model name anyway. When KTM says Adventure, it means it. KTM