The KTM 390 Adventure was one of the great teases of 2018. After the collective hopes of a nation were let down when there was no sign of the bike at the 2018 EICMA show in Milan, we shut down any expectations of seeing more of this machine till 2019. But with just one week of the year remaining, spy images have emerged that show the all new motorcycle testing in India!
For starters, the bike spotted doesn't look too far from production ready. This is fitting, going by the usual standard of seeing early prototype KTMs first emerge in Europe and then later stage development and fine tuning test mules running in India. Clearly, the 390 Adventure is now in the latter stages of development.
Visually, the bike appears quite similar to the test prototype that was spied in Europe a few months ago. The front end gets the trademark LED headlamp split down the middle by an aluminum structure that also functions as a heat sink. Whether this is the exact same lamp as the one on the current-gen 390 Duke remains to be confirmed, but it does appear that way. The light resides is a larger housing, above which lies a fairly sizeable windscreen that should provide good wind protection, but without blocking it all out entirely either. The front mudguard appears to neatly cover the fork seal area, which should protect it against dirt and dust.
While we can't be certain just yet, it is highly likely that this bike is running on a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch rear alloy wheel . That means tubeless tyres. The tread pattern is quite blocky and it appears to be an-off type tyre, but we aren't quite sure of the make and model just yet.
Moving over to the fork, it retains the offset spindle seen on the first prototype and is very likely to offer more suspension travel than the Duke's. How much more is hard to tell, but an interesting thing we can spot in the image is an red adjuster of sorts at the top of the fork. Now, this could be an adjuster that is on the prototype bike for the engineers to quickly tweak the set-up on the go as development progresses and they lock down on a final tune
The other possibility is that it could be that the 390 Adventure will be the first bike in the segment to offer some level of front suspension adjustability, even if that is just for preload, if not compression and rebound damping as well. We're excited to see how this particular area pans out.
The switchgear appears to be the same as the current gen 390 Duke, as do the mirrors and indicators, but the handle bar does look a little taller and wider. It's hard to tell from this angle, but it's quite likely that the full colour TFT display on the Duke will find its way to this bike as well. Over at the side, the bike instantly appears much longer than the Duke, which will come as a relief to bigger riders. The tank doesn't seem much larger, but it could hold a litre or two more than the Duke's 13.4 litre capacity. The bodywork along the sides is protected by a metal crash guard and there's a belly pan under the engine as well, but it's not clear whether this is a plastic or metal unit.
What is clearly different is the entire rear bolt-on subframe that is longer and less raked upwards than the Duke. The pillion seat appears spacious and the rider seat curves upwards into the fuel tank, which should help make it easier for the rider to slide their weight forward when required off-road. The footpegs are set in a lower and less aggressive setting than the Duke and they run rubber tops over toothy metal pegs underneath - another nod to some off-road aspirations after the shape of the rider seat. While it does look similar, the swingarm could be longer for this application. Finally, there are two sizeable grab rails on either side, but nothing in the form of a luggage rack - this may be sold as an accessory.
As for the engine, it is quite certainly going to be the same 373.2cc motor in the 390 Duke that makes 44hp and 37Nm, although it may be tuned differently for this application, at least in terms of final drive gearing, if nothing else. What does look different is the exhaust system which is larger than the one on the Duke or RC 390.
So when can we expect this bike? Well, it's easy to build castles in the air as has been the case so far. However, going by past example, it's quite possible that the 390 Adventure will stick to the standard KTM launch schedule for India and we may see a launch by sometime mid next year
We do expect to hear more about this from the company sometime in early 2019. When it does arrive, it's reasonable to expect a Rs 30-40,000 increase over the 390 Duke, which could put it in the Rs 2.8-3 lakh zone, which is still a good Rs 50,000 less than what would be its nearest rival, the BMW G 310 GS.
For now, we can tell you to expect a road-biased ADV, but one that that will still have the chops to take on a fair bit of mucking around in the dirt as well. It is a KTM after all, and their products are generally more focused than the competition. Whether the company will also offer a more off-road biased version with spoked wheels as spotted on the earlier test bike remains to be seen. Until then, the wait has formally begun.