Last week Indian bikers went into a frenzy as KTM confirmed the launch of its 390 Duke Adventure, next year. Ever since the first-generation KTM 390 Duke made its debut in 2013, there have been talks about an adventure version based on the street bike. And there were good reasons for this excitement as KTM’s international portfolio consists of some of the best adventure motorcycles ever built – not to forget its Dakar domination (it has won every rally starting from 2001). Additionally, awareness (and acceptance) for dual-purpose motorcycles was also slowly gaining traction. So while there’s still some wait in store, here’s a rundown of what the 390 Adventure could turn out to be.
More the merrier
The release sent out by KTM mentioned that the upcoming adventure motorcycle will be inspired by the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Internationally, the 1290 Super Adventure is offered in two variants – a road-biased version and a hardcore off-road variant. It’s possible that KTM would adapt the same approach for the 390 Adventure and offer it in two or more flavours. This does make sense for KTM as it can target a varied customer base with a few modifications. The standard 390 Adventure will be more touring-focused, equipped with road-biased tyres, alloy wheels and comfier ergonomics for riders looking to munch miles. The off-road variant, on the other hand, could get longer travel suspension, knobby rubber, spoke wheels, higher ground clearance and fewer body panels to explore the trails – much better-suited for tail-happy bikers. A scrambler version based on the 390 Duke was also spotted testing on the outskirts of Mattighofen, last year and this could be a dark-horse from the company. It’s possible that the Austrian brand will launch the 390 Adventure in one trim first, with the other variants set to follow suit in due time; but one shouldn’t discount the fact that KTM has a knack to surprise everyone.
KTM upped the ante when it comes to adapting premium features on its more mainstream motorcycles. The latest example of this is the 790 Duke which was unveiled last year at EICMA. The mid-displacement street naked has been equipped with segment-first features such as bi-directional quickshifter, IMU-based lean angle sensitive traction control, cornering ABS and launch control. Closer to home, the 2017 KTM 390 Duke was loaded with segment-first goodies like LED headlight, ride-by-wire and a TFT screen.
Back in 2015, KTM boss Stefan Pierer had mentioned in an interview that cornering ABS will be offered even in its 125cc motorcycles in the future. Clearly, KTM is focused on offering advanced safety features across its range and there’s a possibility that the 390 Adventure could be the first small-capacity KTM to offer this feature – or perhaps traction control and ride modes, as the 390 Duke already gets ride-by-wire tech. While there is uncertainty regarding cornering ABS, the upcoming adventure motorcycle will definitely get switchable ABS.
The KTM 390 Adventure is expected to be powered by the same 373cc, single-cylinder liquid-cooled motor as seen on the 390 Duke. In its current state of tuning, the motor develops 43.5hp and 37Nm of peak torque. We expect that KTM engineers will tune the motor for a better low-end performance and other changes could include revised gear ratios and a bigger rear sprocket. There could be a drop in the top-end performance of the 390 Adventure, in comparison to the 390 Duke, but it should have focus on a strong mid-range punch, something the new 390 Duke already does quite well. KTM has also stressed the fact that the 390 Adventure will be an able machine ‘to ride long distance’ and a relaxed and comfortable cruising speed of 120-130kph should be safe to expect.
Pricing and launch details
The KTM 390 Adventure is likely to make its global debut at the INTERMOT motorcycle show in Germany; or EICMA motorcycle show in Italy, later this year. If it does so in production form, then going by past trend, the bike should arrive in India in the first half of 2019. However, there is a chance that this bike may follow a later timeline than previous KTMs in India. The bike has so far only been caught testing in Europe, and it still has to undergo extensive validation testing in India. That leads us to believe that the India launch could happen towards the later part of 2019.
One of the prime reasons for KTM’s success is its cut-throat pricing. Although, prices for KTM 390 offerings have risen steadily over the years, they still score highly in the VFM quotient. As for the KTM 390 Adventure, we suspect it will retail for around Rs 2.7 to 3 lakh (ex-showroom) and will compete directly against the soon-to-be-launched BMW G 310 GS.