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  • Mild protection via belly pan when 200mm ground clearance...
    Mild protection via belly pan when 200mm ground clearance runs out.
  • LED lighting all-around. Tail-light looks great and works...
    LED lighting all-around. Tail-light looks great and works well too.
  • Short windscreen is not adjustable. KTM sells an optional...
    Short windscreen is not adjustable. KTM sells an optional taller screen.
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Rating 8 8

KTM 390 Adventure review, road test

12th Apr 2020 6:00 am

The 390 Adventure feels at home in the city and on the highway.

  • Make : KTM
  • Model : 390 Adventure
We Like
Everyday usability
Competitive pricing
We Don't Like
Weak bottom-end performance
Handlebar ergonomics
No lower seat option

So far, our time with the KTM 390 Adventure had been limited to about an hour on a hardcore off-road trail, and another hour on the roads near Lonavala. That, however, just wasn’t enough time to give you a proper verdict, especially for a bike as potent as this. And that is why, at the first opportunity we got, we put the KTM 390 Adventure through a comprehensive road test.

Before I dive into my take on the design, let’s get some facts out of the way. Firstly, as you’d expect from an ADV, the 390 Adventure is quite large and dwarfs most other motorcycles of similar capacity. Presence then – be it on the road or in your parking lot – won’t be a problem. Secondly, it’s not chunky. KTM has made a conscious effort – evident from the slim exhaust end-can and flush crash protection – to keep the bike as slim as possible. Not only does this help in narrow trails, but also while filtering through city traffic. However, while the proportions are on point and it does manage to turn a few heads, the same can’t be said about the styling; it looks a bit strange and extraterrestrial. The rear, on the other hand, is simple and we think the tail-light looks neat.

Oddly-shaped Duke-borrowed mirrors don’t work well in this setting.

Borrowing the motor-gearbox combination from the Duke and RC 390 means that the 390 Adventure is just as high-revving. This is something that’ll take some getting used to, especially if you are moving up from something like a gentle-revving Himalayan. Another thing that might take time getting used to is the fierce acceleration, which, when paired with the quickshifter, takes you to triple-digit speeds rather quickly – just 0.49sec slower from 0-100kph than a 390 Duke. Speaking of the quickshifter, it works well high up in the rev range, but it’s not as smooth at lower RPMs, which is where you would find yourself often in the city.


In the city, the 390 Adventure is not as natural a commuter as a Hero XPulse, but it gets around quite well. The revised cooling system uses two fans, a larger radiator and some comprehensive shrouding, all of which make a big difference and the bike never gets unbearably hot. Over the years, KTM has worked on the engine’s smoothness, and it now feels so much more refined and manageable at low speeds. City speeds are no longer an inconvenience, and once you pick up speed, the bike can hold on to gears higher than needed without any complaint. Large speed breakers still demand first gear though.

When you venture off-road, the motorcycle is slightly less impressive. It does manage to blaze through most fast open stretches, but slow technical bits and large rocks highlight the 390 Adventure’s weak bottom end, and working around this demands more skill from the rider. Some modifications to the final drive sprocketing should really help, but make sure you check the implication of this on the warranty.


The suspension isn’t as plush feeling as a BMW G 310 GS or a Royal Enfield Himalayan, but with its dynamic setup and grippy Metzeler Tourance tyres, the 390 will run rings around either on a winding road. Get on long highway stretches, and the long wheelbase and 19-inch front wheel provide all the stability you need. It’s also 22kg lighter than the Himalayan, but it feels just as planted on the highway, if not more.

At 855mm, there’s no denying that the seat on the 390 Adventure is quite tall, but it is quite comfortable for long durations. The pillion seat is also comfy, accommodating, and practical. The problem begins when you need to stand and ride the 390 Adventure. The handlebar just isn’t tall enough to allow for a comfortable stance – which means you will find yourself leaning forward awkwardly. We won’t be surprised to see many customer bikes with aftermarket handlebar risers.

Lastly, the large 320mm disc brake setup at the front also inspires confidence. The rear, meanwhile, is adequate, and off-road enthusiasts can deactivate the rear ABS if they like.


The 390 Adventure gave us 27.9kpl in the city and 35.8kpl on the highway in our standard test procedures. Even when ridden hard, the bike returned well over 27kpl, which is quite impressive for the performance. Consider the large 14.5-litre fuel tank, a range of 400km should be realistically possible.

After our first experience with the 390 Adventure, we said we would hold off on giving our final verdict until we get to spend hundreds of kilometres with it on the open road. Well, we finally did, and the bike definitely impresses. It’s more than what you would ever need on our highways, it’s practical enough to commute on, and is off-road-ready enough to take on most of the trails you would throw at it. And then there’s the fact that it’s got the tech you wouldn’t find on most motorcycles three times its price. That being said, we miss having the international-spec adjustable fork, and the ergonomics and quickshifter could be reworked as well. However, none of these factors are even remotely close to being deal breakers when you look at the mouth-watering Rs 2.99 lakh price tag (ex-showroom Delhi).


PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
No of Cylinders 1
Cubic Capacity (cc) 373.2cc
Cooling System Liquid-cooled
Fuel Delivery System Fuel-injected
Bore/Stroke (mm) 89 x 60mm
Max Power (hp @ rpm) 43.5hp at 9000rpm
Max Torque (nm @ rpm) 37Nm at 7000rpm
Power to Weight Ratio (hp/tonne) 245.7hp per tonne
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
No of Gears 6
Dimensions & Chassis Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Weight (kg) 177kg
Ground Clearance (mm) 200mm
Fuel Tank capacity (lts) 14.5 litres
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Brake Type Disc
Front Brake Size (mm) 320mm
Rear Brake Type Disc
Rear Brake Size (mm) 230mm
SUSPENSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Suspension USD fork
Rear Suspension Monoshock
WHEELS AND TYRES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front wheel (inch) 19 inches
Front Tyre 100/90
Rear wheel (inch) 17 inches
Rear Tyre 130/80
ACCELERATION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
0 - 10 kph (sec) 0.52
0 - 20 kph (sec) 0.94
0 - 30 kph (sec) 1.31
0 - 40 kph (sec) 1.70
0 - 50 kph (sec) 2.16
0 - 60 kph (sec) 2.82
0 - 70 kph (sec) 3.40
0 - 80 kph (sec) 4.21
0 - 90 kph (sec) 5.11
0 - 100 kph (sec) 6.15
BRAKING Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
60 - 0 kph (mts, sec) 16.05m
EFFICIENCY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
City (kpl) 27.9kpl
Highway (kpl) 35.8kpl
Overall (kpl) 31.85kpl
Overall Range (kms) 461.8km
KTM 390 Adventure review, road test
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