KTM 390 Adventure spoke wheel review: The complete ADV?

    Wire spoke rims improve the on and off-road abilities of the KTM 390 Adventure.

    Published on Jun 03, 2023 10:00:00 AM


    Make : KTM

    The KTM 390 Adventure, in many ways, has proven itself as a hugely versatile and capable motorcycle, ever since launch. However, since that time, a small yet significant crop of customers have been demanding a variant with wire spoke rims and adjustable suspension for a long time. Especially the latter since it was available with the international-spec KTM 390 Adventure. Well, the prayers of these hardcore off-road junkies, if you will, have been answered and a day with this “SW or Spoke Wheel” variant gave us an idea about its capabilities.

    KTM 390 Adventure SW: the new bits

    Let’s get to the main changes, shall we? The 390 Adventure SW , as the name suggests, has wire spoke wheels, wherein the rims are made of aluminium while the spokes are made of steel. KTM says that this helps keep the weight of the wheels in check while benefiting from the impact absorption capabilities of steel spokes. These wheels are shod with tube-type Metzeler Tourance tyres. 

     The other welcome addition is the adjustable suspension at both ends. You’ve got 30 settings each of compression and rebound in the fork while the monoshock has 20 levels of rebound adjustment in addition to the usual preload settings. That allows one to set up the suspension to tackle a variety of road conditions as well as for riding off-road. But, what I really liked about the adjustment mechanism is how easy it was to operate. The clicker knobs at the top of the fork don't require any tools and that makes life easy when you want to make adjustments by the side of the road. 

    KTM 390 Adventure SW: How does it ride?

    We began the day by riding the bike on tarmac, with the front suspension set in the mid level (15 clicks) while the monoshock was set one notch up from stock settings for my 91kg (with gear) weight. The rebound was set at the mid level as well. 

    Within the first few kilometres of riding on uneven terrain, I could feel the difference in the ride quality compared to the 390 Adventure X with the non-adjustable fork that we’d ridden the previous day. The spoke wheel version’s suspension did a better job of ironing out said uneven terrain and that keeps the bike settled while also ensuring that the rider isn’t tossed around. As the roads got a little broken in places and few potholes cropped up, a few turns of the clicker on the front fork helped soften the ride. On the other hand, when we hit the fast, flowing and smooth roads of the Tamhini Ghat, adding more damping to firm up the suspension allowed for sportier dynamics from this ADV. But the true test of the spoke rims and the adjustable suspension was when we rode up and down the trails at the Prodirt Adventure park in Talegaon, Maharashtra. 

    From riding on trails strewed with mud to big jumps as well as the odd river crossing, the bike tackled it all. Hitting a few rocks while riding fast down a trail also didn’t induce a mild heart attack as I was safe in the knowledge that wire-spoke rims have better ability to bear big impacts than alloy wheels that were more susceptible to cracking or bending in similar situations. 

    In all, the difference that adjustable suspension makes  is huge and that would make one lean towards this variant of the 390 ADV. 

    KTM 390 Adventure SW: should you buy one?

    At Rs 3.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), this variant of the 390 Adventure sits at the top of range and will be on the radar of those who are serious about riding off-road. The adjustable suspension and spoke wheels surely help in giving the bike more capabilities in riding off the beaten track. That said, the downside of tube-type wheels is that they are a pain when it comes to fixing punctures. Having to remove the wheel and unmount the tyre to get to the tube is a task and is quite time consuming as well. Also, imagine being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre and no access to a puncture repair person or a kit. 

    So, I’d recommend the wire-spoke rim equipped 390 Adventure if you are a committed off-road rider and are ok with dealing with the hassle of tube-type tyres in case you have a puncture or have the tools and knowledge of fixing one, when there’s no tyre puncture shop in sight for miles. 

    As for me, I’m not much into riding off road and prefer riding on tarmac. Unfortunately, KTM does not yet sell the alloy wheel variant with the adjustable suspension. Hence, to me, it makes sense to buy the standard 390 Adventure and invest in upgrading to the adjustable suspension as and when KTM makes them available. 


    Tech Specs

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