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ADV BikesSpy Shots Show KTM 390 Adventure Near Production Ready

Spy Shots Show KTM 390 Adventure Near Production Ready

 Is KTM's entry-level ADV going to be an off-road screamer or budget bike?

Published on 06.28.2018

The KTM 390 Adventure has been in the rumor mill probably longer than any other model before it, now going on at least 5 years since it was first mentioned by KTM head Stefan Pierer. There were a few spy photos released of a rough prototype a few years ago and KTM has confirmed they will build it eventually, but real factual information about the KTM 390 Adventure has been in short supply. What we have known for some time is that KTM’s entry into the Small ADV class will feature the same single-cylinder 373cc powerplant from the 390 Duke, pumping out roughly 43 hp.

Over the years, there’s been plenty of times when we’ve felt like the little 390 ADV would never happen. But these new photos released by have restored our hope. The photos reveal a prototype that looks nearly ready for production with cleanly styled bodywork along with small details like notches in the rear sub frame for luggage and fairing winglets to deflect the wind.

KTM 390 Adventure Motorcycle


The headlight assembly looks fully developed as well with the same split twin headlight design found on the 1290 Super Adventure and 790 Adventure R. There’s also a shorty windscreen that appears to be adjustable and the fuel tank shares a family resemblance with the 790 Adventure (minus the lower bulges). The only thing missing from the bike is the sump protection.

When we looked at the spy photos released in late 2016, the 390 Adventure prototype was much rougher, sporting a temporary fuel tank and a windscreen that looked like it was borrowed from the KTM 450 Rally. The early prototype seemed to fit into an off-road mold with 21″/18″ wheel combo and a high front fender.

Now these new photos reveal a 19″/17″ wheel combo and a low front fender, which could signal a more street-oriented design. Even the frame and swing arm closely resemble the 390 Duke’s. Could it be that in a rush to production, KTM ended up using the same on-road chassis as the Duke? We can only hope that this is the all-new off-road chassis for the 390 platform, promised by Stefan Pierer, that we’ve been waiting all these years for.

KTM 390 Adventure Motorcycle

KTM 390 Adventure Motorcycle

Making the 390 Adventure as accessible as possible makes sense though for KTM in the entry-level sub-400cc adventure bike market. No doubt KTM will want to give it a reasonable seat height and an affordable price tag to compete on showroom floors with the likes of the BMW G310GS, Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and Royal Enfield Himalayan (401cc). It’s also manufactured in India to help reach a lower price point that will appeal to a larger segment of the motorcycling population.

Even so, the KTM 390 Adventure spy shots do show signs of premium components. We can see in the photos there are clickers on top of the forks to adjust rebound and compression damping — something the competition in this class don’t have. Signs of an adjustable windscreen, TFT display and integrated luggage also point to a more premium build.

Every year it seems the 390 is closer to production, but this time it really feels like the end of the waiting is near. Even Amit Nandi, a high-ranking Bajaj/KTM executive, recently talked publicly about how the KTM 390 Adventure will soon make it’s way to market. We expect the KTM 390 Adventure to make an appearance at either the EICMA or Intermot motorcycle shows later this year, with a release as as 2019 model. But hey, with the 390, you can never be sure.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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6 thoughts on “Spy Shots Show KTM 390 Adventure Near Production Ready

  1. Whaddaya wanna bet they still manage to give it a 35″ seat height? Will end up being too tall for most people. We’ll have to wait and see.

      • Heat is needed to meet emissions requirements, usually via a cat. Then, the “I can do it better” types remove the silencer and the evap system, and all that work to meet lower emissions goes to naught. I like parts that give me cleaner air. But, that’s me.

  2. 17 back / 19 front? Come on! CCM has shown that it is possible to build a bike with reasonable seat height without compromising off road abilities. Give us a 21 front please!

  3. Great article rob. Love the 17/19 alloy wheels. If quality, reliability and smoothness is good, the 390 adventure might be the perfect bike for my wife and I. ted.


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