ADV Pulse

NEWSLETTER
Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Newsletter

Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Connect With Us

Follow On Facebook:

ADV NewsNew Dirt-Focused KTM 390 Adventure Model Spied Out Testing

New Dirt-Focused KTM 390 Adventure Model Spied Out Testing

Spotted prototype reveals an ‘R’ version of the small-bore adventurer in the works.

Published on 02.22.2022

At first glance the motorcycle in these spy shots could be someone’s jerry-rigged rat bike, but nope, we’re looking at what appears to be a rough prototype of a new, more dirt-oriented KTM 390 Adventure…and who wouldn’t be onboard for that? 

How do we know this work in progress is headed for the trails? The most obvious hint is the high enduro-style front fender and 21/18-inch spoked wheel setup replacing the current 390 Adventure’s 19/17-inch cast alloy wheels. This difference has long been a segregating factor between KTM’s street-biased base models and its more aggressive R variants, currently offered as a 690 Adventure Enduro R, 890 Adventure R and 1290 Super Adventure R. 

KTM 390 Adventure R spotted
Photo: Benhard M. Hohne/BMH-Images

And then there’s a modified steel trellis frame peeking out from the crude bodywork. It appears to be the chassis setup seen on the upcoming 390 Duke prototype, which is more traditional in shape than the current frame. In Cycle World’s report on this spied 390 Adventure prototype, it describes the new frame design (recently seen on 125, 250 and 390 Duke test mules) as using upper and lower main tubes of equal thickness and more delicate metalwork between, forming a triangulated layout to increase rigidity, rather than a thick upper frame tube on either side running from the swingarm pivot to the steering head, with a strengthening trellis of thinner tubing hanging below it, as we see on the current 390cc KTM bikes. 

Dirt-focused KTM 390 Adventure R spotted
Photo: Benhard M. Hohne/BMH-Images

ADVERTISEMENT

There’s also a unique swing arm on this prototype that isn’t a dupe of the upcoming 390 Duke’s future unit. From what we can tell, this new billet aluminum design, likely machined by KTM Group-owned CNC, is more generously arched, which would increase ground clearance and accommodate longer suspension travel. The skid plate is an item currently available as a PowerParts add-on for the 390 Adventure. 

Other interesting deviations are a higher exhaust unit and beefier engine brace than the one currently found on the 390 Adventure. We also see a fuel cell that’s basically a crude rectangular box at the moment, holding out the chance a potential 390 Adventure R might have more fuel capacity than the current base model’s 3.8 gallons.

Off-road oriented KTM 390 Adventure spied
Photo: Benhard M. Hohne/BMH-Images

KTM’s parent company, Pierer Mobility AG, has been busy trotting out several new models and freshly-spied prototypes, such as the next-gen 890 Adventure and its new street-focused sibling we’re expecting in 2023. Judging by the roughness of this 390 Adventure test mule, we’re unlikely to see a production version before 2024. 

But I think many will agree, a compact, lighter weight, dirt-focused adventure bike from KTM will be well worth the wait.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
ADVERTISEMENT

Related Stories

Related Stories

Comments
 11

Leave a Reply

11 thoughts on “New Dirt-Focused KTM 390 Adventure Model Spied Out Testing

  1. A twin-cylinder 490 R interests me more than the 390 single, especially if KTM focuses on keeping the weight in the neighborhood of the 390’s ~400 lbs..

  2. The modern enduro / dual sport the Japanese refuse to make. I never wanted to buy an Austrian bike but if this hits the show room floor I will be the first to put down a deposit.

ADVERTISEMENT

Watch: Getting It Wrong On A Big ADV Bike When You’re Chris Birch

After all the insane off-road stunts we’ve seen Chris Birch perform over th...

To Where The Road Ends: Dalton Or Dempster Highway - Which One?

The end of the road beckons. “Why” is a question as old as time. When a rep...

Enduristan Blizzard: Rackless, Rugged, Waterproof Saddlebags

Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weeklong adventure, a set of conv...