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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

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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
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joe john
joe john
February 22, 2022 10:22 am

That’s a bike I could get on board with.

Patriot159
Patriot159
February 22, 2022 9:50 pm

Nice. An ‘R’ model is a welcome edition. I hope the upcoming 490 twin ADV will offer an ‘R’ version too.

Ricardodeconto
Ricardodeconto
February 23, 2022 7:14 pm

I’m interested

norm
norm
February 24, 2022 12:10 pm

the bike looks sexy, make it 490 and add a cruise control, priced at 6k5 gbp would be a dream machine to have

Diana
Diana
February 24, 2022 12:35 pm

Hopefully seat height won’t need a stepladder 😉

Christopher Johnson
Christopher Johnson
February 24, 2022 8:22 pm

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..

supertonic3
supertonic3
February 25, 2022 10:33 am

Nice updates. (I’m looking forward to KTM updating the design of those headlights though; too pointy.)

supertonic3
supertonic3
February 25, 2022 10:34 am

A lightweight 490 twin would be more enticing.

Eric Kramer
Eric Kramer
February 25, 2022 1:26 pm

It would be perfect for riding around Cool Ca

Joe John
Joe John
March 1, 2022 7:21 am

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.

Kevin
Kevin
April 2, 2022 12:51 am

Looks fantastic. I’d be very keen to own one of them.

Alex Bub
Alex Bub
August 1, 2023 11:28 am

KTM, get you head out of your …..!!!! Some of us want a sub 500 light weight twin ADV bike. It’s not all about displacement and power. It’s about lighter weight, adequate power, handling, driveability, and being the best ADV bike in its class. The 490 would be big enough for long range ADV touring, as would a strictly street version for those inclined for asphalt only. Not all of us want the heavier versions. You’re thinking more like H-D. The Pan America is a great bike, I’ve been on one in the dirt and on the street. Till now they just refuse to build a smaller version. H-D, make a 650 twin version please or better yet a 500cc version. Outdo KTM since they refuse to. You’ve shown you can make an ADV bike, now do it for those of us who want lighter but still great.
Oh yes, H-D. Make your upcoming 440 cc bike as an ADV and not just for Riders Edge.

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