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KTM’s 790 Adventure R Prototype – New Video Released

We reported to you the introduction of a production KTM Duke 790 in Milan earlier this month. At the same time, KTM displayed a prototype of an adventure model featuring the same 799cc parallel-twin engine, which produces a claimed 105 horsepower and 64 foot/pounds in the Duke.

The production adventure model (the prototype is called the 790 Adventure R) should be a serious off-road weapon, as illustrated by the video released by KTM. In this video, the new 790 prototype dices with the bike that took the latest Dakar Rally victory, the KTM 450 Rally. Have a look at the video.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Walter says:

    TF asked
    “Any fuel pump issues on your 1190? I travel with a spare pump and a filter kit. Cheap insurance……”

    No. I changed the filter at 16,000 miles and plan to change it again at 36,000 valve check. I used the Gefr kit on this and the 990. The 990 did have a stuttering problem once at about 15,000 miles- when I pulled the pump the filter was pretty dirty. Changed it, and the issue never came back. It was a 100 degree day as well, and the fuel level was pretty low when it did it- so it may have been heat-related (some folks think that is the potential real problem) I know some 990/1190 owners (don’t know about 1090 or 1290) have had some issues; but none of the half dozen local people I know have had problems with it. I guess it’s like VFR VRR problems- the bike is internet-notorious for them, but I’ve had 9 VF/VFRs and only had 1 go bad– on my 37 year old VF1000F last month.

  2. Lenz says:

    I see the middleweight sector of the “Adventure” motorcycle market as the most appropriately flexible / multi-usage capable ie versatility in varied terrain and roads. Arguably BMW and KTM have claimed the upper weight / engine capacity strata for some time however the BMW 800 and now the KTM 800 appear to be close competitors in the versatility stakes.

    I like this latest offering from KTM and based on experience with my current 2013 KTM 690 expect it will perform well maybe with a little tweaking. Maintenance has not been an issue with this “later” model (2013) so I wouldn’t expect problems with this most recent 2018 model.

    Is it actually possible to construct an approx. 800cc twin adventure bike at 136kg – 150kg (300lb – 330lb)?

  3. Jeremy in TX says:

    I really like the bike and the design. The video demonstrates that it is definitely a heavy beast, but my experience with the big 950 Adventure of yore leads me to believe that the bike will be quite capable in the rough regardless.

  4. Mick says:

    It is unfortunate that this middle weight bike should be middle weight. It’s about 100 pounds heavier than a 690 and about a hundred pounds lighter than an 1190.

    I can’t help but be unimpressed.

  5. Walter says:

    Sentinel says:
    “I wonder if this new bike from KTM will also include the self-destructing engine and endless electrical failures of the ones that came before it? I’ll have to sit this one out for a few years to see before I’d ever be willing to commit.

    I have very close to 200,000 miles on KTM twins and never had the motor apart on any of them except for a blown head gasket on my 950SM at ~55,000 miles. Had to replace 2 VRRs (one on the 950SM and one on the 950SE- both when they had over 40,000 miles. Did a permanent water pump fix as a PM on both of them (and my 950S) at ~20,000 miles, and replaced one clutch slave at ~12,000 miles. That’s been pretty much it. I’ve also owned a 990 Dakar that had no issues in the 25,000 miles I owned it, and have had zero issues with the 1190 I currently own (35,000 miles).

    And as a close follower of these things, my experience is more or less typical of what can be expected. For what and how they deliver, reliability has been pretty good.

    So go ahead and sit it out– trolling is so much more fun than riding.

    • TF says:

      Any fuel pump issues on your 1190? I travel with a spare pump and a filter kit. Cheap insurance…….

    • Snetinel says:

      All one needs to do is a bit of research to see the long list of very serious problems that have plagued KTM’s latest street bikes for years. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones and haven’t had the problems that many others have had. But your one-person experience does not the totality of the brands reliability make. And save the troll BS for someone else and grow up, we’re all stocked up here.

  6. Tim C says:

    I’m actually really getting tired of “love it or hate it” styling.

    • Jon says:

      It’s a lot less love it or hate it than most of the yamaha offerings. Looks fairly conventional to me for a big offroader.

  7. RonH says:

    Certainly looks more trail capable than the big BMW or Duc.

  8. Sentinel says:

    I wonder if this new bike from KTM will also include the self-destructing engine and endless electrical failures of the ones that came before it? I’ll have to sit this one out for a few years to see before I’d ever be willing to commit.

    • kyle says:

      Or get a Yamaha T7 which is probably just as good. I’ve been waiting for KTM for a decade now. Nothing. Ready to race they certainly are. I love their 2 strokes. But big four rule the ready to ride realm.

  9. Vrooom says:

    This might actually get me to dip my toes in the KTM pool again after a couple of bad experiences longevity wise.

  10. fred says:

    I’m sure this is a couple of average Joe’s they pulled of the street to shoot the video

  11. Grumpc says:

    So where’s the ‘All Day Saddle’ and bags to go with it…? Clearly its a very competent machine. – Grumps

  12. Provologna says:

    As usual, the music sound track sucked and would have been better omitted, leaving the bikes only for sound track.

    I guess that video does not exist with ultra high performance drone and HR camera, no?

    • Denny says:

      These “sound effects” seem to be general problem in many videos and yet, their producers seem not to get it. Frankly I do not understand why they do not follow on wish of interested people and cut that garbage out.

      It is sound of motors we want to hear.

      • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

        Personally, I found nothing wrong with the sound track, you still heard the bike engines. They both went together good. If it was just the bike engines, it would have been somewhat less exciting.

  13. Grover says:

    What is the curb weight?

    • Tom R says:

      After watching what this bike can do, does it really matter?

      • Jon says:

        Er, yes. You tried picking up a 500lb bike off road?

        • Grover says:

          I had good practice picking up my 325# dp bike and that was about my limit. I’m older now so no way am I gonna hoist a parallel twin off the dirt. I was asking the weight just out of curiosithey as I’m not in the market for a finicky, $12,000 dirt/adventure bike.

        • Tom R says:

          Yes, several times. Its not that difficult.

          Eat your Wheaties…or don’t drop your bike.

          • Jon says:

            Well, you’re stronger than me. I’ve got an 1190r, weigh 170 with minimal fat and once i’ve picked it up from the sand a few times in a day, i’m toast. And that’s without luggage. I’m fitter than 95% of the 40 year olds I know.
            If this 800 can knock 80-100lbs off it will make all the difference to me when riding the gnarlier stuff.
            It would be great not to drop it, but i’m not going to get better without dropping it a lot more, and you don’t buy a bike like this to ride easy fireroads.

  14. John says:

    I can’t think of a more welcome bike to the segment, except for a smaller 500cc twin version.

  15. bmbktmracer says:

    Gee, you guys are so negative. Giant ADV bikes are all the rage, and so a manufacturer gives us a far lighter version and you all still complain? Strange crowd… Even if you lack the skills to ride the thing in gnarly terrain, it’s still a lightweight, long-travel motorcycle with enough power to be a blast on paved roads.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      They’re bound to do an SMT version at some point. Which probably won’t make it to the US…..

  16. TF says:

    I own a 1090R Adventure. I suspect it can be ridden in the same manner as the bikes in the video but what’s the point? If I am going to ride terrain like that, I would much rather put my ten year old 250 XCW in the back of my truck and drive to the riding area. The beauty of the 1090 is that I can load it like a pack mule and ride from Michigan to Utah and explore dirt roads all along the way. As for the 790, I’m guessing it would start wearing thin on I80 in the middle of Iowa and it will never be as much fun off-road as a 250 or 450.

    To each his own I guess.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      I bet this one will be pretty road focused. Much more so than they felt they could ever make an (much more suitable for this kind of shenanigans) ADV version of the current 690.

      The vast, vast majority of buyers, if this is even remotely as successful as KTM expect it will be, will never take it into any seriously technical terrain. But instead will use it the way people use their Africa Twins, GS’, Vstroms, Jeep Rubicons, Ford Raptors and others. The 690 was just to unforgiving and hard core for that. I bet this one won’t be.

    • skortch says:

      If this bike is a couple grand cheaper than the 1090R and 50 (or more) pounds lighter, I think that’s the point. This looks like it will be lighter than the old 950/990 Adventure and maybe even the SE. It would be an ideal bike for exploring the western US. Slabbing across Kansas or Iowa, maybe not, but would it be that much worse than a 1090R?

      To me, the big liter+ Adv bikes are overkill off-road and lighter single cylinder dual-sports can be a pain on long pavement connectors. (And I don’t own a truck for transport; I’d rather ride than cage it.) This could be a great compromise and compromise is what these types of bikes are all about. It’s just a question of what parts of the spectrum you want to cover. I like light and dirt-worthy but still able to cross a state or two.

      • paquo says:

        one of the differences between the 1090 and this bike is wind protection which is more or less important to some

  17. DP says:

    What we look at is apparently showcase piece. Actual production bike will look something like this

    This is bound to become a benchmark in its class; top notch performer for retail bike. So will be suggested retail price. Relatively low weight speaks for itself – there is not lots of redundancy which means top quality engineering and materials all across. Still, nice to look at and read about.

  18. Wendy says:

    My collarbones ache just watching those videos.

  19. Tom R says:

    Another 95th percentile bike from KTM that the vast majority of riders will consider too tall, too radical, and too intense. For most, riding this bike would be like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

    But for those who can actually wield said sledgehammer, that fly will be really, really dead.

    • Denny says:

      I feel similarly. Let’s see how 500cc version will look like. Probably again like ‘mad mosquito’.
      So far I bask in civility of CB500 X.

  20. skybullet says:

    The thing I like most is the light weight and feel of the 990 SMT and a Super Duke GT I have. They are just right for my use and required almost no mods to make them “just right”. I had the seats customized for a more comfortable all day fit and the SMT did not sound just right so I added aftermarket cans. Overall, KTM uses top of the line suspension and brakes, plus better quality components throughout, justifying the price. I think the factory guys are better at getting components dialed in than aftermarket anyway. I was considering a 690 Duke too but I’ll wait for the 790. Downside, the styling is too spacey for my taste but I get compliments so apparently others like them.

  21. My2cents says:

    Awesome video and a great reminder of the amount of talent I lack.

  22. Phil says:

    Yep, I think you’re right Roadrash. When it’s your own bike, taking such risks isn’t likely (I often wonder how many bikes get trashed in these promotional videos)
    I hope KTM do a faired, road oriented version as well. If it’s done as an any distance, all-road bike, it will sell like high temperature cakes.

    • marloweluke says:

      +1. I would be interested in a smaller 790 Duke GT. I really don’t need 1301 cc to go sport touring. I would like 1301 cc of Super Duke GT but can’t afford the price tag that goes with it. The 790 would be very appealing. But give it 17 inch wheels with 120 front and 180 rear. Not these stupid 150/17 rear and 100/19 front. Not sporty enough.

  23. Roadrash1 says:

    Light as a street bike. As a dirt bike….not so much. Just my 2 cents.
    I wonder what percentage of buyers would use this bike for anything like the video.
    I did enjoy watching those experts rail on them though!
    I don’t know if anything over 300 pounds would be enjoyable for anything more than a fire road.

    • Rufas Y Nought says:

      Rode my Honda CL450 open desert, striped down to exactly 350 lbs for 30 years. Always severely enjoyable. You are correct about the motorcycle dual cancers of design, weight and image centric styling.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      If this is the kind of riding KTM wants “adventure” people to aspire to, they should seriously sponsor adv focused dirt riding schools across their intended markets. Virtually noone is going to buy a $12-15K, 450lbs multi cylinder electronic wonder, in order to take it to the school of hard knocks long enough to come out proficient at the other end.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I did enjoy watching those experts rail on them though!”

      and even they couldn’t hide the weight completely, it’s noticeable.

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