Motorcycle.com

With its 1290 and 1090 Adventure (and Super Adventure) models, KTM has nearly conquered the big-bore adventure-bike market (sorry BMW). But total world domination isn’t complete until the lower classes have been scooped up, and with these spy photos of what we presume is a prototype of the 790 Adventure, the Austrian firm looks to be setting its sights in that direction.

First and foremost, we can tell this is the 790 parallel-Twin engine by the twin exhaust headers coming from the front. They dump into an under-engine collector before exiting out the exhaust canister mounted on the right side. Obviously, power figures are a toss up at this point, but we’re hoping for a crankshaft number somewhere near the century mark, which would give it an advantage over its two main rivals, the BMW F800GS and Triumph Tiger 800XC, which made 81.3 hp and 84.0 hp, respectively, to the wheel when we tested them in 2014. It might even outgun Honda’s Africa Twin, which spat out 85.7 hp when we tested it in the 2016 Wire Wheel Adventure Bike Shootout.

Look closely and you’ll see the twin pipes coming from the front of the engine, indicating this is KTM’s new 790 parallel-Twin.

What’s puzzling to us is the bulbous object that appears to be heavily wrapped in duct tape on the left side of the bike, just below the drooping extension of the fuel tank. The motorcycle you see in the photos is clearly a test mule, so one guess is that it’s simply some sort of testing device used at the factory, though it’s hard to say with any kind of certainty. Or perhaps it’s just a way of disguising KTM’s newest engine.

Think back to February, when we broke the news about what we thought was the 890 Duke. Signs now point to the engine being 800cc instead of 890, but nonetheless, it was the first time KTM’s parallel-Twin broke cover. Then of course, KTM uncovered the 790 Duke concept at EICMA 2016. It’s difficult to compare the 790 Adventure seen here to that early Duke, as the adventure bike’s bodywork hides many of the bike’s features. However, the swingarms on both machines look very similar, if not identical, and the forks, too, look similarly robust.

KTM is clearly trying to hide something, as evidenced by the engine component heavily wrapped in tape.

Sticking to the adventure theme, we clearly see dirt-focused knobby tires on what appears to be a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel. WP suspension adorns both ends, with the front fork looking to be quite a beefy unit. The shock is partially hidden in these photos, but it appears to have a respectable amount of travel as well. Oddly, the rear swingarm looks like it was pulled from a 690 Duke, its girth seeming a little wimpy compared to the swingarms used on the 1090 or 1290 Adventures.

Radial-mount Brembo calipers bite on twin discs up front, and wheel-speed sensors are visible, too, indicating at least ABS, but also the potential for an IMU that could manage the latest in cornering-ABS abilities and lean-sensitive traction control. Other odds and ends include a centerstand and a rather robust subframe – easily strong enough to support a passenger and luggage. The nose area looks to be unfinished, with a headlight wrapped in black plastic, including a blacked-out windscreen. An LED taillight is also visible, but who knows how close it is to the actual finished product.

The rear of the 790 Adventure looks more complete than the front, with a sturdy subframe that appears ready for another body and some hardbags. A 21-inch front and 18-inch rear should make it an attractive bike for those who want a rugged off-roader without the heft of a 1290 or 1090 Adventure.

We’ll provide more information once we get it. In the meantime, take a look at the photos yourselves in the gallery below and come up with your own conclusions.