This just in from the We Knew It Was Coming But Couldn’t Prove It Department: The KTM 390 Adventure is being developed for the 2019 model year. Now, let’s see what the spy shots have to tell us.
The Austrians haven’t said anything official, but an executive of KTM’s Indian partner, Bajaj Auto, let slip to the press that the 390 Adventure was coming. “KTM is a niche brand for a select few,” says Amit Nandi, Bajaj senior vice president in charge of KTM’s Indian operations. “With the 390 Adventure we would be making our long awaited entry into the niche premium dual-sport segment which is a very apt segment for Indian roads.”
Not surprisingly, the engine looks unchanged from the 390 Duke. What we can see is that the radiator has an enlarged shroud although the radiator itself looks unchanged. The exhaust plumbing has been rerouted under the engine, and the muffler has a slightly less triangular shape. We find it troubling that no skid plate is visible in the photos since the header is now extremely vulnerable, as is the rest of the engine. Given that the 390 engine already had a pretty broad, flat power curve, we don’t anticipate any real changes to the power delivery other than the EFI updates that are required by the new exhaust system.
Stylistically, the 390 Adventure retains much of the family resemblance to the Duke with a few notable differences. First, the headlight nacelle is much larger, looking more like the 790 Adventure, with a portion that extends almost to the top edge of the TFT display (an item we expect to mirror the 2019 instrumentation on the Duke). Mounted on top of the nacelle is an abbreviated windscreen to redirect some of the wind blast during long rides. Similarly, a pair of clear polycarbonate wings have sprouted below the dual headlights; both the windscreen and wings are similar in shape to those found on the 790 Adventure R. Absent, however, is the 790’s motocross-style fender, with KTM opting for a tire-hugging design instead. The 390 Adventure also does not appear to have the enlarged lower section in the fuel tank on the larger model.
In a break with the 390 Duke’s appearance, the entire trellis rear subframe has been covered with plastic bodywork. A close examination of the rear bodywork reveals a flatter profile and notches that look as if they could be used to mount hard bags – though the notches are oddly close together. Having optional saddlebags available would explain why the muffler’s shape was made flatter on the outboard side, too. We would also expect that the rear subframe was beefed up to handle the extra weight that saddlebags and a passenger would add. Further, the rear of the bike looks longer than on the Duke. What portions of the main frame that remain visible appear to be unchanged from the 390 Duke.
With regards to the 390 Adventure’s dirt-worthiness, the same inverted fork appears to be used, though visible compression and rebound clickers can be seen atop the fork tubes (similar to the setup on the 790 Adventure R). We expect that the spring rate and valving would also be updated for the bike’s more varied duties. The same goes for the rear suspension. The handlebar has a more upward bend, most likely to make the riding position better for when standing on the pegs – which are now aggressively teethed off-road items with rubber inserts as is standard on the larger Adventure models. Also in a move pointed towards off-road intentions, the grips receive hand guards.
Given KTM’s performance-focused off-road pedigree, we would be surprised to see anything other than a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear for a dual-purpose travel enduro. As is standard with the rest of the current 390 line-up, Metzler tires can be seen outfitted on the 390 Adventure in these spy shots. Excel rims are being used, though it’s difficult to tell whether the wee-ADV will use a tubeless set up or not. If we were gambling men, which our Canadian counterpart Dennis “Snake Eyes” Chung is, we would bet on tubeless.
Identical to other 390 models’ braking components, the 390 Adventure uses a single rotor up front with a ByBre twin-piston caliper, similarly, the rear stopping power is provided by a single piston caliper and single disc. Both front and rear ABS rings are visible in these pictures.
Looks like we may be heading back to Mexico sooner than later for another Wee-ADV shootout… Or perhaps somewhere more exotic…