2021 KTM 890 Adventure R and 890 Adventure R Rally First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

KTM announced a new 890 Adventure R and a limited edition 890 Adventure R Rally, introducing a new, Euro 5-complaint follow-up to our reigning Motorcycle of the Year, the 790 Adventure R. The 890 Adventure R will be the standard model, while the Rally model adds a number of race-ready components and will be produced in a limited run of 700 units worldwide (with 200 units destined for the U.S.). KTM hasn’t explicitly said whether the 790 will continue in its lineup alongside the 890, like it’s doing with the Duke line, but from the way KTM describes it, that doesn’t seem likely.

The 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R is powered by a liquid-cooled DOHC 889cc parallel-Twin engine, similar to the one that powers the 890 Duke R. Beyond increasing the displacement, KTM increased the mass of the crankshaft by 20%, claiming improved rideability, especially with low-rpm torque. Compared to the 790 Adventure R’s 799cc engine, KTM claims the 890 produces an additional 10 hp and 8.9 lb-ft. more, claiming a peak of 105 hp at 8000 rpm and 73.8 lb-ft. at 6500 rpm.

To match the more powerful engine, KTM updated the Power Assist Clutch (PASC) with new friction plates. KTM also revised the six-speed transmission, shortening the shift lever travel and adding lighter spring action for faster shifting. The fourth, fifth and sixth gears also received a glass bead blasting treatment for improved reliability. KTM will also offer an optional Quickshifter+, which adds clutchless up and downshifts.

The chromoly steel trellis frame appears similar to the 790’s frame, but the 890 however receives a new, lighter subframe. Like its 790 predecessor, the 890 Adventure R uses a saddle-shaped 5.3-gallon fuel tank that puts most of its volume low in the chassis. The low-slung tank lowers the center of gravity while allowing the rider’s legs to stay closer together.

Metzeler supplies the Karoo 3 adventure tires for the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wire-spoke wheels. The R Model comes standard with tubeless wheels with a tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) available as an option. The 890 Adventure R Rally is fitted with the same Karoo 3 tires but its narrower, stronger DID DirtStar rims require tubes and cannot be fitted with the TPMS. For either model, KTM offers as an option slightly narrower, almost enduro competition-ready wheels that fit bib mousses.

The 890 Adventure R comes with a 48mm WP XPLOR-USD fork and a preload-adjustable XPLOR PDS rear shock. The Rally model swaps in a WP XPLOR PRO 7548 fork that offers more adjustability, and a fully-adjustable WP XPLOR PRO 6746 rear shock. WP also supplies a steering damper for the R model.

Both the R and R Rally models use twin 320mm front brakes with radial-mount four-piston calipers up front. The 260 mm disc with a double-piston floating caliper for the rear wheel appears similar to the rear brake of the 790, but the 890 uses new, isolated pistons with isolation plates between the pads and pistons for better heat management. The 890 also receives a new stainless steel rear brake hose for reduced heat and less brake fade on long downhills.

Cornering ABS is standard, with a special off-road setting that deactivates rear wheel ABS while reducing front wheel intervention. Traction control is also standard, but the 890 uses two separate controllers to measure rear wheel slip and lean angle to calculate the amount of traction to supply. KTM claims the updated system is smoother and less abrupt. Traction control can also be disabled.

Both versions of the 890 offer an off-road ride mode that reduces power and softens throttle response. The mode also allows for more wheel slip and disables anti-wheelie control. The Rally model gets an extra Rally mode (optional for the regular R model despite being standard for the 790) that offers snappier throttle response and nine selectable levels of wheel slip control. For 2021, the Rally mode is optimized for a wider range of surfaces.

Other features include an adjustable handlebar, LED headlights, and a five-inch full-color TFT display

In addition to the differences outlined above, the 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally also receives an Akrapovič exhaust (which KTM claims is 35% lighter), a taller, flatter seat, carbon fiber tank protectors, larger footrests and a shorter, clear windscreen.

U.S. pricing and availability remain to be announced, though KTM will begin taking pre-orders for the 890 Adventure R Rally on Nov. 2.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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3 of 8 comments
  • Mbk Mbk on Oct 10, 2020

    I agree with one of the other comments here. Please bring an 890 GT. I would love to see this engine in a sport touring configuration.

  • Martin collins Martin collins on Oct 10, 2020

    if only they looked good......sigh.