Two years and many braaaps ago, KTM reinvented the middleweight adventure segment with the 790 Adventure. Back in the old days (2018), every manufacturer dreamt of building a dirt focused, high-tech, intoxicating, Swiss Army knife-like motorcycle like the 790. Well, KTM clearly don’t sleep—because they’ve just caught everyone napping again.
For 2021, KTM have upped the ante by using the 889 cc motor from the 890 Duke R to build two new adventure bikes: the KTM 890 Adventure R and 890 Adventure R Rally. The Adventure R aims to offer unmatchable off-road performance within its class, while the Rally-spec adds exclusivity and a true ‘Ready to Race’ nature.
Let’s find out what makes these new Austrian dirt rockets tick…
The same 4-stroke 889 cc parallel-twin engine is found in both the 890 Adventure R and Rally. The 890 Adventure’s heart beats at 105 hp @ 8,000 rpm and 100 Nm @ 6,500 rpm, translating to 10 hp and 12 Nm more than the 790. But what’s most impressive, is that the 890 has more horsepower and torque than the legendary 990 Adventure, and at lower revs.
Thanks to 20 percent more rotating mass on the crank, the 890 Adventure is easier to manage at lower rpm, and cornering stability is enhanced by the smoother throttle control. The 890 gets new traction control algorithms too, allowing the rider to get the most performance out of their bike. The clutch has been reinforced and the shifter reworked, and there’s cruise control now too, so that you can munch those long boring tar roads without batting an eye.
Most of the 890 Adventure’s bodywork and chassis looks to be carried over from the 790, but KTM have made changes to the chassis with an aluminium head tube and a lighter subframe. As for the brakes, KTM have stuck with and upgraded their KTM-branded J.Juan brake callipers. They now have new seals, better ventilation, upgraded ‘Reverb’ master cylinders and new ABS software.
The drool-worthy KTM 890 Adventure R Rally is born directly from feedback given by the likes of Dakar winners Sam Sunderland and Toby Price, who both race for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Rally team. It gets a higher/straighter seat, rally foot pegs, a clear screen and racing graphics, a quick-shifter, an Akrapovič exhaust, and a ‘Rally’ riding mode as standard. With all that, and race-specific tuning on the chassis, the 890 Adventure R Rally is bad to the bone and built for hardcore adventurers.
Just like KTM’s Dakar-winning 450 Rally, the 890 Adventure R Rally is equipped with fully adjustable WP Pro suspension components. The Rally has a higher ground clearance too, thanks to the extended suspension travel, allowing for bigger jumps and comfier rides over rough terrain. But the fully adjustable WP XPLOR suspension on the 890 Adventure R will probably get the job done for 99 percent of us.
“We are lucky in at least two ways with the unveiling of our new KTM 890 Adventure R Rally and R models,” says KTM product manage, Joachim Sauer. “Firstly, to be able to count on the high standards and excellent collaboration with our multi-title winner Rally team. It’s very cool to be able to use their work and their components and plug it straight into our production bikes.”
“Secondly, we’re excited by the fact we’re providing a new riding experience. The increased performance in addition to the extra rotating mass really transforms the feeling in low rpm, with the new bikes being even more stable and efficient for the long travels. I’m pretty sure KTM Adventure Riders will feel the difference as soon as they get on their saddles for any kind of riding adventure.”
The real question is, what is KTM going to do with the existing 790 line-up? There are murmurings that it’ll be sold alongside the 890, which makes sense. If KTM kept just the base model 790 Adventure as the light off-roader, and then pitched the 890 as the diehard off-roader, they’d have a cracking range on their hands.
So don’t be fooled: the KTM 890 Adventure R and Rally are not just 790s with bigger motors. And the 890 Adventure R Rally looks like it might just be the most extreme off-road-capable adventure bike in the market today. But with only 700 being sold worldwide, you’d better get your order in quick.
The exclusive KTM 890 Adventure R Rally is available in limited quantities and can be pre-ordered on ktm.com. The KTM 890 Adventure R will be arriving at KTM authorized dealers.