The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure Is Finally Here

A bike too logical not to exist.

The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure
The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure will hit the US market with an MSRP of $6,199.KTM

If you've been dreaming KTM would repurpose its 373cc single-cylinder motor—as found in the RC 390 and 390 Duke—for a lightweight ADV bike, well, your dream has come true. Say hello to the 2020 KTM 390 Adventure, a logical entry point into the Austrian dream world of adventure travel. It was only a matter of time, really.

It seems like an inevitability that KTM would bolster its entry-level lineup with an ADV bike based on the existing 390 platform, but that doesn’t make the actual machine any less enticing. We can only wonder, “What took so long?”

The diminutive Adventure is priced at $6,199, a competitive price considering its closest competitor is the Kawasaki Versys-X 300, which retails for $5,499.

The 2020 KTM Adventure 19-inch front wheel keeps things street-able
A 19-inch front wheel keeps things street-able. Check out the radially mounted Bybre front caliper.KTM

The motor is wrapped in a lightweight trellis frame that KTM says is similar to the one found on its 450 Rally, which has only won Dakar nine times (in nine attempts). Does that make your ears perk up? The Austrians claim a dry weight of 348 pounds. With a 56.3-inch wheelbase and a 26.5-degree steering head angle (that’s three degrees less steep than what’s found on its supersport sibling), it’s no doubt KTM has some off-road aspirations for the 390 Adventure.

Considering the price point, it's pretty impressive that KTM has included fully adjustable suspension on the 390, with in-house brand WP supplying 43mm USD forks and an Apex monoshock that provides 177mm (7.0 inches) of travel. The 390 has a 33.6-inch seat height, which is about the same height as the non-R 790 Adventure, a bike that's downright minuscule for a middleweight ADV. We suspect the 390 will be even more waifish than its big sibling and even easier to flat-foot.

The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure has a slipper clutch for safer downshifts.
The 390 Adventure has a slipper clutch for safer downshifts. It wasn’t that long ago slipper clutches were reserved for top-spec superbikes. Progress is a great thing. For motorcycle technology, anyway.KTM

The 390 Adventure runs on 19-inch front and 17-inch rear cast aluminum wheels that carry a 320mm disc (front) and a 230 disc (rear). Brakes are by Bybre, the Indian-built, Brembo-designed equipment we’re seeing on similarly priced machines.

There’s a two-position windscreen and a 3.8-gallon fuel tank that KTM claims is good for 249 miles before needing to be topped up.

The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure profile
There’s no word yet on when the 390 Adventure will arrive in dealerships. Stay tuned.KTM

KTM hasn’t skimped on the tech front, offering a full-color TFT dash; cornering ABS, which can be set in off-road mode to deactivate ABS on the rear and decrease sensitivity on the front; traction control; LED lights; and KTM My Ride for Bluetooth connectivity. It can also be equipped with an up/down quickshifter.

Add it all up and it begs the question: Is this a beginner bike or something more? We think it’s probably a “yes” to both.

The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure rear view
Who else is excited to settle down in the saddle of this thing?KTM

If we think about dual-sports as dirt bikes that can be ridden on the road, and adventure bikes as streetbikes that can be ridden in the dirt, the 390 Adventure might represent the Goldilocks zone between the two. Yes, it’s based on a streetbike, but if the off-road performance of the 790 Adventure has taught us anything, it’s that KTM has a knack for making us forget the origins of a machine. When you’re on the street, it’s a streetbike; when you’re off road, it’s an off-roader.

Styling is very reminiscent of the 790 Adventure and continues KTM’s strong design language.
Styling is very reminiscent of the 790 Adventure and continues KTM’s strong design language.KTM

The 390 Adventure’s relatively low weight (for an ADV bike) has us itching to take this thing off road, where we suspect it’ll be a great machine for the rider who wants to learn how to properly ride an ADV bike off road, and for the more serious rider trying to cut the bulk that larger ADV life often brings.

The lightweight ADV world is on notice.

Sign up here to receive our newsletters. Get the latest in motorcycle reviews, tests, and industry news, subscribe here for our YouTube channel.