Fun­da­men­tal

We hit the road with the most prac­ti­cal KTM yet

Bike India - - ROAD TEST -

Anosh Khum­batta Saurabh Botre

Story: Pho­tog­ra­phy:

few months ago, I was In Lon­avaLa, where Ktm set a bunch of us jour­nal­ists loose on some ex­tremely gnarly trails to test the 390 ad­ven­ture’s off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties. I came away im­pressed by the bike and its po­ten­tial, but also with the no­tion that this new aus­trian would feel a lot more at home on the tar­mac than out in the wilder­ness. Ktm re­cently lent us a bike to test this the­ory, and I spent a cou­ple of days rid­ing it in the city, over bad roads and good, and even headed out on to the high­way for a few quick blasts. here’s what I think.

at the most ba­sic level, the Ktm 390 ad­ven­ture is a long-legged 390 Duke with a com­fort­able seat, re­laxed rider tri­an­gle, and a larger fuel-tank for a bit more range. It still looks the part; there’s no mis­tak­ing it for any­thing but a Ktm with its edgy styling, di­vided LeD head­lamp, and lib­eral splashes of or­ange. It shares with the Duke the fun­da­men­tal lay­out of a 373-cc liq­uid-cooled sin­gle and six-speed gear­box sus­pended from a steel trel­lis frame, but that’s where the sim­i­lar­i­ties end. the 390 ad­ven­ture has a rugged air about it, with that 19-inch front wheel, dual-pur­pose met­zeler tyres, and 200 mm of ground clear­ance cour­tesy the tall, long-travel sus­pen­sion from wP. the ad­ven­tur­ous theme is car­ried for­ward by plas­tic hand­guards on the wide han­dle­bar, ro­bust-look­ing crash bars to pro­tect the body­work in case of a tip over, and a bash-plate un­der the en­gine. while the left side of the bash­plate is alu­minium to pro­tect the ex­haust bend pipe from im­pact, most of it is flimsy plas­tic sup­ported by a metal frame­work. while this might ab­sorb mi­nor scrapes from rocks or other ob­sta­cles, a hard hit would al­most cer­tainly dam­age the en­gine cas­ing and oil sump.

al­though the Ktm 390 ad­ven­ture falls into the en­try-level ad­ven­ture bike cat­e­gory, its 855-mm seat height will seem daunt­ing to first-timers. at 5’ 5” I could just about tip-toe from the sad­dle and newer rid­ers might strug­gle to get com­fort­able from this lofty perch. to put things in per­spec­tive, the re­cently launched tri­umph tiger 900 gt’s seat can be set at ei­ther 810 or 830 mm, while the much taller, off-road-bi­ased tiger 900 rally sports an 850- to 870-mm seat height.

head­ing out on to the mean streets of Pune, I get in­stantly com­fort­able with the roomy, up­right rid­ing po­si­tion which af­fords me a clear view all around. the bike ef­fort­lessly threads its way through traf­fic, beg­ging me to ex­ploit the rorty na­ture of the Ktm sin­gle; nat­u­rally, I oblige, down­shift­ing and twist­ing the throt­tle to the stop as I fly past slower ve­hi­cles tak­ing ad­van­tage of all 43.5 horses that come about at 9,000 rpm. how­ever, if you want to put­ter along at low revs, the 390 ad­ven­ture isn’t the bike for you. this en­gine loves to be rid­den hard and feels quite anaemic lower down, knock­ing and sput­ter­ing at any­thing be­low 4,000 rpm. this means that to cruise around com­fort­ably at 60 km/h, you can se­lect no higher than fourth gear and if your speed drops to be­tween 30 and 40 km/h, you’re go­ing to have to shift down to third or even sec­ond to keep the mo­tor run­ning smoothly.

this high-strung na­ture is, con­se­quently, the 390 ad­ven­ture’s achilles heel off road, where bot­tom-end torque is the need of the hour to ex­e­cute slow-speed ma­noeu­vres. shorter gear­ing would have helped a bit, but Ktm elected to use the same 15/45 sprock­et­ing as in the 390 Duke, and the slightly taller rear tyre ac­tu­ally trans­lates into marginally taller fi­nal gear­ing on the 390 ad­ven­ture. on the bright side, while the 390 Duke is no­to­ri­ous for over­heat­ing and cook­ing the rider’s legs, the ad­ven­ture is blessed with twin fans and a

GEAR CHECK

Rider: Anosh Khum­batta

Hel­met: Scor­pion EXO R-410

Jacket: XDI X1

Gloves: Ixon RS Drift

Boots: Forma Jasper larger curved ra­di­a­tor that of­fers much more sur­face area for ex­tremely ef­fi­cient cool­ing. as a re­sult, the tem­per­a­ture gauge hardly went over the half­way mark, even when sta­tion­ary for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time.

the best part about rid­ing this bike in the city is the fact that you don’t need to slow down when the road throws up a sur­prise or two. Pot­holes and Pune’s mas­sive speed-break­ers stood no chance against the 390 ad­ven­ture; putting my weight on the pegs and giv­ing a light tug to the bars was enough to have me glee­fully fly­ing over any­thing in my path while ve­hi­cles around me slowed to a crawl.

while the stock gear­ing may not lend it­self well to rock crawl­ing, it does make the 390 ad­ven­ture an ex­tremely com­pe­tent high­way bike. Cruis­ing for ex­tended pe­ri­ods at triple-digit speeds is no sweat and the bike feels ex­tremely sta­ble and planted, even if the road sur­face is not per­fect. the only is­sue I faced on the open road was that the stubby fly­screen di­rected dirty air straight up to my hel­met, caus­ing quite a bit of turbulence when sit­ting up­right at high speeds.

Dur­ing our per­for­mance test the 390 ad­ven­ture went from a stand­still to 60 km/h in 2.94 sec­onds, to 100 km/h in 6.78 sec­onds, and dis­patched the quar­ter mile in 15.36 sec­onds, ce­ment­ing its place as the quick­est en­try-level ad­ven­ture bike in our mar­ket.

on the elec­tron­ics front, the Ktm 390 ad­ven­ture is much bet­ter equipped than any­thing else in its seg­ment, in­clud­ing the Bmw g 310 gs that costs rs 50,000 more. the or­ange

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