Small/mid Adventure bikes have promise

greenboy

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Hey that KTM 390 Adventure kind of looks like it could be a good budget go-most-places bike. Compared to the NC:
• More suspension and clearance, and suspension is adjustable
• 19" wheel on front
• At least 80 pounds lighter filled with the same amount of petrol
• With 250 pounds of rider and gear, a slightly higher horsepower-to-weight ratio (43 horses)
• Similar seat height but narrower at the waist
• More durable and less complex body panels are easily stripped
• Air filter and battery accessed right under the easily unlocked seats (no bolts)
• Defeatable ABS
• Traction control
• Ready-to-go electrical sockets for additional lighting etc
• Decent service intervals if not awe-inspiring like some Yamaha products, offset by ease of access

You will be running at higher revs, but nothing like the Kawi Versys-X 300 adventure. But definitely more revs than the NC. Anyway, it's an interesting budget bike, one that doesn't weigh much more than the stalwart DR650 which continues to hold its own after all these decades if you veer more toward off-the-pavement riding.

It will be interesting to see what happens with development of the KTM 490 Adventure which will be a twin, and the Husky offshoots of both. Could be a great alternative to the Rally Raid CB500X.
 
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670cc

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The 390 looks very nice indeed. I wouldn’t compare it to the NC700/750, as they’re differnt animals for different uses.

I’m very happy to see some new options in the small to mid displacement categories. I still hope Honda will build an Africa Twin Jr. using the CB500X engine.
 

greenboy

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It remains to be seen how many users choose to do the same things on a 390 Adventure as what we see for the NC. I see a lot of crossover for guys who go want to go off the pavement occasionally, especially with very similar power-to-weight ratios though one is going to be accessing that at higher revs on the 390. @Fuzzy I vaguely recall did a trip to Alaska with the Versys-X while you were on a Goldwing, @670cc? For me, the comparisons are relevant, because I can see myself doing long days on either on a variety of surfaces, or just zipping out for a few hours. Difference is, I could do the non-pavement stuff a lot faster on the 390 Adventure, and even use it in many of the places I enjoy my WR250R without worries.

I'd not enjoy the fuel economy I get with the NC though the 390 is supposedly not too bad that way. And no tank bag is going to be as cool as the funk in spite of its wacked latch/lock system ; } ...Anyway, we all have different metrics for it.

I'd love to see Honda make an AT Jr with the CB500X motor, but hopefully with more focus on dumping weight, though I realize that ups the cost a bit.
 
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greenboy

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I also see this as an alternative for what a lot of people actually used their KLR650s and DR650s for.

Yeah, great to see more choices for mid-displacement coming from brands with fairly good dealer networks. Maybe it'll get a few more people riding in North America too.
 

TigerDude

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With the new 500X, I think the Rally Raid version is due for the bin. Certainly smaller ADV bikes have their place. I don't feel, tho, that Honda owners and KTM owners are a largely overlapping crowd.
 

greenboy

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With the new 500X, I think the Rally Raid version is due for the bin. Certainly smaller ADV bikes have their place.
The newest CB500X is an improvement, probably what it should have been in the first place. That makes it a little more capable a bit closer to the lighter DL650 as far as off-road adventure riding is concerned. The Rally Raid takes the 500 further yet in capabilities, more like a "real" adventure bike... but they probably won't be selling many 500X kits now because a lot of the audience are mainly road-goers anyway.

I don't feel, tho, that Honda owners and KTM owners are a largely overlapping crowd.
Depending on where you hang out, you may see people who are not brand fanbois, who buy the machine that seems to suit the use best. It seems like there are plenty of people who don't care about Chevy versus Ford stuff these days. In categories that KTM (include Husky here) makes bikes for, they are creaming everybody these days. But they don't cover some categories (yet)... that may be what makes it seem like there is not much of an overlap.
 
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Griff

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With the new 500X, I think the Rally Raid version is due for the bin. Certainly smaller ADV bikes have their place. I don't feel, tho, that Honda owners and KTM owners are a largely overlapping crowd.
I wouldn't exactly say "for the bin". I have done 500kms on the 2019 CB500X recently over rough country backroads. There were times when the suspension was causing me discomfort. it was caused by the usual Honda tendency to over damp the shock and forks. As such there is still scope for RR to provide shocks and fork kits for the bike together with whatever else they have developed accessory wise for it. My Tech whose bike I tried has already replaced the shock and fork internals.

On the overlapping I tend to agree. The two companies are poles apart in their approach to motorcycling. I was once a dyed in the wool KTM fan but for various reasons I eventually moved away from them and three of my bikes are now Hondas with one Suzuki.
 

greenboy

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I know this site is kinda Hooked On Hondas... so I won't mention the 452-pound Yamaha Tenere 700 which seems to be a really cool adv for those who don't care about electronically-supplied traction contol ; }
 
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dduelin

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Horses for courses. A lot of what passes for dirt riding can be done with a street bike but for serious off road riding the NC is a poor choice. The KTM would likely be as poor a choice for mostly street riding with some soft road use. Sitting on a 400 cc single at highway speeds is an acquired taste then there is the premium Euro dealership and supply chain tax.
 

greenboy

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To me it looks like it could be a great budget bike, maybe get more people riding, and allow them to do a little of this and a little of that. But whatever.
 

dduelin

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One could say the exact same thing about a used NC700X.

The KTM Adventure 390 is a great motorcycle and deserves a serious look in the class including the BMW 310 and Versys 300. In my opinion it’s not a bike I’d think of in the same thought as the NC. Your opinion may vary.
 

670cc

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I know this site is kinda Hooked On Hondas... so I won't mention the Yamaha Tenere 700 which seems to be a really cool adv ; }
I was excited about the Tenere 700, but my initial impression was that it leans a little too far toward dirt bias to be an adventure bike for me. Perhaps I need to give it another look.
 
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greenboy

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I was excited about the Tenere 700, but I think it leans a little too far toward dirt bias to be an adventure bike for me. Oh, well. I‘m hard to please.
It's a little above the weight (and maybe the height) I want to deal with, but someone who talked with Bret Tkacs at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach CA said he was as excited as he could be – without actually riding it for awhile, about ergos, seat comfort, build quality, and long-range adventure touring. They too thought it was a better seat than one often sees an. Definitely a great engine and I like seeing less gadgetry and a lower price than the AT and KTM 790 Adventure. Supposedly all maintenance items are easily accessible on the trail. Valves are shim-type but service intervals are long.

Reviews from overseas from non-magazine types have been good. Given the chance I'll probably check it out at some point.
 

Dellaster

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I don’t know how much credence to give this report, but it’s saying that a middleweight Africa Twin is incoming at 790cc. Also two new NC models. Maybe take it with a grain of salt but it would be interesting if it happens. A bit off topic but middleweight adventure bikes came into the discussion…

 

670cc

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I don’t know how much credence to give this report, but it’s saying that a middleweight Africa Twin is incoming at 790cc. Also two new NC models. Maybe take it with a grain of salt but it would be interesting if it happens. A bit off topic but middleweight adventure bikes came into the discussion…

Those potential new models all sound very enticing! However, it remains to be seen if any of it comes to North America. The U.S. (motojournalist) often does not appreciate smaller bikes. Europe understands, and they get the cool stuff.
 

greenboy

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If Honda enters the fray they really should consider some adjustability of suspension. And make all the maintenance stuff easily accessible. Going to enlarge the 750? I know some people will think that's where it's at, but I would have just as soon see them work it out with their 500 motor.
 

drdubb

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I purchased a Royal Enfield Himalayan back in October. Its, heavy, slow and I love it.

Its not a highway bike.
 

670cc

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If Honda enters the fray they really should consider some adjustability of suspension. And make all the maintenance stuff easily accessible. Going to enlarge the 750? I know some people will think that's where it's at, but I would have just as soon see them work it out with their 500 motor.
The low and grunt of the NC engine would be ideal for an off-road capable adventure bike. Getting a 21 inch front wheel to work with the long NC engine will be interesting; perhaps they’ll settle for 19 inches.

The CRF450L fills the displacement slot for the 500-ish dual sport, although I find it nowhere near capable as an adventure bike due to its race derived engine and minuscule fuel capacity. Even a Rally version of the 450 wouldn’t do because the engine is not user friendly. I’ve ridden the 450L and I hated the engine. Plus, how could it be an Africa Twin if it’s a single?

While I love the CB500 engine, I fear that the dealers and motorcycle press have too much influence on the ultimate commercial success of the machine, and if the horsepower crazed moto press poo-poos the bike for lack of power, it’s gets off to a bad start. Unfortunately, when deciding what to bring to the US, American Honda probably needs to appease the motojournalists, even though they’re not the ones that ultimately vote with their wallets. The point is, if it’s close to 800cc, maybe it will get some respect.
 

greenboy

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The low and grunt of the NC engine would be ideal for an off-road capable adventure bike. Getting a 21 inch front wheel to work with the long NC engine will be interesting; perhaps they’ll settle for 19 inches.
Yeah, it's a pretty great engine for controlled power handling at low revs. From what I've read the Tenere 700 is great that way too.

The CRF450L fills the displacement slot for the 500-ish dual sport, although I find it nowhere near capable as an adventure bike due to its race derived engine and minuscule fuel capacity. Even a Rally version of the 450 wouldn’t do because the engine is not user friendly. I’ve ridden the 450L and I hated the engine.
I really wanted to like that one, but it's a plated dirt bike with plated dirt bike maintenance intervals. And yeah, teeny titanium tank for "getting to and from the trails."? Ridiculous. You'd have no gas left to actually ride the trails.

Plus, how could it be an Africa Twin if it’s a single?
True dat, but a good smooth single can still be the basis for an adventure bike, methinks – an Africa Single ; }

While I love the CB500 engine, I fear that the dealers and motorcycle press have too much influence on the ultimate commercial success of the machine, and if the horsepower crazed moto press poo-poos the bike for lack of power, it’s get‘s off to a bad start.
That's partly what's interesting about what KTM is working at. They are looking at covering the range from low displacement to high displacement adv bikes, and already have a lot of the slots filled. Their more recent press success with the 790 gives them kind of an edge as regards future MC press for the 390, 490. etc. Also, I'm guessing their 490 twin bike will be pretty impressive in weight, suspension, etc.

Unfortunately, when deciding what to bring to the US, American Honda probably needs to appease the motojournalists, even though they’re not the ones that ultimately vote with their wallets. The point is, if it’s close to 800cc, maybe it will get some respect.
Yep. Nevertheless, I still look at south of 750 being what I am more interested in personally. For what I do and want to do, the big bikes are wallet drains. And they still seem like bloatocycles off-road usually, unless a pro rider is handling them. I'm not that guy.
 
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