2023 KTM 390 Adventure spoke wheel, Adventure X review: New king of the hill

₹3.37 - 3.6 Lakhs*
*Ex-showroom price
4 out of 5
Pros
  • Loaded with features
  • Quick acceleration
Cons
  • Lacks low-end torque
  • High seat height
  • Has the wait been worth it for the adjustable suspension and spoked wheels on the KTM 390 Adventure? Let us find out.
The KTM 390 Adventure is a lot more capable than before with the adjustable suspension and spoked wheels (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
The KTM 390 Adventure is a lot more capable than before with the adjustable suspension and spoked wheels

The KTM 390 Adventure has had a large following and it’s time and again proven to be quite the capable machine. A KTM that’s comfortable on long rides. That was a welcome change without having to compromise on performance. But it never emerged as a complete package either. It always left you wanting more. More so, since the international version got the adjustable suspension setup and spoked wheels were an option. Both of these features were missed out on the India-spec model.

But KTM India has been listening. That’s why we now have not one, not two, but four new variants of the 390 Adventure. Starting from the entry-level 390 Adventure X to the top-spec version that finally makes the adjustable suspension and spoked wheels standard fitment. It’s now more capable than before and better at fine-tuning to your needs. Has the wait been worth it for the adjustable suspension then? Let’s find out.

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Also Read : 2023 KTM 390 Adventure launched at 3.6 lakh; gets fully adjustable suspension

2023 KTM 390 Range

Foremost, the new KTM 390 Adventure range is now available at different price points that serve different needs. The 390 Adventure X is the most affordable, while the standard version continues to be more rounded to suit different needs. There’s also a low seat-height ‘V’ variant that addresses the requirements of shorter riders, while the new spoked wheel version promises to offer the full experience of owning an adventure tourer.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure Review
The 2023 KTM 390 Adventure gets a suspension setup but the other hardware underneath remains the same including the frame, engine and brakes (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure Review
The 2023 KTM 390 Adventure gets a suspension setup but the other hardware underneath remains the same including the frame, engine and brakes (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

2023 KTM 390 Adventure: What’s new?

So what exactly is new on the KTM 390 Adventure 2023? The top-spec variant now gets spoked wheels and they make a big deal of a difference when going off-road. You can be more confident around a trail instead of on alloy wheels. You still get the same dual-purpose tyres but these are a lot more forgiving when going on bad roads or tackling terrain. You can be more confident now when going through more rugged trails and don’t have to hold back on doing some serious off-roading.

The other big update is the adjustable suspension that allows you to fine-tune the setup to your liking. The new WP Apex front fork gets the open-cartridge system that offers better heat dissipation. It’s a pretty straightforward adjustable setup with the adjustable dials on top of the forks and can be changed by hand. You get up to 30 clicks of rebound and compression to tune the setup according to your needs. The front suspension comes with the same 170 mm of travel as before at the front, while the rear monoshock continues to offer 177 mm of travel with the 10-step preload adjustability.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure Review
The suspension can be adjusted up to 30 clicks for compression and rebound at the front and up to 20 clicks for rebound at the rear. The rear also offers 10-step preload adjustability (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure Review
The suspension can be adjusted up to 30 clicks for compression and rebound at the front and up to 20 clicks for rebound at the rear. The rear also offers 10-step preload adjustability (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

We switched the front compression and rebound to 20 clicks, 5 more than the standard setup, which was adept at handling the off-road terrain. The idea is to adjust the suspension based on the terrain, the rider’s weight, and additional luggage or pillion. There’s further flexibility with a dedicated off-road mode, off-road ABS, and switchable traction control carried over from the standard version. The adjustable suspension ensures fewer chances of bottoming out the forks over heavy jumps.

The spoked wheels have been highly desired too and just what the doctor ordered for our roads on rough terrain or otherwise. The 390 Adventure continues to use a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel setup but the spoke wheels add a layer of cushioning improving the ride quality. You can be more confident about hitting the trail or pothole without having to worry about a bent alloy wheel. The spoke wheels continue to be wrapped in Metzeler Tourance dual-purpose tyres that do a good job of providing adequate grip on and off-road. But do note that the trade-off for spoked wheels is tube tyres, which would make dealing with punctures more cumbersome.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure review
The TFT screen offers is exhaustive on information but still does not get turn-by-turn navigation despite Bluetooth connectivity (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure review
The TFT screen offers is exhaustive on information but still does not get turn-by-turn navigation despite Bluetooth connectivity (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

Other things remain unchanged including the steel trellis frame, split LED headlamp, the two-step adjustable windscreen and handguards. The TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity stays the same but still does not get turn-by-turn navigation. The seat height remains the same at 855 mm and so does the ground clearance at 200 mm. The 14.5-litre fuel tank and wide seat have been carried over and the latter offers great cushioning…

You can opt for the new V variant that offers a lower seat height on the standard 390 Adventure. At 834 mm, the seat height is 21 mm shorter and the ground clearance too is lower at 175 mm.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure review
The adjustable suspension allows for further fine-tuning when on the highway. We moved up from 15 clicks (stock) to 18 clicks to find the right balance on tarmac (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure review
The adjustable suspension allows for further fine-tuning when on the highway. We moved up from 15 clicks (stock) to 18 clicks to find the right balance on tarmac (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

2023 KTM 390 Adventure: On the highway?

Moving away from the off-road trails and onto the highway, the KTM 390 Adventure shows its prowess when it comes to handling. The fantastic setup is only accentuated by the adjustable suspension that lets you make the most out of the motorcycle.

It’s not just the off-road bit where the 390 Adventure’s adjustable suspension comes into play. On the street too, it gives you the option to fine-tune it to your liking. Outside of the off-roading zone, we did about 120 km today and that meant we could play around with the suspension to our liking. 15 clicks is what the standard setup offers and we went to about 18 clicks to make it a little more rigid for the smooth, flowing tarmac roads we were on today.

If you want better ride quality, you could go anti-clockwise and that will give you a softer suspension setup that makes for better ride quality at the front and back. That's the kind of flexibility you can have with an adjustable setup here because, for your weight, it could be different, for my weight it certainly is different and you can fine-tune it to your liking.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure X Review
The 2023 KTM 390 Adventure X skips on quite a few features but holds on to the essentials firmly, making for one value-friendly package (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure X Review
The 2023 KTM 390 Adventure X skips on quite a few features but holds on to the essentials firmly, making for one value-friendly package (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

2023 KTM 390 Adventure X: Just a price-cut version?

The new entry-level KTM 390 Adventure X offering misses out on quite a few features including riding modes, traction control, cornering ABS, Quickshifter, and a TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity. It also gets the budget-friendly MRF MoGrip tyres instead of Metzelers on the top variants. But overall, it’s still the same bike. The frame, subframe, engine, and LED headlamp all stay the same.

You may not get riding modes but you continue to get the off-road mode on the ABS function. The rather-bland LCD screen is detailed with all the essential information but can get a little difficult to read under direct sunlight. What we would like to see in the future is the 390 Adventure X with spoked wheels. That would gain a lot of attention from enthusiasts.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure X Review
The KTM 390 Adventure X is quick, comfortable and comes with a simpler setup. It feels right at home on the highway (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure X Review
The KTM 390 Adventure X is quick, comfortable and comes with a simpler setup. It feels right at home on the highway (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

2023 KTM 390 Adventure: Performance

Two varied options on the KTM 390 Adventure to choose from. These motorcycles are the same in a lot of ways but very different at the same time. What’s the same though is the 373 cc engine - 43 bhp, 37 Nm of peak torque, 6-speed gearbox, and fantastic performance in the mid and top-end. However, the low end is where it leaves you wanting more. It could’ve been a lot more tractable, I do feel you have to shift down a lot when navigating a speed breaker or crawling in traffic.

Heating is an issue only in the traffic, I did not see a problem otherwise while going around the twisties or at higher speeds even in the scorching summers that we are in today. What really works for both these motorcycles is just how well everything is calibrated. The engine to the chassis, in terms of handling, in terms of ride quality, especially on the adjustable version, all of that works really well. Even the X, which is like a price-cut offer so much performance and that’s something that stays with you.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure X Review
The 2023 KTM 390 Adventure X is about 34,000 more expensive than the 250 Adventure and could easily eat into the share of the latter (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)
2023 KTM 390 Adventure X Review
The 2023 KTM 390 Adventure X is about 34,000 more expensive than the 250 Adventure and could easily eat into the share of the latter (HT Auto/Sabyasachi Dasgupta)

2023 KTM 390 Adventure: What’s not so good

Of course, the KTM 390 Adventure range continues to retain some of its shortcomings. The engine offers plenty of vibrations at triple-digit speeds while the quickshifter isn’t the best in the segment. It still remains a compact bike for tall riders and can get tiring after a couple of hours on the saddle. However, the performance is seriously so good, it’s often easy to forget the shortcomings of the adventure tourer.

2023 KTM 390 Adventure: Verdict

So the big question is, which one of these should you buy? The answer is pretty simple. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense adventure tourer that’s high on performance, the X makes a lot of sense. It will make for a fantastic tourer if you stick to the tarmac for most of the ride. At 2.81 lakh, the 390 Adventure X is sheer value and even with the fewer features, you do not feel shortchanged. If anything, that’s more money for riding gear, fuel, accessories and probably a tyre upgrade.

However, if you are looking to maximise potential on the 390 Adventure, it’s well worth paying the extra for the spoked wheel version. At 3.61 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), there’s nothing that offers this kind of adjustability and performance, which continues to weigh the odds in KTM’s favour. While KTMs may not be as value-friendly as they once were, there’s no denying that the 390 Adventure is certainly a lot more formidable, especially against its rivals, both new and upcoming.

First Published Date: 03 Jun 2023, 10:03 AM IST
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