The KTM 790 Adventure R Prototype in Action

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I am always kind of amazed that when KTM shows its hot new bikes at a trade show like EICMA, the Austrian brand does such a bad job sharing the media it creates. Such is the case with the KTM 790 Adventure R prototype.

As such, only a handful of studio shots were released to the public upon the bike’s debut in Milan, Italy. But yet, KTM has clearly gone through the trouble of doing photo shoots with the middleweight ADV machine, and still the “Ready to Race” brand isn’t spreading the love.

Fortunately, we do have a couple photos of the KTM 790 Adventure R prototype, lifted from KTM’s Facebook page, and they do entice.

KTM hopes that the 790 Adventure R will be the answer to what ADV riders have been clamoring for: a light and powerful adventure-tourer with true off-road capability.

Based off the KTM 790 Duke street bike, the Adventure model should be quite potent. This is because its street-going counterpart features a 103hp parallel-twin engine, trapped inside a 373 lbs (dry) body.

We expect that this should be the basis of a plenty-powereful motorcycle that doesn’t give up too much weight for the trails, and competes strongly against the less-powerful and heavier bikes that currently occupy the category.

If the spec sheet doesn’t impress you, then KTM is hoping that its Dakar Rally heritage will, with the Austrian brand making a not-so-subtle reference to its 16-straight Dakar Rally wins by filming the KTM 790 Adventure R prototype next to its rally racer, the KTM 450 Rally.

Some of that Dakar tech is making its way into the KTM 790 Adventure R as well, like the very noticeable fairing protrusions near the bottom of the machine. Our sources tell us these serve as the bike’s fuel tank, which has been relocated from the top of the machine, down near the bottom.

It’s a pretty clever arrangement, actually. No wider than the rider’s own legs, the KTM 790 Adventure R prototype doesn’t give up any vehicle width, in practicality. At the same time, holding the fuel lower on the motorcycle means that the machine’s center-of-gravity in turn is also lowered.

The new fuel tank design also allows for a bench-style dirt bike seat, and likely boasts an impressive storage capacity, which helps riders not only go fast, but also go far.

We still have some time to wait before KTM 790 Adventure R prototype gives way to the KTM 790 Adventure R production machine, but I’m starting to hear chatter that we won’t have to wait a full year for the production model.

Could the KTM 790 Adventure R be an early 2019 model? That would be prudent of the Austrian brand, giving them a jump on the delayed Yamaha Ténéré 700, which seems to be the only bike capable of giving the KTM a run for its money. As we’re fond of saying, time will tell.

Photos: KTM