Any one go from an Africa Twin to a 790 Aventure R?

Discussion in 'Parallel World (790/890)' started by WalterMitty2, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    *Adventure (sorry for the typo on the title of the thread) :flush

    Love to hear from former/current AT owners who bought the 790R....

    1) Overall comparison of what you think are the pros and cons of each.
    2) Having ridden both, if you could only have one which would it be? Sort of a do over question, if all your bikes disappeared today, which would you get?
    3) Were you/are you a "Honda Guy" or "KTM Guy"? I will admit, I'm a bit of a Honda Guy, but in addition to the AT, I"m considering the 790R and the Ducati Desert Sled.
    4) Any other thoughts?

    Thanks for your input.

    Peace
    #1
  2. samsmith87

    samsmith87 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2019
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Los Angeles
  3. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    #3
  4. jmarleau

    jmarleau Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Oddometer:
    544
    I went from a 2016 Africa Twin to the 2019 790 Adventure R.

    1) They are fairly close in a few areas and but these bike in general are worlds apart. The Africa Twin is the only bike that I have ever owned that needed nothing in terms of spacers/risers or seat mods. This bike was incredibly comfortable "as delivered." The AT also has good wind protection with its excellent 80km/h windscreen. The 790, as delivered, has a rock hard seat and bars that were far too low and far too close to the body. I use 30mm+ risers and have the bars adjusted to the second position from full forward. The seat has softened up a bit but will need to be addressed. The 790R windscreen is useless and is far more comfortable completely removed. The high front fender on the 790R blows water all over you and the bike by simply riding though a simple puddle on the road. All can be addressed and fixed through Powerparts and/or the aftermarket.

    The suspension on the Africa Twin is super soft. So soft that bottoming the fork and shock was common for me. I had to increase the spring rate of my AT, which involved upgrading the coils in the fork and shock to suit my 190lbs weight. $$$. Some say the 2016 AT is suited for a 140lbs rider and I agree. The 790R suspension is absolutely a perfect fit for me as delivered. The 2016 AT, which shares most of its fork components with the 1995ish Honda CR, has a fork service life of 10,000km. (Directly from Honda) The anodizing wears off and creates the most un-driveable stiction that I have ever witnessed in a motorcycle fork. I would be shocked (no pun) if there were no lawsuits pending. The 790 is not without its faults. I have lost all oil in my 790R shock requiring a rebuild. There was a major difference with how KTM and Honda handled my claims. Honda told me that they expected customers to rebuild their fork at 10,000km as outer tubes were wear items, then directed me to their parts department to purchase new outer tubes. Honda have fixed this for 2018+ and onward, ignoring 2016 - 2017 owners. KTM apologized and claimed that there must be a defect, then "overnight-ed" my shock to a WP tech, then the dealer gave me a demo 1290 Adventure R for the week that my shock was away. (!)

    As for the engine, the AT engine is a masterpiece. The engine seemed to have endless torque at low RPM and on the highway, the tires created more noise and vibration than the engine itself. I would say that the AT engine, as well as the triple in the Triumph Tiger are likely tied for the smoothest engine I have ridden in any adventure bike. At 20,000km the valve check required absolutely no adjustment. I had no problem riding the AT down from Canada through Tennessee, Florida then up through the outer banks of North Carolina then back to Canada. In comparison, I tend to stall the 790 engine more at slow speeds. So I tend to ride the clutch more with the 790 to keep RPM's up. The 790 engine is less comfortable, noisy and has more vibrations, but past 6000rpm the 790 engine feels like it has significantly more power. The AT will start with "one" push of the starter button, the 790 takes 2 stalls and 3 presses. I recently took part in the Fundy Adventure Rally here in Canada. The morning of the rally while in my tent, I heard a bike take 3 times to start. Thinking someone was stealing my bike I jumped out only to discover it was another 790 going through it "3 start" routine. The 790 needs to stall at least 2 times before it will run. The AT's fuel gauge will tell you how much fuel is in the tank, the 790's fuel gauge has absolutely no idea. The 790 also feels significantly lighter than the AT. As a current 790 owner, I can't imagine going back to a heavier bike. The strange and low fuel tanks are also no joke. They work. Same with the 790's Birch Mode. Sit at the bottom of a rocky hill in Birch Mode 1 or 2 and you just sit and spin and throw rocks around. Bump it up to 5 or 6 and the engine provides traction and great forward propulsion. This is the first bike with traction control that I have used in more than just the off and on position. The traction control on the 2016 AT is ridiculous by comparison. Because it had a throttle cable, the system just cut the fuel while you held the throttle body wide open with the throttle. This resulted in a violently pinging and backfiring engine that felt ready to explode. This is likely cured with the new fly by wire throttles.

    In a nutshell, I believe the 790 will join an apparent long list of KTM machines that have many quirks but will also be one of the motorcycle world's great adventure bikes.

    2) I ride a lot of single track with a small 2 stroke enduro bike. The AT, and now the 790 serve as a commuting bike as well as a back road explorer/weekend camping bike. I would tend to sway more towards the 790R than the AT. The 901 Norden from Husky would be of interest.

    3) I am not loyal to any brands. I would buy everything.

    4) No.
    #4
  5. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area

    Awesome...thanks for your time and for the info.

    I wish Honda would just take one of it's 650/700/750cc engines off the self and create a midsize AT shooting for as close to the 400lbs mark as they can get.

    My heart is leaning towards the 790R....brain says get a Honda.... I'm not sure I want to put up with my brain saying "I told you so" when/if issues with the 790R pop up.

    Thanks again.
    #5
  6. offroadjunky

    offroadjunky Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    211
    Location:
    Kelowna,Canada
    Issues will pop up with the Honda too.
    #6
  7. zoo

    zoo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    kelowna bc canada
    Hey, just saw this thread, yah me, went from a klr, to an AT, to a now 790.
    The ktm is a off road, long distance, make you smile machine. It rocks in suspension, power, and handling, it feels alot lighter than the AT.
    I have had no problems with my 790 yet, but its new. My AT forks were crap and honda was horrible to acknowledge they put these bikes on the market with the cheapest, worst engineered forks on the planet. Shame on honda.
    The AT is big and feels that why for sure, fine if on highway and big FS roads but have to cross a creek bed and you better have friends around. With gear you are not picking it up if in the wrong position.
    I have a crf 250, ktm 450, not partically brand sold. they all have issues, they all have put out great bikes.
    The difference between ktm and honda is that ktm builds engineered race bikes, they win shootouts for a reason, dakar wins like no other.
    Honda is the toyota camry of adventure touring, ktm is the range rover of off road exploring.
    #7
    Vicresendez likes this.
  8. Vicresendez

    Vicresendez Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    San Diego
    Good morning, I have a little input for you, I sold my 1190 adv r with 54K loved that bike but for my 5-8 165lbs frame I was always fighting the bike off-road, it was just a heavy bike. I have an AT that seemed to fill the void, for a more capable off-road bike, although it was, it seemed to be lighter than the 1190 and not as top heavy. And I have ridden the AT in some off-road situations that I wouldn't attempt with the 1190.
    But now that I have the 790 adv R, it's comfortable W/PP low seat(for me), this bike is as close to one of my smaller KTMs four strokes. I've taken her to even more technical off-road adventures than the 1190 or AT, I feel more confident and comfortable on this bike only to be beat by my 500xcw in an off-road comparison, I realize these are two entirely different bikes. I guess my point is that for me I love this 790 and its amazing off-road prowess.
    On a side note I enjoy reading and educating myself with all y'all comments, inputs, posts, pics, DIYs keep up the great work !
    Here are some of the girls IMG_7836.jpg IMG_7837.jpg IMG_7838.jpg
    #8
    Oyabun, tonyubsdell, 8lives and 6 others like this.
  9. krussell

    krussell Gravel Warrior Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,284
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    ^^^ Thanks for the photos. Another example I can use... "See honey, I'm not that crazy, this rider has twice as many as I do."
    #9
    kzeb, rickypanecatyl, 8lives and 5 others like this.
  10. [Art]

    [Art] Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2019
    Oddometer:
    452
    Location:
    France
    I'm having another problem. My wife has no issue with me buying toys, but I've ran out of space in the garage, and I'm tired of playing Tetris every time I want to get a bike out…
    #10
    brad21 likes this.
  11. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor TrackBum Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,182
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    I have a two bike limit, but also have a fun fast car and a couple of nice bicycles. Two bikes is enough for me, otherwise I go crazy with goodies. Having only two motorcycles forces me to focus too, so right now it's a 790r and a Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP. Good combo!
    #11
  12. kzeb

    kzeb Been here quite some time

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    268
    Location:
    Scandinavia
    :thumb
    Lovely girls you got there, just wonder if they give you any time off at any time, for work and such boring stuff :lol3

    Me myself I am downsizing my heard in order to make my life easier... getting old.. :gerg

    :beer
    #12
    Vicresendez likes this.
  13. Vicresendez

    Vicresendez Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    San Diego
    I make it a point to ride one everyday or so, retired and I'm slowly downsizing
    #13
    kzeb likes this.
  14. ChrisB Kiwi

    ChrisB Kiwi Where does THIS go?

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    Brissie
    It's amazing how much more fun my 790R is than my Africa Twin (DCT), so much so I'm much more interested in riding it than talking about it - they are chalk and cheese for such similar spec bikes! I like customising my bike to my needs, but the one thing that is head and heels above the AT is the suspension - it's next level. Here's most of what I've done to my 790 and since then I've also addressed the wind issue with an MST Rally kit, which I think makes it easily as comfy as the AT on the inevitable road sections.
    #14
    zoo likes this.
  15. kubcat

    kubcat Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,711
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    So would you say the MSM screen has solved any highway speed buffeting you felt when you first started riding it?
    #15
  16. Sprocket55

    Sprocket55 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2019
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Demorest Ga
    Wow great garage. I have a R1200GS and A CRF450L I just sold my 2013 F800G because the 450 meets my needs for on offroad. I will thinking’s about trading the GS for something lighter but ok for all day on the road, does then AT feel lighter then the GS? Could you tour on the 790?
    Thanks
    #16
  17. ramirin

    ramirin Ready to push

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,159
    Location:
    FIN
    Screenshot_191.jpg
    #17
    kzeb, Janus9, stokerel and 2 others like this.
  18. wierpig

    wierpig Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    merseyside uk
    The KTM has a better, livelier more likeable engine.It has a better gearbox, better suspension, better instruments, much better weight distribution and a better exhaust note.The Honda has maybe a better seat.
    Lacks character and verve compared to the 790.
    Road tested both side by side last weekend.
    Very underwhelmed by the AT.
    #18
  19. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Oddometer:
    565
    Location:
    DFW
    I put 9500 miles on a 2016 AT DCT and about 600 miles into the 790 R at this point.

    Functionally, the AT was probably a better bike for interstate trips, but that was about it, imo.

    Everything else about the 790 R seems to be a little better. Off pavement, the 790 R is a lot better, imo.

    I'd rate the AT as a 70/30 pavement bike where the 790 R is more of a true 50/50 bike.

    I will say Honda's DCT is smoother in first gear than the Rekluse auto clutch in my 790 R. Their DCT stuff is a work of art in many ways. I do wish the 790 had Honda's DCT in it, but I'm sure I'm in the minority on that opinion.

    In general, I like the way Honda does things better than KTM, but KTM has that power and visceral feel that I ultimately value over all of Honda's reliability and refinements.
    #19
    SunValley likes this.
  20. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    Chicagoland Area
    I ended up going with a Honda CRF250L for many reasons, but the big one was that I wanted a lite bike that I knew wasn't beyond my skills. After only owning it for about 3 weeks, I probably undershoot the mark a bit, but I wanted to be where I am....which is maybe thinking I got too "less" of a bike, versus thinking I got too much of a bike. My plan is to just rack up the miles, ride, ride, and ride (and learn).

    At the end of the day, I also want a more off road oriented bike...I do not want a heavy street bike that is "okay" off road. I would have bought the 450L if it had even somewhat reasonable maintenance intervals.

    I think the market is really craving an updated KLR650 (needs a 6th gear, FI, and an updated dash), and that's why I think the 790r will continue to do well, but so should the T7 given it's price point.
    #20
    Jarrett2 likes this.