KTM 790 Test Ride Review

Discussion in 'Parallel World (790/890)' started by Tigershark48, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    1,010
    Location:
    West Bend, WI
    Test rode a 790 Duke yesterday and took it off my list. I was hoping the WP suspension would handle rough blacktop, but it doesn’t. I hit some typical beat up county asphalt roads and had to push my eye teeth back up afterwards. The engine vibes were also there, being almost as bad as the 690 thumper. They configured the crank offset to sound like a v-twin, which it does, but it also feels like one. Really buzzy. The engine was not at all happy at lower rpms. I had to drop gears a lot more often than my F700. 30 mph in third gear was out of the question, similarly 50 mph in fifth. MPG is supposedly around 45 on average. Of course the power on tap would most likely drop that number to compensate for the fun factor. The LCD display totally blanked out in direct sunlight. The only way to see it was to shade it with my hand. Pluses included its stimulating power/weight ratio and extreme nimbleness. There was no windscreen, but it wasn’t needed. All I got at 80+ mph was clean fresh air. No helmet noise or excessive drag on my upper torso. Seat comfort was fine for my skinny butt. Unfortunately, the pros didn’t outweigh the cons enough to win me over.

    I also looked at a 790 Adventure sitting in the dealer showroom and was really impressed. In spite of its 21” front wheel, it was shorter than I expected, likely attributed to the side mounted fuel tank. Great design for improving COG. I told my friend that it looked very much in the running for me. He was quick to point out, same engine as the Duke, same vibration and torque issues. Good point. Having ridden one himself, he said the low mounted fuel tank blocked a lot of air flow to the riders legs creating excessive engine heat to deal with. I still plan on a test ride when I find time, but I’m not optimistic.

    I have to say the one hour ride back home on my F700 felt even better than the trip down. Smooth over all surfaces, adequate power for passing, no low rpm baulking and 60 realtime mpg displayed for most of the trip. Nothing like riding other bikes to make a person appreciate what they have.
    #1
  2. morfic

    morfic Been here awhile

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    Jul 31, 2017
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    San Antonio
    The blocked air and extra engine heat does sound like a great winter feature. ;)
    #2
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  3. AntReed

    AntReed Been here awhile

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    Kent, UK
    I wonder how the 790 adventure would do as a year round commuter? The service intervals and extra fuel capacity are appealing but then offset by the mpg impact.

    I have thought hard about the “perfect” bike for me but the harder I think the more my f800gs seems to be it!
    #3
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  4. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    Oct 27, 2005
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    Upstate SC
    If you don’t go off-road at all, stick with the F800

    I just traded a 1200GS in for a 790. If it wasn’t as much better off road as it is, I would have stayed with BMW, maybe an 850. If you don’t go off-road, stay with BMW.

    That said my 790 is fine on road. Better than a 690 Enduro. My other option. Smoother and some wind protection.

    Buy the bike that suits your needs.
    #4
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  5. That.guy

    That.guy Been here awhile

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    Sep 28, 2018
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    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    How far do you need to commute? When I first bought my 750GS (4gal tank) I thought I’d really miss the 6.1 gallon tank from my KLR650 but it with an average of 60mpg over the last 1700 miles of mixed highway, city and offroad riding it’s really turned out to not be an issue.
    #5
  6. AntReed

    AntReed Been here awhile

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    Nov 17, 2014
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    279
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I ride regularly off-road but commute 80 miles 50/50 highway/urban miles 4 days a week as well.

    The 800 i have now I got to replace a 1200gsa as it was a pig off-road

    At heart I am a KTM guy having had a few dirt bikes and a 640 Adv from them, but my head says BMW!!

    It’s a tough choice but whichever way it goes I get to ride a bike everyday and that is more important than the bike I ride!
    #6
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  7. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2017
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    1,010
    Location:
    West Bend, WI
    70086D06-2C54-4786-A82A-B4219B551E96.jpeg Air flow sketch of the 790 Adventure.
    #7
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  8. vasuvius

    vasuvius wannabe something ... don't know what

    Joined:
    May 1, 2016
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    Northern NJ & South Berkshire County MA
    The F700GS is a pretty great year round commuter. I’ve installed a camel tank and get a total of 360 mile range. typically refill around the 280 mile mark.
    My commute is only 45-50 miles round trip but the convenience of filling up at most once a week is great.
    #8
  9. roookie1

    roookie1 Been here awhile

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    Jun 15, 2009
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    Denmark
    The Dealer is wrong. Power is decreased to 95 and torque is higher in the lows revs..Compared to the Duke...Adv 88 nm at 6600 rpm..
    #9
  10. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    1,010
    Location:
    West Bend, WI
    That sounds more well behaved than the Duke, but there would still be the buzzy offset crank vibration. I’ll have to go back and ride the Adv. I really liked the compactness of it even with long suspension travel and 21” front wheel. Closer to a sportbike size, but way more comfortable on bad road surfaces. Unlike a Triumph Tiger 800 XCX that measures 58” high excluding the mirrors making it very top heavy.
    #10