I've gotten a bunch of requests for my thoughts on the new 790 in PMs and in the 790 thread, so I'm going to put that together here. (this will be a few separate posts over the next few days) (Merzouga Rally/KTM Ultimate Race ride report link will show up here once I get that written and posted) Before I get too far into it, go check out Upshift, Cudby Photo, Marcin Kin Photography, MotoGeo, and FilmerForce photography. These guys are all great and post some truly inspired stuff. A little personal background to put my thoughts in perspective: I finished first overall in the 2018 KTM Ultimate race qualifier at the Adventure Rider Rally last year, and as a result KTM sent me over to Morocco to race a 790 Adventure R at the Merzouga Rally with 11 other top finishers from the other rider rallies. My thoughts come from a dirt focused perspective; I am willing to compromise a lot on pavement to have a better experience off road. My daily off road ride is a very modified 2005.5 950 Adventure; most of my performance comparisons are relative to this. While I have spent some time on pavement, the vast majority of my experience with the 790 is off road. I did not try to carry any luggage beyond tools and spares. Many motorcycle manufacturers profess to build a do-it-all, off-road capable adventure bike. Some of them are little more than gussied-up street bikes with marginally more travel, smaller tread blocks, and a more upright seating position. Others go a step or two further with a 21” front wheel, reasonably good travel, and good ground clearance numbers backed up with ergonomics conducive to standing. The BMW F800GS, KTM 1X90 series, and Africa Twin all fall into this category of bikes that can go some crazy places off road with the right rider. Only a few bikes have ever existed in the dirt-focused twin cylinder space, notably the BMW HP2, the KTM 950 Super Enduro, and the Aprilia RXV550. The progression of legislation means that we are unlikely to see the likes of these hero bikes from the factory in the near future. These are all great bikes for different purposes, but the experience on most dirt-oriented big bikes tends to fall apart when you really start pushing harder and trying to add some pace to the equation. With some work, especially in the springing and valving departments, it is typically possible to remedy that, but it is not cheap and you still have a bike that takes a lot of muscling around in some terrain. I put my beloved 950 Adventure in this category as well. KTM was pretty brave in giving 12 unknown riders brand new 790Rs to race in a major rally event. That speaks volumes to the confidence that they have in this bike, and their determination to set it apart from the other bikes on the market. Contrary to what a few places have reported, the 790R Ultimate Race bikes were largely stock machines. The suspension was stock (not cone valve as reported in a few places), as was the engine, mapping, air intake, and nearly everything else that I've been asked about. Key modifications were limited to what was needed for the competition. Michelin Desert Race tires with mousses were mounted to the narrower Power Parts wheel set. Tall Power Parts seats were installed on all of the bikes, as the stock seat with the bump is not as well suited to aggressive off road use. All of the bikes had the aftermarket Akrapovic muffler. The street grips were removed in favor of foam rally grips, and the stock steering damper was replaced with an aftermarket Scotts piece as required by the ASO. Longer KTM Rally pegs were installed as well, and of course the bikes had a powered roadbook holder mounted to the bars and a Stella rally computer mounted to the tower above the factory display. The sidestand switch, ABS, and traction control were also disabled for competition, though we did get a chance to test the rider aids before competition started. Point being, these weren’t custom race bikes made to look like 790s in the interest of marketing. They were largely stock.