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Old 15th March 2023, 02:03   #1
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Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

Posted this in the KTM Adventure 390 thread, and thought it would be better to put it up as a standalone topic

Hello everyone. I'm new here, so I'll be rambling for a bit. Please be gentle.

I recently booked a KTM Adventure 390 in Mumbai. The whole process of selecting and deciding which bike to buy, the bike which will be the first big purchase I make with my own money, took two years. And funnily enough, I started at 390 Adventure, and after two years of study and research, came back to the 390 Adventure.

It is also intimately connected to why I want a motorcycle in the first place. The origin is actually quite childish. I am a kid from a middle class family, and I lived in the Tier 2-3 City of Bhilai. There, in class 10th, I studied in DPS. After the 10th class exam, I scored really well, and got myself an entire series of books. But as summer vacation ended, so many of my classmates got bikes. From CBR 250R to Pulsar 220, 200 and 180s. In retrospect, it was maybe kinda stupid to give such children bikes like this, but I was a kid at the time. I knew why I shouldn't have a bike, bu t the teenage mind doesn't have enough control to put prudent decisions over stupid ones. I wanted a bike, because it was cool, all the rich kids had them and I had watched Dhoom.

Well, I got into this really prestigious coaching place, which was about 7 KM away from my home. I saw that as my opportunity to push to get myself a decent bike I could like, say an Apache 160 or a Pulsar 150. But no matter what I reasoned, my dad wouldn't budge. I could get a scooter, or nothing at all. Well, I was his son. I declared I'd rather have nothing if not a bike, and cycled 12 KM everyday instead. I swore I would get myself a bike I wanted, and not one I needed when I started earning money, which at the time was a Ninja.

Fast forward 8 years, I have a job, and I can definitely afford the down payment and EMI of the kind of bikes I dreamt of. But somewhere between all the growing up, getting a job and the heartbreak in between, I had forgotten about the bike. But a chance conversation with a senior at my workplace who is a Harley enthusiast brought back all the forgotten dreams with a vengeance. The night of that day I was actually unable to sleep.

But in all those years, I had also gained a lot of maturity. So, I decided that I'd not be one of the stupid kids I see all the time. Instead I would give this matter the seriousness it deserved, and think on it properly. There started my study.

I started at the point of my childhood, which is sports bikes. My options were the Ninja 300, RC 390 and Apache RR 310. My pride would not let me get anything below a 300cc Liquid cooled bike, because I wanted to get something better than the CBR 250R for sure, since that was the old monster I defined as the bike you want, and not need, in my mind.

Quickly, I had to eliminate the RC 390, for I knew I wouldn't be able to tour on it, and then the Ninja 300 because of its value proposition and abysmal service presence. And hence I landed on the Apache RR 310.



Per my assessment, it was fast enough, loaded with enough tech to embarrass the RC and Ninja and could tour. And as a bonus, it was a TVS, so servicing would be easier. I took a test drive of the bike, and it was quite easy and comfortable to ride. I didn't notice that the ride didn't excite me much. I had it almost decided. But before I bought the bike, I discussed this with my dad, because I had grown enough to understand that denying a vehicle to a 15 year old had been the right decision, especially since some of my batchmates had ended up dead riding around with no gear and at dangerous speeds in inner streets.

HE told me he was ok with me buying the bike, but just to consider whether I would be able to do everything that I might need with the bike, and whether it could accommodate another person if I so wanted. Well, that derailed the few months of planning I had been doing, since he was right. A chance meeting with a friend who owned the Apache also let me know that servicing of the RR 310 was actually quite a pain.

Well, there I was, back to square zero. Time to get back into it. And that's how I discovered adventure bikes. Went into the whole history of it, from the R80 to the R1250 today, and realised they were a perfect fit for what I wanted to do. I also realised that I also had significant options in my own country.

As I mentioned, the bike I first came upon was the Adventure 390. Somehow I learned about the Himalyan after the KTM, which was quite weird since I had seen the Himalyan in the streets. But I started with te KTM, all excited and bright eyed, but the reviews kinda ruined it for me, since they were all about how it wasn't comfortable and how it had compromised offroad capability. Nevermind that I didn't know if I even wanted to do offroading yet, and if so, how much would I want to do. In my mind, an adventure bike should have adventure capability dammit, nevermind the rider not having those capabilities. That, and after coming to Mumbai, I learned that apparently riding a KTM was the favourite past-time of idiots in Mumbai apparently.

Then came the Himalyan, and it seemed a pretty good option on paper except for two things. It was the oldest engine in the RE lineup after the introduction in the J series and the twins, and that it was also the most unrefiined. I was also getting haunted by the ghost of CBR 250 R past, which was frowning at me getting such a heavy and under-powered bike. Also, the test ride left me thoroughly unimpreessed. I knew it was a competent and proven bike, but my heart wasn't in it. There goes another competitor.



Enter the BMW G310 GS. It looks beautiful. It's a BMW, and though I scoff at brand loyalty as bullshit, I'm still in awe at the creators of adventure motorcycling. Hre's the heir to creators of this tradition. And while the BS 4 GS 310 had it's issues, the new one had fixed them all. It was super comfortable, it had all the necessary bits and nothing extra. The most important thing was that I truly enjoyed riding the bike. It felt like riding a big bike. I still remember that during the test drive, a person riding the FZ 15 had his ego hurt and revved and raced ahead of me, but the GS caught up and went ahead of the FZ like an adult walks in front of a running child, without effort.



Pros:
- The 313 CC engine with 34 PS of power which was on the Apache
- Super Comfortable
- All the necessary bits were plush
- All LED parts, many from the F900 XR
- Capable of touring forever
- Acceptable Mileage (I'm a middle class Indian, I can't ignore that!)
- Looks Amazing
- BMW Brand Value (Hurts to accept that it's relevant)

Cons
- The dash reminded me of the Rs 80 Digital Watches from back in the day
- Vibrations at higher RPM in a brand famous for refinement
- Would be slower than my friend's RR 310 (I'm still immature enough for this)
- A casual reading of the spare parts and accessories cost is enough to drain my bank balance
- Servicing is expensive, and service centers are far and few.
- It's a BMW, and apparently I've heard it is common for stuff from luxury brands to get keyed and scratched for no reason, which gave me anxiety before I even visited the showroom.

But as fate will have it, the people in the BMW Motorrad showroom are just not interested in selling a bike, because all I told them was that I just wanted a test ride before I booked it, but they couldn't arrange one in over two months. I had to take one in the Indore BMW showroom when I visited. In the meantime, one of my bosses was also interested in buying a bike, and he got into the GS.

But, having more monetary resources and less to lose, when the Mumbai BMW were uncooperative, he just went to the Pune showroom and got his bike there. This was getting a bit too much, since I started the journey to buying a bike first, but didn't have it, much to the amusement of my colleagues.

While I was agonizing over whether I should visit the showroom in Pune or some other city, a friend of mine joined for his job in Mumbai. I was the one who had gotten him interested into bikes, and he had seemed almost set on buying the scram 411, but I suggested he should also try the Svartpilen. I went with him to the KTM showroom in Mahim. When he came smiling from ear to ear after the test ride, I knew he was sold.

But I had a nagging feeling in my mind. The 390 Adv was the first bike I had thought of in the adventure bike lineup. But I had never test ridden it. Of course, the BMW was the superior bike. It was cheaper, and more plush, so of course I would choose it. 45 PS was anyways too much for me. But I was in the KTM showroom, so might as well take a test ride.

In another reality, I decided not to take the test ride, and went on to buy the BMW. This is not that reality. That test ride drove all notions of logic and practicality from my mind. the seat was wide and comfortable. The power delivery made my heart sing. I was spiderman experiencing the symbiote suit for the first time. And unlike the movie, I had no reason to say no.

It hardly matters, but here's the pros and cons:
Pros:
- The power delivery makes me feel like how I imagined a superbike would feel as a 10 year old.
- The seat is wide and comfortable
- The bike is light and easy to maneuver
- I'm a nerd, and the tech makes me feel giddy
- I like how the bike looks like one of the elite Decepticons in the blue and orange color trim
- It's a KTM, so it's equipped with performance parts to slay all competition. Also, abundant service centres and cheap parts

Cons
- The bragging value is much lower, thanks to idiots who bought KTMs and left their brains at home while riding for the last decade
- While I didn't feel it, the suspension is supposedly a bit too stiff on long journeys
- The mileage will be abysmal
- It is pretty tall, and while I can put both my feet down, I could feel it's just a bit too tall to be okay with on the first ride.
- While I have bought some essential gear ex Helmet, Gloves and knee guards to the extent I can afford, I won't really have money for the rest for a few months.
- It is very very expensive. The 4 Lac+ price hurts.

Of course, the pros more than make up for the cons. TO everyone here, thank you for documenting your experiences. From what I understand, the major flaws in new bikes are these:

- Lack of low end power, which can be fixed by replacing the front sprocket with that of the 250 Adv
- Some issue with the quick shifter which causes the bike to stall
- Abnormal engine oil consumption

If there's anything important I'm missing, since I am not sure what else to buy other than the gear, so please let me know. And if theres a list of what PDI I should be doing, I'd be grateful if someone could direct me. I look forward to joining this community.
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Old 19th March 2023, 12:47   #2
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

Lovely and heart warming to read. Congratulations on your new bike. Enjoy evey kilometer of the ride. Photos please!
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Old 19th March 2023, 19:30   #3
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

My suggestion would be to avoid changing anything until you ride it for 2-3000 kms. In this time, you will be able to understand your machine and yourself well to decide what works for you. In my Adv 390 case, I don't see oil consumption issue but it heats up in bumper to bumper Bangalore traffic. The quickshifter works 95% times, for the remaining 5%, I use the clutch a tiny but and it works fine. The engine stalls sometimes, quite rarely when I am crossing speed breakers with clutch pressed, i am prepared to hit the start button quickly. I have learnt to rev the engine a bit to manage the low end torque issue.

I haven't added a single accessory in the 14K km i have done other than a mobile holder (which I added without the small contraption that all others have put) as I feel the company provided crash protection is sufficient and the luggage sits quite well with the grab rails (I use a Viaterra claw bag for long trips).
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Old 19th March 2023, 22:05   #4
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by btdhar View Post
I have learnt to rev the engine a bit to manage the low end torque issue.
In youtube, many have solved the issue with smaller front and/or larger rear sprockets. Have you/are willing to try this? I think it will make the experience more pleasurable. I am on the fence with 390 adv / interceptor 650. If they ever come out with std 650/ classic 650 I will get them eyes closed but otherwise it's really difficult to chose between the 650 and the 390 adv (and I enjoy this dilemma !!)
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Old 20th March 2023, 13:59   #5
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

I prefer not to retain in stock setup for whatever it's worth hence never thought about it.

Last edited by manson : 20th March 2023 at 14:57. Reason: Typo.
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Old 20th March 2023, 16:55   #6
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterChief007 View Post
I am on the fence with 390 adv / interceptor 650. If they ever come out with std 650/ classic 650 I will get them eyes closed but otherwise it's really difficult to chose between the 650 and the 390 adv (and I enjoy this dilemma !!)
Not very qualified to answer this question. But I have experience with Duke 200 and Bullet 500( had a pleasure of owning them both for 3 years and later sold Duke) . Have done many solo trips on these 2 bikes . Longest single day trip being Bangalore to Goa on Duke 200(630KM). In my experience, KTM bikes are extremely well engineered and agile, which can handle multiple situations at ease . after buying Duke, I started feeling RE is pure junk. If I was in your spot , I would chose 390 adventure without 2nd thought.

Reason for selling duke was purely collective decision of family as my wife and kid could not ride as pillion.
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Old 24th March 2023, 00:51   #7
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

Thanks everyone for the wishes. I took delivery of the bike, and I'll be very honest, until I recently read my post, which I was fully expecting to go unread and die in ignominy, I did not take any photos beyond PDI purposes. I was just riding it around.
This is a photo of me yesterday, at night, after I was letting my friend test it and he suggested we take a photo, hence the lack of any gear beyond a helmet:
Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390-team-bhp.jpg
Here's the bike immediately after delivery:
Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390-bike.jpg

I'm planning a trip from Mumbai to Pune this weekend, an I am hoping I can experience more of what this amazing bike has to offer. I am actually getting used to the lack of power in the lower RPMs, though the idea of a sprocket change remains in my mind.

In celebration of this post getting some attention, I used my bike's photo to generate my bike as a Decepticon. Here it is:
Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390-390-adv-decepticon.jpg

Thanks Everyone!
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Old 24th March 2023, 13:40   #8
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Re: Coming a full circle | The journey of choosing my KTM Adventure 390

Excellent choice. Many more happy miles on the beast.

Being an owner of the ktm 390 adv myself, I totally agree with the pros and cons. Here are a few things I would suggest you get yourself once you are able to:
  1. Riding jacket - essential if you are touring with your bike. (would recommend in city as well as Mumbai traffic is not favourable for 2 wheelers)
  2. Riding boots - most accidents happen at a lower speed and riding boots can save your ankles in case the bike dropped on you.
  3. Get some blind spot mirrors as the stock mirrors are practically useless. I am also on a look out for better mirrors after market.

Ride safe
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