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Old 1st November 2023, 19:34   #1
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2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

As of 21st October 2023 12pm, I had barely heard about a bike called the KTM Adventure 390. Exactly 7 days later, almost to the minute, on 28th October 2023, I took delivery of the same bike. The variant depending on whom you ask is either 2023 KTM Adventure 390 or KTM Adventure Rally Edition or as per KTM Website- 2023 KTM Adventure-SW (Spoke Wheel) and the color is Rally Orange-The only color for this variant. For my family and friends who know me well, when I gave this update, they were like: "Typical Rajeev purchase, it is done in the blink of an eye". This is generally a right inference about me. When I make such a purchase, it means I am totally convinced about it and have no second thoughts. If I am thinking too much, then there is something wrong somewhere and I need to take a step back.

Let me do the short version first. What prompted this chain of events?
  • The Harley and Hero delays with the Harley Davidson X440. From the launch in July to starting test rides only in September, to not preparing the Hero Dealerships in time to not giving any clear picture on actual delivery till mid October when they finally sent an email saying when my bike will be dispatched. While I finally did get a call this week, telling the bike had arrived-it was too late. If Harley had delivered even 2-3 weeks back, then the KTM Story would not have happened.
  • A random urge to step into the KTM Showroom after a final TD of the Harley at a Hero next door.
  • The first sight of the Adventure 390 and the realization that KTM had more than Dukes and RC's
  • The tall imposing nature of the bike, perfect for my height and a seating position at I preferred.
  • The first test ride that sealed the deal. The feeling of 'Yes, this is what I want'. Felt at home from the get go.
  • Lovely engine, well loaded with features and fairly lightweight considering its size. Nice TFT instrument cluster.
  • Very comfortable for the pillion due to its size and length. Important for me.
  • All the expert reviews which said it is an allrounder but does not do one single thing extremely well- hence not an easy recommendation. Well, worked for me-I wanted an all rounder.
  • The ready availability and no nonsense dealer experience.
  • A little bit of exclusivity as it is not a common choice.

Is it all good?, not really
  • I picked up the top variant due to the adjustable suspension. It also comes with Spoke Wheels which is great for off roading which I do not intend to do much. Downside of the Spoke Wheels-Comes with Tubed Tyres. So have a nagging worry about a puncture in some random place. Like the DSG worry that is always there with my Vento. But the liking for the adjustable suspension overrode this concern.
  • I will use it a lot in the city. As is well known, KTM's are happy at higher RPMs and in the City it is a lot of 1-2-3-2-1 needed. That is not changed with this 2023 edition also. The clutch is light and I am used to this with my Pulsar 200NS. So did not consider this a deal breaker.

Some pictures to close out the intro and the short version.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_123033.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-whatsapp-image-20231028-18.46.39-1.jpeg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_124948.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_164558.jpg

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 21:58.
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Old 3rd November 2023, 17:07   #2
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

Getting into the longer version now. The following are the focus areas of this review. I am not a bike expert by any stretch of the imagination and the KTM Adventure has been around for 3 years now. So some of the contents and comments below may look very rudimentary to the experienced folks out there. Still writing it down with the assumption that there are guys like me for whom these details may be useful.

The Background and getting to the final shortlist

The curious case of the X440 launch process and the KTM Adv decision.

The Dealership and Delivery Experience

Pictorial Overview

The TFT Display Overview

The Adjustable Suspension- An Overview

The 'Getting Familiar' process and Riding Impressions

Riding Gear and Accessories

Conclusion

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 23:13.
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Old 3rd November 2023, 18:49   #3
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The Background


The serious thought about replacing my Pulsar NS started around beginning of the year. While the bike was running fine, there were frequent niggles. Started with some random starting issues and the engine never feeling very smooth. Then started having some overheating issues and bike getting switched off while in motion. While each time the service center was able to identify and fix the problem, different niggles still kept popping up. It had been close to 11 years and it seemed a right time to change too.

As the thought process on a new bike started, a larger question needed to be answered-"What kind of a biker am I?". Bikers can be of different types, from those who use a bike as a commuter and purely because they have no choice, to the other extreme of the passionate bikers who take joy in those long bike adventures and trips.

I think I fell somewhere in the middle. Like most people, I started riding on an entry commuter bike as I had no choice. At one point I got a car. Lot of people stop riding after this. I did not do that. The bike was still a critical part of my transportation needs and that continued. The Pulsar NS was a next step in that. I have been riding a bike for 20+ years now and I realized that I pretty much have been on the bike almost every single day (excluding covid times of course). My office commute to this day has by default been on my bike, whenever I travel alone in the city, bike is my go to option, errands with one among my wife or kid is done on the bike. And I did this not out of compulsion or convenience. I just enjoyed being on the bike and riding it-How ever short the trip.

With all that riding and the love for riding, I had never done any long tours or rides apart from couple of weekend rides at the time I got the Pulsar NS. Even with this new bike, while it is unlikely that I will do say week long tours or any cross country tours, more than before, I really wanted to be able to some level of touring, try to ride to Kerala to my home town, make weekend trips etc. Maybe it is some form of a mid life crisis and I don't know how it will pan out, but I had the clarity of thought that the new bike should be able to do it, while at the same time doing all the commuter duties it had to do.

So to summarise the requirements with that backstory
  • Usable in the City. Which to me meant proper heat management and not too heavy to handle in traffic.
  • Budget of around 3-4L
  • Pillion Friendly
  • Ride quality to handle Bangalore Type roads. My regular commute roads generally always have bad roads.
  • My Pulsar was 24bhp and 18nM torque. My view was that a bike that doubled these numbers would feel like a ideal upgrade. This basically meant something in the 400-500cc range.
  • Upright Riding Position.
  • Preferably some Connectivity features
  • Some exclusivity if possible. Not a commonplace bike.

There was not a lot of thought into the shortlisting process. Started mostly with a process of elimination of what I knew I did not want.
  • When we look at this 350-500cc range it is currently obviously dominated by Royal Enfield. The Enfield has never been my type of bike. During the Pulsar purchase itself the Royal Enfield were contenders and they did not work out for me. Lot of things have obviously changed now and RE has really evolved and gone from strength to strength. I did briefly consider the Interceptor 650, but was soon dropped from consideration.
  • The Java's and Yezdi's were not seriously considered.
  • The Honda Highness 350 was one bike that caught my eye and was seeing a lot of them on the roads. While I did not initially go for a test ride, recently in the midst of the X440 delay, did visit a Big Wing Showroom. The very cold reception and the fact that the bike did not really excite me in appearance up close itself meant that it was not considered.

So the first round was basically a generic and haphazard search that kind of died down without any serious direction. Then I think towards May and early June of this year started reading about the 2 biggies Triumph and Harley and their launch of bikes in the 400cc segment in partnership with Bajaj and Hero. When the X440 was revealed, it seemed exactly what I wanted and I was eagerly waiting for the launch. Then the Speed 400 launch happened and that seemed even better and again exactly what I was looking for.

First week of July, both of the launched- Fantastic pricing, everything looked good. 2k and 5k booking amounts. Made a booking for both on the day of launch and the wait began.

Will talk more about the Harley later, but Bajaj and Triumph seemed to have got everything right. A fantastic looking bike, fit and finish seemed top notch, reviewers could not stop gushing about it. Apart from some minor hiccups, Bajaj and Triumph moved quickly. New showrooms popped up. Plenty of TD bikes were dispatched and social media was bombarded by Triumph. Seriously created a major FOMO(Fear of Missing Out) in a lot of people waiting to buy.

Once the Test Rides opened up, went for one. Have already detailed my experience in this post, but just to summarize:

Everything about the Speed 400 felt nice. I think Bajaj and Triumph have produced an almost perfect bike. It is hard to find any major fault with it, or find any quirks with it. And I think at least for me there in lies the problem- I feared I will get bored with it soon- It did not wow me in any one area. My Vento turns 10 this month and even today I look forward to driving and there is a smile that comes to my face when the TSI+DSG does its magic. I definitely wanted that in my bike also, and I did not think the Speed 400 would deliver it(Personal Opinion: No offence intended). There were other small things I was concerned about like the compact dimensions and road presence, pillion space. The Scrambler 400 I think addresses these aspects, but it was still some way away from deliveries. The one other thing I did not like about the Speed 400 was the tiny RPM Display.

I test rode the Harley X440 in early September. The ride impressions of the Harley X440 is documented here. The first TD was fairly inconclusive, but enough to put it over the Speed400 based on what I wanted.

While the wait for the X440 further test rides and delivery schedules were happening, there was a period of time when my mind jumped to a pre-owned Triumph Trident 660. Had not ridden one, but it was a bike I really liked. Even started looking out for options. Had reached out to moderator CraZy_Driver for his inputs too. He also help share a couple of options he found on Olx. The Olx ones did not work out for various reasons. There was one that I found with a used vehicle dealer I was following. It was a Trident 660, 2021 model with 12k on the Odo. Asking price was 7L. I planned to go see it and the day I was set to go, he informed me it was already sold.

Overall, that was a heart over mind thing. I don't think I was ready for a 600cc+ bike and I did not even have the use case for it and I did not have the budget also for it. Thankfully not getting the chance to see that bike helped settle the head and it was back to waiting for the X440

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 23:20.
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Old 4th November 2023, 21:44   #4
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The Harley X440 post launch Delays and the KTM Entry


While the jump to the KTM was a spontaneous decision, it happened because of the curious way that Hero and Harley have managed/managing the X440 Post Launch process. Just thought to put some comments on that as it is relevant to this purchase story.
  • The pre-launch hype was done very well by Harley. Some slickly shot images and videos, good tag lines, Engineering videos. All of it done well. I fell for it after seeing those.
  • The launch itself was done well. Good event, 3 models, Amazing pricing. The booking website launched the next day. In addition to the Harley Showrooms, the specific Hero Showrooms were also identified and available in the booking process.
  • Post booking, the booking information was promptly sent promising a contact by August 15th and a delivery max within 90 days of booking. I booked on July 4th. So this meant before October 4th.
  • After this, things somehow started to fall apart. Instead of stepping up the media blitzkrieg, Harley also seemed to go quiet. Occasionally a post would pop up in the social media handles about the X440.Note that the handle is very active with other Harley/HOG posts. There was and still is nothing from Hero on this.
  • On August 15th, there was a namesake mail that Test Rides would begin in September and deliveries in October.
  • Test Rides did start in September. But only for those who booked and through a booking system. Also, only in the Harley Dealerships which were extremely limited.
  • Only in early October did some specific Hero showrooms start getting Test Ride bikes.
  • Finally Harley said deliveries will start on October 15th and also Harley started communicating approximate delivery dates. I got an email on October 19th saying that my bike will be dispatched between Oct 2nd to 22nd. I was lucky. Folks who booked even in July end were given Feb-Mar 2024 delivery dates.
  • The Hero showrooms had no proper information about the allocation or when the bikes would reach. I finally got a call on Oct 31st asking to come for formalities.

The X440 is a very good bike. The fit and finish has been questioned and is not great, but all reviews indicated it as a great bike. My test ride also was enough for me to still want to buy it in spite of all the confusion above. But something has gone wrong with the way Harley and Hero are managing it. It is a path breaking partnership. They should have been broadcasting at the top of their voice on this product, flooding social media on a daily basis and promptly delivering and clearing the backlog like Triumph has been doing.

Instead the marketing has fizzled out. Hero does not even seem to be doing anything. If you check their social media, the Karizma and the Xpulse have far more coverage. Nothing has happened on the dealership setup. Even those set up just seem to be there as a conduit to deliver some limited bikes. On top of it all, unrealistic delivery timelines. Hero churns out something like 500,000 two wheelers a month. Hopefully it is just a temporary thing and things will get smoothened out. The launch of the Premia Showrooms seems a step in that direction.

Anyways- End of that rant. In spite of all this, since I was in the first lot and was expected to get delivery by November 1st week at least, I went for another test ride on 21st October.

Reproducing my post on the KTM thread here for what happened next:

Quote:
Did one more test ride of the Harley X440 and although I did like it and easily covered my use case, was not getting that wow feeling yet. Felt maybe I was over expecting and decided on going ahead with the purchase.

When I stepped out of the Hero showroom, there was a KTM showroom just ahead. Now, in my mind, KTM always meant the Dukes and I knew the Dukes were not for me. So never even considered KTM bikes at all. For what reason I don't know, I stopped in front of KTM. Told me wife, lets go and simply look at the bikes. We actually sat outside thinking for 5 min if we should go. I went in, first thing I see is the KTM Adventure 390. A bike I barely knew existed. Looked large but sleek, imposing, tall and I totally loved it. Sat on it. I am 5'11 and the height was not an issue- Was almost flat footing both legs and felt comfortable sitting on it.

Still had no intention of seriously considering it, half heartedly asked for a test drive. They had the latest Adventure 390 Rally Edition as the TD bike. It had gone out for a ride. Waited for 20 min, no sign of the guy who took it. I said to my wife let us wait for 5 more min and then we will leave. The bike came in immediately after. I sat on it, again felt large and imposing. Told my wife, let me do a solo ride first. Then I started it and got moving- Oh boy!!! 30 seconds into the ride, I was totally sold on it. Perfect seating position for me, felt totally at home from the get go, and of course the engine- enough has been said about it. That, 'this is my bike' feeling I was missing with all the others, was right there with this. Took a fairly good test ride and came back, told my wife to hop on and then we went for another round. Because of the large seat, she was also totally comfortable with it. Would have booked it then and there, but the mind told to hold back.

Came back home, watched and read everything there was about the KTM Adventure 390, learnt more about the lower cost base variant-the X, about the new Rally Edition with adjustable suspension and spoke wheels, the pros and cons as said by experts, specific focus on city riding and heat. A lot of the major cons called out- The seat height, the price, the fact that from an off roader perspective it is probably not the best- were not deal breakers for me. Variant of choice was a confusion-The X seemed Value for money, but I did not what to skip out the safety features like traction control considering I am new to this segment, while I don't need the better off roading capabilities of the Rally Edition which the spoke wheels enable, considering that a lot of roads in Bangalore-especially in the IT belt where I stay, seems like semi off road trails anyways, felt the adjustable suspension would definitely be useful.

Long story short, today booked the 390 Adventure Rally Variant with the adjustable suspension. Comes only in the one orange/back shade-Ideally would have preferred one of the subtler colors, but that I guess was fine.
The variant to go for was a little bit of a confusion. KTM now has 4 variants of the 390 Adventure.
  • Adventure 390 X: This was one of the new variants launched this year. At 2.8L Ex-Showroom, It is almost 60-70,000 the regular 390 variant. It does not get most of the electronics like Traction Control, Cornering/Switchable ABS, Quickshifter. Also gets a different suspension and tyres. While most reviews seemed to indicate that this is fantastic value for money and one won't miss the electronics, I was not convinced by this. Any electronic aids for a regular rider in my view are important. Just for this reason, I did not go for this.
  • Adventure 390 Standard: This is the current standard version that has always been on sale.
  • Adventure 390 Low Seat Version: Same as the above with a 20mm lower seat height (835 vs 855mm).
  • Adventure 390 Rally/Spoke Wheel Version: This gets the adjustable suspension and Spoke Wheels and comes in the distinct 'Rally Orange' shade
.

With the X out of contention, the difference between standard and rally was around 22k. Ideally would have been great if the standard was given the adjustable suspension and only the spoke wheel was offered separately as that is a very niche requirement. I definitely wanted the adjustable suspension as I felt that would be very useful, so that was the basis for the decision to go for the top variant. While I was researching the 390 ADV, the other options like the BMW 310 and even the upcoming RE 452 came up, but I was kind of sold and not thinking about anything else.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 22:16.
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The Dealership and Delivery Experience


The dealership experience was what I would call 'Robotic'. Why so? It was smooth and efficient. But fairly impersonal. No sense of occasion created especially since this was the sale of the most expensive bike that KTM offers in India. I was personally ok with this and did not mind it at all. I would prefer efficiency and reliability over any pomp and show, but anyone who wants that sense of occasion, would have been disappointed.

Quick summary of the timeline and process:
  • 21st Oct-Saturday: The showroom where the initial visit happened was KTM Marathahalli, Bangalore run by Khivraj. This is one of the initial showrooms and has been there for a long time. All bikes on display, they had the latest version for the test ride. Polite but slightly disinterested SA.
  • Interestingly, during this first visit, where I left the showroom excited, while the SA answered all my questions, there was no attempted made to even take my contact details.
  • 22nd Oct-Sunday: I visited another KTM showroom closer to my home the next day, there also strangely the SA did not take any contact info. Not very impressed. The Test Ride bike was also a 2021 model. Also, The final OTR quoted by Khivraj KTM was nearly 5k less than the one quoted by the other one. Decided to go ahead with the Khivraj KTM dealership.
  • 23rd Oct-Monday: It was the Dussehra weekend and was the Ayudha Puja day. Was attended to by one of the Senior SA's Vishnu. After talking a bit more to him. Made the booking with an amount of INR 1000. They had 2 bikes in stock. I said I wanted to do a PDI on Wednesday and take delivery by Saturday. Both were accepted without any concerns. In addition, he said he can take the old bike for exchange. He immediately checked with their contacts and quoted a price of INR 37,000 which was around the amount I had in mind. Finalized that also.
  • 25th Oct-Wednesday: Post office, called Vishnu. As promised he said I can come down and check out the bikes. Went to the showroom, looked over the 2 available bikes and chose one of them. Also took another test ride.
  • 26th Oct- Thursday: Made the full payment and later in the day got the insurance confirmation.
  • 28th Oct- Confirmed with Vishnu that everything was ready for delivery. He said the RTO process was initiated, but it had not been processed yet. Said it would be done by Monday. Arrived at the showroom by 12pm. Handed over the Pulsar NS and collected the delivery note. The amount was transferred into my account. Finished the paperwork quickly. Bike was covered and ready. He asked to unveil, took some photographs and we were done.
  • 30th Oct Monday: Got the message from Vahan with the Tax Paid info and the allotted number.
  • 2nd Nov: Got the 2nd message from Vahan that the process is complete and RC creation in progress. Was immediately able to download the RC Copy from Digilocker. Still waiting for the number plate to get ready though.

Overall, well handled by Vishnu and the team. Everything done as per the timelines promised without any hiccups. Exactly as you would want a delivery to happen.

Thoughts on the Pricing:
  • Final OTR was INR 467711. No discounts were offered. Insurance was very high as expected from a dealer. I had decided to go with the dealer insurance itself. Overall, it is definitely a very expensive bike. Especially considering the new competition. The X440 was 1 lakh cheaper and the Speed 400 was 1.7L cheaper at around 3L OTR. Huge difference.
  • Is the price justified, to some extent yes, as the KTM is quite feature loaded. Some of the important features that can justify the high price:
    • Everything seen in the pictures below comes as standard, including the screen, hand guard and the bash plate.
    • The electronics like Quickshifter, Traction Control, Cornering ABS, Ride Modes all are specific to the KTM
    • Adjustable Suspension with a wider range of settings- Again not seen in any bike in this segment( I read the TVS RTR310 comes with it now)
    • The fantastic 5 inch TFT screen. More on that later.

Overall, yes, on the expensive side, but I personally felt the difference with the competition was worth it and in addition it was a purchase after 11 years and one I hope will last much longer as compared to what it would have been if I bought the Speed 400 or the X440.

A not too great final picture of the outgoing NS and the 390 together.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_124859.jpg

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 23:24.
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Old 4th November 2023, 23:14   #6
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The KTM Adventure 390-Pictorial Overview


I think I have written a lot of text so far and finally at the point about talking about the bike itself with a lot of pictures. The technical specifications to start off with. One key one missing is the weight- which is 177kg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-screenshot_20231107_171900_ktm-india.jpg
2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-screenshot_20231107_171919_ktm-india.jpg




Like all KTM bikes, the looks can be considered polarizing. You can like it or hate it. Since it is a fairly large bike the front has an menacing look.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_104425.jpg

Rear view. Shows how slim it is, which in turn helps when riding in the city.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103435.jpg

The side views. I was a little skeptical about the orange shade. But since it is more black than orange and the matt finish makes it a little subtle.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_164525.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_164558.jpg

Random riding picture

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231028_164655.jpg

View from the saddle. This is what I fell for initially. Love this view.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102359.jpg

The 'Dakar Orange' shade with KTM Logo and 390 called out

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103730.jpg

Ready to race stickering along with KTM.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_104127.jpg

Switchgear is fairly decent and feedback is good.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102431.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102426.jpg

Seat is on the harder side. Have not felt a discomfort in the rides so far. Large seat with plenty of space to move forward and back. Enough space for the pillion also.
2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103408.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103413.jpg

The curved radiator helping greatly for effective heat management.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103544.jpg

Underbody bash plate protection is standard.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103812.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103823.jpg

12V power supply is a nice inclusion.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_104050.jpg

Another view of the radiator

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103548.jpg

The wheels and tire's. A view of the 'Spoke Wheels' the official name of this variant. Tubed tyres are a concern.
2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103739.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_103848.jpg

The 12V supply. Another shot.
2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_104041.jpg

With the headlamps on. Have not ridden much at night. Headlamps seem just about ok. May require some upgrade in my view

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_104605.jpg

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_104535.jpg

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 23:33.
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Old 4th November 2023, 23:22   #7
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The TFT Display Overview

The KTM 390 has a fantastic, very functional 5 inch TFT display. This is not new and has been around with the KTM 390 since inception I think. But still thought to dedicate a post to this cluster and its features.
  • First thing that strikes you is how the important items have been given the most prominence. The right side is dominated by the large Tachometer. Exactly what you want see as the most prominent item on such a bike.
  • The digital speed reading also is prominent and nicely visible next to the tacho.
  • Gear Indication right above the Tachometer(seen in the last picture)
  • Then you have the ODO, Ride Mode, Status of ABS and Traction Control all displayed on the bottom right.
  • Fuel Gauge and Engine Temp gauge neatly tucked in, inside the RPM Display
  • Left top has a warning bar. Indicates if the side stand is on or the kill switch is off.
  • The left side is configurable. You can select the set of info you want to display here. More on that below.
  • Surrounding the display are the warning and info lights.
  • Easily controlled by the switchgear buttons.

In summary, A good display and the space has been utilized very well.




The switch controls.
2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102426.jpg

View of the cluster with all the information

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102412.jpg

Pressing the Set button throws up the menu options

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102527.jpg

KTM My Ride- Has the options for audio, navigation and pairing. You can connect the phone, also connect a headset and control music playback. Navigation directions are supported through a 3rd party App.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231104_102539.jpg

The Trips screen. 2 Trip Meters with the info specified below. Can be reset by a long press of the 'Set button'

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ABS can also be set to road/off road

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Favorites Menu. This help select what you want to see on the home screen. Options include all the trip info, DTE, Phone Status etc.

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Extra Functions. Cornering ABS and Traction Control.

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With the engine switched on.

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Ride Mode can be set to Street/Off Road.

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MTC can be set off

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Quick Selector- You can select what happens when you use the up and down buttons in the handlebar.

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Shift light. Can be configured for the lower and upper indications for a gear. Can be done only after 1000km.

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The night mode. the switch is seamless.

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The Navigation is a bit of a mess. KTM says it is supported by using the KTM My Ride App. But I don't see this in the play store and also it does not use google maps. So there is a 3rd party app that reads map notifications and pushes via bluetooth. When this is done, the left side is dedicated to the direction info. The problem is that the phone needs to be active and cannot be locked. That is not ideal as in this usecase the phone will be in a pocket.

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Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 22:18.
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Old 4th November 2023, 23:37   #8
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The Adjustable Suspension-An Overview


The highlight of this 2023 KTM Adventure 390 is the Adjustable Suspension. Some details on how it works. Taken help from the info in the manual to ensure that the info shared is accurate. To be honest, while I understood the basics, I had to read on what gets adjusted and what it means.

The Terminology
  • Compression-damping adjustment enables you to fine-tune how much energy the damper dissipates during compression, slowing down (or speeding up) how quickly the fork or shock moves through its travel.
  • Rebound-damping adjustment enables you to fine-tune how quickly the suspension returns to its original position after absorbing an impact.
  • Preload Adjusting preload simply determines the motorcycle's ride height. Combined with the rear rebound adjustment, determines the suspension behavior.

KTM 390 Adventure gets a WP Apex fork with 30 steps of preload and rebound adjustability, and a WP Apex mono shock with 20 steps of rebound and 10 steps of preload adjustability


The front adjustment is through these clickers on both sides. The white is for compression and red is for rebound. There is no indication as to its position so if somebody fiddles around when parked, one can know only by the riding characteristics. While the front is adjustable through the clickers, the rear rebound adjustment requires a screwdriver and the preload requires a spanner.


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Following is the summary from the manual and KTM's recommendation on the setting for different modes. Given the wide range of adjustment possible, I think it will take some time to understand and adjust. I rode initially with the stock setting and have no changed it to the 'Comfort' mode to handle the poor in city roads.


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Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 22:19.
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Old 6th November 2023, 19:41   #9
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

The Initial Riding Experience Summary


So finally getting to the initial riding experience. In the last week since purchase have ridden close to 500km. These include the regular commutes with the bike and also a few 'getting familiar' rides. The intention of the 'getting familiar' rides were threefold.
  • Pile on some km as part of the running in of the bike.
  • Get used to the bike- The ergonomics, controls, power and more importantly- Can I start actually ride out on the highways comfortably.
  • I got some basic riding gear(detailed in next post). Needed to get familiar riding with the gear-Especially the gloves.

Overall, it has been a promising start.
  • The first day itself rode around 80km with my wife as pillion after taking delivery. Some part in the city, then took a round on Hosur Road via BETL, Electronic City, Chandapura.
  • In the next 2-3 days did some similar morning rides. Since Hosur Road is the closest accessible highway from my home, that was the default choice. 2-3 days of 60-70 km rides.
  • With confidence increasing, on Nov 1st as it was the Kannada Rajyotsava Holiday, started off towards Hosur. It was a fairly late start at 8am, went past Hosur and was fairly comfortable. Ended up going all the way to the Krishagiri Toll. Had some breakfast and headed back. This was a ~170km round trip. While I did feel a little tired, it was not as bad as I thought it would be.
  • While the jacket is comfortable, still not fully used to the gloves. Need some more time with it I guess.

Riding Impressions


City Riding:
Fire up the bike and there is no dramatic exhaust sound. The clutch is light and the fact that it is not a heavy bike means that you can move off without any drama. Lot has been said about this engine and how it is happiest and explosive in the higher revs. Nothing much has changed in this aspect in the 2023 model. It starts coming into its own post 4000 RPM. I still need to adjust my riding style to this. I tend not to rev as much as I should and in the process of trying to unlearn it. Hence at city speeds, there is a need to work the gear quite a bit and you are mostly in the 1-2-3-2-1 range.

The bike has good presence and gets plenty of 2nd looks on the road. Maneuvering though traffic is easy and it has a good turning radius also. Overall, apart from the fact that you need to work the gears, the KTM 390 can comfortably do the city commuter needs thrown at it. Have spent time in some heavy traffic and also in the infamous ORR-Ecospace evening jams and heat management so far seems very good and although there is a warm blast under heavy traffic conditions, it never becomes too much.

Highway Riding
While it is too early to get into any meaningful analysis, initial impressions are good. The fact that I was able to comfortably do the 100+ km 'test' rides a couple of times without any issues has given me the confidence that this will be a good enough tourer for my needs. The bike feels planted on the highway and the ergonomics also seem suitable for me for the highway. Nothing much to say about the performance that has not been said before. It is a lovely free revving engine that begs to be revved had. Even a conservative rider like me can feel that urge to open the throttle up. The manual indicates to keep under 7000 RPM in the initial 1000km. That itself is too much for me. As mentioned earlier, I think I need to slowly change my riding style to match the capabilities of the bike. The bike gets to 80-90kmph in no time and currently I have held myself to be at that range. Not sure how much of a help the windscreen is though.

These are general impressions and I really don't have much of a benchmark with respect to riding on the highway. Will share more feedback as I ride more.

Electronics:
I am happy I got the variant with all the electronics. It is good to know that the bike is helping you be safer through the electronic aids and I still don't agree with reviews that say- "Hey you don't really these electronic aids". Maybe the experts don't need it, but any average rider on the road buying these bikes in my view should have it. Have not experienced the traction control kicking in and I don't know if it will be obvious to the rider.

The Quickshifter:

For those who are not clear on it, a bi-directional quickshifter enables you to shift gears without closing the throttle and using the clutch. The 390 is equipped with such a bi-directional quickshifter. The Sales Person said it can be used, but recommended to use it after the first service. I did just try it out to get a feel of it and it worked fine. The manual indicates minimum threshold for upshifting at 2000RPM, but in reality it seems better to be 4000RPM+ when using the quickshifter. Shift from 3-4 seemed a little jerky and 4-5 and 5-6 was much smoother. Have read a lot of comments indicating that this is not a great implementation from KTM and it has not changed in the 2023 version. Again I have no benchmarks yet as this is the first time I am using it. I assume it will get smoother after the first service so not passing a judgement yet. As of now it works as it should. The quickshifter can be turned off in the settings and also does not work for shifts to Neutral. The manual also recommends not riding with the foot above the gear level as even a minor ouch can be read as a shift initiation.

The Suspension
The big feature of the 2023 Model. I had initially left it at the default setting on both front and rear for the initial 200 odd km. I felt it was a little stiff and not absorbing the humps and bad roads sufficiently. So currently have changed it to the 'Comfort Setting' which is 20 clicks for the compression and 17 for the rebound. Rear also changed to 15 with the preload unchanged. I immediately felt the bike being more planted and handling the bad sections better after this change. Need to ride more and get into understanding what works best for different conditions. It seems good to have such a wide range of adjustment to play with.

Milege
Missed to do a tankful method yet. The MID indication for the 160km trip was around 37kmpl and in the City Rides around 27kmpl. Seems in the ball park of what can be expected and that was what I wanted to check. My first bike- A Splendor had a milage related issue from day 1 which took a long time to fix.

Some pictures from the road

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2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-20231101_102613.jpg

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 20:48.
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Old 6th November 2023, 20:20   #10
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

Riding Gear


Must confess that so far my riding gear was restricted to ensuring I have a good helmet (used an SMK one for the past 3-4 years) and also ensuring that I at least wear jeans and shoes when riding. My excuse was that I mostly ride around only in the city- Not a great excuse I know.

Once I booked this bike, I was sure that I need to get some proper riding gear. I don't know how much it will get used yet, but did not want to experiment renting etc. Spent a lot of time on the riding gear thread understanding the various brands, options and requirements. Had read good reviews about Gear n Ride in HSR Layout. So headed there even before I took delivery and picked up the following gear. The are all mostly entry level ones, but based on all that I read, I hope are decent choices to start off with. I maybe should have visited a couple of shops more or taken some feedback from the experts, but anyways went ahead and generally was satisfied with what I got.

Sharing links to the products with all the details to avoid replicating the info here.
  • Helmet: Axor Apex plain black with matt finish. The D Ring fasteners were a trouble at first. Now kind of used to it. Link
  • Jacket: Solace Rival Urban V3. CE Level 2 Armor. Comes with an inner thermal liner and an outer rain cover. All three can be used separately. Link
  • Riding Pants: Solace Ion Air Mesh Pant. I had initially not planned to buy the pant, but the owner was very convincing and I went for it. Link
  • Gloves: Solace Rival Urban CE. Link

Did not get riding boots for now. Felt that can be a later purchase.

Accessories


Was browsing the Viaterra site for a tailbag. Since I wanted something small to start off to carry basic stuff and also for in city commutes, picked up the Viaterra 8L Drybag.

As I continued browsing I saw this quick mount rear rack. Since I do intend to ride with pillion and this looked a good option, me being me, impulsively purchased it. Was delivered in a couple of days and was able to install it fairly easily. After I did all this, I got concerned if there will be any warranty issues. Had posted this in the Adv thread and Bhpian Red Liner confirmed this will should not be an issue. The part seemed solid and does not look out of place on the bike. Anyway have the option to remove it off also. Viaterra said although it can take more load, their recommendation is 5Kg as that is the manufacturer recommendation to avoid effecting the ergonomics of the bike.

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Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 23:28.
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Old 7th November 2023, 20:57   #11
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

Conclusion


That brings me to the end of this review. If you have reached so far, thanks for taking the time to read through. I see the KTM 390 as a competent allrounder than can handle city commutes, be a good tourer and of course handle off road conditions also very well. It is well suited to tall riders and those who travel with a pillion and with both pillion and luggage quite often. This 2023 Edition also addresses some of the gaps with respect to it being a good off roader,

Having said that, it maybe a case of too little, too late considering the strong competition that has come and is coming in this year- Especially the Himalayan 452. It will continue to be a niche product appealing to some set of people. The fact that there was ready stock for delivery also indicates the lower demand. Although not anywhere as well equipped, since they match on the engine specs, both Speed/Scrambler 400 and X440 will be in the radar for people looking for 'all rounder bikes' in this segment and these options are significantly cheaper. The 390 X will hopefully compete better with these bikes.

Overall, although my decision was a spontaneous one, the initial experience indicates it was the right one. I hope that will continue and lead to a long and fruitful ownership experience. Will continue to update this thread.


Some more pictures to sign off- and the shoes matching the bike was a coincidence, neither did KTM give it, nor did I buy it for the occasion.

2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy-whatsapp-image-20231028-18.46.38.jpeg

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Thanks for reading once again. Do share any comments or questions and will be happy to answer.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 7th November 2023 at 23:08.
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Old 7th November 2023, 23:38   #12
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re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:36   #13
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Re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

What an amazingly detailed and precise review! It almost felt like watching a short documentary on the motorcycle. I'd suggest you add a decent pair of auxiliary lights, preferably ones with color filters and a radiator guard. The standard lighting provided is insufficient. Maddog and even certain HJG lights offer good alternatives without straining your budget. Unless you engage in frequent extensive night riding, it's not necessary to invest in premium products like Baja or Denali.
Happy riding!
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Old 8th November 2023, 12:13   #14
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Re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

Hey, Iím trying to adjust the rebound on the rear shock. On my ADV390, the location of the screw for rebound adjustment is on the left side. And it is in a very inaccessible position.
From your post it seems like the rebound screw is in the right side. Can you confirm this please so I can take this up with service center guys, thanks.
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Old 8th November 2023, 12:28   #15
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Re: 2023 KTM Adventure 390 SW Review | A brand I never thought I would buy

Very well written, this definitely gives a good insight as to what the bike is all about. You have covered everything needed to review a particular bike.
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