2021 KTM 890 Adventure. Image: KTM

CRA Motorcycle News

By Seth Richards

The rational base model rounds out KTM’s middleweight adventure lineup.

We don’t know about you, but when KTM announced the 890 Adventure R and 890 Adventure R Rally models, we were a bit perplexed that it made no mention of a base model. It seems as though the Austrians were merely leaving us in suspense, as today word comes from Mattighofen that the base model will be arriving in dealerships worldwide starting in December 2020.While the Adventure R and Rally R specs are impressive machines, not least of all for their off-road capability, we’re glad the base model returns to dial back some of the hardcore off-road features. As such, in addition to being less expensive, the base-model 890 Adventure has a more reasonable seat height (adjustable between 32.7–33.5 inches) and shorter-travel suspension that also has increased adjustability for 2021.

Tall screen, shorter-travel suspension travel, and all the electronic goodies make the base-model 890 a big-time middleweight ADV favorite. KTM

Tall screen, shorter-travel suspension travel, and all the electronic goodies make the base-model 890 a big-time middleweight ADV favorite.KTMWhile the 790 Adventure’s suspension performed admirably, its lack of adjustability—other than adjustable rear preload—marked it as a victim of the accountant’s pen stroke. They’ve gotta cut margins somewhere, after all—is that what Austrian economics is? Probably not. Anyway, for 2021, the 890 Adventure gets a new WP Apex rear shock, adjustable for both preload and rebound damping. Baby steps, people. Front suspension is unchanged. Like the previous model, the 890 has 7.9 inches of travel, or nearly 3 inches less than the Rally R and some 1.5 inches less than the Adventure R. Again, the base model doesn’t have the top-shelf items of its R siblings. Do you want better suspension or do you want your feet to hit the ground? With the base and R models, you can take your pick. Make no mistake, the 790 Adventure is a handy piece of a kit, but we always wished its engine had a bit more grunt off the bottom. Super-slow speeds off road require the rider to feather the clutch more than on other bikes (see: the übertractable Yamaha Ténéré 700). So, while 105 hp and 74 pound-feet (claimed) are solid, attractive figures, more than anything else, we’re excited to see if the 898cc LC8c engine is more tractable than its predecessor. And it sounds promising.

What do you think of the stealthy new colorway? KTM

In its press release, KTM says: “The 20 percent extra rotating mass of the crankshaft brings an improved feeling at low revs while augmenting the centralized sensation and traction through corners.” While “augmented centralized sensations” doesn’t seem like it has any relevance here (hey, this is a family magazine!), the rest sounds like exactly what we’re hoping for.

As with the previous generation, the 890 Adventure comes equipped with a 5-inch TFT dash, LED lighting, cornering ABS, updated lean angle-sensitive traction control (MTC), selectable ride modes, and a host of useful options available through the PowerParts catalog, including an up/down quickshifter, cruise control, and heated grips and seat.

The 890 Adventures sporting Akrapovič exhausts from the PowerParts catalog. KTM

The 890 Adventures sporting Akrapovič exhausts from the PowerParts catalog.KTMHere’s the thing. While the Adventure R steals the headlines for all its beaky off-road prowess, the not-so-lowly base model may actually hit a broader swath of potential buyers, particularly if they don’t necessarily need their motorcycle to project: “I think I’m Toby Price.” Next to a lot of adventure bikes, the 790 looks and feels quite small—more like a standard or sportbike—which has some real merit on the street. And if your inseam is less than, say, 30 inches, you may be more comfortable on the base model (unless you’re Gaston Rahier). And that taller windscreen goes a long way in improving touring comfort. Anyway, there’s a lot to be excited about with the Mk. II KTM ADV middleweight. There’s no word yet on pricing.

Panniers are available in the PowerParts catalog. KTM

2021 KTM 890 Adventure Specifications

Engine:889cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin
Bore x Stroke:90.7 x 68.8mm
Transmission/Final Drive:6-speed/chain
Clutch:PASC slipper clutch, cable operation
Fuel System:Fuel injection w/ 46mm DKK Dell’Orto throttle body
Frame:Chromoly tubular steel w/ chromoly steel subframe
Front Suspension:43mm WP Apex inverted; 7.9-in. travel
Rear Suspension:WP Apex monoshock adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping; 7.9-in. travel
Front Brake:Radially mounted 4-piston calipers, dual 320mm discs w/ cornering ABS
Rear Brake:2-piston floating caliper, 260mm disc
Wheels, Front/Rear:Spoked; 21 x 2.15 in. / 18 x 4.00 in.
Tires, Front/Rear:90/90-21” / 150/70-18” Avon Trailrider
Ground Clearance:9.2 in.
Seat Height:32.7/33.5 in.
Fuel Capacity:5.3 gal.
Availability:December 2020

Article Credit To Cycle World.