The new 890 Adventure handles pavement as well as it tackles the rough stuff.
For the longest time I used to think that, if you wanted a hardcore adventure bike for serious off-roading, KTM’s R versions were the only way to go. They offer the hard-charging, expert rider an elevated level of off-road performance, though a few compromises are made for street riding, like a tall seat, firm suspension, and a premium price. After riding the new 890 Adventure — without the R — I realized that it compromises almost nothing for the majority of off-road riding that most riders will experience, while offering an equally uncompromising street ride.
More Adventure, Less Naked
KTM redesigned the 890 Adventure for 2023, and it has an all-new look, inspired by the company’s rally race bikes. The biggest change is the addition of a new fairing with side panels that now connect the headlight housing to the rest of the machine — it now looks more adventure bike than naked bike.
Beneath the fairing are stiffer, forged-aluminum brackets, which provide better support when adding accessories up top. The fairing also has a taller windscreen that combines with the side panels to add a measure of wind protection for the torso and legs. The windscreen has a hole punched in the middle of it, which one might think would reduce wind protection, but it’s there to reduce buffeting. More on that later.
The two-piece seat now has thicker, softer foam, and is adjustable to two positions (840/860 mm) within seconds, without tools — just remove it with the key and replace it in a different position. The bike’s unique, low-slung 20-litre fuel tank now has better crash protection via a larger, stronger aluminum skid plate.
At the heart of the 890 Adventure is a liquid-cooled, 889 cc parallel twin. Most parallel twins today have a 270-degree crankshaft, which gives them the same firing order and sound as a 90-degree V-twin. KTM took a different approach when it introduced the 799 cc LC8c (lowercase c is for compact) in the 790 Adventure in 2019, by offsetting the crankpins 285 degrees, thus giving the engine the familiar cadence of the firm’s 75-degree V-twins. The engine claims 103 hp and 74 ft-lb of torque, which is unchanged from the outgoing model.
Aside from its new appearance, the 890 Adventure also has a renewed focus on off-roading. While it still uses WP APEX suspension, as opposed to the R’s higher-spec WP XPLOR components, suspension settings have been revised for better off-road ability, and compression and rebound damping adjustability has been added to the 43-mm inverted fork. The shock is still adjustable for rebound damping and preload, the latter adjustable via an easily accessible knob on the left side of the bike. There’s ample…