Bike-scooters/ First-drive/ KTM 390 Adventure X & SW| Worth The Hype? | First Ride Review

KTM 390 Adventure X & SW| Worth The Hype? | First Ride Review

KTM has finally delivered what I believe are the two best variants of the 390 Adventure that one could buy.


KTM 390 Adventure X- Ride , Handling , VFM KTM 390 Adventure SW - Off-road ability , Suspension


KTM 390 Adventure X- Tyre Grip KTM 390 Adventure SW- Expensive


Is the X any good?


The 390 Adventure X brings a delicate balance at a relatively affordable rate. My original scepticism was with the performance of the MRF tyres and how they might hold the 390 Adventure back. In practice, however, they performed phenomenally well and provided more and sufficient grip in the dry. When we took the X onto the dirt, it seemed more willing to slide and playful. I would largely attribute it to the tyres having a lesser grip offroad and the lack of traction control to hold the motor back. The light weight makes the motorcycle easy to handle in low traction environments when one wants to have a bit of fun, and if and when you’re limited to the tarmac, it's still faster than any other ADV in its class. On the bright side, think about all the gear or road trips one can sponsor with all the leftover money. I’m still a tad too sceptical about the MRF tyre's performance in the wet, but I suppose that’s a minor gripe given the easy swap to better tyres should you wish to do so. 


Is the SW any good?


The SW variant is quite a sweet motorcycle. Everything from its ride quality, handling and even comfort had me impressed. The spoked wheels add a layer of damping to the ride, making it feel even more plush. The tyres provide more than sufficient grip, and once you begin tinkering with the suspension, you can dial in even more comfort or agility based on what roads lay ahead. We rode off road through the beautiful roads of Tamhini Ghat for the first section. 


What's it like on the road?


On the road, it remains just as capable as before and handles as well as you’d expect. Sure, the adjustable forks make things a lot more fun, but without prior knowledge or curiosity to tinker or adjust it, they can be useless. Worst-case scenario, the rider never uses them and leaves them in a setting that’s not best suited for them, ruining their riding experience. However, go through the user manual and put on your thinking cap, and this is one rewarding DIY job that can significantly change how you see or use this motorcycle. 


The problem is that the regular 390 Adventure is so well set up that unless you don’t play with the adjustable suspension, you’d never really notice any difference. The second problem is with the spoked wheels not being the tubeless type. Given the amount of debris on our street, a puncture is inevitable, and one would have to replace the entire tube, to say the least, which can make touring a bit more tedious. Whereas with alloy wheels, a simple puncture kit and portable air pump can do the trick even in the middle of nowhere. 


What's it like offroad?


As I said earlier, the wheels add an extra layer of damping that makes the SW absorb bumps slightly better. The spoked wheels are more robust against impact and landings and are not nearly as brittle as alloy wheels. The adjustable forks do their part by letting you dial in your preferred settings to accommodate your needs. Combined, this makes the 390 Adventure SW a lot more fun and carefree to ride off road. As accomplished as it may be, it isn’t an outright solution to your offroad needs, and I believe a dedicated off-roading package would fix that. Is this the ultimate off road adventure motorcycle you’ve been waiting for? Perhaps. 


But the riding posture, especially when standing, does leave you wanting for more as its forward-included footsteps tend to make you lean a bit too forward. It was tricky for me to find a comfortable enough position to stand upright on the motorcycle. Despite its off-road perks, this motorcycle is inherently more road-biased. That being said, it is still the best ADV you can buy under 400cc and will remain so until one of the future launches dare to dethrone it.  

TopGear Magazine July 2024