2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Serious Off-Road Review

If the best spots are the hardest to reach, the KTM 890 ADVENTURE R is the right machine to take you there. With a new engine with increased capacity and added performance, this is a serious touring off-road motorcycle ready for extreme getaways off the beaten track.

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Serious Off-Road Review

in December included the KTM 890 Adventure R in our selection most anticipated motorcycles of 2021. This was a list of the bikes most awaited by the staff, yes. As I mentioned there, the bike was on my mind because I knew that I would soon have the opportunity to step a leg over it. I mean, how could you not be excited about a motorcycle that is capable of traveling for long days and at the same time being able to tackle the most difficult terrain that you are willing to take on? People like Chris Birch and Quinn Cody have shown that the KTM is not likely to be the limiting factor. If you have the talent, the Adventure R will. 

the The KTM 790 Adventure R impressed me in Morocco, where the stellar performance of the machine helped me get through one of the most rigorous (watch: fun) press release tests I had the opportunity to attend. 

Thankfully, the time has finally come for Motorcycle.com to test drive the new and improved 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R - I have already put hundreds of miles (more paved than I would like) on the bike and as before, the motorcycle continues to impress. . Although we have already published our First look at the 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R, let's take a moment for a brief summary of the upgrades that made the 790 the 890 Adventure R.

What has changed with the 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R?

We should probably start with the obvious, and that's scrolling! The 799cc 799cc LC8c Parallel Twin has been expanded to 889cc with a larger bore of 90.7mm and a stroke of 68.8mm. With that came a higher compression ratio (13.5: 1 versus 12.7: 1), bigger valves, lighter pistons, new connecting rods, and revised cam profiles. Each throttle body receives new sensors to measure manifold pressure and adjust the mixture per cylinder for better throttle response and more accurate throttle inputs. Add it all up and you've got a Twin-parallel that KTM claims makes 105 hp and 73.8 lb-ft of torque. Essentially these are the same updates given to the KTM 890 Duke R that we covered in our First look and Thefirst ride KTM 890 Duke R. 

But we're here to give you unbiased figures, not just what the manufacturer claims. When we got on the big, er, middleweight girl from the dyno, she produced 91.5 hp at 8200 rpm and 63.8 lb.-ft. of torque at 6800 rpm. If we compare that with our most recent dyno run from the 790 Adventure R, we're seeing an increase of 7.5 horsepower and 6.5 pound-feet of torque. Not far from KTM's stated 10 hp 8.9 lb-ft umph increase from the 790 bike. Our dyno guru also suggested that the TKC80s fitted to the bike could cost a 3% loss in power numbers due to the lack of rubber on the dynamometer roller, which then brings the number even closer to the increase in reported by KTM power

A 90cc increase in displacement, updated transmission and internals, as well as electronics help deliver manageable power, and more.

In addition, the 890 has also undergone transmission changes. An updated Power Assist Clutch (PASC) has new friction plates. Shifting is made quicker and easier thanks to a lighter shift detent spring and shorter travel between gears. The fourth, fifth and six gears receive a glass bead shot peening treatment to improve reliability. 

A lighter subframe and aluminum head tube are the main changes to the chassis, while the fully adjustable WP XPLOR suspension remains relatively unchanged, aside from some valve updates to the damper. The low rise 5.3 gallon tank also remains. 

Look how light that subframe is! I could barely keep it on the ground! Or maybe it was because I forgot to reverse the preload when we initially ventured off-road? Anyway, here's a fun fact: I was going uphill in this picture.

Rear brake upgrades are said to have been made using new "insulated" pistons, meaning insulation plates between the pads and pistons for better heat management.

While that all sounds great, there are some changes that we are not so happy to see. The MSRP has risen $ 500 to $ 14,199, which, in itself, isn't terrible, but what brings salt to this superficial wound is Rally mode, one of my favorite 790 ADV R features (and one that was standard. in the R version). ) - is now an optional $ 200 upgrade. The $ 200 Rally package includes adjustable traction control and throttle response, as well as Rally drive mode. If you want the full Tech Pack that adds the Quickshifter + up and down and cruise control in addition to the Rally Pack, you will be shelling out an additional $ 550 on top of the MSRP. It also appears that ABS can no longer be completely disabled, instead you have a choice between road and off-road ABS settings. 

So how does it compare?

To the competition? It's still the off-road dominating middleweight adventure bike we've known for the past two years. In In our latest shootout with the 790 ADV R, it quickly became apparent that the 790's off-road manners were unparalleled with the other two bikes involved. However, that shooting was missing a crucial component: the Yamaha Tenere 700. The 790 Adventure R also ranked first in power-to-weight ratio in that comparison, a place where the 890 is likely to still gain just two pounds in its genesis. on the 467-pound 790 Adventure R. 


How the 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R compares to its smaller older brother is a completely different story. The 790 Adventure R left a huge footprint on the ground for all other adventure bikes to follow, including its successor. 

When the 890 Duke R replaced the 790 Duke, it was a game changer. Better suspension, revamped ergos, better brakes, and that powerful 889cc engine, all for just $ 1200 more than the 790 Duke! The Brembo Stylemas alone will cost you almost that. That decision, to me, was a no-brainer. The 890 Duke R receives my money every day of the week and twice on Sundays. He also won my vote (and Troy's) in the last comparison we made with the Triumph Speed ‚Äč‚ÄčTriple RS. But does the 890 Adventure R offer the same TKO as the 890 Duke R?

I think I can ... make this machine land and stop before that pile of slate!

The 890 Adventure R is everything the 790 was and more. That's undeniable (aside from Rally mode not being included as standard, I'm not bitter, you're bitter). It has the new powerful and powerful engine. Drivetrain upgrades are appreciated, but not without a few flaws - every time you put the bike in neutral, you have to turn it to slide first, and the Quickshifter + feature on our test bike may not have existed as well. And many of the internal engine component upgrades cannot be felt while driving. The lighter subframe is great for keeping the weight down, but it didn't make any difference to me while on the bike. The 890 ADV R is nearly the same weight as before having gained just two pounds at 469 pounds, a commendable weight in this segment. 

Fortunately, the same WP XPLOR suspension that we praised on the 790 Adventure R is found on the 890 with slight modifications to the shock damping.

The WP suspension still kicks the butt of every other bike in this category and is one of the main reasons the middleweight KTM Adventure leads the off-road segment. The brakes are strong enough to fly down a winding road and at the same time powerful enough for off-road driving. I am pleased to see the updates made to the rear brake, but it was not noticeable in my somewhat limited testing at this time. 

My biggest reasons to wait for the 890 Adventure R were lower torque in the rpm range and the 20% increase in crankshaft mass that would hopefully help the bike resist stalling. During my off-road tests, I felt less prone to stalling around corners or tiptoeing at slow speeds, but not differently day and night. At least without riding them back to back. Where I felt the biggest change was how well the bike handled the traction. Hauling mail on the 890 Adventure R can quickly become an exhilarating experience because instead of illuminating the rear end, even at the lowest TC settings, the bike manages to put on ground traction that propels you forward like you're on a bike. 91- horsepower dirt bike, because hey, you are. 

The sauce and extra hp torque are there, but the engine retains a somewhat manic character. Tom Roderick called the 790's Parallel Twin "one of the best parallel twin engines I've ever had the pleasure of driving." Our guest tester AMA Supersport and dirt track champion Eric Bostrom mentioned that the 790's grinder was too aggressive off-road until we tamed it by putting the bike in off-road mode. The 890 is basically the same story with more power and torque throughout the rev range. Off-road, unless you slow down the engine with the electronics, it tends to start a little slower before jumping to the meat of its power quickly and aggressively. However, all of this can be tweaked with its electronics, making switching from aggressive barrel carving straight to a manageable off-road ride even more satisfying. On the road, the extra power corrupts, as turning your wrist in any gear, highway speed or not, delivers powerful forward thrust that's nothing short of addictive. 

The dynamometer table comparison shows that the 890 generates power in much the same way, only more at all times. More is more, right? We praise the 890 Duke R for its new engine, and while the changes aren't as significant with the Adventure's tuning, it's a lot of fun twisting the throttle. 


Many people have complained online that reviews of this bike, or any other ADV "Adventure" or "R" model machine, focus too much on off-road performance with little regard for riders planning to do the job. 80% or so on the road and only 20% on the dirt. So I want to take a second to mention the highlights of this bike on the street.

The ergonomics are pleasantly neutral with a nice upright seat position and the handlebars can be adjusted to six different positions to adjust the cabin for different sized passengers. Seat height is felt in every part of its 34.6 inches - it's tall. 

Suggested standard suspension settings ("standard" for Street and Off-road are the same plus shock spring preload) achieved a good off-road balance for our rock and sand mix, but for spending most of our time on the pavement, you'll want to soften the cushioning on both ends. Big bumps on the highway are clearly transmitted to the driver, but can be easily smoothed out thanks to the easily adjustable suspension at both ends. 

If your plan is to rush through the curves, you might consider swapping out the TKC80s. They can squirm a bit.

The engine runs quite well in the city and at highway speeds. It has the torque for shooting around town or on your favorite winding road, as well as the ability for fast drives on the interstate. The brakes are strong enough at both ends, albeit a bit delicate, and the fork (as if I hadn't praised WP enough) does an excellent job of withstanding street diving - something adventure bikes tend to do. to have problems. 

People familiar with the above setup will be at home with the 890, as not much has changed.

Again, it all comes down to adjustability of the electronics and suspension that will allow you to configure this bike the way you want. If you're into Adventure styling, comfort, or whatever, there are also options at the streetier end of the spectrum through the standard 890 Adventure ($ 13,099), as well as the option to snag one of the Adventure models with a limit of 700 890. The R Rally models ($ 19,999) in case you move the other way. 

Finish Now

The 2021 890 Adventure R feels like an excellent successor to the 790's dominance in true off-road adventure. There's nothing apart from the lower price (and the standard Rally mode) that I'll miss from the 790. I have to wonder if a dealer had some 790 Adventure Rs sitting on the floor that they were looking to blow up next, though. to a full-price 890 Adventure R, which one would you choose?

The 890 Adventure R is my cup of ADV tea, I'd rather forgo some touring niceties that other bikes in the class have, like the Triumph Tiger, which is loaded with modern touring conveniences, for more off-road capability. Is he the best in class? At this point, it's hard to tell. There's only one way to find out ...

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R

+ Highs

  • New Engine from Stonkin 'Overconfidence inspirer
  • Everything we love about the 790 is still there (almost)
  • Confidence

inspirer - Sighs

  • ?
  • Higher price with fewer standard features
  • Your biggest competitor in the showroom is the 790 Adventure R

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Specifications


$ 14,199

Engine type

2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin, liquid-cooled with oil / water heat exchanger

Bore x stroke

90.7mm x 68.8mm


889 cc


91.5 hP 8200 rpm (measured)


63.8 lb.-ft. at 6,800 rpm (measured)


Bosch EMS conRBW


aceiteforzada lubrication oil pumps 2


6 speed


PASC anti hopping clutch, mechanically operated




520 X-Ring

Frame Chassis

steel chromium-molybdenum using the engine as stressed element, with coatingpowder


WP XPLOR-USD fully adjustable , Ø 48 mm, 9.4 inches of travel

Rear suspensionshock

Fully adjustable WP XPLOR, 9.4 inches of travel320mm

Front brake

dual discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers

Brake rear

260 mm disc with two-piston floating caliper

Front wheel

21 x 2.15 spokespoke

wheel Rearwheel

18 x 4.00

wheelfront tire

90 / 90-21Continental TKC 80

Rea rtire

150 / 70-18Continental TKC 80


Bosch 9.1 MP (incl. Curve-ABS and Off-Road Mode, Disengageable)


26.3 °


60.2 inches

Seat Height

34.6 inches / 35.8 inches

Fuel Capacity

5.3 gallons

Dry Weight

469 Pounds Wet (Measured)

What's Your Reaction?