The 373cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine on this bike remains unchanged. None of the power figures, the nature of the engine, and the NVH have changed. And as a result, a lot of off-roading frustration can also be seen on this bike. But we will talk about it in the later part of the review. Let's talk about how these numbers allow you to have a lot of fun.
Firstly, this motorcycle is fast, and with a light, super smooth throttle response, you tend to extract the maximum from that engine most of the time. While I was testing the bike on the famous Tamhini ghat, I could easily reach some fast speeds without any stress, and I kept doing this continuously for 4-5 hours. With its power delivery, this motor engages the rider. It spoils him because the sudden surge of delivery releases all the dopamine in the body, which means you keep wanting more. While I understand this engine is known for its poor low-down torque when you have butter-smooth tarmac with lots of twisties, you tend to put yourself and that Metzeler Tourance tyres to maximum test. But yes, in the city, where you must go through the frustration of riding slow with the traffic, you miss that torque spread. In fact, I stalled the bike multiple times due to it. But that light clutch and smooth gear shifts remove some of the hassles.Surprisingly, even with the hard riding during the test, the bike was churning almost 300 km of indicated riding range.
The 390 Adventure is like the 390 Duke but with a different suspension and some attitude. Such things as the main frame, engine, and electronics have made this ADV a fantastic choice to climb some twisties and do some high-speed touring. The excellent chassis, powerful engine and seat ergonomics have made this KTM a great motorcycle. And there that Metzeler Tourance tyres that offer superior grip on the tarmac – be it in dry or wet conditions. But now, with the adjustable suspension, this 390 Adventure has taken fun to a different level. With full compression, rebound and preload adjustment, the bike behaves differently depending on the damping. Increase the compression and rebound damping; you will flow through corners well. Decrease the damping, and you will ride through bad roads without drama. During my six hours of road riding, I played with multiple settings and finally increased the compression damping to 22 clicks and rebound to 11. Here, I got a ride quality that was apt enough to ride through the beautiful Tamhini ghat and take care of some uneven roads.
Now when it comes to off-road, this particular variant handles and behaves much better than the standard variants. Firstly, with the preload adjustment, you can ensure the motorcycle doesn't bottom out in jumps. Secondly, when you want to ride the bike relatively fast off-road, and you want the springs to rebound faster for better stability, the rebound adjustment at the front and the rear can be tuned based on the dirt track conditions. I did increase the damping for compression and rebound to almost 90 per cent of the available settings, but that was way too much for me to handle the bike at such terrains.
But regarding braking, this 390 ADV was a bit of a disappointment. On the road, the front brake lacks the power and the bite. It also lacks the feel. The front brake works well when you are doing 80-90kmph, but when the speed gets higher, it doesn't do its job as it should. When you give a bike a 43bhp engine, you are supposed to provide excellent brakes, at least at the front.