GEAR REVIEWS

ADVENTURE TESTED

This started as a follow-up to our first impressions of the KTM 790 Adventure R but after two sets of Michelin Wild tires and many off-road kilometers traveled, this is a new take on the orange beast. This brand new platform from KTM has proven to be the perfect motorcycle for mixed and off-road riding conditions. It is a groundbreaking design, a true successor of the legendary 990 Adventure R, with almost the same off-road capabilities and none of its flaws.

It is light and easy to ride in difficult trails, the seat height is closer to the ground so it is accessible to more riders, weight distribution with the new fuel tank design is better than any previous adventure motorcycle, fuel efficiency is phenomenal with 350-380km before fuel light, riding position and seat comfort (rally seat) is excellent for long road sections, and it is updated with all the latest electronics like cruise control, off-road ABS/MSC, etc. It can be rider-friendly with the "off-road" motorcycle setting and brute with the "rally" setting. Last, even if we don't take the limited 790 Adventure Rally model into consideration, the 790 Adventure R suspension is unmatchable by any motorcycle in its class like the BMW F850GS or the Yamaha Ténéré 700, and as a true KTM, the more aggressive the rider, the better it handles.

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Even if the stock 790 Adventure R is above its competition and true to the "ready to race" motto, there is always room for improvement when you want to shift any motorcycle on a specific orientation. All the upgrades we have made are focused on making the 790 Adventure R a better overland expedition motorcycle.

All our motorcycles are ordered with the full optional catalog, so we get the to use all KTM Power Parts like the rally seat, quick shifter, riding modes, pannier frames, rally pegs, super-sprocket, and lowered gearing, but we will not get into all these upgrades in this article. The only upgrade we did on the upgrades, if this makes sense, was to replace the rally pegs with the pivoting MK3 Pivot Pegz for added comfort.

Hyena Graphics


The very first thing that we do on any motorcycle is to help it stand out from the crowd, and what better way to do that than a custom graphics kit. Our design inspiration was to use the lines from our routes, use a hard contrast with black and white panels, and blend it all with KTM orange touches here and there. Of course, our design revolves around the Mythical Routes logo, as a perpetual reminder of our professional expertise and our unique architectonical and archeological approach on all our adventure travels.

The design was made in-house by our graphic designers and the final graphics are KTM approved and produced by Hyena Graphics. We will be making a complete series for most LC8 and LC4 motorcycles, soon to be found in our shop.

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Aurora Rally Equipment


The second and major upgrade on the 790 was to address its lack of proper wind protection, a common problem with all modern motorcycle designs, the lack of solid GPS mounting, and the fragility of the fairing mounting points to the frame. Our partnership with Aurora Rally Equipment provided them with the first KTM 790 Adventure in Greece for 3D-scanning and prototyping of their 790 Rally Kit (Navigation Tower and Head clamp). We further assisted in product development with consistent real-world feedback from our many adventure travels.

Two of our KTM 790 Adventures, upgraded with the Aurora 790 Rally kit, will participate in the upcoming official KTM Adventure Rally Greece just to make sure that the final product is ready for some hardcore adventure rally riding.

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AltRider Hard parts


Another area that needed to be upgraded was engine protection from the Greek hard and rocky terrain. The OEM bash plate is not strong enough and is missing mounting points towards the rear. Our relationship with AltRider goes back to 2014, and they helped us get the very first parts to land in the European continent. Needless to say that all parts are bulletproof and made to the highest standards. Maybe some of their products are released very late to the market, but the owner Jeremy is a hardcore rider and has a different approach to design & production from most mass-produced untested products out there.

The AltRider Skid Plate is a one-piece construction and supports the use of the KTM carbon fiber tank protectors (PowerParts), so one can check/fix something without always needing to remove to plate. The AltRider DualControl Brake system works excellently on the 790 by increasing motorcycle control and ease of use. Keep in mind that even Chris Birch uses it and he definitely knows more than your average rider. The AltRider Radiator protector is a bit hard to install, but once on the motorcycle, you will no longer need to remove it, since it is flexible enough so that you can remove any leaf or small stone stuck there.

We have not installed the AltRider Luggage Rack yet since we no longer need the Rotopax, but it will be installed for longer expeditions where we will need to mount duffle bags on the motorcycle. Still waiting for the delivery of our AltRider Crash Bars that do add weight, but provide exceptional protection, and those KTM carbon parts cost a small fortune!

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Enduristan Luggage


Enduristan had been supporting us from the very start and we have used, and abused, every single bag from their catalog on many motorcycles and various occasions. We have had minor mounting issues with some panniers in the past, but we never got our gear wet or damaged under any circumstance. Our constant grape was that we had to remove both panniers once we got to a hotel, something that is not hard to do but annoying nevertheless. Additionally, without sturdy mounting points, the panniers got a lot of bouncing once the going gets tough, resulting in feeling that you carry way more weight than you actually do.

After many discussions with Enduristan, we were thrilled that their new collaboration with Lyndon Poskitt would be marked with the production of a new system called the Monsoon EVO, much closer to our design suggestions and riding preferences. It features innovative mounting brackets that fit almost all pannier frames with 18mm tubes, like the KTM frames and a 2-pin safety system for locking and unlocking. In the event of a major crash, you can twist the symmetrical mounting points upside down and keep going.

Additionally, as with the design of the KTM tanks, the use of the KTM frames helps to position the bags low so that the motorcycle is well balanced and you don't feel the added weight messing the exceptional handling of the bike. Also since the KTM frames are asymmetrical due to the exhaust on the right side, we use different sizing bags, Monsoon Evo L on the left side and Monsoon Evo S on the right side, so that the overall width of the motorcycle is as symmetrical as possible. We use a Fender Bag L on the large Evo and a Fender Bag S on the small Evo, both facing back, to mount spare-tubes for the bikes. Last we use a Bottle Holster on both bags facing the front to mount extra fuel and water bottles.

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DNA Filter


The last upgrade we did this summer came in the form of our new partnership with DNA filters, a revolutionary air-filter product designed and produced in Greece, that is so good it is now part of KTMs PowerParts catalog. Installing the DNA Stage 3 filter on the 790 was surprisingly pleasant since you see how the 790 is made and once most rear parts are removed a solid CNC orange bling is installed in the heart of your motorcycle. The new air-filter system is well made and weighs less than the stock unit (1,85kg for OEM & 1,57kg for DNA).

As soon as you fire-up the DNA and Akrapovic installed 790, it sounds like a proper old school LC8, and the engine pools hard almost like the previous generation V-twin powerplant. Switching between all riding modes we found that "Off-road" and "Road" settings were the ones most affected by the DNA filter installation, with the motor revving much harder than stock, but the "Rally" setting had small riding difference. There is still much testing to be done fine-tuning the 790, both on the road and the dyno, but that is part of a future post.