Long-Term test: 2023 KTM 890 Adventure R – the ultimate adventure bike?

KTM 890 Adventure R (cycleworld.com)

KTM 890 Adventure R (cycleworld.com)

Cycle World took an in-depth look at the 2023 KTM 890 Adventure R during a long-term test, evaluating its performance in a variety of riding situations, including extended highway travel and off-road adventures.

Cycle World subjected the 2023 KTM 890 Adventure R to a rigorous long-term test to determine its true capabilities beyond off-road performance, with a focus on how well it handled highway stretches, rider comfort, and its ability to provide utility over long distances. After an extensive summer test spanning over 3,500 miles, the magazine offered a comprehensive assessment of this adventure bike.

Engine Performance:

The 889cc DOHC eight-valve parallel-twin engine was tested on the dyno, producing 93.3 hp at 8,500 rpm and 64.4 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,700 rpm. Notably, the engine features a forged one-piece crankshaft with a unique 435-degree firing order to replicate V-twin-like delivery. The bore and stroke measurements are 90.7 x 68.8mm, with a robust 13.5:1 compression ratio. Other features include lightweight camshafts, balance shafts to reduce vibration, and ride-by-wire throttle control with 46mm Dell’Orto throttle bodies. The bike also comes with an optional Quickshifter+ for clutchless up- and downshifts.

The 890 Adventure R balances power output, weight, and handling effectively. Although it offers less peak power compared to the 1290 Super Adventure S, it weighs considerably less, enhancing its off-road capabilities. Its power delivery is found to be responsive and versatile, handling everything from rocky terrains to highway cruising. The bike proved to have ample power even at high altitudes in the Colorado Rockies.


The KTM 890 Adventure R features a comprehensive suite of advanced rider aids. Equipped with a six-axis IMU, the bike offers control over Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) and Cornering ABS. Riders can select from four ride modes: Street, Rain, Offroad, and Rally, with ABS settings that adjust accordingly. Throttle-response settings include Street, Offroad, and Rally. However, these advanced electronics are available as an option. Buyers can choose from packages like the Rally Pack, Tech Pack, and individual add-ons like Cruise Control, Quickshifter+, and Motor Slip Regulation.

The 5-inch full-color TFT display in the cockpit is praised for its intuitive menu navigation, making it easy to switch between riding modes, adjust traction control, and ABS settings while on the move. However, the display has limitations, particularly in terms of fuel level, which can cause range anxiety in certain situations.


The KTM 890 Adventure R boasts a significant advantage over its standard counterpart with regard to off-road performance. This is primarily due to its upgraded suspension. It features a 48mm WP Xplor fork and a fully adjustable WP linkageless shock, both offering 9.4 inches of travel. Additionally, the R model has a taller seat height (34.6 inches) and slightly different chassis dimensions, providing improved balance and control for off-road riding. Despite these off-road enhancements, it maintains excellent on-road performance.

The bike’s wire-spoked wheels with 90/90-21 front and 150/70-18 rear tires offer versatility for both dirt and pavement. The longer-travel suspension, taller seat, and lightweight frame contribute to the bike’s impressive off-road capabilities. The suspension provides an excellent balance of comfort and control, making it suitable for rough terrain and twisty roads.


The ergonomics of the KTM 890 Adventure R are comfortable for both on-road and off-road riding. The standard setup offers a roomy seating position and a comfortable foam saddle. Optional accessories such as a low seat and handlebar risers can be added to tailor the ergonomics to individual preferences.

One area of compromise is the windscreen. The R model comes with a shorter windscreen, which is beneficial for off-road visibility but may cause wind fatigue during long highway rides. Aftermarket wind deflectors can be added for improved comfort.


The long-term test of the KTM 890 Adventure R concluded that the bike is not only an exceptional off-road machine but also a capable long-distance travel companion. It offers a great balance of power, weight, and handling, making it suitable for various riding conditions. Although adventure bikes require compromises, the KTM 890 Adventure R succeeds in delivering a well-rounded experience for adventure riders.

The review highlights the bike’s ability to tackle both highway stretches and rugged off-road terrain with confidence, making it a worthy option for those who seek adventure and versatility in a motorcycle.