KTM had quite a task on its hands when updating the 890 Adventure R for 2023. What do you do to a motorcycle that’s already one of the best in its class?
A middleweight adventure bike that could seemingly do it all and even give all the giants in the class a run for their money (including KTM’s own 1290 Super Adventure), where would KTM turn for inspiration?
As it turns out, KTM engineers only had to look at its own 450 Rally bikes. When it comes to conquering any terrain, rally bikes were the perfect place to turn, so KTM really leaned into the 450 Rally when giving the 890 Adventure R a makeover.
You can see this influence in the new 890’s bodywork. There’s a new fairing, fuel tank, and cowling that are all inspired by the rally racer. More than just eye candy, KTM says the new looks also improve aerodynamics and rider comfort.
There’s also a lower windscreen for better off-road visibility, and yet somehow, KTM says this lower screen also provides better protection from the elements.
Mechanically, the new 890 Adventure R gets a 43mm WP Xplor fork and WP Xplor PDS rear shock. Both are now fully adjustable, with retuned settings for better off-road performance. It’s a little surprising to see the lack of a shock linkage, but KTM must believe everything works well enough without one.
For as much as KTM touts the 890 Adventure R as being the ultimate middleweight ADV, it didn’t forget that the bike is also going to see miles on the road.
To that end, there’s now an improved 9.3 ABS with a 6-axis IMU that tells the control unit info on the pitch, angle, speed, and overall behavior of the bike to give optimum braking force for any situation, on-road or off.
This also means improved cornering ABS, including an off-road version that deactivates rear ABS entirely for rear wheel slides and makes front ABS less sensitive. This setting is automatically activated when the bike is in Off-Road or Rally ride modes.
The addition of the 6-axis IMU means the lean-sensitive traction control can be even more refined to control unwanted wheel spin before it happens.
In addition, it can also better manage wheelies, so the front returns to earth more gently, helping to get better drive and reducing the chances of dreaded head shake when a wheelie goes wrong upon return to earth.
Speaking of returning to earth, the bashguard for the underslung fuel tank is now stronger and beefier, to better handle whatever you can throw at it.
Information is provided to the rider via a 5-inch TFT display, which isn’t new, but the coating to resist glare and scratching is.
The user interface is also new, with an easier to read navigation menu. An optional connectivity unit makes it easy for you to connect with the 890 Adventure R via the KTMconnect app and receive turn-by-turn navigation, music, calls, and even roadside assistance from KTM, if needed.
In a stroke of genius, KTM realizes owners might be weary of upgrading their bikes with different packages. So, to take the fear out of owner’s minds, KTM is now offering a Demo mode for the first 1500 kilometers (932 miles), which gives the rider access to everything the bike offers, including Rally Mode, so the owner can decide for themselves whether they want to return to the dealer and buy an upgraded package or leave their bike alone.
As you can see, KTM is taking the updates to the 2023 890 Adventure R very seriously. What was already a focused off-road machine for the road has leaned in heavily towards the dirt while maintaining a shred of on-road civility.
With the updates and changes to make the bike more capable off-road, we expect hardcore adventure riders to take to the new 890 like a fish to water. Bikes are expected to arrive in dealerships by December 2022. Pricing has yet to be announced.