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Category: Models & Maintenance

What are the differences between the various models, and how to maintain your bike.

Cold start procedure

There are reports of cold start issues. The engine starts, but stalls right away, requiring multiple tries to start and hold idle.

Before looking at anything else, try following this foolproof start procedure:

  • Make sure the kill switch is in the neutral position (Better, when you stop the engine with the kill switch, train yourself to always put it back in the neutral position right away);
  • Put your key in, turn the power on;
  • Listen to the fuel pump building pressure in the circuit. Wait until it stops. Note that this priming will not happen if the kill switch is engaged. The manual recommend waiting until the instrument panel starts, which takes roughly the same time as the priming;
  • Don’t touch the throttle;
  • Tap the start button. Don’t keep it pressed until the engine fires, just give it a tap and the engine will start by itself.

If this doesn’t start the engine every time, or if the engine stalls right away, check your fuel filter for contamination and the pressure at the fuel pump (or ask your dealer to do it). Note: Filters are black when wet, white when dry: don’t assume a dark filter is a dirty one.

If it stills acts funny, talk to your dealer.

Side stand switch

Ron Palm (Advronski) made a modification to the exposed side stand switch. It prevents any damage to the switch from stranding you out in the wilderness. If you ride off road a lot, maybe something to consider.

[Note: A recipe for a small switch bypass to carry in the toolbox would be nice]

Canister vent

On the right side of the bike there is a little vent tube with a plastic 90º angle that clips on the right tank protection. It is labelled “Air” with a little arrow. This is the charcoal canister vent, aka it is indirectly connected to your fuel tank.

If this vent tube is not clipped in place it may touch the exhaust that goes along the bash plate (on the left on this picture) and the plastic will melt. There are cases of the melting completely closing the vent, meaning that the fuel tank is no longer vented and that pressure will raise inside. A heavily pressurised fuel tank is a huge fire risk…

Fuel venting circuit. The plastic clip is #22.

Not to mention that this vent that may leak fuel if you tank is overflowing: probably not the best item to have dangling over the really hot exhaust.

Always double check that this vent is properly clipped at the right place every time the bash plate is removed. And when you collect the bike from the dealer as the bash plate is a dealer install.

Chain tension

The manual is not very clear on how to check the chain tension. I mean, at first glance this doesn’t look obvious:

Manual page about chain tension

To use this procedure you need the rear lifted from the ground, but from the swing arm with your favorite lifting gear. Not with a center stand…

Then with the top portion of the chain taunt to begin with, you lift the lower chain in the position they indicate at both ends of the B arrows, flattening it out. The gap (‘A’) needs to be 2-5mm (source).

If in doubt prefer a loose chain. At rest on the side stand, the chain should be very slack.

Tires. Tyres. Pneus. Rueda. Rubber.

What tire should you use?

There are as many opinions about tires than they are pilots on the road. What tires to get? Well, it depends. This FAQ will not go into the trap of recommending a particular set.

Here is an exhaustive list of tires, most of them with a size compatible with the 790 (it’s in French, just ignore the text). It goes from 10% off-road to 95% off-road. Each notch sacrifices a bit of road manner to improve some off-road capabilities. Make your own choice.

If you are really desperate, there is a thread about it on advrider.

Size, speed rating, load index, and factory fit.

The 790 Adventure R comes with Metzeler Karoo3 (Due to the M+S status of those tires, speed must be kept under 170km/h (106mph), as denoted by the ‘R’ speed rating in the tire denomination)

  • Front 90/90-21 M/C 54R M+S TL
  • Rear 150/70-18 M/C 70R M+S TL

The 790 Adventure S comes with Avon Trailriders (Those are ‘V’ rated, up to 240 km/h – 149mph)

  • Front 90/90-21 M/C 54V TL
  • Rear 150/70R18 M/C 70V TL

Both share the same load index, 54 front, 70 rear, meaning a max weight of 212kg (467lbs) in the front, and 335kg (739lbs) on the rear. This should be plenty, and if you buy a new set, it must match or exceed those values.

For example (and this is just an example, not a recommendation!) the Tractionator Rallz are available in the following size:

  • Front 90/90-21 M/C 54Q TL
  • Rear 150/70B18 M/C 70Q TL

Right size for the bike, and same load index of 54 and 70. Note that the rear tire is Belted instead of Bias ply for the Karoo3 and Radial for the Trailriders. But most importantly the speed is further limited to 160km/h (99mph) with these tires.

Tire pressure

It’s all in the manual, and the same pressure for all models (The S manual doesn’t mention off-road)

Adventure R manual, page 257

Toolkit and fasteners

The following comes in the tool kit with the bike:

  • H6 T-Handle
  • H6 Allen Key
  • T25 Allen Key
  • 17mm Skt (H6 Drive)
  • T30 – (H6 drive)
  • T40 – (H6 drive)
  • T45 – (H6 drive)
  • Flat – (H6 drive)
  • PH2 – (H6 drive)
  • 8 & 13mm Wrench
  • 10 & 14mm Wrench
  • 32mm Wrench
  • Suspension tool (In all toolkits, but only useful on the ‘S’ Model)

The following are the dimensions for the fasteners most likely to be touched while riding:

  • T25 Brake Lever Height
  • T30 Bodywork
  • T30 / H6 Hand Guards
  • T30 / 10mm Skid Plate
  • T40 Handlebars
  • H5 / 14mm Mirrors
  • 10mm / 13mm Chain Tension
  • 32mm Rear Axle
  • 32mm Front Axle
  • T40 Front Axle Clamp
  • T40 Triple Clamps
  • 32mm Wrench Headstock
  • 12mm Wrench Clutch cable
  • 10mm Wrench Brake & Clutch Levers
  • T45 Subframe
  • T45 Luggage Rack
  • T45 Brake Caliper
  • T30 ABS Sensor
  • 17mm Skt Shock High Speed Compression (R only)
  • Flat Head Shock Low Speed Compression (R only)
  • Flat Head Shock Rebound Damping (R only)
  • H5 Shock Pre-Load (R only)

(Thanks to riverlink for the compilation)

US vs Rest of the world

The US (and Canada?) got ugly turn signals with halogen bulbs instead of the nice slim LED available in other markets. Probably due to some DOT regulations.

The KTM dealers in the US cannot order the EU parts. It is possible to order the original parts from a shop in Jersey and this come with a replacement flasher relay (otherwise just replacing the turn signals will make them blink very fast).

Other outfits will propose LED blinkers.

Documents, Manuals, & Parts

You can find the PDF version of the following docs by clicking on the links:

R specific:

S specific:

Model agnostic:

KTM also publishes studio photos of all models from all angles.

790 S vs 790 R vs 790 R Rally

This lists all the differences between the R, the S and the R Rally. All the rest is strictly identical. The R Rally is a limited edition, with 500 units.

Adventure SAdventure RAdventure R Rally
Chassis colorBlackOrangeOrange
Tank ColorBlackBlackDark blue
Steering rake25,9°26,3°?
Forknon-adjustable 43mm conventional open-cartridge WP Apexfully adjustable 48mm WP closed-cartridge XPLORfully adjustable 48mm WP cone valves XPLOR PRO 7548
Rear suspensionWP Apex PDS
Preload adjustment only
fully adjustable high and low-speed compression, rebound damping and preload
fully adjustable high and low-speed compression, rebound damping and preload
Suspension course200mm240mm270mm
Road clearance233mm263mm??
SeatTwo pieces
Rider  p/n 63507040000 ~£116Pillion p/n 63507047000, no price yet
One piece
p/n 63507140000, ~£116
Straight rally seat, one piece
Rear view mirrorsTriangular
Note third party mirror may need an adaptor.
Front fenderLow, tire hugging, front fender
P/n 63508910544 ~213 euro
High front fender, black
P/n 63508910044 ~150 euro
High front fender, white
RimsTubeless 2.50 x 21 (front) and 4.50 x 18 (rear)Tubeless 2.50 x 21 (front) and 4.50 x 18 (rear)Narrow, tube type rims (sizes?)
TiresAvon AV53 TrailriderMetzeler Karoo 3?
WindshieldHigh front screen, clear
P/n 63508008000 ~£80
Low front screen, smokedP/n 63508108000 ~£67Low front screen, clear (with clear winglets)
Side plasticsWhite (rear) and either Orange or White (front)Black (rear) and White (front)White front and rear.
Rear RackStandardStandardOption
Rally modeOptionStandard<assumed to be standard>
Akrapovič ExhaustOptionOptionStandard
Tank protectorPlasticPlasticCarbon
FootrestStandard, with removable rubberStandard, with removable rubberRally footrests
Cruise ControlOptionOptionStandard

See the high definition press images of the various models.