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Category: Models & Maintenance

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

tips and tricks

A collection of small stuff, with links to vidéos, tutorials or existing articles. All small things that have not graduated to a full article yet. Send me yours by writing a comment!

  • How to disconnect the fuel lines.
  • To switch from road to offroad more quickly, you can set “Ride Mode” and “ABS” under Quickselect 1 and 2. (Note that you need v29 installed on your bike for this trick to work)
  • The number of favorites selected for the main screen impacts readability quite a lot. Reduce to 4 and the font is way more readable.
  • Pur some grease on those brake caliper pins.


The first recall was to replace the rear brake hose on 2019 and early 2020 bikes (all models). All the details are on the US NHSTA website. The crux of the issue is this:

The second recall was also related to brakes, but on the front this time, to replace a spring in the front master cylinder.

Second recall info

Riding Modes explained

The 790 Adventure come with a very advanced electronic package with features never seen before on production bikes (On the fly MTC tuning anyone?). This makes for a very safe bike, but understanding what the electronics is doing for you is paramount to fully exploit it.

There is a lot of confusion on the various riding modes and what exactly they are changing on the bike. This is not helped by different settings having the same name (“Offroad” can be a Ride mode, a Throttle control setting or an ABS setting for example). The riding modes have influence on throttle response, anti-wheelie, and traction control. ABS is not controlled by changing riding mode at all, and traction control (MTC) can be turned off separately for each mode.

This is not helped by the user manual, which goes in great length to explain how to turn things on and off, but doesn’t explain why you would want to change the settings, and for what purpose. And what exactly is changed by each settings. Be aware that some of the content in this article are educated guesses, until someone reverse engineer the code or KTM fact checks it. The source data for this article comes from KTM literature about the bike and the discussion in this advrider thread.

So to make it clear this entry in the FAQ is all about those three indicators on the bottom right of the dashboard:

The indicator shows the ride mode (one of STREET/RAIN/OFFROAD, the ABS (one of ROAD/OFFROAD/OFF) and the MTC (one of ON/OFF). All of those are freely mixable, you can set STREET/OFFROAD/OFF or OFFROAD/ROAD/ON for example. RALLY is displayed differently, see below.

Before diving into the ride modes, let’s talk about throttle response, ABS, and MTC.

Throttle response

The 790 is equipped with a ride by wire system. Turning the throttle tube just sends a signal to a computer. The computer can then decide how much power to give for a set rotation. Throttle response is just that, controlling the mapping from the amount of rotation to the amount of power.

There are four possible throttle responses available (Street, Rain, Offroad and Rally) but they are no all controllable directly. The various ride modes will select the associated throttle response (Rally mode is an exception).


The ABS prevents wheel lock. Wheel lock is bad when not controlled, and in an emergency braking situation ABS can save you. The ABS in this bike is very advanced, and it can regulate the brakes based on the lean angle. There are three possible settings for the ABS:

  • Road: ABS is active on both front and rear wheel, lean angle input is used
  • Offroad: ABS is active on the front wheel, and turned off on the rear wheel. Lean angle input is ignored.
  • Off: No more ABS. Note that this setting is not memorized, if you shut down the engine (or stall) the setting is going to reset to Road.

When on the road, unless you are a supermotard hero who want to slide the rear wheel in turns, you should be in the ABS Road setting. On the other hand, when riding off road it is useful to be able to lock the rear wheel for initiating a turn, or to be able to brake effectively on very loose surfaces, making the ABS Offroad setting useful in those conditions.

Also, comparing Road and Offroad ABS settings on just the front wheel, Road ABS is more aggressive in preventing locking. Braking on a loose surface with just the front brake there is a large difference between the two modes, Offroad allows for more slip, making the braking manoeuvre more effective. On the other hand, using Offroad setting on a really hard but slippery surface like ice would be a bad idea, as any slip there can send you flying, and the lean angle input would be useful.

The Offroad ABS is very effective on the 790 Adventure. Doing braking exercises on the dirt with the ABS off and with the Offroad ABS on, it requires a pro rider to reach the same level of performance without the ABS. For the common folks, you have no hope in hell moderating your braking as effectively as the Offroad ABS mode.

So in short: On the road, use Road ABS. Riding offroad, use Offroad ABS. Turning ABS completely off is not recommended unless you really know what you are doing and you are fully cognisant that it will reset by itself.

This video shows braking distances with the various modes on gravel.

MTC (Motorcycle traction control)

The interesting thing about MTC on the 790 Adventure is that it can be fine tuned. It’s not just a on-off switch; depending on the riding mode selected it will be more or less aggressive. The ultimate MTC control being the optional Rally mode, where it can be modulated through 9 different settings, on the fly.

Another interesting point is that the MTC doesn’t act on the engine directly. MTC of old, on less advanced motorcycles, used to just cut ignition to regulate power. On the 790 the MTC acts on the throttle directly. Conceptually the throttle by wire has two inputs: the rider throttle tube position, and the MTC. The lower of the two will be the throttle input for the engine. This makes for a very smooth MTC intervention.

The MTC on the 790 Adventure can also share with the ABS the lean angle sensor to adapt the slip control based on current conditions.

There is a setting in the motorcycle menu to turn MTC completely off, overriding the fine tuning done when changing modes. As with ABS this setting resets itself when the engine stops.

If you have Rally mode on your bike, you should probably never turn MTC completely off, use Rally mode instead. If you have a 790 S without Rally mode, it is useful to turn it off in certain conditions like deep gravel or sand, but most of the time the Offroad ride mode is sufficient to tone down the MTC offroad.

Another last tidbit about MTC: If you are using cruise control and the MTC triggers for any reason, MTC is going to force the CC to turn off. This can happen on a highway when going over bridge expansion joints for example. Be aware.

MSR (Motor slip regulation)

MSR conceptually is the opposite of traction control: it prevents the rear wheel from locking when shifting down. If the driver is very aggressive with their downshift there is a risk of getting to the point of making the rear wheel loose traction and slide. This would have the same effect as using the rear brake to slide the rear wheel.

To avoid this, on downshift, the MSR checks the rear wheel rotation, and if it detects the issue it will put just enough throttle to keep it turning.

MSR on the 790 adventure is tied to the rear ABS. MSR is only on on if he ABS is ABS fully on. MSR is disabled in ABS offroad mode, and when the ABS is completely off. There is a message on the display when switching away from full ABS saying “MSR is off”. Now you know what this message means.

Ride modes

The three default ride modes are changing Throttle control, MTC, and anti wheelie. The optional Rally mode is the fun one with on the fly configuration.


  • Throttle control: Fairly direct. Strong response.
  • MTC: Full on, lean sensor input enabled (unless MTC is turned off)
  • Anti Wheelie: On

The default mode to use when on the road. Makes for a peppy fun bike, with the rider’s aids turned on to back you up in case of mishaps.


  • Throttle control: Very soft. Needs lots of input to get power.
  • MTC: Full on, lean sensor input enabled (unless MTC is turned off)
  • Anti Wheelie: On

For the days where adherence is low, road is boring, or you want to save your tires for a long journey… also you can use this mode to get accustomed to the bike the first times you ride it.


  • Throttle control: Less direct than street, and more linear, to give more control in technical areas. Allows the rider to be more precise with the bike power delivery.
  • MTC: on (unless MTC is turned off), but less intrusive, allows for some slip. The lean sensor is disabled to allow the rider to uses a berm, sand dune or rut to lean into a turn.
  • Anti Wheelie: Off

The go-to mode for almost everything offroad. Not ideal on the road as the amount of slip allowed is quite important. But okay for short stints on the road between two tracks. Be aware that the MTC lean sensor is off here, so a big handful of throttle in a turn with off-road tires will launch your bike sideways…


Rally mode is an option on the 790 S, standard on the R and Rally.

  • Throttle control: can be manually selected from Street, Offroad and Rally. Street and Offroad are apparently the same as in their relative modes. Rally throttle control is extremely direct, the throttle control turns into a virtual on/off switch.
  • MTC: Fully controllable from 9–full on to 1–almost off (Unless MTC is turned completely off). Lean angle sensor is disabled to allow the rider to uses a berm, sand dune or rut to lean into a turn. The amount of slip allowed can be changed on the fly with the up/down button on the handle bar. It is thought that 9 is roughly what Street and Rain mode are calibrated for, and 7 is where Offroad mode probably is. Use 5-6 for sliding around on fire roads, 3 for deep gravel, 2-1 for sand. For a slippery technical climb put it on 7, throttle up and let the bike climb by itself, it’s uncanny.
  • Anti Wheelie: Off

The display changes in rally mode. [Rally] is displayed on top of the speedo, A big number showing the current MTC setting is shown at the bottom (or n/a if MTC is off), along with the current throttle and ABS settings.

Like Offroad Mode, probably not the ideal mode on the road as the MTC lean sensor is off. But, if you know what you are doing, sure. Off road, it’s the ultimate weapon, where you can change the slip level according to your skills and the conditions. Watch out with the Rally throttle control: you will chew your tires in record time, and your mileage is likely to take a hit as well!

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.

It appears also that the fuel quality has an impact on the self learning the bike does. If you usually run with a type of fuel and you switch to something lower or higher octane, it may trigger this multiple start issue.

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.

A dongle to bypass the switch is available from Vanasche Motorsports ($90)

Another cheaper option is to carry a spare switch, they cost less than €20 (p/n 93511045000)…

[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, and if you don’t know that “link fork” means “swing arm” in KTM lingo, this is even more obtuse.

Manual page about chain tension

Also, to use this procedure, you need the rear lifted from the ground, from the swing arm with your favorite lifting gear. Using this procedure with a center stand or side stand will make the chain too loose or too tight!

It’s not that complicated once the process is understood: with the top portion of the chain taunt to begin with, you lift the lower chain in the position they indicate at the rear end of the B arrows, 2.5cms after the end of the slide. The gap (‘A’) needs to be 2-5mm between the swing arm and the chain (source).

There is another view of the same method, this one documented on a sticker affixed to the swingarm:

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 and Rally 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). The Rally version, due to its narrower rims and lack of air sealant, uses tubes inside those tires. The R version is tubeless.

  • 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 Motoz 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.

Using tubes on tubeless rims

On the front wheels, no issues in using tubes. On the rear wheel for the non rally models the valve is offset. A tube might work for a bit, but it’s not ideal, and may lead to the tube valve breaking. The only known way to solve this is to use the Motoz TUUOV 18-150-170, which has an offset valve (it’s also 4mm rubber, which is very very thick).

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. Unfortunately KTM dealers in the US cannot order the EU parts. An outfit in Jersey used to ship them anywhere, but they no longer do KTM parts. If you find another source, let me know, I’ll add it to the FAQ.

OEM Windshieds in US are not the same as the one in EU, there are different part numbers. No idea what the difference is (Material? Impact resistance? Thickness?)

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