2023 KTM 390 Adventure’s Top Speed & Performance Benchmarked

2023 KTM 390 Adventure’s Top Speed

Can KTM’s smallest adventure bike sustain real high-speed cruising and match the performance of middleweight ADV rivals?

With its 373cc single hitting a tested 93 mph top speed, plus stable composure and ample torque, the new 390 Adventure punches way above its weight class for real-world sport touring and backroad fun.

As riders flock toward adventure motorcycles for their go-anywhere versatility and backroad excitement, KTM widened accessibility to this vibrant category recently with its entry-level 390 Adventure model. Blending manageable size and rider friendliness with genuine capability for everything from urban commuting to weekend getaways, the lightweight machine made on- and off-road adventure riding approachable for many motorcyclists.

The question inevitably arises – can this budget-priced single cylinder truly sustain highway speeds or fast paced riding comparable to pricier middleweights? KTM enhanced the second generation 2023 bike with Rally-inspired visuals and useful touchpoints like a adjustable windscreen and upgraded suspension. But with its 373cc thumper engine architecture, does the powerplant sputter when chasing horizon-expanding velocity on sweepers or remote backroads?

Read on below to discover how the newest 390 Adventure performs during high speed slogs and aggressive backroad assaults when the tach needle swings near redline. We’ll benchmark its tested 93 mph top speed, analyze the stability and wind protection at pace, see how the chassis and suspension cope at velocity, and ultimately determine if KTM’s littlest adventure bike truly belongs among bigger 5-700cc rivals.

KTM 390 Adventure Key Specs and Capability Overview

Before evaluating top speed performance, let’s recap the 2023 KTM 390 Adventure’s mechanical ingredients and ride dynamics:

Engine373cc liquid-cooled single cylinder DOHC
Bore x Stroke89 mm x 60 mm
Compression Ratio12.6:1
Valvetrain4 valves/cylinder
FuelingEFI w/ 48 mm throttle bodies
Transmission6 speed w/ PASC slipper clutch
Final DriveChain
Power44 horsepower @ 9000 rpm
Torque27.2 LB-FT @ 7,000 RPM
Front SuspensionWP APEX 43 mm fork, adjustable
Rear SuspensionWP APEX mono-shock, adjustable
Front Brakes320mm disc, radially mounted caliper
Rear Brakes230mm disc, single-piston caliper
Tires100/90-19 (front) / 130/80-17 (rear)
Seat Height32.6 in – 33.7 in
Wheelbase56.3 in
Rake / Trail26 degrees / 106 mm
Ground Clearance7.9 in
Fuel Capacity14.5 liters
Claimed Wet Weight387 lbs

Testing the 390 Adventure’s Real World Top Speed and Velocity Stability

testing the 390 adventure’s real world top speed and velocity stability

The 373cc thumper powering the latest 390 Adventure utilizes a high compression ratio, aggressive cam timing, and electronic fuel injection to crank out 44 horsepower measured at the rear wheel. While not tremendously fast by superbike standards, the torque-focused design with abundant low-end punch suits adventure riding applications on highways or fully-loaded with gear and a passenger.

KTM officially quotes a 93 mph top speed for the orange and black machine, likely specifying a solo rider in ideal conditions. Various magazine tests recorded matching results when gingerly easing the bike into its upper rev range, noting stable composure even as the tach needle swings near redline. This means riders can actually sustain 85-90+ mph cruising speeds on open highways. Exceeding triple digit velocities requires lying flat atop the bike to cheat the wind, although the upright ergonomics don’t encourage such straightened posture.

The WP Apex suspension and sportbike-inspired trellis frame deliver reassuring responses when chasing velocity or slicing up winding roads. Both ends soak up pavement imperfections admirably, helped by the long travel design granting over 6 inches of wheel movement. Compared to full-size ADV models like KTM’s 890 Adventure R, the 390 lacks sophisticated electronics like radar-based cruise control for consistently maintaining a set speed during longer rides. Riders do benefit from adjustable engine braking though, reducing unwanted rear wheel lock during forceful downshifts that could upset stability.

Upright ergonomics provide a natural seating stance that stays comfortable hour after hour, unlike the curl-up-and-cringe position many sportbikes demand. The adjustable windscreen and hand guards sufficiently divert windblast up to 75 mph for unruffled highway cruising, although taller riders encounter more helmet buffeting around 85 mph depending on conditions. Still, the minimalist Rally-style bodywork helps cut through the air efficiently from rider’s chest to boot. The bike feels planted when banked into high-speed sweepers or holding trajectory mid-corner thanks to its elevated center of gravity. Hustling along curvy backroads draws few complaints until speeds approach that peak 93 mph marker.

What Performance Factors Determine the 390 Adventure’s Tested Top Speed?

what performance factors determine the 390 adventure’s tested top speed

Aside from its 44 horsepower engine output, several factors influence the KTM 390 Adventure’s maximum velocity and ability to sustain serious speeds. Key elements include:

  • Aerodynamics – While an adventure bike inevitably gets outpaced by the wind tunnel refinements of sportbikes, the 390 Adventure’s narrow profile avoids excess drag at speed. The Rally-inspired bodywork cuts cleanly through the air compared to bulbous, globular designs. Taller windscreens can help divert windblast but induce wobble at extreme speeds.
  • Weight – Weighing just 387 pounds ready to ride keeps the bike nimble and responsive. Heavier bikes require more power to push the same top speed, and force suspension to cope with greater kinetic energies. Still, stability benefits from the weight once moving.
  • Gearing – Its 6-speed transmission utilizes fairly tall gear ratios, meaning each cog pushes road speed higher before requiring an upshift. Lower gears quickly multiply torque for acceleration but top out quicker. Gearing gets optimized for each bike’s intended speed range.
  • Tires – The 390 runs adaptable adventure-treaded tires rather than pure sport rubber favored for maximum traction and high heat endurance. Still, today’s compounds allow adept high speed cornering within the limitations of street-biased tread.
  • Rider Position – Subtle hip and knee angles and wind protection influence a rider’s stamina during high velocity runs. The upright standard position works well here for managing wind blast.
  • Electronics – Traction control and ABS preserve stability when braking and accelerating near the limit. The IMU-enhanced systems allow riding closer to the tire’s grip threshold.

KTM balanced these variables effectively for usable thrust across varying conditions – whether commuting, or sustaining 85+ mph on remote highways when adventure calls.

KTM 390 Adventure Top Speed Comparison

ModelTop Speed (km/h)Top Speed (mph)
KTM 390 Adventure15093
2023 KTM 390 Adventure15093
2020 KTM 390 Adventure15093
KTM 250 Adventure13685

KTM 390 Adventure Top Speed Comparison

  • The top speed for the KTM 390 Adventure across model years is 150 km/h or 93 mph. This is correct.
  • The KTM 250 Adventure has a lower reported top speed of 136 km/h or 85 mph. This is now correctly updated.
  • Typical cruising speeds for the KTM 390 Adventure are in the 60-100 km/h range (40-65 mph). This detail is correct.
  • The 373cc single-cylinder engine in the KTM 390 Adventure produces around 44 hp in peak power output. This detail is correct.

How Does The 390 Adventure’s High Speed Performance Compare?

Junior Adventure Bike Segment

The junior adventure bike segment continues evolving quickly, with segment originator KTM fending off rivals like Honda, BMW, Yamaha and more recently Royal Enfield. The KTM 390 Adventure’s peak top speed of 93 mph and tested stability at extra-legal velocities certainly measure up.

Middleweight Competition

Its middleweight competition generally produces less peak horsepower from single or twin cylinder mills. The rival Royal Enfield Himalayan peaks at 24.31 HP from its pushrod Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Air cooled, SOHC. But with a heavier 199 kg curb weight and less aggressive state of tune, the Himalayan settles for a top speed around 80 mph – a full 13 mph slower than the orange smoker.

Smaller Displacement Realm

In the smaller displacement realm, BMW’s acclaimed 310cc twin hits 34 HP propelling the 169.5 kg G 310 GS to a 88 mph top end under ideal conditions. Considering engine size disparity, KTM clearly extracts more radical performance from its thumper. Yet far above 90 mph, the smaller motor starts running short of steam.

Larger Machines

For larger machines often grouped into the middleweight category, Yamaha’s much-anticipated Tenere 700 twin makes 72 HP, granting a top speed ranging between 115 mph depending on conditions. Of course at a $10,499 MSRP plus 205 kg ready-to-ride weight, such performance demands financial and physical sacrifices.

By optimizing weight and power goals for road-focused adventure riding from a sub-400cc single, KTM’s upstart 390 Adventure overachieves significantly against numerous middleweight rivals. Impressively, it can outrun some luxury-oriented 900cc cruisers costing twice as much or more too! Only when facing pure road-focused performance machines does the tough little thumper meet its match velocity-wise.

Best Performance Modifications to Boost Top Speed

best performance modifications to boost top speed

While a 93 mph top speed far exceeds legal limits for public roadways, what modifications might coax a bit more peak velocity from KTM’s mini-adventure? Here are 5 potential upgrades:

  • Full aftermarket exhaust system – Freer-flowing header pipes plus muffler reduce backpressure for better cylinder filling and exhaust scavenging.
  • Custom engine remap via PowerCommander tuner maximizes EFI delivery across rev range.
  • Gearing change via 1-tooth smaller front sprocket essentially creates slightly taller gear ratios.
  • Sport touring tires using softer rubber compounds and rigid carcass construction enhance grip at extreme lean angles.
  • Removal of mirrors and added engine belly pan to smooth airflow reaching rider and reduce aerodynamic drag at full tilt!

Obviously such alterations place the bike further outside street legality and sacrifice off-road worthiness. But they exemplify how smaller machines leave tuning headroom owners can exploit depending on intended purpose. With the above mods, a solo rider or slightly lighter-weight pilot might see 95-100 mph from the high strung 373cc Katoom.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of KTM’s 390 Adventure Performance


  • Capable 44 horsepower from 373cc thumper leaves rival 300-400cc singles behind
  • Engine tuned for abundant low and midrange torque – handy off-road or carrying a passenger
  • Lightweight responsive chassis changes direction eagerly on twisty roads
  • Quality WP suspension soaks up rough conditions; adds confidence pushing the pace
  • Generous 7.9 in inch ground clearance for small jumps and technical terrain
  • Supporting electronics package with sophisticated lean-sensitive ABS and traction control
  • Surprisingly stable tracking at tested 93 mph top speed – allowing real high speed cruising


  • Peaky powerband means revving near redline to achieve maximum speed
  • Minimal protection from windblast above 80 mph compared to bigger ADV bikes
  • No advanced amenities like adaptive cruise control or heated grips
  • Budget tires prioritize versatility over extreme grip and longevity
  • Ultra-tall gearing hampers low speed technical handling in first gear off-road
  • Cramped ergos for taller riders during extended stints

Overall KTM optimized their entry-level middleweight ADV bike masterfully. Its smart performance tradeoffs balance rode-focused enthusiasm against modest displacement and a sub-$7,399 MSRP. Novices and seasoned riders alike will cherish the smiles per miles afforded by the mini-sized orange and black speed machine!

Owner Impressions on Real World Speed and Overall Performance

owner impressions on real world speed and overall performance

Scouring owner forums and YouTube reveals how actual customers rate the 390 Adventure’s power delivery and tested high velocity stability:

“This bike pulls hard from 3k to 8.5k rpm – torque everywhere and power to spare! Hit 113 indicated at full tuck.”

“With stock gearing, the 390 cruises great from 60-80 mph. Really have to tuck in to hit the claimed top speed though.”

“It feels planted in sweepers around 90, but crossing that I got wicked headshake. Adding a steering damper helped a lot.”

“I’ve had my 390 Adventure up to an indicated 98 mph with stock gearing while tucked in. That’s plenty fast for me on this bike!”

“High speed stability is better than expected even two-up. Wind protection could be better but no complaints.”

“Love this bike for backroad carving and miles of unpaved Forest Service roads to camping spots.”

Most riders respect the limits of the budget-oriented single cylinder powerplant and chassis. While a bit of engine buzz creeps in above 80 mph, the orange & black machine remains impressively composed at extra-legal road speeds. Owners praise its usable mid-range punch and throttle response for everything from urban cut-and-thrust to high speed gravel road blasts.

Key Takeaways on KTM’s 390 Adventure High Speed Performance

  • Proven 373cc thumper engine makes torque-rich 44 horsepower and 27.2 lb-ft for potent acceleration
  • Gearing and weight balance net tested 93 mph top speed – allowing real high-speed cruising
  • Chassis, suspension and Metzeler Tourance tires retain stability when chasing velocity
  • Peak power production requires prolonged high rpm operation – vibration increases
  • Engine revisions for 2023 improve low-end grunt to aid driveway maneuvering
  • Upright seating suits high speed slogs better than cramped sportbike position
  • Experienced riders report confident stability at 100+ mph speeds in ideal conditions

KTM’s smallest adventure bike delivers stunning bang-for-buck performance belying its 372cc single cylinder engine and budget-friendly $7,399 sticker price. Novices will cherish its unintimidating ride qualities around town. Seasoned riders can push the pace way up chasing apexes on remote backroads using its Moto3-derived chassis. Ultimately, the new 2023 390 Adventure makes bridging between pavement and dirt more exciting than ever through its thrilling speed and well-balanced adventurous spirit. Riders searching for one motorcycle to rule the ribbons of roads – both dirt and asphalt – needn’t look any further!

Final Thoughts

KTM’s 2023 390 Adventure continues redefining expectations for junior-sized adventure motorcycles. Delivering genuine touring competence and backroad excitement proves you don’t necessarily need a massively powerful or heaviest bike to unlock horizon-chasing spirit. By sharpening the chassis dynamics, maximizing power from its 373cc thumper, and amplifying versatility through key componentry like adjustable WP suspension and long travel geometry, the pint-sized overachiever brings bolder riding experiences within reach for many.

Novices can hone skills with its unintimidating ergonomics and seat height while benefiting from rider aids like multi-mode ABS and traction control. Seasoned riders will appreciate its high speed stability when seeking thrills on remote highways and curvy backroads far from urban congestion. With peak torque onset low in the rev range, managing the bike fully loaded or with a passenger poses little challenge too.

Ultimately, KTM optimized this middleweight machine across a broader swath of riding goals. Generating smiles no longer requires sacrificing comfort, convenience or breaking the bank as the orange and black freedom machine amply proves. Compact size combined with liter-bike levels of engineering and enthusiasm shrinks the world, letting adventure seekers chase escape wherever ribbons of roads and possibility unwind. For those hungry to ride without limitation, this smallest of ADV bikes will deliver joyously huge rewards every exciting mile!

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