This is a series of resources on the KTM 890 Adventure, the adventure sport motorcycle from KTM based on the 890-class parallel twin.
KTM launched the 890 Adventure in late 2020 for the 2021 model year as a fast follow to the KTM 790 Adventure, a bike that was already popular (and which still is).
The 890 Adventure is an adventure sport motorcycle, much in the same vein as other mixed-use enduro/highway motorcycles that aren’t dirt bikes, nor tourers, but have smatterings of both.
Like the other 890 motorcycles, the KTM 890 Adventure / R (and other specs) is based around an 889 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin. It’s a fire-breathing, characterful engine, that makes at peak 77 kW (105 hp) at 8000 rpm, with peak torque of 100 Nm (74 lb-ft) at 6000 rpm. Final drive is via six-speed transmission and chain
This resources page is to help current and prospective motorcycle owners (including me!) get a comprehensive view of the 890 Adventure. Whether you’re thinking of buying, renting, or test-riding an 890 Adventure, the following will help you make the most of your time.
Below you can find information on the maintenance schedule and service intervals, as well as parts you need for a standard service, guidelines for basic services like oil changes, drivetrain maintenance, and whatever torque specs are easily accessible.
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About the KTM 890 Adventure
The KTM 890 adventure is an already iconic middleweight adventure bike from the brand known for dirt bike prowess.
The KTM 890 Adventure was announced late in 2020 for the 2021 model year, as a quick update to the 790 Adventure — which everyone had assumed would be around for a while. Many owners of the 790 were a little disappointed that their bikes were already out of date.
KTM kept making the 790 in Asian markets, and has actually reintroduced the line for western markets, too. Besides, if you want a 790, maybe you should consider the CFMOTO 800MT, which uses the same motor, but gives a whole bunch of tech in a very affordable package. Hard to ignore!
But the 890 Adventure is a clear upgrade over the 790. It has more power, more refined riding gear, and passed Euro 5 emissions restrictions more easily — so it had to happen.
The 890 Adventure (and other motorcycles in the 890 range) is based on an 889cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin. It has a 270-degree crankshaft, which is the style of the time… providing claimed traction benefits, but also a whole lot of character and sparkle from an engine format that wasn’t always the coolest kid on the block.
In the 890 Adventure, the P-twin engine makes 71 kW (105 hp) at 8000 rpm, and peak torque of 100 Nm (74 ft-lb) at 6500 rpm. This is an excellent amount of power for on- and off-road work, and is comparable to many other bikes in the class.
KTM makes the 890 Adventure in two primary spec levels — the base model, and the R. There’s also the more limited Rally version, with even longer suspension. But given its price and limited production, it’s likely you’re considering just the base model or the R.
The primary differentiators between the KTM 890 Adventure and Adventure R is the suspension and base tires. The Adventure R gets higher-spec, longer-travel suspension, with more adjustability. Which isn’t to say that the base model lacks suspension travel — 200 mm is quite a lot. In fact, for some riders, it might be preferable, as it gives different on-road performance.
Aside from that, the bikes are very similar — it’s the options you get for them that will distinguish them (e.g. the “Rally” pack, luggage, and cruise control).
The KTM 890 Adventure / R has stiff competition in the segment. People looking for something slightly more road-going might consider the Husqvarna Norden 901, which uses the same engine, chassis, and many components, but in a package which performs differently.
And for those more on a budget, Japanese marques have released lower-spec but still very capable mixed-use middleweight adventure bikes. Good times! (See below for the “alternatives” section.)
KTM 890 Adventure Specifications
Here are the core specifications for the KTM 890 Adventure, along with some notes.
|Engine type||Parallel twin DOHC, 4 valve, 270-degree crank angle||These are all the rage|
|Bore x stroke (mm)||90.7 x 68.8 mm|
|Peak power||77 kW / 105 hp @ 8000 rpm||Modest, but enough|
|Peak torque||100 Nm / 74 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm|
|Transmission / Final drive||6 speed, chain|
|Front brakes||2 x 320 mm discs, radially mounted 4-piston calipers|
|Weight (without fuel, approx.)||~200 kg / 441 lb|
|Ride aids||Cornering ABS / TC, Ride modes. Optional cruise||These are optional: Cruise control, quickshifter (2-way), and MSR (motor slip regulation). Software add-ons.|
|Other bikes with same motor||890 Duke|
|This is why you can’t just say “I have a KTM 890”. Need more info (unless it’s obvious).|
KTM 890 Adventure Variants
There are a few variants of the 890 Adventure. Here’s how they differ below.
The Rally is a limited run 2024 model. It was also made in 2021.
|Front suspension||WP APEX USD, 43 mm, non-adjustable|
2023+: Preload/compression damping adjustable
|WP XPLOR USD, 48 mm, fully adjustable||WP XPLOR PRO 7548 shock, 3-way adjustable|
|Rear suspension||WP APEX monoshock, preload / rebound adjustable||WP XPLOR PDS shock, fully adjustable||WP XPLOR PRO shock, 4-way adjustable (including hi/low speed compression damping)|
|Suspension travel front / rear||200 / 200 mm||240 / 240 mm||270 / 270 mm|
|Tires||2023+: Pirelli Rally STR||Continental Twinduro TKC80||Mitas Enduro Trail E-07+|
In 2023, KTM made some improvements across the range, including
- Reworked bodywork and fairing
- All-new windshield for improved wind protection
- Improved seat comfort
- New engine protector
- Upgraded 5” TFT display with 12V USB connection
- New handlebar switch with intergraded hazard warning
Using the KTM 890 Adventure / R / Rally’s Screen and Controls
Whenever taking out a motorcycle, whether for a test ride or rental, I like to assess its core features, as well as those I’ll use on regular rides. This always includes things like
- Trying different modes (ride modes, suspension settings, ABS/TC settings)
- Using the cruise control (radar-enabled, if it has one… this one doesn’t)
- Adjusting the suspension, if need be, to give it a fair test
- Using the quickshifter
New KTMs tend to come with the kitchen sink of ride aids in test mode. After a certain distance (typically 1500 km) you have to pay to play.
Everything on the KTM 890 Adventure is controlled by a switch block on the left, and the cruise control tip switch above it.
Changing ride modes
There are three ride modes stock on the KTM 890 Adventure, with one more optional (Rally mode, with the Rally pack). The three core modes are Street, Rain, and Offroad.
To change ride modes, you have to use the switch block. Do this with the motorcycle at a standstill.
- Press the set button to get into the menu.
- Press up/down until “Motorcycle” is highlighted. Press set.
- Press up/down” until “Ride mode” is highlighted. Press set.
- Press up/down to choose the riding mode. Press set
That might seem cumbersome, but you can also set up your own bike (once you have one) so that one of the up/down buttons directly access one part of the settings. This is done via the “quick selector” setting. Quick selector can control ride mode, MTC setting, trip, or heated grips setting (maybe other things depending on your option level).
Here’s how the ride modes work on the 890 Adventure:
|Throttle response||Soft||Balanced||Very direct||Extremely direct / Configurable|
|ABS||Both wheels||Both wheels||Front wheel only||Configurable (ABS submenu)|
|TC||Very little rear wheel slip||Normal rear wheel slip||High rear wheel slip||Configurable (TC submenu)|
Cruise Control on the 890 Adventure
Cruise is optional on the 890 Adventure (as is so much on modern KTMs). Before rolling out, if you want to test it, make sure it’s enabled in the software. This means that (if it’s not new, and thus with demo modes available) it should be a purchased add-on, and also it should be enabled in the menus (as should demo modes).
- To turn cruise control on, you press the cruise control tip switch to the left. Same action to turn it off. (The status will display on the screen.)
- To activate cruise at the current speed, press the cruise control tip switch briefly at the bottom.
- To increase or decrease speeds, you either briefly toggle up or down for a 1 km/h / mph increase, or hold it up and down for a 5 km/h / mph increase.
There are some aspects of using cruise, but the above should have you covered.
Adjusting the KTM 890 Adventure’s Suspension
The different specs of the KTM 890 Adventure come with different amounts of suspension adjustability.
|Model||Front suspension||Rear suspension|
|2021 base model||No adjustability||Preload — use the hand wheel (0-10 turns, 3 for most situations, 10 for full payload)|
|2023+ base model||Compression damping (left fork leg), rebound damping (right fork leg)|
Standard is 15 clicks on both
|Preload — use the hand wheel (0-10 turns, 3 for most situations, 10 for full payload)|
|R||Preload on both fork legs, hand adjustable — 0-3|
Compression damping (left fork leg screw), rebound damping (right fork leg screw)
Standard is 15 clicks on both
|4-way adjustable (high/low-speed compression damping)|
KTM 890 Adventure / Adventure R Service requirements
Overall, the KTM 890 Adventure, like other KTM 890 motorcycles, has 9300 mile / 15000 km or annual service intervals. At every service, change the oil and filter, and do a host of checks.
The major service for the 890 motor is every 18600 miles or 30000 km, at which point you check the valve clearances and change the spark plugs.
The valve clearance inspection is a big and also fiddly job — you need to remove the plastics and tank, plus other things that get in the way of the heads. To replace shims, you have to remove the cams, which means you have to be comfortable re-installing cams with correct alignment. Plus, even though there are just two cylinders, access to the shims is a bit tricky.
The 890 Adventure has a cable clutch, which means that you should service it regularly. However, you only need to change the brake fluid and don’t need to worry about clutch fluid.
KTM recommends changing the coolant every four years.
Finally, as the 890 Adventure has a chain drive, you need to regularly service it, particularly when riding in dust and wet.
Maintenance Schedule for the KTM 890 Adventure
Below is the maintenance schedule for the KTM 890 Adventure, adapted from the manual, and simplified somewhat. This information came from our partner site, maintenanceschedule.com.
We restructured this slightly into a “service schedule” and a checklist of items to do at every service.
- After the end of the service schedule, keep repeating it in this pattern.
- Follow the earlier of time-based or distance-based intervals. E.g. change the oil every year or 15000 km — whichever comes earlier.
|miles x 1000||0.62||9.3||18.6|
|km x 1000||1||15||30||Every|
|Standard inspection checklist (see below) — Check all |
– Fluid levels
– Safety equipment
– Suspension items
– Cables / wiring
(See the full inspection checklist here)
|Change the engine oil. (Motul 7100 10W-50)||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Change the oil filter (KN-650)||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Clean the oil screens||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Change the air filter (KT-1113), clean the air filter box||✓||✓|
|Change the spark plugs (LMAR9AI-10)||✓|
|Check the valve clearances.||✓|
|Change the front brake fluid (Motorex DOT 5.1).||2 years|
|Change the rear brake fluid (Motorex DOT 5.1).||2 years|
|Change the coolant (Motorex Coolant M3.0)||4 years|
|Check the headlight setting||✓||✓||✓|
|Check the fork bearing for play||✓||✓|
|Clean the dust boots of the fork legs||✓||✓|
|Check the wheel bearing for play||✓||✓|
|Check the cables for damage and routing without kinks||✓||✓||Year|
|Check the fuel pressure.||✓||✓||Year|
|Check the frame||✓|
|Check the link fork||✓|
Chain Maintenance on the KTM 890 Adventure
You need to service the KTM 890 Adventure’s chain regularly, particularly as it’s an enduro travel motorcycle that you’re likely to ride through dust, creeks, mud, rain, dirty roads, and so on.
Use a good-quality and portable lubricant like Motul Chain Paste, which is highly regarded, and portable — easy to carry!
|Chain maintenance item||Every|
|Check the chain, rear sprocket, and engine sprocket|
Chain length: 18 rollers = 272 mm maximum
|Check the chain tension|
Chain tension spec: 2-5mm distance
To check the chain condition on the 890 Adventure / R:
- Put the bike up on a centre stand (or raise up the rear somehow).
- Put the transmission into neutral.
- Pull on the lower chain section with 15 kg / 33 lb of weight.
- Measure the distance of 18 rollers (checking against the max spec).
If the chain is looser than the max spec, replace it, along with the sprockets.
To check the chain tension on the 890 and Adventure, the manual and the sticker on the side of the motorcycle are a bit confusing. Here’s a slightly clearer guide.
- Find the plastic chain slider, go to the end, and go 2.5 cm (or one inch) apast the end.
- Push the chain up and try to make it touch the metal swing arm.
- Measure the distance from the flat part of the link fork directly above the chain to the chain. Target spec: 2-5mm (0.08-0.2 in).
If the tension is not within this spec, adjust the chain tension.
To adjust the chain tension on the 890 Adventure, you have to
- Loosen the axle nut and lock nuts on either side of the axle.
- Turn the adjusting screw until you reach the target chain tension spec.
- Make sure you check the reference marks, to make sure you’re adjusting both sides of the motorcycle the same amount.
- Tighten the lock nuts, and then tighten the axle nut (90 Nm / 66.4 lb-ft of torque)
- Check the chain tension again to make sure it’s still within spec.
Wheels and Tires for the KTM 890 Adventure
The manual recommends the following tyre sizes and pressures.
Adjust the pressures according to your own preferences, setup, ride style and conditions.
|Wheel||Tyre size||Recommended |
Tyre pressure (cold)
|Front||90/90 – 21 M/C 54V M+S TL||35 psi (2.4 bar)|
|Back||150/70 R 18 M/C 70V M+S TL||42 psi (2.9 bar)|
The tyres that ship with the 890 Adventure are Avon TrailRiders, which are less aggressive than the TKC 80 tyres on the 890 Adventure R, and less aggressive again than those on the Rally.
You can no doubt fit more aggressive tyres to your 890 Adventure though.
Tightening Torque specs
Below are some core tightening torque specs from the manual. There are quite a few more in the manual for you to peruse.
|Oil drain plugs (x2)||20||15|
|Oil filter cover screws||6||4|
|Top triple clamp||15||11|
|Front brake caliper||45||33|
|Rear brake caliper pin||22||16|
Alternatives to the KTM 890 Adventure
The 890 Adventure is a middleweight adventure motorcycle, which means it’s in a tough crowd these days! Below are the current contenders in an awesome market.
Aprilia Tuareg 660
The Aprilia Tuareg 660 (one of the Aprilia 660 line) is a 2022 model. It uses Aprilia’s basic platform that powers the RS and Tuono street/sport bikes, but the engine is de-tuned for mid-weight power. The Tuareg 660 is quite high-spec, with cruise control and high-end ride gear (but lacking an IMU), moderately powered (with a peak of 60 kW / 80 hp at 6500 rpm, and lightweight for its class.
BMW F 900 GS
The BMW F 900 GS, taking over from the F 850 GS, is a do-everything vehicle. BMW riders often like the middleweight as the more capable all-round bike. The F 900 GS is It’s powered by a spicy 895 cc parallel twin with a 270-degree crank that tops out at 77 kW / 105 hp at 8500 rpm. It comes with the kitchen sink of tech, including optional dynamic suspension.
CFMOTO Ibex 800 / 800MT
The CFMOTO Ibex 800 / 800MT is a middleweight adventure tourer powered by KTM’s 799 cc parallel twin that they stopped using in western markets for a few years. The CFMOTO bike comes loaded with tech, including cruise and an IMU, and its engine is no slouch. Plus, it’s very affordable — an equivalent motorcycle from a European brand usually cost 1.5x.
The Ducati DesertX is an offroad sporty adventure tourer based on the 937 cc Testastretta-11 degree engine that Ducati uses in many of its motorcycles, from the Supersport to the Multistrada V2. The DesertX has a 21-inch front rim, long-travel suspension, the full suite of ride aids, and killer (though sometimes divisive) good looks.
Honda XL750 Transalp
The Honda XL750 Transalp is a rebirth of the Transalp brand, which had expired a decade prior with the Transalp 700, a motorcycle veering more towards being a commuter. The XL750 Transalp has a new motor, a 755-cc parallel twin, and enough goodies (medium-long travel suspension, a 21-inch front wheel) to give it mixed-use pretension, without being a dedicated dirt bike. It’s on the affordable end, so lacks some niceties like dynamic suspension or even cruise control.
Husqvarna Norden 901
The Husqvarna Norden 901 is based on the same platform as the KTM 890 Adventure R, an 889 cc parallel twin with a 270-degree crankshaft. It has great specs, with long-travel (even longer in the Explorer edition), fully adjustable suspension, and ever ride aid you can think of. Plus, it looks cool.
Kawasaki updated its iconic single-cylinder, low-power but unbreakable adventure motorcycle, the KLR650, for 2021 with fuel injection, ABS, and a digital display. It’s still the same cheap, back-to-basics adventurer that will get you anywhere and back, though not too quickly. Its main selling point is that it’s ready to rock right out the door for very little money.
KTM 890 Adventure
The KTM 890 Adventure R is the “Excitement” factor in the middleweight adventure motorcycle series. It has a sparkling 889 cc parallel twin (shared with the Husqvarna Norden 901), very long-travel suspension (longer than the non-R), and every kind of ride aid you can think of. Despite that, it’s one of the lighter bikes in the range (though not by much). It’s a fan favourite, but it’s not cheap.
Moto Guzzi V85 TT
The Moto Guzzi V85 TT is an oddball bike, but it deserves to be included as it’s just so interesting. It’s powered by an air/oil-cooled longitudinal V-twin powering a shaft drive — this is the one you want if you don’t want to be lubing your chain! It lacks many ride aids, but it has cruise control! Plus, it’s very big on character and style. Finally, maintenance is easy, with pushrods and those big cylinders sticking out the side, and screw and locknut-style adjusters.
Suzuki V-Strom 800DE
Suzuki updated their V-Strom for 2023 with the V-Strom 800DE, though it co-exists with the V-Strom 650XT (for now). The 800DE uses the same new sporty 776cc parallel twin as the GSX-8S, ditching the V engine associated with the series, and also earned a 21-inch front wheel, similar to its big sibling, the V-Strom 1050DE. It lacks an IMU and cruise, but the middleweight bike doesn’t benefit from them as much as big-bore tourers might.
Triumph Tiger 900 Rally / Pro
The Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro is the only middleweight adventurer to use a three-cylinder engine. The 900 Rally Pro is an update to the Triumph Tiger 800XE, but the 900 engine has a different, lower, more rumbling character. Aside from that, this is the same old luxury middleweight adventure bike, with every ride aid on the market available — even an optional heated seat.
Yamaha Ténéré 700
The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is an already-iconic middleweight adventure tourer, powered by the CP2 motor, a character-rich parallel twin we first saw in the Yamaha FZ-07. Yamaha blessed the T7 with an all-new chassis, long suspension (even longer in the World Raid edition), and classic good looks from the previous Ténéré 660. The Yamaha Ténéré 700 hasn’t got much tech in it, but that doesn’t stop people from loving it. See here for a full breakdown between the variants of the Tenere 700.
Other Related Motorcycles from KTM / Husqvarna
If you’re interested in the 890 Adventure, you’re probably also considering other motorcycles with the 890 motor. They’re not all KTMs!
KTM 890 Adventure R
The KTM 890 Adventure and R is the high-performance adventure / dual-sport motorcycle based on the 889 cc parallel twin. It’s well-respected for being capable, with an engaging motor that’s fun to use both on- and off-road, and for being very lightweight for its power and size (curb weight of 210 kg or 464 lb). See more about middleweight adventure motorcycles here.
KTM 890 Duke R
The KTM 890 Duke “Super Scalpel” is the high-performance naked motorcycle based on the 889 cc parallel twin motor. It’s a classic wheelie machine, and a fan favourite, even though it’s not the best-selling naked sport bike on the market. The R spec bike gets a more adjustabale front and rear suspension (but the base model is already very good). See more about middleweight naked sport bikes here.
KTM 890 SMT
The KTM 890 SMT is a high-spec middleweight sport touring bike, given the SMT moniker to remind you that it’s supermoto-like, and that you can therefore have fun on it. It has 17-inch cast rims front and rear, but with decent 180 mm travel, meaning with a set of knobby rims you might actually be able to enjoy off-roading on it (nothing that would dent the rims or damage the exhaust, though).
Husqvarna Norden 901
Husqvarna, owned by the same parent company as KTM, has released a motorcycle based on the same platform as the KTM 890 Adventure. It’s designed for long-haul adventuring, with comprehensive protection, but still has a 21-inch spoked front rim for any gnarlier roads. See more about middleweight adventure motorcycles here.
Reference — Owner’s Manual for the KTM 890 Adventure
The above information came from a mix of the owner’s manual, service manual, press releases, and forum information for the 890 Adventure.
Below you can see some screenshots for the manual of the KTM 890 Adventure.
You can see how in earlier years, KTM separated out “required work” and “recommended work”, but then combined them from 2023 onward.
You can also download the manual directly from KTM here.