Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2019: KTM 790 Adventure R
The KTM 790 Adventure R blurs the lines between street-worthy adventurer and off-road capable dirtbike more than any machine that has hit the market thus far. While there are worthy contenders in the category when it comes to overall street manners, nothing we’ve tested yet has delivered the kind of off-road capability KTM’s new middleweight adventure has. If there’s any brand that is poised to dominate the serious adventure category, it’s probably KTM. The Austrian manufacturer has more than a few off-road championships under its belt including 18 straight wins of the Dakar Rally this last one in grand fashion, might I add, with a podium sweep. While those bikes are tricked out to the hilt, tech trickles down.
The 2019 KTM 790 Adventure was made to dominate the off-road capability of adventure bikes. And so far, we think they’ve hit their mark. The WP XPLOR fork and shock – used previously on the EXC line of dual-sport bikes – delivers a composed ride over a vast variety of surfaces and is highly adjustable at both ends to dial in preferred performance. The super-low, oddly shaped tank is also a game changer keeping that sloshing weight low as possible helps in nearly every scenario off-road but particularly so it tight low speed technical sections. Combine those two items with a punchy Parallel Twin engine and an electronics package that is absolutely stellar, and you have a force to be reckoned with. We look forward to rounding up the middleweight ADV herd for a proper comparison side by side, but as it stands now, after having ridden the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, the new BMW F850GS and the Yamaha Ténéré 700 separately, it seems they’ll likely have their panniers full when duking it out with the KTM 790 Adventure R.
Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2019 Runner-Up: Moto Guzzi V85 TT
Surprise! Betcha didn’t see that one coming! Or maybe, like us, you did. The Moto Guzzi V85 TT is a pleasant addition to the middleweight adventure category and a home run from the Italian brand. It is, by quite a good margin, one of the most technologically advanced Guzzis to date with switchable ride modes, ABS, and traction control. It also brings a nostalgic feel from the Guzzi’s racing days of yesteryear to the forefront with the Giallo Sahara colorway and red frame.
The Moto Guzzi V85 TT steps into the middleweight adventure market like it has always been there and brings with it ample performance on-road and admirable light off-road prowess. The V85 has been a refreshing addition to the list of new motorcycles hitting the market. It doesn’t strive to be anything other than undeniably Moto Guzzi. We can appreciate that. We also appreciate what this machine can do and what it means to the brand.