Is the KTM 390 Adventure good for Beginners

Image of a KTM 390 Adventure on a Paved road taking a cornering

The KTM 390 Adventure is an amazing motorcycle in the adventure motorcycle segment, but is it a suitable option for beginner riders?

In this post, we will talk about the features, performance, and considerations that make the KTM 390 Adventure a potential choice for beginner motorcycle riders looking to get their first adventure motorcycle or for some their first motorcycle.

Overall if you look at it, the KTM 390 Adventure is a good beginner adventure motorcycle, it has plenty of power, its lightweight, easy to handle and very compact making it fun to ride on offroads and on road easily even by beginners.

Introduction of KTM 390 Adventure

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The KTM 390 Adventure falls within the adventure touring category. It is designed to handle multiple terrains, making it a good choice for both experienced riders and beginners alike. Equipped with a 373cc single-cylinder engine, the 390 Adventure offers a balance between power and manageability, an important factor for beginner riders.

However you should definitely not underestimate the power of the KTM 390 adventure, it might sound like its not that powerful of a motorcycle in the spec sheets, but believe me it’s very powerful.

Not that powerful like the BMW R1200GS Adventure, but plenty to do a good amount of harm if underestimated.

Basic Specification of KTM 390 Adventure

Before I get into the things that makes the KTM 390 adventure suitable as a beginner motorcycle let’s first look at the basic specs of the motorcycle, so you get familiar with the features you get with it and the power figure, technology etc.

Specifications Details
Engine 373cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder
Power 43.5 hp @ 9,000 RPM
Torque 26.2 lb-ft @ 7,000 RPM
Transmission 6-speed
Fuel System Fuel injection
Suspension Front: WP Apex 43, Rear: WP Apex shock absorber
Brakes Front: 320mm disc, Rear: 230mm disc
ABS Yes (switchable)
Wheel Size Front: 19 inches, Rear: 17 inches
Tire Size Front: 100/90-19, Rear: 130/80-17
Seat Height 33.6 inches
Ground Clearance 7.3 inches
Fuel Capacity 3.6 gallons
Weight 379 pounds

Key Considerations for Beginner Riders When Choosing the KTM 390 Adventure

Riding Experience and Skill Level: Before going for the 390 Adventure its important to consider your riding experience and skill level.

If you are entirely new to motorcycling, it’s better to start with a motorcycle that is easy to handle and not very quick to respond on the throttle. The KTM 390 Adventure has a moderate power output and its throttle response is not way too aggressive so it doesn’t feel like it will fly to the skies when twisted.

However, if you have no prior experience with riding motorcycles, you might want to consider starting with a smaller adventure motorcycles like a Royal Enfield Himalayan or a Honda CRF300 Rally to build your skills and confidence before stepping up to the 390 Adventure.

Confidence and Comfort: Beginner riders should feel comfortable and confident on their motorcycle, this is very important to avoid any mishaps.

KTM 390 Adventure has an upright and comfortable riding position to sit on the bike, reach the handlebars to ensure you feel at ease. Confidence plays a important role when it comes to handling a motorcycle that is tall and big.

Physical Attributes and Size: Physical attributes and size of the rider is important when choosing a motorcycle. The KTM 390 Adventure is a relatively tall motorcycle with a seat height of 33.6 inches that might be too tall for shorter riders to manage comfortably.

Weight of the motorcycle is also another important factor. New riders may find it easier to handle a lighter motorcycles, so if you have concerns about the KTM 390 Adventure’s weight, it’s worth exploring lighter alternatives.

Budget Constraints: Not every new rider who is new to motorcycling have tons of money to get an expensive motorcycle, especially beginners.

The KTM 390 Adventure is priced in the middle range of adventure motorcycles, which is a good balance between features and affordability.

However its important to note that you will also need to spend couple hundred more bucks for ongoing costs like insurance, maintenance, motorcycle gear, fuel, and accessories. So make sure your budget can accommodate all these expenses.

Why choose the KTM 390 Adventure as a Beginner

So should you choose the KTM 390 Adventure as a beginner? The answer is “YES”, the KTM 390 Adventure offers several advantages for beginner riders, making it a good choice for those who are just starting to ride motorcycles or looking for an easy to handle adventure motorcycle.

One of the key benefits of this motorcycle is its lightweight design. It’s not too heavy, weighing around 379 pounds which is very light compared to other adventure motorcycles in the market, this makes the motorcycle easier to handle even for beginners with less chances of falling over in twists and turns.

This is especially helpful for new riders who are still building their confidence and skills, mainly when it comes to driving the motorcycle on slow speeds in traffic and in U-turns and corners ( Because almost every beginner faces difficulty with this and having a heavy motorcycle isn’t that good of a idea, speaking from experience ). With the KTM Adventure 390, whether you’re riding in the city or going off-road, the manageable weight makes it easier to maneuver, which can boost the confidence of new riders.

Lighter bikes are often seen as more forgiving, allowing beginners to focus on learning without feeling overwhelmed.

And with it’s amazing versatility, the KTM 390 Adventure is built to handle different types of terrain. It has features like long-travel suspension, a strong frame, and good ground clearance, making it capable of handling various surfaces such as light to mid offroads, highways and paved city roads with ease.

For beginners interested in adventure riding and exploring unpaved roads or trails, this motorcycle is a perfect balance between comfortable on-road riding and capable off-road performance. It’s a great choice for beginners staring out with motorcycles or adventure riding.

KTM 390 Adventure also comes with helpful technology features such as throttle control system that makes it easier to manage power, adjustable traction control for better stability, and different riding modes to suit various situations like offroads or onroad.

These technological features are useful for new riders, helping them handle the bike more safely, especially in tricky situations such as corners or unpaved roads.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) is also another important feature, preventing the wheels from locking up during emergency or sudden breaking, which is very important for riders who are still learning how to brake effectively and thus preventing any mishaps.

Apart from all its functional benefits, the KTM 390 Adventure has a stylish and attractive design. It looks modern, sporty and adventure, and has plenty of power, which appeals to riders of all experience levels, including beginners and experienced riders alike.

Riding a motorcycle that not only performs well but also looks good can boost a rider’s confidence and enthusiasm. It’s a bit like feeling proud and happiness of the bike you’re learning on, and that can make the learning process more enjoyable and much safer.

Challenges Faced by Beginner Riders with KTM 390 Adventure

Power and Torque: The KTM 390 Adventure, while not too powerful, but has more torque and horsepower ( 43.5 hp and 26.2 lb-ft torque ) than many smaller advs often recommended for beginners like the Royal Enfield Himalayan ( 25 BHP and 25.6 lbs-ft Torque ) or the CRF 300 Rally ( 27.3 hp and 19.6 lb-ft Torque ). We have done a comparison of the CRF 300 Rally and the KTM Adventure 390 in past too.

For beginner riders, this power might pose a challenge, particularly if they’re not used to the responsive nature of powerful motorcycles.

It’s important for beginner riders to control the throttle with care, avoiding sudden acceleration that can catch them off guard. Learning to use the throttle gradually and smoothly is a skill for safe riding on the 390 Adventure.

Height and Seat Height: KTM 390 Adventure comes with a relatively tall seat height of 33.6 inches or 850mm, which could be a problem for riders with shorter legs or shorter inseam length. Getting on and off the bike can be a bit tricky for shorter riders, and reaching the ground with both feet planted can be quite tough.

This can lead to less confidence on offroads due to uneven roads, especially when coming to a stop or maneuvering at low speeds.

If you’re on the shorter side you might go ahead and first go to a motorcycle dealer and test drive the motorcycle first, and if you find it uncomfortable you might need to explore options for lowering the seat height or just go with an alternative motorcycle instead.

Maintenance and Cost of Ownership: For new riders it’s important to understand that all motorcycles, including the KTM 390 Adventure, require regular maintenance. Owning and caring for a motorcycle involves expenses beyond the initial purchase price of it.

Tasks such as oil changes, chain maintenance, and tire replacements are some critical things to do for the bike’s longevity and safety.

Plus as KTM is considered a premium brand, maintenance costs will be a little on the higher side compared to other motorcycle brands. Therefore, beginners should ensure they have good budget for these ongoing maintenance expenses when deciding to own the 390 Adventure.

Learning Curve and Skill: Learning to ride the KTM 390 Adventure, can be a challenging journey at first. Beginners may face difficulties in learning skills like maintaining balance on U-turns, riding through corners, and riding on off-road conditions.

Investing a little in getting proper training, such as enrolling in a motorcycle safety course or a basic rider course, and practicing in controlled environments will help. It might take a couple of months to year to build enough confidence and skill required to ride an adventure motorcycle like KTM 390 but in the end you’ll get used to riding it confidently and easily on all terrains.

Alternative Adventure Motorcycles for Beginner Riders

If you think the KTM 390 Adventure is not currently the right choice for you then here are a few alternatives that you can consider:

  1. Suzuki V-Strom 250: The Suzuki V-Strom 250 offers a comfortable and upright riding position, making it an amazing choice for beginners. With a 248cc engine, it provides enough power for both city commuting and light off-road adventures. Its lower seat height and user-friendly nature makes it an option for riders of all heights and experience levels.
  2. Kawasaki Versys 300-X: The Kawasaki Versys 300-X is designed for adventure touring and is suitable for beginners. It has a 296cc engine and a comfortable riding position and has adjustable suspension and nimble handling.
  3. BMW G 310 GS: BMW’s G 310 GS is a compact adventure bike designed for both on-road and light off-road. It has a 313cc engine and a manageable seat height. The bike’s high-quality construction and brand reputation make it a solid choice for beginners.

How They Compare to the KTM 390 Adventure

Compared to the KTM 390 Adventure, these alternative adventure motorcycles generally have smaller engine displacements, which means lower power and torque. This can be an advantage for beginners to provide a gentle learning curve.

They also have have lower seat heights, making them easier to manage for riders with shorter inseams or shorter height. These alternatives provide an easier approach for adventure riding without the same level of power, which can be more suitable for beginner riders.


KTM 390 Adventure is an amazing adventure motorcycle that offers many advantages, including its lightweight nature, versatility, advanced technology, and design. However beginner riders should also consider the factors like power, seat height, and maintenance costs and their riding skills before going for it.

Amitabh Borah

Amitabh Borah is the founder of, sharing his passion for adventure on two wheels.

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