2021 KTM 890 Adventure R and 890 Adventure R Rally | First Look Review

A mere two years after the 790 Adventure platform was launched, KTM has announced an update to its middleweight adventure motorcycle lineup, with the 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R and limited edition 890 Adventure R Rally.

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R

The 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R is positioned as KTM’s new off-road-ready mass-production ADV offering. However, the limited edition 890 Adventure R Rally is loaded with race-spec inspired components. Its development utilized feedback from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team riders, Toby Price, and Sam Sunderland. Only 700 units of the 890 Adventure R Rally will be produced worldwide, with 200 slated for the North American market. At their core, the two models share all critical componentry. 

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally

The standout upgrade for both the 890 Adventure R and Rally variants is the revised 890 powerplant, first featured in the 2020 KTM 890 Duke R, boasting a claimed 105 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm and 73.8 lb-ft of torque @ 6,500 rpm — netting a 10 horsepower and 8-9 lb-ft increase above the 790.


RELATED: 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R (Off) Road Test Review

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally

Improvements to the 889cc DOHC parallel-twin engine are in the form of a larger 90.7 x 68.8mm bore and stroke, leading to a 90cc displacement increase and notably higher 13.5:1 compression ratio. A redesigned cylinder head uses 1mm-larger intake and exhaust valves, working in conjunction with a more aggressive camshaft profile to increase lift. Lightened forged pistons and connecting rods decrease reciprocating mass. In contrast, a 20% heavier crank improves low-rev behavior — surely, something that will come in handy when dealing with tight, technical off-road terrain, and improve chassis response when riding at pace. 

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally

The 890 Adventure motorcycles will enjoy all of the upgrades seen on the 890 Duke R, with the revised clutch, sportier shifting thanks to a shortened shift lever stroke, and lighter shift-detent spring, and improved throttle-by-wire response.

The new 890 models feature a fuel map tuned for adventure riding and an exhaust system specific to the ADV models. Lastly, the Adventure R Rally sports titanium Akrapovič slip-on exhaust muffler that is 35% lighter than the standard muffler.

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R and 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R and 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally

There is a chassis update for the 890 Adventure R and Rally, which now uses an aluminum head-tube and lighter subframe for 2021. KTM has not stated a weight difference between the 890 and 790 Adventure motorcycles, and geometry remains the same, as does the 5.3-gallon fuel tank.

When it comes to suspension, the 2021 890 Adventure R uses the same fully-adjustable 48mm WP XPLOR fork and WP XPLOR PDS shock as before, with updated suspension settings. In contrast, the 890 Adventure R Rally is equipped with WP Pro components, a WP XPLOR Pro 7548 fork, featuring cone valve technology, and a WP EXPLOR PRO 6746 shock with 270mm of travel, 30mm more than the 890 Adventure R.

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R

Braking hardware did not go unaltered with the update for both models. The dual 320mm floating rotors and 4-piston calipers return, while the front master cylinder has been replaced and is said to offer improved feedback at the lever. In the rear, the 2-piston caliper now uses isolated pistons, and isolation plates between the brake pads and pistons said to increase heat stability, control, and feel during long descents. Also, the rear brake system now uses a steel-braided brake line, again, to manage heat and improve braking performance.

KTM’s Bosch IMU-supported rider aids continue to be developed, such as the cornering ABS and lean-angle-detecting traction control (Motorcycle Traction Control). KTM says that these aids have been improved for 2021. Meanwhile, the bevy of rider modes return, with Street, Off-road, Rain and optional Rally. Motor Slip Regulation is still optional, as is KTM’s Quickshifter+, heated grips and cruise control.

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally

Spoked 21- and 18-inch wheels return on both Adventure R and Rally models, and this year they get anodized hubs. Also, Continental TKC 80 tires are featured on both models instead of the off-road biased Metzeler Karoo rubber. However, the Adventure R Rally makes its dirt-focused intentions clear with narrower, 21 x 2.15-inch front and 18 x 4.00-inch rear, DID DirtStar rims.

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally — Model Highlights:

  • Limited-edition, 700 units (500 Int’l and 200 U.S.)
  • Pricing starts at $19,999
  • Updated engine and electronics
  • WP XPLOR Pro Components Suspension
  • Akrapovič exhaust (35% lighter than standard)
  • Flat racing seat (with 35.8-inch height)
  • RALLY mode and Quickshifter+ included
  • Narrow anodized wheel rims with tubes
  • Clear screen winglets and racing graphics and colors
  • Carbon fiber tank protectors and Rally footrests

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R — Model Highlights:

  • Pricing starts at $14,199
  • New 889cc engine with an added 90cc of displacement
  • Engine featuring 20% more rotating masses
  • More power and torque
  • Reinforced clutch
  • Improved ABS and Traction Control
  • Reworked shifting for faster gear changes
  • Updated Quickshifter+ (optional)
  • New handlebar switch for Cruise Control function
  • Chassis upgrades with aluminum steering head tube and lighter subframe
  • Reworked front and rear brakes
  • New suspension settings

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R and 890 Adventure R Rally Photo Gallery:


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