Quinn Cody, who was instrumental in the development and testing of the 790, gave us brief insights into this new KTM last year while we were filming the CABDR-South documentary. When I asked him about the bike, Quinn would get this little twinkle in his eye, and the corners of his mouth would turn up into a smile. He simply said, “You would like it Ron”.
After spending a week riding together in the deserts of California, Quinn knew a little bit about me. First, I don’t have the legs of a giraffe or the strength of a mule. The bike’s reasonable seat height of 34.6 inches and balanced handling is something most BDR riders would appreciate, even negotiating difficult routes like the CABDR-South. The 790 hides its weight of 417 lbs (Dry) better than an Armani Three-piece suite and its engine is smoother than your best ’80s pick up line.
Speaking of lines, if you take a bad one and get the bike out of balance, it all but rights its self and is as forgiving of bad choices as Mother Teresa. The balance is enhanced by the unique fuel tank, lowering the center of gravity similar to the how BMW achieved its balance with the boxer engine.
As to the suspension, I think KTM is trying to put after-market suspension companies out of business. The new Xplor suspension is really that good. Unless you ride hard, or tip the scales at an unhealthy weight, about all you need to do is adjust the clickers. KTM managed to still get 10.4 inches of ground clearance, even with the reasonable seat height with the fully adjustable suspension. You will feel like Aladdin gliding over the desert on KTM’s version of a magic carpet.