5000 kilometers on a 2023 KTM 890 Adventure

Last Updated on: January 19, 2024

5000 kilometers already done on the 2023 KTM 890 Adventure, it’s gone fast and, minus one niggle, trouble free! 

The niggle turned out to be an assembly issue, and not one related specifically to the bike. But more about that later. What I can say after the first 5000 kilometers is that this motorcycle, from my point of view, deserves to be called class leading, almost regardless of preferences. It’s a middle class do it all solution, a Swiss army knife of a motorcycle.

5000 kilometers done: the 2023 KTM 890 Adventure by a lake

The 2023 KTM 890 Adventure by Tyrifjorden, Norway’s fifth largest lake.

Getting adjusted

During the 5000 kilometers I’ve gradually gotten used to the bike. The getting used to is not a fast process for me. A process involving calibrating mind & body to the bike, and about making motorcycle adjustments. Latter means making needed personal adjustments, few things fits as a glove right out of the box.

I’d much rather it be a process that takes time, a process that brings positive results, than a process beginning with a good feeling, morphing into a bad one. If you’ve checked out some of the other pages on this site, of which there are “a few”, you might have seen that the 890 Adventure is not my first KTM experience. So I knew what to expect.

There are many significant differences between the 890 Adventure and the former motorcycle. Which was a 2019 1290 Super Adventure (SAS). Besides the obvious, like size, weight, engine power and so on, sitting position and geometry is different.

On the 890 Adventure you basically sit on top of the bike, as opposed to “in” the bike, which is more the case with the 1290 SAS. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and frankly I wasn’t sure this would work very well. Now it’s ok. Long rides are not a problem.

Before 5000 kilometers, more adjustments

The 890 Adventure has a lower centre of gravity than almost any bike in this class. Something which is easy to feel, if you go into a corner, ride offroad or on gravel & dirt roads, or simply tip it from side to side. The low slung tank and effective lower centralization of mass are the key reasons.

KTM 890 Adventure 17mm handlebar risers

The KTM 890 Adventure handlebar risers adds 17millimeters of height

Having the seat in the highest position hasn’t deteriorated it’s steering abilities I find. However the handlebar risers I put on was a significant improvement. They have now been on for a few thousand kilometers. Slightly tilted forward they also bring the handlebars closer to the body, which makes for a better elbow angle.

Is an additional 17 millimeters enough? Well, at least a compromise. Adding too much height and inward tilt potentially can alter geometry and balance. So I settled for something in-between. The change makes arms much more relaxed. We’re all different.

The higher seating position also resulted in wind not hitting the helmet as before. So unintentionally I potentially killed two birds with one stone! Nothing is perfect or 100 percent but for me the high seating position definitely led to improvements.

Over the course of the 5000 kilometers I’ve found that knees, combined with Gore-Tex pants, scratches up the decals on the fairing or plastic. The wear could quickly get bad over time. And I also wanted pads on the tank for better grip. Did some search for tank pads but found nothing model specific.

Tank pads on 2023 KTM 890 Adventure

Kawasaki Njna 400 tank pads on the fairing plastic

The aftermarket hasn’t fully caught up yet. I stumbled across some tank pads made for Kawasaki Ninja 400 on AliExpress. They looked like they could do the job. And in my opinion, they did!

Annoying noise, and solution

Ever since I began to take the bike out on gravel and dirt, or riding offroad, I’ve had an intermittent noise issue. A vibration sound that materialized while riding bumpy roads. More when on washboard dirt surface. Then it could get really loud.

If you watch the <1 minute video below it should all become clear.

Took the bike to my dealer a couple of times. They tried different things but the noise did not go away. Then one evening I stumbled across the solution. If you have ever experienced something like I did, whether with this particular bike or another, then perhaps the above video may steer you in the right direction.

The video didn’t help? In the image below I’ve tried to capture the details. Click image to open full size. But before you do…

The top box mounting plate (you need it if you have a top box like this one) is, when you ride on bumpy roads, vibrating against the baggage rack base plate. The rubber seals, there to allow movement, does not prevent the two metal plates from vibrating against each other.

My solution: adding more washers and tightening all the bolts. The picture above only shows two of them. You might have to re-adjust. That happened in my case. I think putting more rubber in-between the two metal plates might be a better approach.


The culprit: top box mounting plate vibrating against baggage rack

Few things is more annoying than nasty sounds or vibrations that does not belong to the normal orchestra of sonic pleasures! 🙂

Past 5000 kilometers: cruise control

As I passed 5.500 kilometers the cruise control conked out. It happened after a wash. Could switch it on and off, but not activate it. Well bummer. However, after around 1 – 1.5 hours it came back automagically. This had me suspect the source of the problem was related to water in the clutch side instrument cluster.

To be absolute certain I took it out for another spin on some gravel and dirt roads. Made it looked so filthy another wash was required. Again, the cruise control died. And again, it came back.

I reported it to my dealer. They told me two other customers had the exact same issue. So a new cluster is ordered and will be replaced under warranty.

Before anyone starts nodding and thinking yeah, KTM, poor quality, I had this happening twice, or three times, with a BMW 1200GSA. Shit happens. And shit is shit regardless of color.

See also: First impressions | At 10 000 kilometers | At 16 000 kilometers


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