Daily Thu 08 November 2018

KTM 790 ADVENTURE R AD YAMAHA T7: the muddiest stars of Milan

There is little or nothing to do: the 790 and the T7 were the most anticipated machines of the show.
The stands of the respective brands were full of people swarming with curiosity: everybody in line to read the technical specs, waiting for their turn to try out the bikes’ ergonomics, to go over their details and finish, and it couldn’t be otherwise!
Our world opens up to a new category, or better, the category of agile motorcycles that aren’t afraid of rocks or a muddy Sunday but that, at the same time, have such performance, ergonomics and aerodynamic protection to be comfortable even on highways, is coming very much back into fashion.
In other words, motorcycles the intended use and limits of which are determined by the type of tires used and not by design constrains.
And it’s from the tires that we start our analysis of what the bikes have in common: both have the 18” rear and 21” front wheels, and it really couldn’t be otherwise; this means that we can use any off-road tire without problems.
Both bikes are equipped with a parallel twin between 700 and 800 cm3 taken from their road cousins.
The features these two bikes - that fill up the niche of agile but not superpowerful small maxienduro - have in common end here!  
Let’s compare their other features:


DESIGN: 2-cylinder parallel twin DOHC, liquid cooled, 4valves, 6 speeds
POWER: 95 hp @ 8000rpm
TORQUE: 73.5 Nm @ 6500rpm

DESIGN: 2-cylinder parallel twin DOHC, liquid cooled, 4 valves per cylinder, 6 speeds
POWER: 75 hp @ 9000rpm
TORQUE: 68 Nm @ 6500rpm

FRAME: tubular CrMo steel frame where the engine acts as a stressed member, increasing stiffness
SUSPENSIONS: front 48 mm WP fork and rear monoshock, both adjustable and with a 240 mm travel
BRAKES: twin 320 mm diameter disc with 4-piston, radially mounted calipers up front, and a rear 260 mm diameter disc with double piston floating caliper
WEIGHT: 189kg in running order but without fuel.

FRAME: tubular CrMo steel frame welded in a modular half-duplex cradle
SUSPENSIONS: front fixed upside-down fork with a travel of 210 mm, rear monoshock on progressive linkage with a 200 mm travel.
BRAKES: a front 282 mm diameter double disc with 2-piston axial mount caliper, and a rear 245 mm diameter single disc
WEIGHT: n.d. (should be about 190 kg)

KTM never disappoints and, as of late, hardly misses a beat with motorcycles, but Kiska’s design is always characterized by taut lines that sometimes divide the audience between lovers and haters, while Yamaha design makes everybody happy.


They are both middleweight bikes, in the sense that they are not premium bikes, the KTM has bigger sisters and the Yamaha has the Ténéré; however, looking at the bikes, the Austrian components seem more valuable - the suspensions or the instrumentation (TFT on KTM) are an example – and this will clearly affect the price that will probably be higher for the KTM.
No official numbers have been disclosed but word is out that the Yamaha will cost about 10.000 euro and the KTM 13.000 euro.
The Yamaha offers a flawless riding position, when standing it is lean for the category, almost anorexic between the legs, and the seat-footpegs-handlebars triangulation makes you dream of the desert horizon, so much so that it is like riding an enduro.
On the other hand, KTM has a much wider seat, certainly more comfortable on long trips but the bike is much bulkier when standing, position that however makes you appreciate the wide and comfortable footrests, they are really well made which confirms that KTM’s details are more finished.
KTM’s instrumentation is state-of-the-art, ultra-bright color display, with countless functions, Yamaha-s is simpler, no frills.
Talking about details again, I wasn’t positively impressed by Yamaha’s tank cap; I know, it’s a detail of minor importance, but it really seems to be very uncomfortable on the T7.

PHOTO ALTERNATE details of YAMAHA-KTM of the same particular es quadroktm and framework yama

Another great difference is the tank, not so much for capacity, which however differs by 20% (the 16 liters of Yamaha against the 20 liters of KTM), but for its position.
Yamaha’s is very nice, completely positioned over the engine, while KTM went for a lateral, very low position as on its “Dakarian” bikes, to maintain a low center of gravity even with a full tank.
Our last words are for suspensions. Besides being adjustable on the KTM, the greater difference is the length of the travel, the 200 mm of the Yamaha against the 240 mm of the Austrian bike.
Offroad riders know how important long, good quality suspensions are, the 40 mm shorter suspensions of Yamaha are probably required to keep the seat at an acceptable height, fighting against the engine of the MT07 that has a very vertical development and is not dry sumped; this could be solved with a more specialized version that would offer the missing millimeters, but nothing was said about this hypothesis at the 3-diapason’ stand.

In the end, we can say that two bikes of the same category, with practically the same engine and intended use, couldn’t be more different.
What we liked of the Austrian bike is the attention to details and its technical specifications that show its vocation for offroad; on the other hand, the Japanese bike features beautiful fairings and design and fabulous ergonomics, a quality you either have or you don’t, no aftermarket component will help you to obtain it.
In any case, motorcycles aren’t only numbers, they must be field tested, in so far as they rest on their kickstand their specs are only good for drinks conversation. Given these differences that balance the contest, we can’t wait to muddy up both, but, again, differences: the KTM will be available beginning of next year, the Yamaha only after next summer in Europe while the States will have to wait for 2020.

Text and photo of: Dario Lupini

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