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EIMCA Mid-Size ADV Battle

With KTM officially hinting via Instagram that they will unveil the full production version of the hotly anticipated 790 Adventure, and Yamaha hot on their heels with the Tenere 700 - which bike will be the one to have based on what we already know?

KTM have been promising the 790 Adventure for almost as long as the bLU cRU at Yamaha, but have been much more open with the development of their bike. New Zealand's own Chris Birch - himself a KTM Adventure Ambassador - has ridden the 790 Adventure while participating in one of the brand's many Adventure Rallies around the globe and was hot with his praise.

"The #KTM790AdventureR just wants to play, its like a dog with a stick" Birch posted on his Instagram feed.

The KTM shares its engine with the recently released 790 Duke, the 799cc LC8c parallel twin. The engine is a wicked bit of kit, producing plenty of power with a great spread of torque. While KTM will likely have altered the mapping to make it more adventure friendly, the bike will still be incredibly well equipped to pop its front wheel at will.

In fact, we know far more about the KTM than we do the Yamaha. For instance, we know that the KTM - true to the tradition set down by the 990 of old - keeps its fuel down low on the bike instead of atop the backbone.

Lighting as per the current KTM range is provided via LED while instrumentation is a crystal clear TFT dash unit.

The Yamaha on the other hand has had a much more secretive development phase.

While the company recently unveiled an essentially production ready prototype and toured it around the world at the Tenere 700 World Raid, not as much is known about the bike's ability beyond the fact it utilises the same engine as the venerable MT07.

The MT07's engine is already a fantastic base for an adventure bike, with its rich torque spread and decent top end punch. From our understanding from talking to Yamaha Motor New Zealand's National Manager, Alan Petrie, Yamaha had to go back to the drawing board after feedback from potential customers.

Petrie stated that the original prototype was more of a soft-roader, and after news of the then specs reached our mates over the ditch hell was raised at Yamaha HQ to ensure that the bike will compete with the KTM and the established mid-sized adventure competition.

Apart from setting the bike off around the world on the Yamaha Tenere 700 World Raid and putting it in the hands of a smattering of brand ambassadors, we haven't been given as much info on the new Tenere. We have seen that it is certainly capable, and it looks the ducks nuts as well which will definitely be a plus.

So which bike will be the one for Kiwis?

Well, both bikes will likely be similarly priced, or at least we can assume so based on other offerings in the segment. Both also feature parallel twin engines, with the larger KTM heart likely to pull riders to the orange side of the equation.

The ultimate factor as to which will be the one to gain the most attention downunder will be the final spec. Adventure riders don't want a heavy behemoth with soft suspension, so the facts when they are released will ultimately dictate which is the superior machine.

We'll keep you posted as soon as announcements are made at the EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan on Tuesday.


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