Most bikes are great these days. They’re just great in different ways.

I’d just been riding a Triumph Speed Triple, and the riding position of the KTM 790 Adventure couldn’t have been more different – sporty and compact on the Triumph, and on the KTM that typical big, upright king-of-the-road feeling.

After I’d finished feeling like a king of the road, since I was still in the car park at the dealers, I did a bit of admiring the splendid mirrors and the TFT dash.

Sadly, the latter had obviously been designed by someone who was colourblind, with the orange tacho display clashing disturbingly with the yellow low-fuel warning light.

Adrenaline rush: Taking the 790 Adventure off-road
Adrenaline rush: Taking the 790 Adventure off-road

Apart from that, it’s very cleverly designed, with the fuel and temperature gauges snuggling up against each other like two loved-up centipedes.

Right, time to ride, and as I’ve said before, possibly ad nauseum, it’s always a good sign of a bike when you’re going faster than you think you are, and at one stage I thought I was proceeding at a gentlemanly pace, only to look down and see to my horror that I was doing 88mph.

Thankfully, Belfast city centre’s usually pretty quiet at that time of day.

Capable: 790 Adventure on the road
Capable: 790 Adventure on the road

Sadly, at this stage a large bug proceeding the other way decided to end it all on my visor, leaving a bilious green blob which, combined with the orange and yellow on the dash made me feel like the national flag of Bolivia.

I didn’t know whether to wave myself, have a revolution or give asylum to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but in the end I decided to fill up with fuel and clean my visor while I was at it, thus removing the yellow and green from the equation.

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Which brings me to the subject of the 20-litre fuel tank, which gives a useful range of about 250 miles and is rather cleverly draped either side of the engine like a pair of panniers to lower the mass, which combined with the light overall weight of the bike at 209kg, makes it fabulously frisky.

And that’s even with the 21in front wheel, which is almost compulsory for off-road use, with only the lightest of touches on those wide bars needed to fling it into corners like a greyhound chasing a rabbit.

Versatile: 790 Adventure on tour
Versatile: 790 Adventure on tour

So far, so KTM, and combine that light weight with the most powerful parallel twin on the planet, a snarling, gnarly, raucous beast with a 285-degree firing interval to mimic a V-twin, and the result is a hoot of unfettered acceleration, muscular but progressive braking, and plush suspension which means you can go hell for leather over rough roads as well as smooth, with the safety blanket of lean-sensitive traction control to stop you making a fool of yourself powering out of corners.

Only minor negative is quite a bit of wind blast over the screen for taller riders, so it’s certainly not a bike for all day on the autobahn, but then that’s not what it’s designed for.

Nor is it as good looking as the Honda Africa Twin or as smooth as the Triumph Tiger 800, but for visceral, engaging fun, it’s hard to beat KTMs in general, and this one in particular.

• Test bike supplied by Phillip McCallen Motorcycles www.phillipmccallen.com/

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KTM 790 Adventure in orange
KTM 790 Adventure in orange

The Facts

Price: £11,099

Engine: 799cc parallel twin

Power: 94bhp @ 8,000rpm

Torque: 66 lb ft @ 6,600rpm

Colours: Orange/white; white/black/orange

Andy’s handy

My next big trip, if I ever get around to it, will be Delhi to Belfast on a Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, recreating the journey Paddy Minne and I did in 1998 on Enfield Bullet 500s.

No better man, then, to check out route options and logistics with than Andy Davidson, former extremely talented MCN writer and all-round good bloke, who quit his job to ride around the world with girlfriend Alissa.

If you’re planning a similar journey, or just want to read some great writing, his really useful website is www.madornomad.com/

Road to recovery

Haven’t read a map since sat navs arrived? Brain seized as a result?

Fear not, for help is here in the shape of The AA British Road Map Puzzle Book by Helen Brocklehurst, guaranteed to drive your mind around the bend with 400 questions to test your map-reading, general knowledge and problem-solving.

Not to mention a fascinating history of driving in the UK. I’ve particular reason to remember seat belts being made compulsory in 1983, when I got my first car, a Triumph Spitfire, and promptly rolled it twice after the engine blew up at full speed.

Had I not been wearing my seat belt, I wouldn’t be here today.

The book’s £14.99, out now.

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