KTM 390 Adventure vs Honda CB500X: A Detailed Comparison for the Ultimate Riding Experience

If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast just like us, deciding between the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X is no easy feat. Both models are towering in the market, boasting of exceptional features, promising powerful performance, and providing unforgettable experiences.

On one hand, KTM 390 Adventure, a zippy off-roader, comes packed with state-of-the-art technology that caters to the desires of thrill-seekers. While on the other, Honda CB500X, a reliable adventure tourer, carries a reputation of dependability and comfort. Let’s dive deeper into these motorcycles and uncover which one might be the perfect road companion for you.

Unleashing the Adventure Spirit

In the world of adventure motorcycles, two models often stand head-to-head – the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X. Both bikes, with their distinct characteristics and capabilities, tease the adventure spirit in every rider. Let’s delve into a comparative analysis of these two superb machines to help you decide which one could be your perfect adventure companion. 

Power and Performance

When it comes to power, the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X have their own stories to tell. While the KTM features a 373cc single-cylinder engine that churns out 43 horsepower, the Honda houses a larger 471cc parallel-twin engine that delivers 49.6 horsepower. The CB500X’s twin-cylinder engine promises a smoother ride compared to KTM’s single-cylinder. Yet, many riders vouch for the KTM’s higher revving engine which delivers raw power and thrill. 

Ride and Handling 

The KTM 390 Adventure has a more focused off-road setup with WP Apex suspension, providing a smooth yet firm ride. On the other hand, the Honda CB500X opts for a softer and more balanced set-up, aiming for an all-round, day-to-day experience. Honda takes the lead on tarmac with its better street-riding ergonomics, while KTM shines when the path gets touchy. 


Both adventure bikes have a range of features to enhance riding comfort and safety. The KTM 390 Adventure offers a full-TFT display, ride-by-wire technology, and switchable ABS. Whereas the Honda CB500X comes with a negative LCD display, dual-channel ABS and programmed fuel injection. The KTM excels in modern features and tech, but Honda’s focus is more on durable and reliable functionality. 

Value for Money

Neither of these bikes will make your wallet weep, but the KTM 390 Adventure usually comes in at a lower price point than the Honda CB500X. However, the larger engine and added comfort it offers for long rides make the price reasonable.

In conclusion, your choice largely depends on your personal riding style and preferences. For thrill-seekers who prioritize off-road prowess, the KTM 390 Adventure would be more appealing. However, if you value a balance of performance and comfort, the Honda CB500X might be the perfect companion for you.

Design and Styling: Exuding Individuality and Performance

Diving into the design and styling of two of the industry’s most competitive adventure bikes, the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X, brings to light their unique features and the distinct identity they bring to the table. Let’s take a closer look at each of these flamboyant machines to appreciate their individual aesthetics and performance-oriented design.

KTM 390 Adventure: A Blend of Aggression and Functionality 

The KTM 390 Adventure, true to its Austrian lineage, boasts a distinctive bold look with its sharp, angular lines and LED lights. The racy colors and graphics enhance the aggressive character of the bike, while the tall windscreen and the robust skid plate underscore its adventure-ready ethos. The digital dashboard provides all necessary information at a glance. 

  • Sharp, striking bodywork
  • Racing colors and graphics
  • Tall windscreen for improved protection
  • Digital dashboard for easy information access

Honda CB500X: An Epitome of Elegance and Practicality 

The Honda CB500X’s sleek design and refined curves clearly set it apart, adding an element of sophistication. The twin LED headlights and the sculpted fuel tank enhance its sporty feel. It also offers a more comfortable riding stance, making it suitable for long journies. The LCD instrument panel is practical and easy to read. 

  • Sophisticated, streamlined bodywork
  • Twin LED headlights and sculpted fuel-tank for a sporty feel
  • Comfortable riding position optimal for touring
  • Practical LCD instrument panel

Also Read:

Engine Performance: Powering Through the Unknown

Digging deep into the engine performance, it’s crucial to internalize how these motorcycles power through the unknown. The adventure spirits of both KTM 390 and Honda CB500X are fueled by their raw power and performance, offering more than mere transportation. Let’s dissect their engine capabilities. 

KTM 390 Adventure: Unstoppable Thrill 

The KTM 390 Adventure’s heart beats with a 373.2cc, single-cylinder engine. Ensuring maximum thrill, this beast delivers a power of 44 PS at 9000 rpm and a torque of 37 Nm at 7000 rpm. With its fuel injection and liquid cooling, the engine promises responsive performance, making every ride an adventure.

  • Engine: 373.2cc, single-cylinder
  • Power: 44 PS at 9000 rpm
  • Torque: 37 Nm at 7000 rpm
  • Additional features: Fuel injection, liquid cooling

Honda CB500X: Unmatched Reliability 

A 471cc parallel-twin engine powers the Honda CB500X, on the other hand. Shining in the realm of reliability, it radiates 47.5 PS at 8500 rpm and 43 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm. Enhanced with PGM-FI technology and liquid cooling, this motorcycle offers smooth power delivery and superior fuel efficiency

  • Engine: 471cc, parallel-twin
  • Power: 47.5 PS at 8500 rpm
  • Torque: 43 Nm at 6500 rpm
  • Additional features: PGM-FI technology, liquid cooling

Off-Road Capability: Conquering the Great Outdoors

When it comes to off-road capability, both the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X each have their distinct advantages. But how do these play out on the terrain, beyond the confines of city roads? Let’s delve into the off-road prowess of these adventure motorcycles.

KTM 390 Adventure: Off-Roading Beast 

The KTM 390 Adventure boasts an impressive off-road capability that simply eclipses most in its class. Thanks to its sophisticated suspension and lightweight chassis, this bike makes taming rugged terrain feel like a breeze. 

  • The responsive WP APEX suspension absorbs shocks and bumps with aplomb, ensuring rider comfort even on the roughest trails.
  • The bike’s lightweight construction contributes to its nimbleness and agility, making maneuvering through tricky trails less cumbersome.
  • KTM’s off-road ABS, a standard feature, offers more control and ensures safety on loose and slippery surfaces.

Honda CB500X: Unyielding and Reliable 

In contrast to the aggressive KTM, the Honda CB500X displays a gentler approach to off-roading. It is designed for extended journeys on varied terrain, highlighting reliability without compromising on performance. 

  • The long-travel suspension of the Honda CB500X allows excellent terrain absorption, offering a smooth ride on both highways and off-road trails.
  • The bike features rugged bodywork and tyres designed for both on and off-road adventures, ensuring consistent performance wherever you choose to ride.
  • Honda’s switchable ABS allows riders to disengage the rear ABS when off-roading, allowing for more adventurous, controlled slides on loose terrain.

On-Road Comfort: Cruising with Ease

Riding on the open road is a sensory experience, and the comfort aspect makes a significant difference. Two models that strike the right balance between performance and comfort are the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X. Let’s get into the details. 

Ergonomics and Seat Comfort 

The KTM 390 seats are designed to supply you, the rider, with maximum comfort during long rides. Pair this with an ergonomically designed handlebar, and it becomes an adventure motorbike that allows you to cover miles without feeling the strain. On the other hand, the Honda CB500X is renowned for its broad and well-cushioned seat which provides superior comfort during lengthy rides. Both bikes, therefore, cater to the needs of those keen on long expeditions. 

Suspension System 

A unique feature that sets the KTM 390 Adventure apart is its advanced suspension system. Not only does it offer optimal support on off-road terrains, but it equally ensures a smooth and comfortable ride on paved roads. In comparison, the Honda CB500X comes equipped with a pre-load adjustable suspension. This feature makes it possible for you to tailor the ride quality to your personal preference, ensuring each ride feels custom-made just for you. 

Wind Protection 

If you’re planning extensive highway trips, the aerodynamic design of the KTM 390 Adventure provides excellent protection against wind blasts and buffeting. Simultaneously, the Honda CB500X incorporates a windscreen that can be adjusted to your preferences, minimising wind resistance and making long rides more comfortable.

Both these bikes are committed to ensuring a comfortable, enjoyable ride. Whether you choose the KTM 390 Adventure or the Honda CB500X, you’re bound to have a comfortable experience on the road.

On-Road Comfort: Cruising with Ease

When it comes to on-road comfort, both the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X show unique features that offer their riders a smooth and hassle-free journey. The comfort while cruising depends largely on factors like ergonomics, seat comfort, the suspension system, and wind protection. Let’s break these down and evaluate them one by one.


Ergonomics plays a vital role in determining a bike’s on-road comfort. The KTM 390 Adventure capitalizes on an ergonomic design that maximizes comfort during long rides. The well-placed handlebars and footpegs, coupled with a comfortable riding position, contribute towards a fatigue-free ride. On the other hand, the Honda CB500X provides a relaxed and upright riding position, thanks to its broad handlebars and centrally located footpegs. It makes for less strain on the back and arms, making it a comfortable choice for city and highway rides alike. 

Seat Comfort 

The seat comfort should be top-notch to ensure a smooth on-road experience. The KTM 390 Adventure comes with a reasonably comfortable seat, offering enough cushioning for the rider and pillion. However, it is slightly on the tougher side, which aids in off-road control. The Honda CB500X sports a broad and plush seat. It provides exceptional comfort, noticeably superior when it comes to long rides and touring. 

Suspension System 

An effective suspension system is essential for a bump-free ride. The KTM 390 Adventure is equipped with WP Apex suspension at both ends, which does an excellent job absorbing shocks, offering a comfortable ride across different terrains. Comparatively, the Honda CB500X features Showa suspension that ensures a plush ride quality by ironing out potholes and undulations effortlessly. 

Wind Protection 

Wind protection plays a crucial role in maintaining a rider’s comfort during high-speed runs or long-distance tours. The KTM 390 Adventure boasts a manually adjustable screen that aids tremendously in wind deflection. In contrast, the Honda CB500X features a tall windscreen which doesn’t just look great but performs flawlessly in minimizing wind blast, offering a relaxed ride at high speeds

Handling and Maneuverability: Taming the Terrain

When it comes to maneuverability on every kind of terrain, both the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X offer an exciting mix of precision and performance. The capability to handle the elements and conquer diverse landscapes is critical in any adventure motorcycle, and both of these models have unique propositions to ensure a smooth but thrilling ride. Let’s take a deeper dive into how they fare in this department. 

KTM 390 Adventure: Agility Meets Toughness 

A key feature of the KTM 390 Adventure’s handling is its lightweight construction. This characteristic makes the bike agile and nimble, which significantly improves confidence, especially on tricky terrains. Additionally, the variety of electronic rider aids significantly enhance the control and overall handling experience, contributing to a more enjoyable ride. 

  • The off-road ABS allows you to maneuver the rough terrains without worry.
  • The Quickshifter+ guarantees smooth gear changes without having to worry about clutch control.
  • Finally, the Cornering ABS feature enhances handling by preventing front wheel lock-up during abrupt braking.

Honda CB500X: Stability and Control 

Stability is the cornerstone of the Honda CB500X’s performance. The longer wheelbase and taller suspension of the bike offer excellent control, allowing riders to conquer any terrain with ease. In addition to its effortless maneuverability, the CB500X also provides a range of features designed to improve the handling experience even further. 

  • The slipper clutch ensures swift and stable gear changes, reducing engine braking, and adding to the bike’s overall control.
  • This bike keeps stability paramount with its 19-inch front wheel which enhances control during off-roading.
  • The Pro-Link rear suspension system helps in maintaining solid footing on uneven grounds, making the ride more comfortable and less tiring.

Technology and Features: Enhancing the Riding Experience

When it comes to technology and features, both the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X excel, offering a suite of advanced accessories and tech elements designed to enhance the overall riding experience. Highlighting the critical traits of each motorcycle, we will delve into their unique offerings and the impact they bring to every adventure. 

Instrumentation: Giving You the Details 

The KTM 390 Adventure is crowned with an all-digital multi-information display that provides comprehensive ride data at a glance. From speed and tripmeter readings to real-time fuel efficiency, its fully loaded console keeps you informed. On the other hand, the CB500X features an equally insightful display, providing a balanced blend of digital and analog elements, ensuring accessibility and visual appeal. 

Security Features: Protecting Your Ride 

When it comes to security, the KTM 390 Adventure boasts an immobilizer to deter theft, ensuring your ride stays where you left it. The Honda CB500 has its own line of defense in the form of a unique ignition security system, creating an additional layer of protection for your investment. 

Lighting System: Illuminating Your path 

Both bikes shine in their lighting system, with the KTM utilizing LED lights for both the headlight and tail light, resulting in better visibility during nighttime rides. The Honda CB500X employs equally efficient LED headlamps, ensuring you can confidently navigate your path, regardless of the lighting conditions. 

Additional Features: Making Every Ride Special 

The KTM 390 Adventure scores some extra points with its riding modes, allowing riders to customize their riding experience. On the flip side, the Honda CB500X comes with a taller windscreen that enhances wind protection, making long-distance travels more comfortable.

Safety Features: Protecting Riders on Every Journey

Tucked within these robust motorcycles, the KTM 390 Adventure and Honda CB500X, are innovative safety features designed to protect riders on every journey. While both offer superior protection, each has its unique blend of safety components that allow bikers to venture on thrilling rides with confidence. Let’s delve into each of these motorbikes’ safety features. 

KTM 390 Adventure: Pioneering Safety 

The KTM 390 Adventure integrates cutting-edge safety technology that ensures a secured and efficient ride. Amongst its commendable safety features, it has: 

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System): An advanced ABS system is integrated to prevent wheel lock-up during emergency braking, thereby enhancing the motorcycle’s steering control when brakes are significantly engaged.
  • Motor Slip Regulation (MSR): This mechanism counteracts the dragging torque in case of abrupt throttle off situations, significantly preventing unsettling rear wheel instability or uncertain bike behavior.
  • Traction Control: The bike is armed with traction control technology to maintain stability during high-speed or sporty riding scenarios.

Honda CB500X: Safeguarding Every Mile 

The Honda CB500X doesn’t trail behind when it comes to rider safety, with a host of essential safety features. These include: 

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System): Similar to the KTM, the Honda CB500X is fitted with an Anti-lock Brake System which prevents potential wheel lock during a sudden halt or slippery conditions.
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS): This innovative feature quickly engages the hazard lights in the event of hard braking, alerting vehicles behind the rider and helping avoid collisions.
  • G-Meter: An additional safety feature, the G-Meter helps riders manage and reassess their riding by displaying real-time ‘G-Force’ values on the dash.

Pricing and Value: Making the Right Investment

When it comes to the value proposition of the KTM 390 Adventure and Honda CB500X, both motorcycles present a compelling case. However, factors such as initial pricing, cost of ownership, performance, and heaps of rider-friendly tech play a significant role. Allow me to peel back the layers and reveal why you might lean more towards one choice over the other. 

Initial Pricing 

The KTM 390 Adventure and Honda CB500X are premium adventure touring bikes, and their sticker price certainly reflects that. The KTM is typically more affordable than the Honda, making it an attractive option for those on a tighter budget or those new to adventure touring. That’s not to say the Honda isn’t worth its higher cost – the CB500X packs a powerful engine and top-notch equipment that justifies its premium pricing. 

Cost of Ownership 

While the initial investment is essential, the long-term cost of ownership can make or break the value proposition of a motorcycle. The Honda CB500X’s reputable durability and Honda’s network of service centers endorse its higher maintenance cost. On the other side of the coin, the KTM 390 Adventure, with its easy-to-maintain design, offers lower servicing and parts replacement costs, significantly lowering the overall cost of ownership. 

Performance for the Price 

Performance wise, both offer thrilling rides for their price points. The KTM 390 Adventure provides punchy power that’s perfect for off-road enthusiasts looking for a light, nimble adventure tourer. Meanwhile, Honda’s CB500X, with its torquey engine and well-damped suspension, makes it ideal for both on-road cruising and off-road exploits, justifying its higher price point. 

Technology and Equipment 

One can’t rule out the importance of modern technologies and equipment when analysing value. Both the KTM 390 and the Honda CB500X offer significant tech—be it the full-color TFT instrument panel on the KTM or Honda’s advanced Dual Clutch Transmission. However, in terms of the sheer amount of tech and features, KTM tends to pack in a punch, which enhances its value proposition for tech-savvy riders. 

Conclusion: Choosing the Perfect Adventure Companion

Deciphering between the KTM 390 Adventure and the Honda CB500X can pose quite a challenge as both motorcycles manifest distinct characteristics that make them worthy contenders. Selecting the right motorcycle essentially boils down to merging your adventuring aspirations with the ideal blend of performance, comfort, and affordability. Herein is a deeper dissection of the attributes to consider. 

Understanding your Riding Style 

Appreciate your riding style before diving into a decision. If you have a flair for aggressive riding, desiring more power and speed, the KTM 390 Adventure could be your perfect match. It’s potent, and dynamic nature suits the adventurous rider who isn’t afraid to tackle the challenging terrains. However, if your approach to riding is more controlled and relaxed, preferring stability over speed, the Honda CB500X is a fitting choice with its reposed power delivery and exceptional handling. 

Sit and Fit 

Weighing the ergonomics and seating comfort is vital. Both motorcycles are designed for long-hour rides and challenging terrains, but you need to consider your body size, height, and personal comfort preferences. Check out the seat quality, handlebars setup, and ground reach. Trials are an excellent way to ensure you’re investing in a motorcycle that aligns with your physical comfort needs. 

Essential Extras 

Don’t overlook the auxiliary components that can greatly enhance your riding experience. Scrutinize the quality and functionality of the lighting, safety, and instrumentation units. The addition of premium quality features, even if they spike up the initial investment, can hugely pay off in terms of ride quality, convenience, and safety. 

Costs and Resale Value 

The financial aspect is a crucial factor in your decision – it’s not just about the upfront cost, but also the long-term cost of maintenance, servicing, and parts replacement. Consider also the bike’s resale value to ensure a smarter, financially conscious decision. 

In the end, remember that the perfect adventure companion is the one that enhances your riding experience while catering to your unique biking needs and style. Whether your heart is set on the KTM 390 Adventure with its exhilarating power and off-road prowess or the Honda CB500X with its remarkable stability and refined functionality, ensure your chosen ride truly resonates with your spirit of adventure.