KTM 690 Enduro R: Rider Review
The KTM 690 Enduro R is one of the only mid-sized bikes around with enough power to cruise on highways while remaining nimble in an off-road environment. But how well does this advanced single-cylinder machine stack up in the hands of a couple of adventure die-hards? That’s why we asked these three riders why they enjoy getting out on a KTM 690 Enduro R.
Mark (Wasca) Wass – KTM 690 Enduro R Owner
“The KTM 690 Enduro R is an adventure bike that has truly fueled my enthusiasm to get out there and ride with more confidence. I find myself looking for the slightly harder line on those more challenging tracks just to see how the bike and I will handle it. With each ride, I’m growing in skill and ability and I feel the 690 has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and become a more confident rider.
The 690 does this in many ways, it’s a big-bore bike with a skinny-bike feel. The very low centre of gravity design brings a lightness to its handling. The 690’s brakes are smooth and powerful, having the ABS braking on the front tyre gives you greater confidence that you’re not going to have the front end come out from under you in the skatey stuff.
I really enjoy Adventure Riding and have previously owned a KLR 650 and a DRZ 400. I purchased the 690 because I wanted a bike that was more comfortable doing the longer transport sections and still has the agility and power I wanted when having a little fun on the rougher tracks and single trails. The WP Suspension has been brilliant. I’m riding the 690 on the harder trails soaking up the ruts, stones and woo-boys (erosion mounds) with more aggressiveness than when I was riding the DRZ.
The KTM 690 truly does have a built-in grin factor. When you turn that fly-by-wire throttle and it lights up, hold on! Because you’re in for a pleasant surprise. I’m very happy with my decision to own a KTM 690, it’s really matched my riding style and ability with plenty of room to grow. Beware the orange fever…it’s real”
Sprocket – Enduro Legend & KTM Rallye Support Crew
“After doing 26 4-Day Enduro’s (with number 27 next year!) – I still love my enduro riding, but I prefer the bigger adventure trips these days. But with my roots from enduro riding, I love the smaller adventure bike, so riding the 690 Enduro R on the last two Rallye events has been fantastic. I love that bike!
I can get myself out of any situation I get into, which is important when you are part of the support crew on an event, but you can still do what the big bikes do. You can scoot along the fire trails and the highway no worries. But you can also do anything that an EXC can – but still do the big kms of an adventure ride and spend all day on the bike and have a blast.
Like on this years Rallye, I had one day where I left at 6 am and didn’t get back in until 8.30pm that night, but had an absolute ball all day.
It’s got the versatility to put a big tank on and you can go anywhere. You want single-track, no problem. 100+km on the highway, no problem.
It’s a real all-rounder. Single trail, forest trails, highways. Plus they just keep going! Some blokes out there and have 120,000 kms on them.”
Rosie Lalonde – KTM Australia Events Coordinator
“I pretty much have the best job in the world — sorry to rub it in, but it’s true! I get to recce the adventure events that we host, which means long days in the saddle testing tracks and location scouting. The reality is somewhat different from the rose-coloured portrayal on Facebook or Instagram, as it’s fairly common to spend 9 or 10 hours on the bike and if we don’t arrive after dark at least three times on a recce, we aren’t doing our job properly.
Plus, whenever we do these recce rides I’m generally attempting to keep up with people like Jeff Leisk, Chris Birch or Nick Selleck – which is slightly stressful! It means I need a bike I can trust and rely on to get me through any terrain, without assistance from anyone else. And that’s where the 690 shines.
I can pick it up myself, I can get through most any tracks (Nick has had to push my bike out of a boggy creek once – but that was after we pulled him out of one earlier!), and I’m not stressed about keeping up because I know I can get through most anything without having to rely on the guys to look after me.
It is a massive relief to know the trusty 690 and I can fend for ourselves, as the last thing I want to be is a burden on a recce ride. I am very conscious of holding my own and pulling my own weight – and the 690 makes that possible. With the addition of a few key KTM PowerParts, an Akropovic slip-on for a bit more torque down low (and that sweet sound), Rallye pegs (which every adventure bike should have) and a windscreen. The 690 and I are ready to tackle whatever is thrown at us.”
So now you’ve read what some real riders think of the KTM 690 Enduro R, it might be time to make up your own mind on this sensational little adventure weapon.