KTM 690 Duke R riding impression
KTM 690 Duke R – the best single-cylinder, 70bhp bike in the world.
Fitted with a single-cylinder 690cc engine that pumps out 70 horsepower, the 690 Duke R isn’t exactly the most glamorous motorcycle in the KTM line-up, but it could well be one of the most fun-to-ride bikes anywhere. With its light weight (148kg dry), high-spec suspension and slick six-speed gearbox, the little KTM is lean, lithe and sporty. Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to test the bike and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the baby KTM:
The first KTM Duke 620 was launched back in 1994, primarily to meet the demand for such a bike in France, where some riders had already started to convert their motocross bikes into supermotards. The first Duke was one of the best performing bikes in its class, something which still holds true today for the latest 690 Duke.
With the 1999 Duke II, the 2008 690 Duke and the 2010 690 Duke R, the bike has become increasingly capable on the street and the newest model also looks strikingly beautiful. KTM uses a somewhat similar recipe with all its ‘R’ models – a slight increase in engine performance, uprated brake and suspension components and, of course, that black-white-and-orange paintjob.
On the twisty Alpine roads on the outskirts of Nice, in France, the 690 Duke R immediately feels very light and easy to ride. And it’s not just very agile – it’s also very stable. With its stiff steel tube trellis frame, cast aluminium swingarm and uprated front fork, the Duke R stays quite planted even at its top speed of around 200km/h.
On bumpy roads with small patches of snow and ice, the Duke R doesn’t lose its composure even at higher speeds. The brakes, too, work very well – the single 320mm disc with Brembo radial-mount four-piston callipers at the front, and 240mm rear disc offer so much stopping power that you actually need some time to get used to these brakes .
The bike is comfortable to ride and the wide handlebars give you a lot of space to move around. If it weren’t for the lack of wind protection, you could actually use this bike for long distance trips.
For the Duke R, KTM have increased the displacement of their single-cylinder engine from 654cc to 690cc and power output has gone up from 65bhp to 70bhp. And yes, you can feel the difference – the new bike feels more responsive than the basic 690 Duke. There’s still not much power up to 2,000rpm but things are perfect once you cross that figure.
The engine feels stronger and more rev-happy than you’d expect a single-cylinder engine to be, and it doesn’t vibrate much either. Honestly, you just can’t ask more of a machine with a 690cc single-cylinder engine!
The 690 Duke R costs 8,890 euros (a mere 300 euros more than the standard 690 Duke) and will be available in March 2010.
2010 KTM 690 Duke R: Tech Specs
Engine: Fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 690cc
Suspension: 48mm USD fork, monoshock, both three-way adjustable
Brakes: Single 320mm disc with four-piston radial-mount callipers (front), 240mm rear disc
Tyres: 120/70-17 (front), 160/60-17 (rear)
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