Riders who enjoy exploring the most deserted areas on earth are offered an extremely capable KTM adventure motorcycle that will complete with all of their riding needs thanks to its low weight, long travel suspension and versatile chassis. Getting out of trouble is no problem for the 640 Adventure Traveller’s Edition as it features the LC4 engine.
Inspired on the much bigger, Paris-Dakar winning motorcycle (KTM 990 Adventure), the 640 Dual Sport motorcycle presented by KTM retains only the good features such as versatility, agility, power and gets reed of the unnecessarily weight and size, resulting in an easy to ride all around motorcycle with plenty of power coming from the LC4 single-cylinder engine which proved successful on many KTM models (the Duke, SMC, LC4).
Even though this motorcycle was introduced more than ten years ago, it is not associated with great revamps that would result in an impressive history page. First introduced in 1997, the 620 Adventure (at that time) was quite a desired bike despite the fact that it vibrated quite powerfully, clutch cables used to snap and the spoked wheels were more on the soft side. It was a fun bike to ride on virtually any kinds of roads and for many riders that’s pretty much all the required.
1998 model year brought the 625cc engine which was kept basically the same all this time and guess what? 2008 doesn’t change these numbers either. Riders are offered the so called “Traveller’s Edition” which brings the advantage of great carrying capacity for those long incursions into the hearts of the world’s deserts.
2007 BMW F 650 GS
No matter what changes the 640 Adventure would have undergone, it simply wouldn’t be better than the BMW F 650 GS. Strong competitors from the very beginning, these two are practically standards for the class as their single-cylinder engines are the strongest-pulling (BMW has the “non-vibrating” advantage on its side), their chassis are agile, and their suspensions ready for the roughest terrain.
BMW designed the 652cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder for incredible performance both on and off the road, making it one of the most beloved dual purpose motorcycles of all times. The bike’s design is also more attractive and the seats are incomparable as the KTM seems to be a fan of motocross, while BMW of touring.
2007 Honda XR650
Things look pretty simple and sorted out between those two, but what about the Honda XR650R? The dual purpose recipe was kept unchanged here also, so we’re expecting a lot of riders to head towards Honda. Tough looking, reliable and excellent performing, the 649cc liquid-cooled dry-sump single-cylinder four-stroke engine is definitely the best in its class, but when it comes to comfort and the long haul, Honda tends to raise its shoulders. Performance was prior when creating the XR. You will also find the Suzuki DR650SE and the Kawasaki KLR650 in the same class, but Japanese motorcycles always seem to compete in a class of their own.
2008 KTM 640 Adventure Traveller’s Edition
Designing the 640 Adventure Traveller’s Edition, KTM people intended to obtain a smaller version of the 990 Adventure, so it is obvious why we’re facing a ready-to-go-anywhere looking machine.
KTM is a Dakar master so when it comes to Dual Sport machines the fairing and two small headlights are a must. Aerodynamic looking and ready for the long haul, the Traveller’s Edition is one uniquely styled bike. The color is, of course, KTM orange.
Like a true desert machine, the 640 features a bigger front wheel (21”) for easy dealing with the bumps and the rear wheel (18”) is there to provide tractable power in any situations. The rims are black so that they would create a nice contrast fairing’s color. So is the seat.
During the time I’ve ridden KTM’s 640 Adventure I saw a new face of motorcycling and I sure loved it. Attraction immediately came as I jumped onto its seat and fired up the four-stroke 625cc single-cylinder motor. The riding position is perfect for medium sized persons, just like me, and the exhaust note is deep, making the rider well aware of where the rpm level is all the time.
Putting the bike into first gear doesn’t involve any fatigue and the clutch feel is firm and precise. Having ridden KTM bikes fitted with the same engine, I was now expecting a quick go coming from the single-cylinder, but I must say that throttle response, although immediate, was tuned towards trail riding so it is a bit smoother and reassuring.
The engine is enough powerful for almost anything that the off-road will require: climbing steep hills, passing through rivers, and spreading dirt. You name it and the 52 horses at 7000 rpm will deal with, problems excluded. It will also be the result of a torquey engine (55 Nm at 5500 rpm) which provides all of the tractable power that gets you out of trouble and very often impresses your buddies. I had no problems taking the 640 Adventure in deep mud and then wash it as I passed the river (my feet were already wet and the boots needed to be cleaned anyway, so what better method?).
Also out on the trails I managed to get the front wheel off the ground by suddenly twisting the throttle and it was quite a pleasure to do this as the terrain ahead presented many step-like bumps. Impressive pull saves the day!
But this type of exploitation also requires good-performing suspensions and the WP front and rear units are more than suitable for the job. I did not manage to reach the fork’s bottom end more than two times and that happened while landing from an ambitious and optimistic jump above a thick log.
The front brake played a trick on me (or I may have played a trick on the front brake) on wet grass surface, determining the front wheel to slip and the rider to taste some muddy grass. It is more of a talent thing than efficiency as you have to calculate how much to pull the lever, taking in consideration the fork compression and the grip of the surface you’re on. I guess that this is why I’ve never seen an off-road rider with no broken bones. On normal, street use, the performance Brembo brakes which apply their pistons on two 300mm discs up front and a single 220mm disc at the rear prove very efficient and confident-inspiring. I preferred using both brakes because I didn’t wanted to taste the asphalt (I reckon that this ride report would have been published pretty late). Even so, it is steady and confident under powerful braking.
I’ve taken the bike down the freeway and up to 80mph so I would get a feel of those harsh vibrations that tend to make customers avoid it and I must say that evolution has clearly said its word and even though present through the handlebars and footpegs, the vibration levels are acceptable and easy to live with. Would you preferred the engine’s grunt to fade away concomitant to the rpm increase? I don’t think so.
A wonderful mix of power, versatility and fun is what makes the 640 Adventure Traveller’s Edition a true blast each time you ride it. Prepared for the long run on and especially off the road, the bike is a true representation of KTM’s dedication on delivering the best performing and one of the most agile all-around motorcycles on the market today.