The name KTM and model name Duke simply don’t go well together without the ‘690’ deduction from cylinder capacity so in 2009, the middleweight streetfighter carries on being present in the Austrian manufacturer’s lineup and stands for the same qualities as it did in the past – all-around maneuverability, performance and, of course, good looks. The news here is that we recently grabbed the opportunity to test ride the bike and we simply can’t get over it.
The 690 Duke has always been kind of a lethal combination because the base concept behind it was to have a bike that would commute, stunt and perform just as well on the track. In order for that to become reality, they needed a bulletproof motor that would achieve the proper balance between horsepower and torque and as in 2009 the bike is powered by the same 654cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke motor developing 64.37 hp at 7,500 rpm and 67 Nm at 5,500 rpm, we can only mention how good of an achievement this unit is. Featuring a Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection with Electronic Power Throttle, this engine is conceded as being instant power and torque delivering and that made us even more eager to get on it.
This thing is built on a light power coated Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, features aluminum subframe, handlebars and wheels in a successful attempt to sharpen handling and contribute at increasing the maximum running speed. Also, supporting the razor-sharp handling capabilities is the fact that rake and trail are 63.5° x 4.53". Goodies such as the WP USD 48mm fork and WP mono shock as well as the Brembo four piston and 320mm disc front and single piston and 240mm disc rear brakes are supposed to contribute at the bike’s overall versatility and show that stopping is always faster than acceleration.
Weighing just 327.4 lbs, the 690 Duke sounds even more competitive and inviting, but just before getting into details, check out the model’s evolution ever since the early 1990s.
As seen, the Duke first started as a supermoto and that’s what it competes against as a 2009 model year as well. The Aprilia SXV 4.5 – 5.5 carries on in 2009 as the same veritable track-ready motorcycle powered by the first V-twin motor ever mounted on a supermoto, the 77-degree, four-stroke, single overhead cam with rocker operated exhaust valves, chain timing drive and four valve heads with titanium valves. Independently of cylinder capacity (450cc or 550cc), the Italian bike’s engine mates to a five-speed gearbox as there is plenty of power and torque to keep things lively without making use of a sixth gear.
The 2009 Husky SM610 is also worthy to be mentioned under this heading and in 2009 it even gets a nicer Grey color scheme while the engine remains the same 576cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, SOHC, four-valves unit. Still, like the Aprilia, this is a veritable supermoto machine while the KTM blends streetfighter characteristics with its initial supermoto ones and might just sound like being in a class of its own. But as long as people will still be choosing among these three bikes, we’ll mention the Aprilia and Husqvarna as proper alternatives for the orange bike.
The KTM 690 Duke comes close to the Suzuki SV650 and Kawasaki ER-6n both in style and road capabilities so if commuting is your priority, the Japanese bikes will work best.
’09 doesn’t bring a totally restyled 690 Duke so the bike works with the same longitudinally mounted streetfighter headlights integrated into an aggressive housing that looks like a pretty well made aftermarket piece even though it is a standard feature of the bike. The side plates and fenders look sharp too while the supermoto-style seat is positioned at 34.06" from the ground.
The 17-inch wheels, 320mm front disc brake and under engine exhaust all indicate that we’re dealing with a veritable sports bike while the supermoto-style handlebars works with the seat in order to get us pretty confused about the bike’s specific category, but even more interested to see what it’s up to when on the move.
Orange and White where the 2008 color schemes for this model and they carry on to 2009, but this year’s special color for the middleweight Duke is Black. If this would have only got an orange painted frame and upgraded engine, we would have talked about a very special 2009 KTM 690 Duke R, just as we did about the 2009 KTM 1190 RC8 R and 2009 KTM 990 Super Duke R models. These models are all related and it’s just too bad that the small Duke was excluded from the performance and visual upgrading process.
The 2009 KTM 690 Duke is a lot of fun to ride especially if the rider understands what the bike is made for. Right from the start, it is a must mentioning that it won’t impress anybody who has just come off a big four-cylinder powered Japanese bike as top speed (around 105 mph) isn’t the thing to brag about in this case.
Light, flick able and truly supported by the LC4 engine, the middleweight Duke is perfectly suitable for performing stunts on. Wheelies and stoppies are the easiest tricks and it’s all made feel even easier than on regular bikes thanks to the motard bars and seat as well as the fairly high mounted footpegs. The riding position allows for the bike to be kept well under control and be maneuvered with the greatest ease through city traffic, around parking lots and on twisties. Actually, in this last riding environment, a skilled rider would manage to keep the pace with any middleweight supersports model out there.
Sharp handling is the key behind this model’s popularity and this is where the supermoto chassis steps up once again to make a point. The bike leans extremely easy from side to side while the adrenaline junky inside each one of us out there keeps the throttle wide opened in an attempt to squeeze that much needed power when coming out of corners. The Duke does work with a six-speed gearbox, but it’s less likely to use that when letting the bike do what it likes best.
The single-cylinder never felt overwhelmed by our requests so it is a nice powerplant to exploit especially in the urban background. Acceleration is smooth, but always there, the gearbox features kind of tall gear ratios and that’s a thing that we do not like while the seat will finally end up in your pants if planning to empty several 3.56 gallons tanks during those adventurous weekend runs.
We definitely appreciate the WP suspensions as these are the precise expected thing for this bike. They provide good feedback from the surface of the road (and we all know how important that is when doing wheelies) while keeping things stable and reassuring at all times. Also, the bike will always go on the indicated trace of the curve with surgical precision and if not (most likely do to riding error), it’s good to know that you rely on great stopping power from the Brembo brakes. The tires grip on to the surface of the road very well and no unintended stoppies will end up being performed.
All in all, the 2009 KTM 690 Duke is a real supermoto cycle with streetfighter clothing. Don’t let yourself fooled!
KTM hasn’t yet made the MSRP for the 2009 model year public, but basing on the fact that last year’s model started at $9,498, it is most likely for the new model year to start at just over $10K.
The Duke is an excellent motorcycle as long as you know what you’re paying for. It isn’t built for speed, but to handle quick, be easily tossed around and provide a healthy feel of where it gets heritage from. It is a fun bike for the daily user and by offering the possibility to even be taken on any supermoto track, it is simply an unmatched product in what concerns the ability to blend different styles and call itself simply…Duke.
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke
Displacement: 654 cc
Bore x stroke: 102 / 80 mm (4.01 / 3.15")
Performance (homologated): 48 kW / 7500 rpm
Max. torque: 67 Nm / 5500 rpm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Starter/Battery: E-Starter / 12 V 8.6 Ah
Transmission: 6 gears, dog clutch engagement
Fuel Mixture Generation: Keihin EFI with EPT (Electr. Power Throttle)
Control: 4 V / OHC with roller rocker levers
Lubrication: Pressure lubrication with 2 Eaton pumps
Engine lubrication: Motorex, fully synthetic, SAE 10W-60
Primary drive: 36:79
Final drive: 16:40
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: APTC slipper clutch, hydraulically operated
Motor Management: Keihin EMS
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder coated
Subframe: Aluminium 7020
Handlebar: Aluminium, Ø 28 / 22 mm (1.10 / 0.87"), tapered
Front suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm (1.89")
Rear suspension: WP mono shock with Pro-Lever linkage
Suspension travel front/rear: 140 / 140 mm (5.51 / 5.51")
Front brake: Brembo four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm (12.6")
Rear brake: Brembo single piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 240 mm (9.45")
Rims, front/rear: Cast aluminium wheels 3.5 x 17"; 5 x 17"
Tires, front/rear: 120/70 R 17"; 160/60 R 17"
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"
Battery: 12 V / 8.6 Ah
Main silencer: Stainless steel underfloor silencer with integrated catalytic converter
Steering head angle: 63.5°
Trail: 115 mm (4.53")
Wheel base: 1472 ± 15 mm (57.95 ± 0.59")
Ground clearance (unloaded): 155 mm (6.1")
Seat height: 865 mm (34.06")
Tank capacity: approx. 13.5 liters / 2.5 liters reserve (3.56 / 0.66 gal)
Weight (no fuel): approx. 148.5 kg (327.4 lbs)