KTM’s latest 690 Enduro R model is also one that completes the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer’s “R” series and which apart from being based on the LC4 engine that makes people dream about this sport enduro motorcycle, it also gets the distinctive styling complete with the orange painted frame and everything.
Based on the previous model year 690 Enduro, the “R” model aims at satisfying rider demands by offering a sportier character and by implementing new technologies that contribute at making the bike as versatile as it is reliable.
Because KTM has implemented a modern electronic ignition, the LC4 engine will feature reduced emissions and fuel consumption as well as contribute to the increase in performance of up to 63 hp at 7,500 rpm and 64 Nm at 6,000 rpm.
In what concerns the chassis, it features greater suspension range (10.83 front and also 10.83" rear) as the rest of the bike has to come up to the engine’s demands. Also, the chassis was lightened, instruments updated and a new mud guard was added. In 2009, the new KTM 690 Enduro R runs on Pirelli MT 21 tires.
The upgraded KTM goes against the 2009 Husqvarna TE 610, a red and white blast that knows pretty much the same tricks as the 690 Enduro R does as it is born from the combination between four-stroke racing experience and street legality. Build around a 600 cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine that meets Euro 3 regulations and benefiting of top notch suspension and braking equipment, this Husky is the closest thing out there to our KTM and it sure rocks too.
Another European competitor is the much bragged about 2009 BMW G 650 Xchallenge, also a single-cylinder motorcycle ready to hit the tarmac, gravel and rocks as it benefits of 53 bhp, a greatly balanced chassis with long travel suspensions (270 mm front / 270 mm rear) and reliable braking system.
But although the market does offer great alternatives for it, you won’t be confusing the 2009 KTM 690 Enduro R with anything else out there. It’s all about standing out from the crowd and that’s precisely what KTM was thinking when giving this bike the “R” treatment. Not only now it separates from its competitors, but from the previous year’s model too. The 2008 bike was all about the KTM Orange and Black, but this year’s model brings White on the scene. Everything from the headlight housing and mudguards, side panels to the rear number plates gets its fair share of lightened appearance while the 18-inch wheels remain black, but do fit well with the overall look of the bike.
The difference isn’t striking but definitely there. You get an aggressive front fairing and sharp lines all over the place while goodies such as the hand guards and a skid plate won’t be missing either. The left rider side exhaust is the easiest thing to spot although perfectly integrated and looking pretty much like part of the tail.
Ok, so it’s nice to see that distinctive style is there, but what makes the bike in fact perfectly suitable to hit the off-road terrain is the 11.81-inch ground clearance. This also adds on to the seat height which ends up measuring 36.61 inches from the ground so it’s a serious bike that we’re dealing with although lively painted and looking very exciting.
And because serious bikes should be treated as such, the much more versatile, capable and even competitive KTM 690 Enduro R got our complete dedication from the in town where we picked it up and all the way up to the rocky, steep and threatening terrain that this mountain goat is designed to conquer. It’s not that easy to get accustomed with as there is a lot of power a twist of the throttle away and not the much expected safety feel that you can simply hit the breaks and stretch your feet to the ground in order to let your heart beat again.
This LC4-powered enduro bike is destined to experienced riders (preferably with long legs) and a taste for risk. It’s a blast to ride from the very first time you get on it as all of the extra power that the 654 cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine gets translates in impressive acceleration all the way up to 7,500 rpm where the 63 horses are being developed. This thing also relies on 64 Nm so they’ll be doing most of the traction work up until 6,000 rpm. Now featuring electronic power throttle, the engine is even more responsive virtually at all rpm levels and in most of the six-gears that it features. Off the road, you’ll rarely find yourself using even fifth gear, but on hot grippy asphalt, the 690 Enduro R is capable of doing third gear wheelies if in the hands of the right biker.
KTM built this bike for pure off-road excitement so the only explication for the presence of a sixth gear is reduced fuel consumption on the rider’s way to the favorite trails. The bike performs well enough at 110 mph down the highway. It doesn’t vibrate and despite the heavy wind and the fairly narrow seat, it won’t kill anyone especially if they’re barely waiting to spread some dirt with it.
As challenging as the terrain might be, the 48 mm WP USD forks and WP mono shock with pro lever linkage won’t feel overwhelmed at any time and the 18-inch wheels are simply professional climbers. Weighing just 305.4 lbs with no fuel (no more than 310 lbs with the gas filled with tank), the 690 Enduro R is very light and flick able, but mostly mass centralization is behind that. Although pretty high, the bike has a low center of gravity and almost equal weight distribution in order to make it natural for the rider to maneuver it especially at slow speeds.
Thanks to performance braking equipment (Brembo twin-piston, floating caliper working on a 300 mm disc and a Brembo single piston, floating caliper working on a 240 mm disc) and to the Pirelli MT 21 tires, this bike will come to a complete stop just as effectively as it performed overall during our test ride.
The 2009 KTM 690 Enduro R is not the adequate track motorcycle (although it will manage), but a veritable off-roader which gets ridden to the mountains rather than carried in a trailer.
KTM hasn’t yet announced the MSRP of the “R”, but basing on the fact that the 2008 KTM 690 Enduro was priced at just under $9K, we’re expecting for the new bike to start at well over $10K.
European makers such as KTM, Husky and BMW have their very own territory to dispute with various models, but the 650cc, off-road ones with a registration certificate are surely meeting the most goals. Among those, the 2009 KTM 690 Enduro R stands out as being that much expected special version and with 63 horses to back it up, there really isn’t anything to stand proud against it yet.
Engine and Transmission
Engine type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke
Displacement: 654 cc
Bore x stroke: 102 / 80 mm (4.02 / 3.15")
Performance (homologated): 46.3 kW / 7500 rpm
Max. torque: 64 Nm / 6000 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 EMS with EPT (Electr. Power Throttle)
Control: 4 V / OHC with roller rocker arms
Lubrication: Pressure lubrication with 2 Eaton pumps
Engine lubrication: Motorex, SAE 10W60
Primary drive: 36:79
Final drive: 15:45
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: APTC slipper clutch, hydraulically operated
Motor Management: Keihin EMS with EPT (Electr. Power Throttle)
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder coated
Subframe: Self-supporting plastic tank
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: 275 / 275 mm (10.83 / 10.83")
Front brake: Brembo two piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 300 mm
Rear brake: Brembo single piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 240 mm
Rims, front/rear: 1.85 x 21’’ / 2.50 x 18’’
Tires, front/rear: 90/90-21"; 140/80-18"
Chain: X-ring chain 5/8 x 1/4"
Main silencer: Stainless steel silencer with regulated catalytic converter
Steering head angle: 63°
Trail: 115 mm (4.53")
Wheel base: 1498 ± 15 mm (58.98 ± 0.59")
Ground clearance (unloaded) 300 mm (11.81")
Seat height: 930 mm (36.61")
Tank capacity: approx. 12 liters (3.17 gal) / 2.5 liters reserve (0.66 gal)
Weight (no fuel): approx. 138.5 kg (305.4 lbs)