It wasn’t that long ago that the KTM Duke was the embodiment of a pure, unadulterated single-cylinder motorcycle. After being under the radar recently, the Duke is looking to return to prominence with a line-up that makes your jaws drop to the floor.
Judging by the latest 690 Duke, someone can make a case that they’re looking at a ride that offers smoothness, room for a pillion passenger, and long-distance ride-ability.
There’s a real reason why the 690 Duke is considered one of the most cutting-edge series production single-cylinder of our times. Combining an impressive 690cc twin ignition and a precision chassis with a wealth of outstanding components has resulted in a bike that boasts of incomparable versatility.
The engine features plug-selective mapping for the best and most effective combustion, plus extended service intervals of 10,000 km and even lower fuel consumption. All that and you get a bike that produces an impressive 69 horsepower. The finely balanced crank drive of the 690 single-cylinder converts terrific combustion pressure into unrivaled single-power - thanks to its balancer shaft, which eliminates vibration even better than ever without having any detrimental effect on the life of the super-single. The 690 Duke also possesses active engine casing ventilation and the anti-hopping clutch that effectively prevents rear wheel chatter when down-shifting hard.
Speaking of its lightweight qualities, the 690 Duke comes with a 9 kg/20 lbs lightweight tubular space frame made from chrome-molybdenum steel and a 4 kg/9 lbs lightweight, high-quality, pin-jointed, die-cast swing arm that’s been built with extreme levels of torsional stiffness.
Find out more about the KTM 690 Duke after the jump.
The new Duke is equipped with the latest version of the legendary LC4: a whole 690 cm³ of displacement, twin ignition featuring plug-selective mapping for the best and most effective combustion, plus extended service intervals of 10,000 km and even lower fuel consumption – never has it been as elegant, cultivated, sporty and effective to be powered by one cylinder. And never has the need for more cylinders been more questionable. 51.5 kW (69.1 hp) provide, thanks also to drive-by-wire, extremely powerful and free-revving thrust at all engine speeds, hence making light work of the equally lightweight 690 Duke. It has adopted such well-known standard production goodies such as active engine casing ventilation and the anti-hopping clutch that effectively prevents rear wheel chatter when down-shifting hard.
The electronic engine management system always gets optimum performance out of the ingenious LC4 engine. More advanced technology than ever is taken advantage of in 2012 for this purpose: Twin ignition with individual mapping for each spark plug ensures that the mixture is always burned effectively, irrespective of load and engine speed. And then genuine drive-by-wire, in other words electronically controlled throttle valve actuation without any mechanical linkage. So that the electronics always apply the power as perfectly and therefore smoothly as possible, above all on transition from throttle closed to throttle open. How good does that feel? Simply indescribable. So check it out!
Chassis and Suspension
Lightweight components in a large, lightweight entirety: The 9 kg lightweight tubular space frame made from chrome-molybdenum steel and the 4 kg lightweight, high-quality, pin-jointed, die-cast swingarm impress with extreme levels of torsional stiffness, providing the less than 150 kg 690 Duke with excellent tracking stability.
Well-equipped for every situation: The WP upside-down fork on the Duke with a 43 mm upright tube diameter and the pivot-arm articulated WP pressurized-gas monoshock excel with perfect tuning and an unbelievably broad spectrum of use for all demands, from relaxed cruising to racing around closed circuits.
Brakes and Wheels
The Duke’s extremely powerful and easily applied Brembo brakes impress with outstanding controllability. At the front wheel, a radially-mounted, four-piston, fixed brake caliper bites onto a floating 320 mm brake disc.
The disconnectible dual-circuit ABS system with 9M+ modulator tuned in cooperation with Bosch offers total protection against over-braking, while maintaining the full effect and perfect feedback of a genuine sports brake thanks to very fine sensors. Weighing no more than one kilogramme, the ABS system therefore allows extremely sporty braking. And prevents nose-overs actively and effectively.
The new 690 Duke inherits many of the benefits of its predecessor: for example, the low weight of less than 150 kg, the first-class handling and the outstanding brakes. One new feature is the 30 mm lower riding position on the now two-piece seat: More comfortable while still being set up for all dynamic riding situations, because the gathered sitting position and freedom of movement behind the ideally angled, wide aluminum handlebars provide perfect support for controlling the bike.
Disc brake with single-piston brake caliper, floating
Brake discs - diameter front
Brake discs - diameter rear
5/8 x 1/4” X‑Ring
Steering head angle
Ground clearance (unloaded)
Seat height (unloaded)
Total fuel tank capacity approx.
Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)
Weight without fuel approx.
Power-Specs----"A new breakthrough and all the new features have been done on the new KTM motorcycles. Manufacturer from Austria has been producing 2012 KTM 690 Duke with uses single cylinder only and supported by 690 cc engine. This is very different from Ducati 696 that uses two cylinder engines. Despite using only one engine cylinder, the 2012 KTM 690 Duke was able to produce the performance reached 67 HP or about 50 KW and is very fuel-efficient. Well, maybe we can consider this motorcycle deserved to compete with other motorcycle uses more than one cylinder engine such as, Ducati 696."
Visor Down----"Two spark plugs - one smaller than the other - can do exactly what the Keihin ECU and sensors tell it. Independently of each other, as well. This way the engine management programmers can retard and advance either plug depending on load, revs and throttle position. Think of it as precise flame management."