KTM’s Strongest Single Cylinder

KTM’s engineers punched out the 690 engine ahead of MY2016 and shortened the stroke for more power. They apparently did well enough that the “new” engine is, so far, a direct carryover all the way into MY2019. In spite of its dirtbike origins, the Duke family has abandoned all but the vestigial details in favor of a naked-sportbike build that brings top-shelf performance to the supersport size bracket. A modern electronics suite rounds out the “R” variant. The base 690 Duke comes without most of the suite in its stock configuration, but comes with said electronics as part of its optional “Track Pack” equipment package.

  • 2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    690 cc
  • Top Speed:
    135 mph
  • Price:
    10500
  • Price:

KTM 690 Duke Design

2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856763
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856758
If you're one of those fiery-eyed kneedraggers, you'll be pleased to note the tank shape wanes in back to form the knee pockets and meet the narrow waist to enable the side-to-side body English.

A close-fit front fender leads the way between beefy inverted forks on the 690 Duke, with a typically low-profile lamp housing to contain the cyclops headlight. Stubby LED blinkers complete the forward lighting.

Up top a thin-film transistor instrument display delivers all the pertinent metrics in a multicolor layout that’s highly visible, even under conditions that would have borked an old-school LCD screen. It’s a one-stop-shop that handles the instrumentation and doubles as an interface for the higher electronic features.

The stock layout is as Spartan as any other naked out there, but if long-range comfort is your thing, you’ll be happy to note the smoked flyscreen and selection of handguards available in the options menu. I’d argue that the wing fairings are the most KTM-esque part of the body panels, and they are mounted high and tight to conceal the steering stem, but little else.

A short-rise handlebar and even shorter risers pull the rider’s triangle forward, but not as much as clip-ons, so you have the option of pushing off for a relaxed riding posture. Of course, if you’re one of those fiery-eyed kneedraggers, you’ll be pleased to note the tank shape wanes in back to form the knee pockets and meet the narrow waist to enable the side-to-side body English.

The 32.8 inch high saddle is sculpted to meet those narrow lines then flare out into a shallow-scoop perch for the pilot. A short offset lofts the p-pad a bit, and there’s flip-up footpegs and J.C. handles to complete your passenger’s points of contact.

Buyers familiar with the brand may rejoice at the prospect of special “ergo” seating fore and aft, and while I haven’t yet had the pleasure of testing the optional seats, I feel confident that they’re probably more comfortable than the stock seats that are known for their firmness, to put it kindly.

The rear end finishes cleanly with an underslung taillight and a mudguard that mounts the stubby rear turn signals, plateholder, and taglight. A short, swingarm-mount hugger completes the rear-wheel coverage.

KTM 690 Duke Chassis

2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856751
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856765
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856762
With an upright rider position, there's enough room for your legs that the tall riders will appreciate.

Chrome-molybdenum steel members make up a Trellis-type main frame on the 690 Duke, and naturally, the engine is a stressed unit that completes the structure even while it stiffens it up and reduces the overall weight by displacing some of the tubing. Aluminum is the material of choice for the subframe in another bid to keep weight down, same with the yoke-style swingarm that comes cast with reinforcing webbing along the beam-shaped members and the cast-aluminum rims.

As for the wheels, they run with a five Y-spoke design and 17-inch diameter and come shot in KTM Orange to offset the black of the tires and tie in with the rest of the color scheme. Both the 690 Duke and Duke R roll with a 120/70 up front opposite a 160/60 in a “ZR” rating that’ll take anything you can dish out.

The steering head rides at 26.5 degrees and WP handles the suspension across the board with 43 mm usd stems up front and a monoshock that acts on a Pro-Lever linkage to manage the rear end. However, the base model has a 5.3-inch suspension travel, but the “R” is a bit more flexible with its 6.1-inch travel.

Brembo likewise supplies the same brake hardware to both machines with a single, 320 mm disc and four-pot caliper to slow the front wheel and a 240 mm disc and single-piston anchor to slow the rear. A switchable Bosch 9M-Plus ABS comes stock across the board, but the “R” rolls stock with cornering ABS and a Supermoto Mode while the base model, again, has that as optional equipment only.

Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum steel trellis frame, powder coated
Front Suspension: WP upside-down Ø 43 mm
Rear Suspension: WP shock absorber with Pro-lever linkage
Steering Head Angle: 63.5°
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 5.3 in / 5.3 in (135 mm / 135 mm)
Front Brake: 320 mm, Brembo Four-piston radial fixed caliper, brake disc
Rear Brake: 240 mm, Brembo Single-piston floating caliper, brake disc
ABS: Bosch 9M+ two-channel ABS (diesengageable, optional Supermoto mode)
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"

KTM 690 Duke Drivetrain

2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856752
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856767
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856769
The already-powerful 690 cc thumper has a few more ponies and snappy acceleration.

KTM boosted its already-powerful 690 cc thumper up a few ponies to a total of 72 horsepower from the base LC4 mill and a few more for the “R” model at 75 horsepower. Torque is measured at 54 pound-feet across the board. Bore and stroke mike out at 105 mm and 80 mm, respectively, with a compression ratio toward the upper end of the range at 12.7-to-1. A single over-head cam and finger-follower actuation times the poppets, and dual spark plugs ensure positive ignition and flame-front propagation through separate ignition curves.

Now, it’s well known that one-lung mills can shake the fillings out of your head, but the factory doubles down on the vibration attenuation with a pair of balance shafts – one in the bottom end, and one in the top – to counter all the shake, rattle and roll. It’s water cooled for thermal stability, and it uses not one but two pumps to circulate the oil and help remove waste heat.

A ride-by-wire throttle control sends its signal to the 50 mm Keihin throttle body which manages the induction, and on the stock base model that’s the end of it. The “R” comes stock with cornering ABS and a switchable traction-control feature, and if you like, you can add them to the base model as optional equipment.

A slipper-type clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission for a bit of anti-hop protection for the rear wheel. All told, the drive is geared to turn in a top speed of 135 mph at the 9,000 rpm rev-limiter.

Engine: Single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 690 cc
Power: 72 hp (54 kW)
Torque: 54.6 lb-ft (74 Nm)
Bore x Stroke: 150 mm x 80 mm
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil Lubrication with two oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: APTC(TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically operated
EMS: Keihin EMS with RbW, twin ignition

KTM 690 Duke Pricing

2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856777
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856756
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856755
MSRP runs $10.5k for the Duke and $11.7k for the Duke R.

The base 690 Duke rolls for $10,500, but if you want the “R,” you’ll have to shell out $11,699. They’re KTMs, so naturally, they come in some combination of orange, white, and black with nothing in the way of variety in the palette.

Color: Orange
Price: $10,500 (R: $11,699)

KTM 690 Duke Competitors

2017 - 2018 Suzuki SV650 ABS
- image 753779
2016 KTM 690 Duke / Duke R
- image 856790
Even with a more enhanced electronics suite, Suzuki scores its biggest win at the checkout with its $7.5k sticker that represents a significant offset at this price point.

For the head-to-head, I decided to look East, and decided to use Suzuki’s SV650 ABS to go up against the 690 Duke. Looks-wise, the SV650 hits all the important high points. If not for the lack of cheek/wing fairings, the Suzuki would look very much like its counterpart, all the way down to the exposed Trellis frame and relatively clean ends. The SV650’s front end is of the standard variety, so it’s not as beefy-looking as the Duke, and if I’m honest, it’s not going to feel quite as planted in the corners because of it.

Brakes and ABS are more or less equal, as long as we don’t consider the upgraded brakes in the optional equipment or the “R” model. Suzuki runs a 645 cc, 90-degree V-twin with an electronic edge over the base 690 Duke in the form of the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve feature that helps reconcile the difference between demand at the right grip and what the engine can actually deliver smoothly. Again, that’s only against the stock base model as the optional equipment and the “R” both deliver a more robust electronics suite.

As for the top end, the Suzuki indicates something in the 140 mph range, but actually clocks in the low 130s to more or less break even with the KTM. Suzuki scores its biggest win at the checkout with its $7,499 sticker that represents a significant offset at this price point.

He Said

“It may be a new model, but the 690 is still as braapp-tactic as ever. One thing KTM is known for is their engines that punch above their weight and a raw edge to the overall performance, and this new Duke does not disappoint. It’s a little much for a first-timer, but I think it’s suitable for riders who are looking to upgrade from their starter bike, or maybe even their second bike.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The fit-and-finish is good. It’s a very relaxed rider position, but for street use, I’d really like to have the options that come with the Track package. Maybe if they called it a “sport” package, that might seem more approachable. Engine braking is strong and while it’s more than capable to tackle the superslab, the lack of wind protection will wear you out if your destination is more than a couple of exits away. Power delivery isn’t smooth, but it’s there and it’s ample. Almost surprising is the minimal vibration. You might expect a big thumper like this to vibrate quite a lot, but it doesn’t, at least not through the handlebar, but noticeable a little bit in the mirrors.”

KTM 690 Duke Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 690 cc
Power: 72 hp (54 kW)
Torque: 54.6 lb-ft (74 Nm)
Bore x Stroke: 150 mm x 80 mm
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil Lubrication with two oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: APTC(TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically operated
EMS: Keihin EMS with RbW, twin ignition
Chassis:
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum steel trellis frame, powder coated
Front Suspension: WP upside-down Ø 43 mm
Rear Suspension: WP shock absorber with Pro-lever linkage
Steering Head Angle: 63.5°
Suspension Travel, Front/Rear: 5.3 in / 5.3 in (135 mm / 135 mm)
Front Brake: 320 mm, Brembo Four-piston radial fixed caliper, brake disc
Rear Brake: 240 mm, Brembo Single-piston floating caliper, brake disc
ABS: Bosch 9M+ two-channel ABS (diesengageable, optional Supermoto mode)
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"
Dimensions & Capacities:
Ground Clearance: 7.6 in (192 mm)
Seat Height: 32.9 in (835 mm)
Fuel Tank Capacity (Approx.): 3.7 gal (14 l)
Fuel Consumption: 67.6 mpg (3.48 l/100 km)
Dry Weight: 327.4 lbs (148.5 kg)
Top Speed: 135 mph
Details:
Color: Orange
Price: $10,500 (R: $11,699)

Further Reading

Suzuki SV650

2017 - 2018 Suzuki SV650 ABS
- image 664038

See our review of the Suzuki SV650.

KTM

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 799936

Read more KTM news.|

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ktm.com, photographers: H. Mitterbauer, A. Barbanti

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: