KTM’s Favorite Jackass Bike Is Back And Better Than Ever

KTM souped up its SuperMoto-tastic 690 SMC R for an MY2019 return with more of everything that made its predecessor a success. That’s right; a new powerplant drives KTM’s newest version of its popular jackass bike, and it comes with backup from new control and ride-quality electronics that helps you safely get the most out of the machine. Whether you’re into drifting around turns or trick-riding shenanigans, this hooligan bike has something to offer.

2019 KTM 690 SMC R Design

It still looks much like a classic hooligan bike, which is to say, essentially a dirtbike with street tires and an acrobatic nature.

You could argue that all bikes are built for a purpose, maybe even more than one, but it’s difficult to find a more function-driven form than that of the KTM 690 SMC R. It still looks much like a classic hooligan bike, which is to say, essentially a dirtbike with street tires. The long suspension travel inherent in the design plays right into its acrobatic nature.

It’s evident right off the bat with a pair of inverted front forks that hide an awful lot of exposed inner fork tube behind the splashguards, but actually carries the fender proper up on the lower tripleclamp, dirt-bike style. A cyclops headlight lights the way and sprouts a pair of small standoff turn signals to finish out the forward lighting, and I can’t help but think KTM missed an opportunity by not locating the front blinkers in the stock handguards. Oh well, aftermarket parts maker’s kids need to eat, too.

A short-rise, tapered, rubber-mounted handlebar puts the pilot’s hands right right in line with the steering stem for the leverage and fine control it provides in that configuration. The flyline is made rather unusual looking by the boomerang-shaped bench seat that dominates the design and displaces the fuel tank so that it covers almost all the way up to the steering head. A set of cheek fairings shroud the radiator, but to the factory’s credit, it didn’t try to simulate the fuel-tank bump but instead let the cowling flow aft to tie in with the subframe enclosure that hides a little surprise, but more on that later.

The saddle allows the rider to slide fore and aft to the extremes for technical work and trick-riding; just the thing for your hooliganery. Out back, another pair of short standoff blinkers bracket the underslung taillight over a short mudguard extension that uses the license plate as part of the coverage. I reckon the blinkers are kept short to prevent damage when you drop it, not if you drop it, ’cause let’s face it; if you use this bike as its intended, you’re liable to wind up busting your ass, and that right soon. Protip: dress for the slide, not for the ride.

2019 KTM 690 SMC R Chassis

2019 KTM 690 SMC R
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You can disable the new ABS entirely, set it to Supermoto mode that allows the rear wheel alone to break loose with reduced intervention at the front wheel, or go with the full-on, corner-sensitive anti-lock setting.

Tubular, variable-thickness, Chro-Moly members make up the Trellis-type perimeter frame that just sort of hangs the engine and leaves the better part of it exposed where it dangles clear of the bones and body panels. Oh, and the hidden part of the subframe? Yeah, that’s actually a load-bearing fuel tank.

The steering head rides at 26.4 degrees from the vertical with an adjustable offset in the tripletree that can be set to 22 mm or 24 mm. Out back, a cast swingarm articulates the rear wheel and runs a monolithic construction that is superior to a welded one with a coil-over, WP APEX shock to tame the motion and support the rear end. The monoshock is fully adjustable with a total of four variables instead of the usual three since the compression damping comes with both a high- and low-speed setting. WP covers the front forks as well with a set of usd, APEX 48 stems. They’re single-function forks that carry the compression damper on one side and the rebound damper on another with a 30-click dial on each for easy adjustments.

A set of 17-inch, laced rims round out the rolling chassis. They rock CNC-milled hubs and what looks like stainless spokes, though that last is speculative since the factory doesn’t exactly advertise its metallurgy in that area, but we do know they mount Bridgestone S21 hoops for cornering and stunt performance.

A single, 320 mm disc and four-bore, Brembo anchor slow the front wheel, and out back, another Brembo caliper bites a 240 mm disc with a dual-channel Bosch ABS feature. You can disable the new ABS entirely, set it to Supermoto mode that allows the rear wheel alone to break loose with reduced intervention at the front wheel, or go with the full-on, corner-sensitive anti-lock setting.

Frame: Chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated
Front Suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP shock absorber with Pro-Lever linkage
Rake: 26.4°
Suspension Travel Front/ Rear: 8.5 in (215 mm)/ 9.4 in (240 mm)
Front Brake: 320 mm disc, Brembo four-piston radial fixed caliper
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc, Single-piston floating caliper
ABS: Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS (incl. Cornering ABS and Supermoto mode Disengegable)

2019 KTM 690 SMC R Drivetrain

2019 KTM 690 SMC R
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There's plenty of electronic fandanglery on board, including RbW, Ride Modes, Traction control and corner-sensitive ABS.

A new 690 LC4 plant drives the KTM 690 SMC R this year. Sure, it’s still a liquid-cooled thumper with a 105 mm bore and 80 mm stroke to give it — you guessed it — 690 cc in total displacement. The fandanglery is strong with this one, and it starts out with a ride-by-wire throttle control that communicates with the Keihin Engine Management System. There’s a traction-control feature that, like the ABS, is also of the corner-sensitive variety, and a pair of Ride Modes to manage both the TC and the power delivery with a “street” and a “sport” setting.

The head mounts a quartet of poppets with a single over-head cam and a balancer that helps deal with the fore-and-aft rocking-couple forces generated by that big piston and con-rod. Down below, a second balancer counters the vibrations generated by the crankshaft, and that’s a good thing ’cause a super-single like this is capable of delivering some pretty wicked vibes. Not in the good way, either.

Engine power flows through a Power Assist Clutch (slipper clutch) and a six-speed transmission with a Quick-shift feature that is a real marvel. Not only does it kill injection then goose the engine on upshifts, it helps smooth out downshifts by matching engine rpm to that of the new gear, all sans clutch. What does this get you? Well, it generates 74 horsepower and 54 pound-feet of torque that delivers around 124 mph at the top end, though that’s certainly not the most important performance metric for this kind of machine.

Engine: single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 693 cc
Bore x Stroke: 105 mm x 80 mm
Power: 74 hp (55 kW)
Torque: 54 lb-ft (73.5 Nm)
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
EMS: Keihin EMS with RBW, twin ignition
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"

2019 KTM 690 SMC R Pricing

2019 KTM 690 SMC R
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MSRP looks to come in around $11.7k with plenty of opportunities to boost that sticker with O.E.M. performance parts.

It looks like the MSRP is scheduled to be $11,699, though we’ll know for sure soon enough when they start to hit U.S. showrooms. Naturally, the factory offers plenty of opportunities to boost that sticker with luggage and other accessories along with O.E.M. performance parts.

2019 KTM 690 SMC R Competitors

2019 KTM 690 SMC R
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2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 / 950 SP
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You'll pay for that extra power on the Ducati, and with all other things so equal, I reckon it comes down to whether you can live without it or not.

Italian giant Ducati makes a dandy competitor for the KTM 690 SMC R with its Hypermotard 950. Sure, it’s a skosh larger in the engine department, but not everyone wants the biggest possible mill, so I figured this way you have a choice.

The Duc carries itself in much the same way as the KTM; it runs a bird’s beak fairing for the same sort of high coverage as the SMC R but doubles down with a half-fender mounted with splashguard-style supports for a little lagniappe. Duc sticks the blinkers in the handguards, and of course, I’m a fan.

While the “950” stores its fuel in the usual place, it maintains a low profile so its seat provides almost the same range of motion. Almost, but not quite since there has to be room for the filler and cap. Ducati’s usual sense of style is somewhat subdued on its Hypermotard; the minimal body panels and ample exposed framing gives it an almost utilitarian look compared to its more sensual models.

Dual front brakes help haul down the Hypermotard and deal with the extra weight of its L-Twin engine, and it comes with cornering ABS, as well, to break even with the Austrian. Duc brings the alphabet soup with traction control and wheelie control on top of the ABS and the Riding Modes feature that binds them with a trio of preset profiles.

Naturally, the 937 cc plant brings a bit more mustard to the table with 114 ponies and 71 pounds o’ grunt against 74/54, and that’s to be expected. You’ll pay for that extra power of course, to the tune of $13,295, and with all other things so equal, I reckon it comes down to whether you can live without it or not.

He Said

“They call it power and comfort, though the Austrians persist in using, shall we say firm saddles that are not very comfortable, at least not to my bony butt. That said, the 690 SMC R delivers just what you need for your wheelies, endos, drifts and whatever else you crazy folks do nowadays. If someone has to do it, I’m glad it’s you instead of me.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “There’s not really a lot of competition in this displacement range, but that doesn’t stop KTM from making the 690 SMC R better than it was before. It has more power – about 10 percent more — and more torque as well as less vibration by adding a second balancer shaft to make the ride better. The torque curve is smoother so you get reliable power delivery. The factory outfitted the bike with some nice electronics that I just don’t expect to see on a SuperMoto. I can see this bike being an awesome commuter as well as an all-around weekend fun bike.”

2019 KTM 690 SMC R Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 693 cc
Bore x Stroke: 105 mm x 80 mm
Power: 74 hp (55 kW)
Torque: 54 lb-ft (73.5 Nm)
Starter: Electric starter
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Clutch: PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated
EMS: Keihin EMS with RBW, twin ignition
Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 1/4"
Chassis:
Frame: Chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated
Front Suspension: WP USD Ø 48 mm
Rear Suspension: WP shock absorber with Pro-Lever linkage
Rake: 26.4°
Suspension Travel Front/ Rear: 8.5 in (215 mm)/ 9.4 in (240 mm)
Front Brake: 320 mm disc, Brembo four-piston radial fixed caliper
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc, Single-piston floating caliper
ABS: Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS (incl. Cornering ABS and Supermoto mode Disengegable)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Seat Height: 35 in (890 mm)
Tank Capacity (Approx.): 3.6 gal. (13.5 l)
Dry Weight: 324 lbs (147 kg)
Fuel Consumption: 60.8 mpg (3.87 l/100 km)
Top Speed: 124 mph (est)

Further Reading

Ducati Hypermotard 950

2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 / 950 SP
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See our review of the Ducati Hypermotard 950.

KTM

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
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Read more KTM news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, ktm.com (photographer: R. Schedl)

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