KTM 690 DUKE (2012-on) Review

Published: 18 May 2012

"Spot on for commuting and hammering down twisty country roads, where bigger, more powerful bikes would struggle"

KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)

"Spot on for commuting and hammering down twisty country roads, where bigger, more powerful bikes would struggle"

  • At a glance
  • 690cc  -  67 bhp
  • 56 mpg  -  160 miles range
  • Medium seat height (835mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £6,999

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

With the 2012 Duke KTM have made a bike that can give an experienced rider the thrill they are looking for whilst being a more usable package with a broader appeal to a wider spectrum of riders than the previous version. The Duke is spot on for commuting and hammering down twisty country roads, where bigger, more powerful bikes would struggle. If you want a pure, no-nonsense bike, the 690 Duke should be top of your list.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Thanks to the small dimensions and low weight the Duke handles incredibly well. It can be flicked into corners with ease and has no problems holding a line. Find a twisty back road and take great pleasure in destroying sports bike riders.

Engine 5 out of 5

The twin spark single cylinder engine is impressive, just under 70bhp and 70NM of torque are more than enough when the Duke only weighs 150kg. The low and mid range torque make the Duke great fun through town and powering between bends on twisty back roads. It's even fine at motorway crusing speeds, with minimal vibrations.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Build quality doesn't feel quite as high as Japanese manufacturers but KTMs are still solid, reliable motorcycles.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

At under £7000 the Duke is priced competitively with other funk naked bikes such as the Ducati Monster 696 or Yamaha MT-03. In terms of fun per pound spent the Duke is brilliant value.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The KTM Duke has historically been an uncompromising hooligan weapon, but for 2012 it has been tamed a little with the inclusion of ABS and switchable riding maps. The ABS works excellently, giving more confidence on the brakes and getting you out of trouble. As standard there are three riding modes, with another four which can be custom mapped to suit your needs. Basic compared to some other electronics-laiden bikes of today, but spot on for the little Duke.

Owners' Reviews

6 owners have reviewed their KTM 690 DUKE (2012-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Hooligan tool, with a soft side

21 October 2014 by pacman1967

On the twisty, bumpy devon roads where I live it's hard to beat the Duke. Great suspension, super stoppers(ABS is great) and a punchy engine. However if you are around town she's docile and friendly Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Watch out for seized rocker bearings

24 November 2013 by urbanfireblade

Fab bike to ride. Very punchy and willing engine all to easy to hit the rev limiter. Mpg can be as high as 80! Good quality parts but the engine longevity is questionable due to the highly strung nature and also there is a big problem if you search... Read more the ktm forums of the valve rocker bearings failing due to poor quality of them, can happen at any milage, as little as 700 miles in some cases. Rough sounding engine and metal fragments on the magnetic oil sump plug are giveaways. Tho engine still runs half ok. There are German manufactured bearings available to replace the cheap Chinese ones if you are affected. Apparently not too big a job but almost inevitable that sooner rather than later this will happen to you. Aside from that its a stonking bike, going one tooth less on front sprocket helps with the mentioned snatchy juddering problem at low revs in traffic. Handling is great, little to no dive at the front when braking, as quick as a Fazer 600 from 40-90mph so it's a fast single, capable of an indicated 120mph,

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great first bike

09 November 2013 by spread4

I brought my Duke after passing my test, I love the look of it with the orange. I cannot believe the lightness of this bike for a near on 700 feels like riding a much smaller capacity bike. That is until you twist your right wrist! The acceleration... Read more is great due to the abundance of torque, the handling is fantastic due to great weight distribution and wide bars. However there are some negatives to mention the bike judders at slow speed making it a bit of a pain in stop start traffic, no fuel gauge . These do not distract from the overall experience worth a try.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Still Loving It

01 June 2013 by pandora58

I have now done 4k miles on the Duke and am still having a great time. The better I get the more I am enjoying what this bike can actually do. I commute 70 miles a day in heavy traffic and the agility is brilliant. With a bigger screen the... Read more motorway work is fine, not sure I would want to do hours on a motorway, but that's not what this bike is about. The only complaint is the lack of a fuel gauge.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic First Bike

27 December 2012 by pandora58

This is my first bike and I know it's not the fastest thing on two wheels but its amazing fun to ride. I do not get the feeling it's going to kill me if I make a mistake, but neither do I think it's going to be boring. I am still learning how to... Read more cope in very slow situations as it is a little lumpy but I think that's me and not the bike. I get round corners faster than I would have believed possible and the lack of weight is fantastic. Fear of dropping a heavy bike is probably at the front of most novices minds, the Duke just makes it all so easy. There is plenty of grip even in the wet, and the bike is more than comfortable enough for commuting. A real winner.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Still Running In

21 May 2012 by rog5150

I've spent around 12hours sat on the bike so far, two 4hour sessions and some shorter - so comfort is fine! Seems to make the same power whatever the mode, only the delivery is different. Using up to 6000RPM I got 64mpg for the first tank and 66mpg... Read more for the second. Brakes are fab, handling is fab and very stable, look at the forks - they are kicked out, not like my old MY-03 which was not as stable. Got a quality chain/lock under the seat, So so far all good and running in is no pain 6K is 90mph and even now it would murder my old MT-03. Can't wait to explore the rest of the rev range.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 6 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued -
New price £6,999
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 67 bhp
Max torque 70 ft-lb
Top speed 115 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 56 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 690cc
Engine type Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ignition engine, liquid-cooled
Frame type Tubular space frame made from chrome molybdenum steel, powder-coated
Fuel capacity 13.8 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 150kg
Front suspension WP Suspension 4357
Rear suspension WP Suspension 4618 EM with Pro‑Lever linkage
Front brake 320mmdDisc brake with radially mounted four-piston brake caliper; floating brake disc
Rear brake 240mm disc brake with single-piston brake caliper, floating
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR 17 (58W)
Rear tyre size 160/60 ZR 17 (69W)

History & Versions

Model history

2012 - model introduced

Other versions

KTM 690 Duke R

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-on)
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