KTM 690 DUKE (2012-2015) 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  (2012-2015)

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

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 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

8 owners have reviewed their KTM 690 DUKE (2012-2015) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KTM 690 DUKE (2012-2015)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love this bike

11 January 2016 by J

2014 KTM 690 Duke I have been lucky to have owned many motorcycles over the years, including big 1300cc monsters. Most of them take themselves way too serious. Tried the 690 duke for a change and I completely love it. Owned it for about two years... Read more now. It still makes me smile every time i get on it and i often catch myself glancing back at it after i've parked it. It's extremely easy to ride, lovely on twisty mountain passes and brilliant in town traffic. Not even bad off-road. The bike is well built. Low curb weight - Handles like a dream. The motor is economical and pretty strong. The short gearing is great for having fun (easy 1st gear power wheelies) and it's quick if you ride it hard. Managed to top it out at an indicated 125mph. Overall a well balanced bike. I have also done some medium distance touring on it, 250 mile stints, just because i love spending time on it, but the lack of wind protection makes for a very tiring experience plus the throttle is a little heavily sprung for my liking when it comes to cruising. Also don't recommend the track driving mode for road use. The throttle becomes overly sensitive, but these are small niggles that adds to its charm. This bike is a great commuter (nice and docile when you want it to be) and fun weekend bike. The KTM dealership is great. The after sales service is top notch.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Great in town and on twisty roads. Tiresome on longer journeys due to lack of wind protection. Seat is very comfortable and riding position is good.
Engine
5 out of 5
Perfomance is strong and torquey. 8000rpm redline is a bit low and engine vibrates, especially above 5000rpm.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Well built. No problems thus far.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
Part of the bike's character is the lack of equipment weighing it down. So personally I wouldn't spec it up, except for a performance exhaust. Standard exhaust is very muted. Standard tyres are very grippy and if treated with respect, gives good mileage too.
Buying experience

From a KTM dealer. Got a 10% discount of the advertised price in jan 2014.

5 out of 5

Ideal first bike! Or even if you just fancy some fun :))

25 September 2015 by KTM_Owner7

I would recommend this bike to anyone who is a new rider or even someone who fancies a change and a different way of riding. They are fun, have the looks and overall are very comfy. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Having riden this machine on my own and also being pillion on this bike, I can say that it is very comfy and the sitting position is good for all around views of the road ahead. Brakes are good and responsive.
Engine
5 out of 5
As it is a single cylinder engine, the power appears almost instantaneously once you open the throttle - something that takes a bit of getting used to if you've never rode a single before! Great for bimbling along in traffic to and from work, and even on the motorway it is very comfortable and will not struggle to maintain motorway speeds.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Good quality build, no corrosion to speak of.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
The bike as standard is an overall great machine. I have added the Engine Bars and some Hand Guards (Both Orange!!) and would fully recommend both of those. The Engine Bars will protect the majority of the bodywork should you drop it and the Hand Guards allow you to be seen more by other road users as well as protect your hands from the harsh weather we sometimes have!
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

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,

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 8 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued 2015
Original price £6,999
Used price £4,500 to £6,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £90
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  (2012-2015)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-2015)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-2015)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-2015)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-2015)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-2015)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2012-2015)
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