KTM 690 DUKE (2016-on) Review

Published: 08 December 2015

The world’s most powerful single

KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)

The world’s most powerful single

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Simply put the 690 is really impressive, in a dream garage you’d have one. The motor is versatile, smooth, user friendly and doesn’t mind revving. The lightness makes the 690 a doddle to ride, fun and enjoyable, perfect for darting up mountain roads or nipping between traffic in on a city commute. However it’s on the expensive side compared to the twin cylinder competition. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

At only 148.5kg it’s incredibly light, that’s near as dam it 30kg lighter than Yamaha’s featherweight MT-07 that’s 4 stone 10 in old money. As soon as you flick the Duke up from the side stand you instantly notice the lack of weight. This makes town work a doddle and means the Duke will turn on a dime. The Duke’s lightness also has a fun flips side; less weight means better handling and more fun.  It will turn with very little effort and will drop to foot-peg scraping angles of lean with ease. You don’t really need to hang off or counter steer, simply look where you want to be and you’re there. The non adjustable WP suspension is impressive on out of the box, even on track. 

Engine 5 out of 5

They’ve reworked the old 690 motor, in fact very little of the old motor remains. The bore has increased 3mm but the stroke has been reduced accordingly, with displacement staying the same. The cylinder head has been significantly improved which has resulted in an increase in power, up 7% to 73bhp and torque has increased by 6% to 54.48ftlb. The new motor also revs higher by 1000rpm to 9000, peak power is actually at 8500rpm which is astonishing for a single, so is the smoothness and refinement.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

KTM are the masters of single cylinder engine production, have won more Moto 3 races than any other manufacture and have already won 7 world titles to date (2015). The quality of the enigne is mighty impressive so is the technology behind it. The WP doesn’t feel budget, the level of components used is high, but that is reflected in the price. 

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

At £7699 the new middle-weight Duke isn’t cheap. In comparison Yamaha MT07 is £5349 and Kawasaki ER6-N is £5799. The racy R model is just shy of nine grand at £8999 which is comparable to a 600 Supersport machine.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The new full colour clocks are a nice touch and gives the 690 a quality feel. The clocks change in colour depending on the light, automatically changing into an easier to read night mode. When the engine is cold the digital revs appear in blue, orange as standard then change to red at the redline. ABS comes as standard as does WP suspension and Brembo brakes but the rider modes and traction control is an optional extra. MSR (motor slip regulation) which prevents the rear wheel locking up on heavy downshift is also an optional extra.

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their KTM 690 DUKE (2016-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.

Review your KTM 690 DUKE (2016-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Fun And Easy to Ride

21 November 2017 by Nik Spring

Only let down by the uncomfortable seat. But, still good for 2 hour stints before 'numb bum' takes over. This is NOT a bike for long straight(ish) roads or long motorway stints. It's for windy roads and city/town riding. That's where it excels. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
This is not a touring bike! (Yes, I've been on reasonably long 600km rides but, wouldn't you rather have a tourer?) For the Alpine roads where I live, it's light and flickable characteristics work just fine round the curves of the mountain roads. It's great in the city as well, as it gets through ridiculously narrow spaces due to it's thin profile. Two hours see's me wanting to get out of the hard seat (KTM Power Parts saddle). In all fairness, after that time the tank may need topping up anyway. The front brakes to me feel somewhat spongy and ineffectual compared to other bikes I've ridden. Unless you are riding slowly, having a presence on the rear brake, for me, is essential for a controlled slowing down or stop.
Engine
5 out of 5
Gorgeous agricultural sound from the Akropovic exhaust. Brings a smile to my face every ride. Plenty of torque for B roads and mountain curves. The left foot's always busy selecting the correct gear but that's half the fun. This is not a characterless bike!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It's early days as it's only been on the road for 6 months. However, with less than 5,000km on the clock, so far everything has performed very well.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
The first oil change after 1200km allowed me to start working through the gears and even though limited to a 14L tank, it's not a big drinker even when opening up the throttle or working the gears thoroughly.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Don't bother with the Power Parts seat as I'm not convinced it's any better than the standard fayre. I elected not to buy the optional TC and variable driving modes in the track pack as I wanted to improve my riding skills first. After 6 months with just ABS I may add it next season. Fascia is ultra clear but needed a shade in the sun. (DigiCharge 6" visor DAL002 works very well). I'd love heated grips which, apparently, are not available.
Buying experience

Bought new from a KTM dealer in France where I live. Great service.

5 out of 5

21 March 2017 by Steve

Great punchy motor, light weight, good suspension and breaks and engine breaking make this a B road (or Alps if you're lucky) weekend warrior. It's the most fun I've had on ANY bike I've ever owned when doing under 60mph. It's very economical. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
You need to be able to keep the revs above 3,500 - 4,000. Below that you will be feathering the clutch somewhat, which is not a big problem in itself but if you do a lot of town riding (which I don't) it could become a little tiresome.
Engine
5 out of 5
Extremely strong for a mid range single cylinder.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No issues as yet.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Engine is excellent, ABS brakes as standard are very welcome, suspension very good as standard and the tyres are very good. The colour display is awesome. The stock exhaust looks and sounds good.
Buying experience

Bought from Jim Aim in Essex. Not the first time I've bought from them - excellent service and knowledge.

Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2016
Year discontinued -
New price £7,699
Used price £5,700 to £8,000
Warranty term 2 years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £110
Performance
Max power 72.5 bhp
Max torque 54.48 ft-lb
Top speed 120 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12 secs
Average fuel consumption 57 mpg
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 690cc
Engine type single cylinder, liquid-cooled
Frame type Steel Trellis
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 148.5kg
Front suspension -
Rear suspension -
Front brake -
Rear brake -
Front tyre size -
Rear tyre size -

History & Versions

Model history

None

Other versions

There's also a 690 Duke R. The standard model and the R as they share the same engine, with the R only gaining one more horse thanks the titanium Akrapovic silencer, but the difference is instantly apparent, especially on track. The R sits a whole 30mm taller on its fully-adjustable WP suspension. The front brake master cylinder is now radial and easier to adjust and there a little more bark from the road  homologated Akra silencer. The adjustable pegs are also higher, and the whole package feels more racy. The 690 R is impressive, but its £8999 price tag dramatically limits its appeal.

Photo Gallery

  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
  • KTM 690 DUKE  (2016-on)
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