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KTM 690 DUKE (2016-on) Review

Published: 08 December 2015

Updated: 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.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2016
Year discontinued -
New price £7,699
Used price £4,700 to £6,400
Warranty term 2 years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £160
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.

Owners' Reviews

8 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 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Bike is superb. Overall better than I need. Do miss not having the Trackpack though!

05 May 2020 by JOHN FISHMAN

Bike is superb. Overall better than I need. Do miss not having the Trackpack though!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Brakes superb. There's an air of sophistication and high quality about the ride yet it's still a tad raw and just that characterful bit of vibey. Gearbox can be a bit hit-and-miss but I suspect part if that is me not being used to it and another part possibly the shift lever might need a wee adjustment and another part might it being brand new. Handling is hard to explain - utterly unlike anything I've ever ridden - telepathic and if you think too much or are too mechanical about it you can oversteer it SO easily...really lovely though. Suspension is firm and sporty - as expected - but sublime, especially given forks are unadjustable and I am 216lbs naked. Seating position is just unremarkable so far - which may be the best thing you can say about a seating position.
Engine
5 out of 5
For a 690cc single it is incredible. Great tractability and acceleration. If I am honest, it can be a bit vibey under 4k rpm but I suspect that might get better with bedding in too. It's surprisingly fast even keeping the revs under 6k for break-in period.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Not sure, brand new leftover 2017
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
At the price I paid for a leftover 2017 in mid 2020, ridiculous value. 50mpg average so far.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Had I not known about the Trackpack, I'd be over the moon. But, in the US it's been discontinued so there's a lot of the bike that just needs to be activated and I can't. LCD dash is great. Gear indicator, especially for this motor, MPG function all highly rated.
Buying experience

It was a big mainline dealer that sold all Big-4 Japanese manufacturers, Polaris, Indian; so it's no wonder it sat for 3years. Staff was just warm bodies, friendly enough though.

5 out of 5

I love it despite its wrinkles

19 April 2020 by Jobsworth

I bought this bike new after more years than I care to think of without one. Much had changed since last I rode, and I fell in love with the power delivery, the sound, the riding position and the light weight (153kg dry), right away. Now, 3½ years/17k+ miles later (including an 18-day, 4,300-mile trip to Norway last Summer) and despite a few caveats, it's still the bike for me.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The ride has been quite a revelation, and I've been surprised and pleased that as a slightly porky 70-year-old I can do a 500-mile day without feeling shredded by the end of it, stopping to stretch my dodgy knees and back about every 1¼ to 1½ hours. The front single disc is adequate rather than spectacular, but the whole package feels balanced and well-thought-out.
Engine
5 out of 5
There's just enough vibration to prove the thing is alive and give it great big-single character. It needs to be kept spinning though, as it doesn't pull all that strongly from low revs; brisk overtakes need to drop a gear. Power comes on smoothly through the ride-by-wire throttle, so I guess the fuelling must be pretty well spot-on. I had the optional Track Pack retrofitted, which gives me three ride modes and traction control; I bought this largely for safety reasons, but my insurers whacked my premium up by 40 quid anyway! Early false neutrals disappeared when everything had bedded in, and the hydraulic clutch is super-light but progressive and with plenty of feel.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I'll admit to not being a fastidious bike-cleaner, so it would be nice to have stainless fasteners instead of galvanised, which are showing signs of rust in places. Rust spots also showed up on one of the fork sliders, which KTM replaced under warranty. Quality seems good overall though, with the notable exception of the plastic petrol tank which distorted for unknown reasons and started leaking fuel from the pump flange. To their credit, KTM replaced it out of warranty - but I'd have been knackered if it had happened abroad because I wouldn't have been allowed on a ferry home while leaking fuel.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I haven't owned another modern bike for comparison but the £8K purchase price, including dinky little OEM panniers and a lowering kit, seemed high-ish but not excessive. Fuel economy of mid 40s mpg in normal use and up to 70 or just over on motorway/autobahn riding is pretty good. Fuel range is 150/180 miles, depending on riding type. Now it's out of warranty I'm using a local bike shop rather than the (very good but quite distant) franchised dealer for servicing when it's outside my capacity to do it myself.
Equipment
3 out of 5
My Duke is, frankly, a bit lacking when it comes to equipment. There were no power sockets and an incredibly weedy horn, and the monochrome LCD dash is angled just right to catch the sun more-or-less wherever it is, and become invisible. The OEM panniers I bought with the bike are about the size of the handbag my granddaughter took to her first prom, and their (mild steel) frame mounting brackets started shedding their single coat of paint very quickly. Finally, because it's quite compact, finding storage for a puncture kit and some extra tools is a real problem.
Buying experience

The nearby dealer I bought the bike from was fine, but changed hands and no longer has KTM. I now have a 76-mile round trip, but JD Racing in Saltash (Cornwall) are excellent.

5 out of 5

I love it despite its wrinkles

19 April 2020 by Jobsworth

I bought this bike new after more years than I care to think of without one. Much had changed since last I rode, and I fell in love with the power delivery, the sound, the riding position and the light weight (153kg dry), right away. Now, 3½ years/17k+ miles later (including an 18-day, 4,300-mile trip to Norway last Summer) and despite a few caveats, it's still the bike for me.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The ride has been quite a revelation, and I've been surprised and pleased that as a slightly porky 70-year-old I can do a 500-mile day without feeling shredded by the end of it, stopping to stretch my dodgy knees and back about every 1¼ to 1½ hours. The front single disc is adequate rather than spectacular, but the whole package feels balanced and well-thought-out.
Engine
5 out of 5
There's just enough vibration to prove the thing is alive and give it great big-single character. It needs to be kept spinning though, as it doesn't pull all that strongly from low revs; brisk overtakes need to drop a gear. Power comes on smoothly through the ride-by-wire throttle, so I guess the fuelling must be pretty well spot-on. I had the optional Track Pack retrofitted, which gives me three ride modes and traction control; I bought this largely for safety reasons, but my insurers whacked my premium up by 40 quid anyway! Early false neutrals disappeared when everything had bedded in, and the hydraulic clutch is super-light but progressive and with plenty of feel.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I'll admit to not being a fastidious bike-cleaner, so it would be nice to have stainless fasteners instead of galvanised, which are showing signs of rust in places. Rust spots also showed up on one of the fork sliders, which KTM replaced under warranty. Quality seems good overall though, with the notable exception of the plastic petrol tank which distorted for unknown reasons and started leaking fuel from the pump flange. To their credit, KTM replaced it out of warranty - but I'd have been knackered if it had happened abroad because I wouldn't have been allowed on a ferry home while leaking fuel.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I haven't owned another modern bike for comparison but the £8K purchase price, including dinky little OEM panniers and a lowering kit, seemed high-ish but not excessive. Fuel economy of mid 40s mpg in normal use and up to 70 or just over on motorway/autobahn riding is pretty good. Fuel range is 150/180 miles, depending on riding type. Now it's out of warranty I'm using a local bike shop rather than the (very good but quite distant) franchised dealer for servicing when it's outside my capacity to do it myself.
Equipment
3 out of 5
My Duke is, frankly, a bit lacking when it comes to equipment. There were no power sockets and an incredibly weedy horn, and the monochrome LCD dash is angled just right to catch the sun more-or-less wherever it is, and become invisible. The OEM panniers I bought with the bike are about the size of the handbag my granddaughter took to her first prom, and their (mild steel) frame mounting brackets started shedding their single coat of paint very quickly. Finally, because it's quite compact, finding storage for a puncture kit and some extra tools is a real problem.
Buying experience

The nearby dealer I bought the bike from was fine, but changed hands and no longer has KTM. I now have a 76-mile round trip, but JD Racing in Saltash (Cornwall) are excellent.

4 out of 5

Incredible single, but unpleasant below 4000rpm

15 March 2020 by FM34

The bike is very very light, with a powerful engine and that is a unique combination on the market. Very pleasant on small (moutain) roads but quite a nightmare in town with lots of mechanical noises and hard thumping below 3500-4000 rpm. Too bad because the super light weight and small footprint are important assets in town ...

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Excellent road handling. Suspension (rear mainly) could be more confortable but it is efficient.
Engine
5 out of 5
I do NOT like the low rev behavior of this engine. But if you keep it over 4000 rpm, it's strong, with a lot of torque immediately available. It pulls strong with a very nice sound (OEM exhaust) until 9000rpm! Incredible single.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Only 3000KM, so no probem. When in the market to buy min, I've seen Dukes with more than 30.000KM that were still running strong, so I guess the bike is reliable is you treat her well.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Very expensive for a single, but once again it's the only offer on the market
Equipment
3 out of 5
The "Track Pack" which is only software is an additional 300€ which I think is uncool given the price point of this bike. For the rest, the TFT screen is really nice.
Buying experience

Bought it used but very recent. Good service at the local dealer though

5 out of 5

Big fan of this bike!

15 May 2019 by Mark BCN

Super light (2kg lighter than the 390!) and super fun. After test riding every bike in this class, the Duke felt tall, agile, quality, with loads of character and punch from that single. It's so nimble! Front wheel often wants to come up and play. I use it as daily commuter. It excels in traffic due to low weight and that narrow single. No issues with fueling at slow speeds. Get it into the twisties and you, will, fall, in love!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Apart from the seat (powerparts seat makes a big difference, buy it) I love the ride quality. The WPs aren't adjustable but perform real well. Single disk Brembos are very good, not amazing but very good. Plus there's not much mass to stop.
Engine
5 out of 5
Big thumping single! Agricultural (in a good way) with bags of character and poke. Pops and crackles on overrun. Keep it above 3.5k and you're all good. I've got a twin and an inline four in the garage, but this has most character and my daily go-to ride for short blasts.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Zero problems so far.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Glad I bought the Track Pack which was €250 (I'm in Barcelona). The extra rider modes, ABS modes aren't essential but fun to have. TFT is slick, although in bright direct sun can be difficult to see details. Mirrors are properly ugly and no LED indicators are my only complaints about this bike.
Buying experience

Real good. Dealing with KTM dealers here in Barcelona has been smooth.

3 out of 5

Buy 790 instead i did

13 June 2018 by anotheronetoday

Interesting bike but bad value, i always wanted to try a large single so just had to buy. The fun stopped quickly on this bike for me and i was very happy to sell it for a 790

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
One up and standard suspension was ok, 2 up hopeless reasonable comfort but this is not a long distance bike so for the 1 hour type ride comfort is good enough. Handling one up is ok
Engine
3 out of 5
Horrible in town, fine on good A and B roads. Gearbox is the worst of the modern road KTM's
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Only had the bike for 8 months as i did not like it Nothing went wrong during my ownership
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
due to my short ownership nothing to add
Equipment
3 out of 5
Poor equipment for price point
Buying experience

great experience from main dealer

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.

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.

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.

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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