Sharing many components with also-new 690 SMC R, KTM’s new 690 Enduro R is every bit as niche as its supermoto cousin. In fact, off-road suspension and bigger, more suitable wheels are the only substantial alterations.
KTM are pitching the Enduro R as a do-it-all hybrid capable of munching road miles and holding its own on an array of trails. You could tag this as a trail-to-trail weapon.
Our test route consisted of a 60-mile loop, 90% of which was off-road – comprising a testing mix of dusty trails, soggy mud and sandy parts as we neared the beach – and a smattering of 80mph open sections and far more technical challenges.
Mitas E-07 tyres will come on the bike as standard, but given the terrain on the launch in Portugal, KTM decided to fit more appropriate Continental TKCs (which come on the bike in American markets).
Despite the more aggressive tread pattern, the TKCs didn't adversely affect its road manners, and the Enduro R was already proving its undoubted versatility within half an hour in the saddle.
Its slightly cumbersome manners and salad-dodging mass problems were only truly highlighted when we attacked deep sand, as the front-end attempted to bury itself and tie the chassis in knots
The Enduro R comes with off-road developed traction control, which boasts lean-angle sensitive traction control system that acts on the throttle valves, softening the delivery until grip is returned. It can also be switched off.
KTM's Cornering ABS mode allows you to use the full power of their brakes in all conditions, even while leant over. In off-road mode, it only acts on the front wheel, while cornering-sensitivity is disabled. It can also be disabled.
New LC4 engine is still a big thumper, but now smoother thanks to a second balancer shaft and lots of cylinder head work, including a resonator chamber that balances out pulses in the inlet tract to smooth out throttle response.
Although hard to say at this stage, reviews of previous incarnations would suggest nothing to worry about.
For a bike that costs nearly £10,000, it’d be nice to peruse a dash that doesn’t look like it’s been hiding in a parts bin since the 1980s. That said, the dash matters less on an off-road focussed machine and the traction control is amazing.
Trying to tame this 146kg lump as it kicks out its full 74bhp isn’t a job for an inexperienced enduro rider. Even on the softer throttle setting, controlling its aggressive delivery can often feel like an intimidating losing battle.
But, like the SMC, the Enduro has been treated to a decent suite of advanced rider aids; including specially developed off-road traction control that’s beautiful in use, permitting a certain amount of spin and slide before subtly keeping things in line with a whisper of electronic intervention.
The technology is far from idiot-proof for ham-fisted Neanderthals, but works dreamily in conjunction with a deft right hand – as does the Off-Road ABS – which is available as an aftermarket accessory.