KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 Adventure Touring Enduro
The Austrian KTM motorcycle producer has enormous racing experience and ability to generate highly offroad capable enduros such as KTM 690 Enduro R 2014. The 690R is also very interesting alternative for hard core offroad touring and peripheral routing scenarios with reasonable amount of payload. It is pretty much the king of the light weight adventure touring category for the moment, but requires significant upgrading and there are a lot equipment available to expand the 690R potential up to anything beyond the urban safety. The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 with proper tuning can take the adventure rider around the globe though pretty wicked routes. The ergonomics are in order for most of us, both in standing and sitting posture.
Even more extreme alternative would be a ready to race DAKAR -style racing enduro such as the victorious KTM 450Rally with 33L fuel capacity and around 160kgs wet weight. The DAKAR -rally enduros have the best handling features for demanding high speed offroad riding, but unfortunately those racing enduros require also daily maintenance which is not realistic nor practical when traveling.
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 is not the most comfortable adventure touring enduro and the 690R riders put the weight on offroad handling features first. Riding in standing posture is very common and the 690R single piece seat is designed for active riding. Those with sensitive behind, simply skip this bike or invest on a custom made seat. The 690R is very agile and highly offroad capable, but at the same time technically fit for longer service maintenance frequency (10 000km / 6.214 mi.) which is necessary for touring purposes. The standard KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 handles the local trails and tracks perfectly, but the small fuel tank and the absent wind coverage forces to remain close to the home. Fortunately the cure is available and at least the KTM Basel and the RallyRaid offer proper tuning parts for 690R riders. On the other hand, the standard 690R is also a good choice to practice offroad riding skills, take short day tours or join local offroad rally events.
The famous KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 handling brings right away confidence to the front tyre which makes offroad riding more fun and lowers the bar to take more challenges. Proper dirt road and trailing features open the access to extremely remote places and heights that are otherwise too difficult to reach. The LC4 long stroke single cylinder engine with digital fuel injection provides very smooth and practical torque which translates also to lower need for shifting and better fuel economy. All very relevant features for an adventure.
Even though the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 is very much offroad capable, it is heavier than KTM offroad racing enduros and therefore has it`s limitations. Riding hills sideways, the rear wheel slips easier compared to roughly 35kgs or 77.2lbs. lighter racing enduros. A constant highway speed is basically a little bit too much for light weight adventure touring enduros. There is not enough wind coverage, the front wheel becomes a little bit light, the engine vibrates on high revs and the gear ration is not ideal for the high speed. The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 is at it`s best on gravel using the second gear up to the 6th as long as the speed remains below 105KMH or 65MPH. The 690R has a special vibration balancer shaft eliminating most of the jittering, but above 4500RPM the single cylinder engine vibrates enough. Therefore riding on country roads and smaller routes would be ideal for the 690R.
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 Features
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 is ride by wire throttled which means together with the anti hopping clutch smoother response than before. There are basically 4 throttle mapping alternatives and performance characters to choose from. The first map is soft and good for beginners or riders looking for the smoothest throttle response. The second map is for more advanced riders looking for a direct throttle response. The settings between 3 and 9 are standard maps with a balanced response and the zero map setup is used for the low octane fuel. The maps are a practical adjustment for different type of riding conditions and speed requirements. The map switch can be found below the 690R seat which is safer location and not in the handlebar which would make things easier. Once the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 -rider finds the sweet spot, there is no need to play with it too often. In addition to mapping, the LC4 engine has 2 spark plugs to optimize the combustion, achieve lower fuel consumption and create the smoothest torque.
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 space frame and the swing arm are more rigid and road capable compared to offroad enduros with higher flexibility. The WP -suspension is versatile and it can be trimmed according to payload and riding conditions to both directions at high and low speed ranges with the adjustment screws on top of the fork and on both ends of the rear shock absorber. Adjustments are quick and easy to make. The factory settings can be found below the seat and the 690R -rider does not need to remember the manual charts by heart. The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 WP -suspension is designed for poorly maintained dirt & gravel roads and trailing, but with a full payload or in the worst offroad conditions, it has naturally limitations too.
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 ergonomics are in order as long as riding takes place in the adventure related environment. The 690R handlebar can be adjusted in 4 different positions by changing the mounting place in the triple clamp and by turning the clamps 180 degrees in place. Further adjustments can be done with optional handlebar risers and alternative clamps. The single piece 690R seat is very much offroad oriented, not adjustable and designed for active riding. It is not comfortable compared to other touring enduros, but for sure it can be customized like any other seat. The clutch and brake levers can be adjusted for different hand size. The offroad 690R foot pegs are not adjustable, but they are wide foot rests and appropriate in every way. Earlier KTM produced the 690 with a tall Dakar rally style fairing, but nowadays the 690R is delivered with a modest offroad racing enduro fairing parts with a simple H4 headlight. The headlight fulfills the regulations, but it`s hardly enough for riding in the dark and this is another reason to build up the bike. The key KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 features are:
- Seat height 910 mm. or 36.81in.
- Tyres 90/90 – 21 and rear 140/80 – 18
- Max performance 67HP and 68Nm.
- Alternator 224W
- Electronic immobiliser system
- Ground clearance 280 mm. or 11.02in.
- Suspension travel 250/250 mm. or 9.84/9.84in.
- Weight fueled 150kgs or 330.7lbs.
- Payload 200kgs or 441lbs.
- Fuel tank 12L, 3.2USgal., 2UKgal. (min. 91RON – 87AKI)
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 fuel tank is below the seat and provides a modest 12L (3.2 USgal.) capacity. That is not much for exploring remote locations and taking global tours, but the equipment providers offer a lot bigger and additional fuel tanks which covers the handicap easily. The KTM Basel 690 QUEST -tune up kit increases the capacity up to 32L or 8.4USgal. which gives an exceptional range and a better weight balance from the touring payload point of view.
For now on the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 has also anti-locking brake system ABS onboard due to the EU -regulations. Basically this kind of adventure touring bike hardly requires any ABS, quite the opposite and the experienced offroad riders do not appreciated it very much. The Bosch 9M ABS can be turned OFF from the instrumentation panel or optionally set into OFFROAD -mode with a plugin dongle. This means that the rear wheel can be fully locked while the front wheel is still under the ABS control which is good for most of us. The ABS is not perfect every single way and one thing that comes along, is the requirement of accuracy. The ABS fails to function properly with unauthorized tyres and rims or when there are repairs made with universal parts. Even low tyre pressure is able to confuse the ABS. When it happens, the ABS unit is automatically disengaged and the brake system itself remains functional. There are 3 fuses taking care of the ABS and I am sure that some of the 690R riders leave the plugs empty.
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 has relative small alternator producing 224W which is not much and hardly enough for comfortable travel gear consumption. The headlight is H4 and there are not LED indicators or backlights which would save some energy. The 690R rider simply has to be sensible with the power consumption and happy with simplified arrangements.
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 Instrumentation
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 provides a very basic instrumentation which originates from the KTM 990 Adventure generations. The engine revs are shown with a traditional tachometer. The trip computer runs up to 999 and then starts automatically over which means that the trip computer can be used simultaneously for fuel monitoring and measuring shorter distances between navigational land marks. The 690R provides no fuel gauge which leads to trip counters used as a reference. A good navigator can also assist by counting the distance travelled and comparing it to given fuel consumption. Therefore it is not a real problem what so ever and by installing bigger fuel tanks, a gauge would not show the real status anyhow. The LCD combination instrument has warning lights in the middle and 3 control buttons at the left to play with. The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 onboard computer has only one display segment that can be changed with the MODE -button. The 690R -rider can choose one of 4 alternatives ODO, TRIP1, TRIP2 and GEAR indicator. The key KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 digital LCD segment display features are:
- Digital speed reading KMH / MPH
- Trip 1 & 2
- Gear in use
- Fuel reserve counter
- Coolant temperature
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 Equipment Accessory
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 is one of the best choices to build up a light weight adventure touring motorcycle. There are a lot of alternatives and equipment, both model specific and universal to tune up the 690R. For those with slightly less extreme requirements, the list can be relative short and not too expensive, but when taking the 690R to extreme tours with the highest requirements, the 690R -rider makes significant investments. The standard KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 needs at least a real skid-plate and engine cover, steering damper, rubberized handlebar clamps, additional fuel tank, perhaps even with a reserve canister such as ROTOPAX, side stand foot extension and a windscreen. Since there are no fuel gauges, by choosing a natural white fuel tank, the rider can estimate the amount of fuel from the side. Those who want more can upgrade the 690R with DAKAR -style fairing kits.
Personally I would prefer to equip the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 with the GiantLoop saddle bag and tank bag since they do not require any brackets and they are the most light weight solutions, although they provide no crash protection.
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 QUEST TuneUp Kit
In order to bring the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 to the adventure globetrotter class, some upgrading is required. A Swiss KTM dealer in Basel offers 690 QUEST tune up kits which bring additional fuel capacity, better headlights and wind coverage on board, but at the moment the kit is slightly too large for the new engine with the twin spark head. Therefore redesigning is necessary. With the 2013 model, the fuel capacity increases up to 32L (8.4USgal., 7.UKgal.) which takes the 690R far away and back. More over the weight distribution is much better when the fuel is also located in the front on both sides as low as possible. Therefore luggage space can be used more usefully.
The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 standard headlight is very modest and hardly useful for touring purposes. The 690 QUEST twin headlights would bring a lot more safety in riding, but due to the small alternator, there is hardly capacity for a pair of auxiliary fog lights on top of grip heaters, navigators etc. The tall & narrow navigation tower is a typical DAKAR -style fairing which provides adequate wind protection for the upper body in sitting posture, but also the middle of the body in standing posture. The 690 QUEST -fairing is not designed to cover the whole rider which is not even a good idea for active adventure riding in challenging conditions. The future KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 QUEST tune up kit will upgrade the 690R to a level which matches it`s potential and the nature of demanding adventure touring.
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 RallyRaid TuneUp Kits
Another alternative for KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 would be the RallyRaid Adventure tune up kits. The EVO1 and EVO2 Adventure tune up kits extend the fuel capacity, provide proper twin headlights and wind coverage with a DAKAR -style fairing. The fuel reserve expands from the standard 12L (3.2USgal., 2UKgal.) up to 22,5 – 23L (5.9USgal., 4.9UKgal.) depending on which kit is in question. The RallyRaid offers also additional rear fuel tanks that ad up the capacity to 26,5L altogether. The RallyRaid Adventure tune up kits are installed without modifications and can be easily removed from the 690R and the bike can be returned back to the standard condition.
The RallyRaid offers also other tuning parts for KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 such as lower fenders, power outlet sockets, alternative fairing graphics, rally & adventure suspension systems and hard core replacement parts that are tested in competition environment. The RallyRaid seems highly committed to the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 tuning and I am happy to follow the development.
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 Alberto Dottori TuneUp Kits
The Italian former offroad and desert racing rider Alberto DOTTORI produces accessory fairing parts for KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 and there are several alternatives to choose from. Alberto has basically rally, desert racing and adventure touring oriented fairing packages with extensive fuel tank options, but no graphics. Therefore Albertos products are especially interesting for those who prefer to build and assemble the bike on their own. Unique graphics can be made by using the KTM factory or racing graphic kits creatively. Some of the fairing parts are integrated with accessory ACERBIS and SAFARI -fuel tanks which is another difference to the competition.
The Alberto Dottori offers also very basic fairing parts such as the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 ADVENTURE package which provides better wind coverage with the tall desert rally style tower. The KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 ADVENTURE S package 14L SAFARI -fuel tank together with the standard rear tank puts together a 26L fuel capacity and the light weight skid-plate offers additional water reserve for the hottest conditions. The KTM 690 AFRICA package has two 8L front tanks (30L – 7.9USgal. – 6.6UKgal.) and H1 twin headlights. With a custom made touring seat they would all be good for remote adventure tours.
KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 Comparison
Compared to the offroad racing enduro KTM 500 EXC 2014, the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 is clearly much more road and touring capable. Although the 690R is 27kgs heavier, offers 3L (0.8USgal., 0.66UKgal.) more fuel capacity, has 65 mm. less ground clearance, 60 mm. lower seat height and a kind of road comfort seat instead of ascetic racing seat. Perhaps the biggest difference from the road riding perspective is the frame and the amount of torsion resistance. The 690R has a space frame and a more rigid swing arm which makes the 690R much more road capable at high speed compared to the 500EXC. From the practicality point of view, the 690R has a long service maintenance interval and the 500EXC a very short one.
VS YAMAHA XT660R 2014
Compared to the YAMAHA XT660R 2014, the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 has clearly much better offroad handling features and performs better in demanding conditions. The 690R is 34kgs (75lbs.) lighter, offers 3L less fuel capacity, 14kgs (30.9lb.) more payload, 50 mm more suspension travel. The XT660R has longer gear ration which is better for road use and the 690R has a more offroad and trail oriented gear box, but not for very slow maneuvering. On the other hand, the KTM 690 Enduro R 2014 offers the best platform and widest range of accessory parts for building a unique adventure touring enduro close to desert rally racing. The XT660R tuning is more difficult and leads to universal parts. The character of XT660R is clearly less aggressive and more comfortable which makes it good for light adventure touring with reasonable speed.
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