All Tests – 690 Duke and 990 SMT: two oranges pressed in the sun … – Day 1: From worst to best

690 Duke and 990 SMT: two oranges pressed in the sun…

All Tests - 690 Duke and 990 SMT: two oranges pressed in the sun ... - Day 1: From worst to best

We have tested two very wanton KTMs for you. This is not a head to head because there is no need to compare these two hybrids, but rather a joint test on roads as varied as they are extraordinary. Road book test !

Day 1: From worst to best

Almost all motorcycle manufacturers / importers have based their headquarters in the Paris region … except KTM France which is located in Saint-Priest, south of Lyon. So that for editors also based in Paris, this distance is a real problem to plan the tests of Austrian machines..

But this also offers an advantage, and not the least, for us, poor Parisians … It is that, even if it means making the trip, we take the opportunity to enjoy the fabulous roads that this trip puts within our reach.

For this test, we will therefore set up our base camp 200 km south of Lyon, on the border between Vaucluse and Drôme, not far from Vaison-la-Romaine. This places us at the center of an almost infinite potential of fabulous routes: the Vercors, the Ardèche, the Route Napoleon, the Mont Ventoux, etc., etc..

Contact and charge

After a long and boring drive down to Lyon, the two Austrian terrors await us in the KTM parking lot, ready to go.

The Duke looks fine next to the more pot-bellied SMT. The latter is particularly easy to load: we stuff the side cases and attach all our gear on the large luggage rack..

On the Duke, it’s backpack, "and pi is it"! It is always possible to attach a bag to the passenger seat, but at the risk of scratching the particularly sharp fairing sides…

Then the KTM technician shows us the three adjustable injection mapping settings on the Duke. To schematize, we can choose between Rain, Normal and Racing. We obviously opt for this third option because the 690 will undoubtedly have a lot to do to follow the 990…

200 motorway terminals

The moist heat and big black clouds herald the imminent arrival of thunderstorms … We escape the Lyon metropolitan area quickly so as not to have to take out our rain gear, heading south.

I’m starting our journey on the Duke and let’s face it, the motorway is really the worst workout for this machine. Despite a light mistral pushing me in the back, I’m in for a treat! There is absolutely no protection and the bike is so thin that the air is everywhere.

That said, the 690 cc single cylinder shows good length and holds without forcing a very decent cruising speed. On the other hand, at top speed, it is difficult to hang on to 180 km / h, which is a little disappointing.

SM Quiet

On the handlebars of the SMT, Sylvain can quantify the benefits provided by the new fork crown. The latter effectively removes the upper body from the air pressure. If the helmet remains exposed enough, it does not receive any turbulence which allows to quietly withstand speeds that are already quite prohibited. The most demanding will nevertheless opt for a slightly higher bubble.

We only regret a tank that is a little too large, which means that at high speed the air rushes in at the knees and tends to spread the thighs. Suddenly, pressing your legs against the bike requires a real effort…

As for the 990 cc twin-cylinder, it shows great pleasure on the motorway. Flexible and devoid of vibrations, it also knows how to be frankly nasty in the towers to quickly propel the machine beyond 210 km / h.

Note that the speedometers of the two KTMs in our test are particularly accurate since they offer a margin of error of 3 or 4 km / h compared to the GPS.

Benjamin LALO

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