Comparison test for KTM 690 SMC-R and Enduro R motorcycles


Mono multi-pleasures

Single cylinder LC4, 690 cm, 74 hp and 73.5 Nm, WP suspensions, Brembo brakes, 10,799 euros

The very DNA of the brand, the single-cylinder is both a historical base and a showcase of Austrian know-how on this engine architecture. The name LC4 dates from 1987, with a necessarily Enduro model.

In the 90s, the Mattighofen firm finally developed a more road range and, in 1994, offered the 620 Duke. But it was in 2007 with the Duke III (2007) and its high-performance LC4 single-cylinder that KTM set new standards in the roadster segment. The 690 SM is a variation of this roadster launched in 2007 in standard version and SM R. An SMC model replaces it the following year, the Ride by WIre electronics arrive four years later. The super-vitamin single-cylinder also equips the Husqvarna 701 Enduro and Supermoto. 2016 marks the peak of the block, with the latest generation LC4 equipping the Duke R.

It is therefore the turn of the 690 SMC R and Enduro R to benefit from this condensed history and mechanical technology. The false binoculars also take the opportunity to update electronics and cycle parts. It is in Portimao (Portugal) that we discover these new features for 2019, for 100 km of tracks on the adventurer, on the road and circuit with the supermoto..

Comparison test of the KTM 690 SMC-R and Enduro R


The sisters have in common a racy aesthetic, dressed in sharp angles. Slender and narrow, their appearance evokes lightness and dynamism. The aesthetic evolution is very discreet. Better integrated front fender, saddle and side fairings admit slight changes. The tool kit is stashed on the left front side, under the scoop cover. The whole remains purely dedicated to efficiency and the machines are based on the same basis.

KTM 690 SMC-R review

KTM 690 Enduro R review

Redesigned, the rear loop incorporating the 13.5 liter (+1.5) tank is bolted to the main frame. This consists of a tubular chromium-molybdenum steel trellis of different thicknesses, with refined sections. But we notice some differences in geometry inherent in their use. The Enduro R aims more stability with geometry values ​​greater than that of the SMC R: caster angle of 27.7 ° against 26.4 °, trail of 107.7 mm against 117.3. Its wheelbase is 1,502 mm while that of the more road is reduced to 1,470 mm (-10 mm). Finally, the adventurer has 270 mm of ground clearance against 238 mm for the more urban.

The KTM 690 SMC-R

The KTM 690 Enduro R

No, evolution mainly affects the heart and brain of machines. With 146 and 147 kg on the scale, the 690 SMC-R and Enduro R rest on a mechanical base inherited from that of the 690 Duke R. the most efficient on the market. And it takes this block of 690 cm3 to output a power of 74 hp at 8,000 rpm (+7) and 73.5 Nm (+3.5) of torque at 6,500! With a bore x stroke ratio of 105 x 80 mm, its forged piston is pushed by a lightweight connecting rod.

The single-cylinder LC4

Engineering is housed in the cylinder head, now wearing a magnesium headgear. The timing chain operates both the single three-camshaft, but also a secondary balancing element. The drive pinion of the first incorporates a decompression lever passing through it to facilitate starting. The centrifugal force then disengages the system … A force which also serves, on the new shaft, to release the excess air pressure which can slow down the descent of the piston. The rotating mass is pierced at its ends to its hollow shaft, creating a suction like a vortex. The air is then led out of the cylinder head. And without shipping the oil !

The engine of the KTM 690 Enduro R

A central cam drives the exhaust valves via a new two-finger rocker. This oscillating part forged and treated with DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) requires multiple manufacturing operations. Two outer cams control the intake valves via two small push buttons. Between them, a removable part allows them to be moved very easily in order to adjust the valve clearance. This excellent accessibility simplifies maintenance. Likewise, the air filter box is placed under the seat so as to facilitate access to the air filter. Finally, a resonator, near the intake, improves volumetric efficiency and counteracts wave effects..

The air box of the KTM 690 SMC-R

The two Austrians now offer two engine modes, easily switchable on the handlebars. Street and Sport for the SMC R, Street and, of course, Offroad for Enduro R. And both mainly have a central IMU calculating the inclination of the machines. Thus, ABS and traction control (disconnectable) are now modulated according to the angle taken. As an option, Supermoto ABS allows locking of the rear wheel and limits the intervention of ABS on the front wheel. The adventurer’s ABS Enduro allows it to be completely disconnected. Finally, an up and down gear quickshifter equips the mounts! Sport obliges the assisted clutch is limited slip, allowing entry into muscular turns with stacking of report. And the lever is activated almost visually, it is so flexible.

Clutch of the KTM 690 SMC-R

Equipped with ultra-light CNC machined hubs, the sisters stand out well on the cycle part. The SMC R is equipped with a new WP Apex 48 mm fork, fully adjustable with separate functions (compression damping for the left arm, rebound on the right) and deflection of 215 mm. The rear receives a WP shock absorber mounted on a 240 mm sliding Pro-Lever linkage. Same origin on the Enduro R, but more committed program, with its equally adjustable Xplor fork and its shock absorber both deflecting over 250 mm. The aluminum swingarm of the katoches nicely mixes brushed and polished surfaces.

The fork of the KTM 690 Enduro R

The shock absorber of the KTM 690 SMC-R

DID aluminum spoked rims for the Austrians. In 17 inches shod with Bridgestone S21 R (120/70, 160/60) tires for the SMC R. Its sister prefers 21 inches at the front and 18 at the rear mounted in Mitas E-07, 90/90 and 140 / 80.

The rim of the KTM 690 SMC-R

The rim of the KTM 690 Enduro R

To stop the SMC-R, a 4-piston Brembo radial-mount fixed front caliper attacks a 320mm brake disc. In contrast, a single piston floating caliper grips a 240mm wafer. More accommodating, the Enduro R’s two-piston axial Brembo front caliper bites off a 300mm disc. The rear is identical to that of his sister. Everything is monitored, on the two 690s, by a Bosch 9.1 MP 2-channel ABS with cornering monitoring when cornering..

The rear brake of the KTM 690 SMC-R

In the saddle

The 690 has a high-rise neckline. Particularly the Enduro R, with its 910 mm saddle height … The SMC R peaks at "only" 890 mm, ie 100m more than a usual roadster. Narrow, however, they allow good ground support … for the tallest (1.80m); for the others, it will be necessary to accept to put the end of a foot and to climb on the machine in motion. The seats are "comfortable for the segment". Rubberized for the sportswoman, bare for the adventurer, the footrests offer good grip.

The footrests of the KTM 690 SMC-R

With their adjustable triple trees, the ergonomics can be adapted in four positions. The handlebars naturally welcome the hands. On the left stalk, we will choose the engine maps, disengage the traction control. The spartan instrumentation is based on that of the Husqvarna 701. It is reduced to an ABS indicator next to an LCD window. There is tachometer, clock, odometer and two partials. And that’s all. Do not look for the tachometer, mono is managed by ear and especially for pleasure.

Instrumentation of the KTM 690 SMC-R

Awake in an edgy staccato, the LC4 creaks at the slightest rotation of the right grip. Its slow motion heave then instantly mutates into a more serious snore. However, castrating standards reduce his voice a bit..

KTM 690 SMC-R throttle grip

Offroad – 690 Enduro R

Soaked a few days earlier by incessant rains, the off-road course has become very greasy. Too tricky for the original Mitas E-07s. KTM then equips its machine with Continental TKC 80 for our test. We set off for 100 km of track in the very cold air of the Lusitanian coast, which the rhythm of an Austrian lumberjack quickly warms up. The power to weight ratio is the talk of the powder and the single cylinder particularly appreciates high speeds. He takes his turns with a rather astounding ease, leading the crew at very high speed. Ignoring the frost freezing the countryside, our opener spins on tracks with variable surfaces, sometimes more brittle, often larded with treacherous bloodletting. Agile, intuitive, the Enduro R appreciates the rhythm, leaving a great capacity for improvisation on the handlebars. And it is necessary to follow the performance of this peerless mechanism. With a very precise throttle grip and perfect injection, the LC4 responds to the slightest request. And without hanging around. Preferably, motor mode 2, which is more incisive, is used to extract oneself from certain painful situations with a good blow of gas. Or, on the contrary, we move on the torque, taking advantage of the high availability of the single cylinder. Its flexibility facilitates more technical passages. If necessary, the clutch is used, the flexibility of the lever of which allows two-finger handling. In addition, the balance is excellent, confirming the KTM mastery on this subject..

Enduro R in offroad

When the horizon widens, the mechanics propel the machine vigorously on the big bumpy tracks. On this ground, she is at her ease and the suspensions swallow bleeds, bumps and bowls filled with water with the same ease. And there is water, mud too. I take the opportunity to do a little thalassotherapy at the crossing of a deep ford. Visor open, I begin the crossing with a little too much enthusiasm. Punishment assured, the cold shower wakes me up, a little too late…

Fording with the Enduro R

Effective, WP suspensions easily absorb the strongest compressions when the two wheels find the ground. Precise, the front axle secures the route. The Xplor fork absorbs small and large shocks with the same ease, appreciable smoothness and progressiveness at the end of the race. More braked compression could, however, limit too rapid sinking at the start of sinking. The rear shock absorbs changes without flinching, providing welcome stability to the machine.

KTM 690 Enduro R off-road test

More cumbersome than a smaller displacement, this maxi-enduro requires more experience when the track tightens. She appreciates a committed piloting, freeing up her pilot more. The handling is excellent and the Enduro R is responsive to impulses on the footrests and work on the handlebars. With a little skill, she gives her pilot a lot of pleasure.

The KTM 690 Enduro R off-road

Whatever the conditions, Brembo braking gives complete satisfaction. Progressive and easily dosed, the calipers also deliver significant power if needed. ABS disengaged, the machine is then easily rotated in tight bends. And the morning hike comes to an end, it’s time for sport on asphalt.

The 690 Enduro R in off-road

In town – 690 SMC R

Light and agile, the Austrian road is extremely easy to handle. Intuitive, moving between vehicles becomes a game of every moment. Its reduced size, driven by smart mechanics, is no stranger to it..

Devoid of vibration, the Austrian mechanics are the most accommodating and the availability of mono keeps the urban look in third gear. Always astonishing flexibility for this engine. In fact, everything on board is very smooth. Controls, mechanics … only the selection is rougher, sometimes served by a more comfortable shifter in the towers. But the slender athlete is not a fan of urbanity. The vigor of its engine destines it to more open horizons where one can dig in peace..

KTM 690 SMC-R city test

Motorways and expressways – 690 SMC R

There are hardly any toll roads around, but a few great stretches teach us what we want. Explosive, the LC4 leaps without restraint towards high speeds, rushing on the smooth asphalt to assault the tachometer. The propensity of mono to push over the entire available engine range without ever slackening is impressive. And always this question: is it really a single cylinder that catapults these machines? We remain amazed at the athletic abilities of the block. And the course is flawless even if the front end remains sharp.

KTM 690 SMC-R road test

Departmental – 690 SMC R

The 690 SMC R is a pocket hooligan, quick to unleash any restraint. After driving the Enduro R on offroad tires, finding a sharper road feel is almost surprising. The more closed geometry and sports envelopes of the super-mot ‘also quickly raise the temperature. No worries about grip, the Bridgestone S21R provide even when the asphalt is stained with dust. Agile and light, the katoche is there for fun. Carried away by its supercharged mono, it attacks the shell without weakening. Changing angle of a block despite its high suspensions, the SMC R is taken to the eye on the chosen trajectory.

KTM 690 SMC-R road test

On board also, intuitive piloting dominates. We easily correct an error, we face the unexpected, helped by the lightness of the machine. Logically sensitive mass transfers are effectively managed by the new fork, well braked in compression. In addition, the inertial unit makes it possible to take advantage of additional safety on the braking angle. Ditto with acceleration or traction control reduces engine power via the throttle valves. Transparent, the implementation is efficient. And for more beautiful driving, you can deactivate the system. Optionally, ABS can also be cut.

KTM 690 SMC-R road test

CIrcuit – 690 SMC R

To further test the dynamic capabilities of the supermot, the karting circuit adjacent to the Portimao circuit is open. Obviously the engine is the remarkable element of the machine. Almost like a twin, it delivers a little fat stimulus, energized by a couple always available. And when the power takes over, the mono flies in the towers. And the front wheel with … A real pleasure to ride with on the technical track.

KTM 690 SMC-R test drive on the track

Here again, the traction control works wonders, letting the rear tire slide under control. More convincing on the track, the quickshifter in ascent and descent optimizes starts and decelerations. Neutral when downshifting, it accompanies its operation with the rumble of the exhaust.

The KTM 690 SMC-R on the track

The inertia on the change of angle is more noticeable, but the lightness of the SMC R limits the effort on the handlebars. Responsive, precise, its lively front end allows it to enter strong curves in tight curves. Another good point glimpsed on the road, we can hold the brakes for a long time on the angle. And when you let go of the lever, the hydraulics accompany the movement without impact. Efficient and pleasant, the SMC R has a large margin of maneuver and will, in expert hands, increase its level of performance and fun..

The KTM 690 SMC-R on the track


Lightweight, incisive and efficient, the 690 SMC R is a competition flyweight. Its high-end and adjustable equipment associated with a chassis with studied rigidity gives it great ease of handling. And the performances follow.

Dedicated to off-road developments, the 690 Enduro R bears witness to the same qualities. Its fork allows it to fly over obstacles and the whole shows an always appreciable balance..

Fork of the KTM 690 SMC-R


Sufficiently progressive and very powerful, the front radial-mounted caliper allows effective metering of deceleration force. The rear element is just as flexible, providing additional guidance.

Perfectly adjustable, the pressure of the axial caliper on the steering gear delivers both power and control. With a too high pedal, the rear brake of our machines was more difficult to adjust. A simple adjustment should solve the problem..

The front brake of the KTM 690 Enduro R

Comfort / Duo

Mostly standing on the machine on the handlebars of the Enduro R, in arsouille mode on the SMC R, comfort and an abstract notion on these machines. However, the adventurer’s saddle seems relatively more welcoming. To see in the long run.

The saddle of the 690 Enduro R


KTM advertises 5 liters per 100 km, but my experience with the LC4 leads me to estimate it at an additional half liter on average. With such vigor, the mono is just begging to drink to make you toast. Health !


Always more efficient in each segment, the 690 SMC-R and Enduro R are once again optimizing their performance. The electronics also make them more accessible to less experienced pilots. The offroad model can be imagined in itinerant use. Its large mono and pleasant ergonomics make it more comfortable on long outings. In addition, service intervals of 10,000 km reduce maintenance costs. Supermot ‘without excess in the induced position, the SMC-R can compose an alternative to a sporty roadster, for fans of the genre. Well equipped, displaying a flawless finish, equipped with powerful assistance and an unparalleled engine, the KTMs remain expensive. Both priced at 10,799 €, the sisters are aimed at a clientele of connoisseurs or enthusiasts of the high performance single cylinder.


KTM 690 Enduro R

SMC-R strengths

  • Strong aesthetics
  • Personality and engine availability
  • Lively cycle part
  • Quality of suspensions
  • Quickshifter up & down
  • Efficient electronic assistance
  • Inertial unit
  • ABS Supermot ‘
  • Quality of finishes
  • Overall dynamic efficiency

Weak points SMC-R

  • Coarse selection
  • Anecdotal instrumentation
  • Non-disconnectable ABS as standard
  • Hard saddle
  • High price

Strengths Enduro R

  • Strong aesthetics
  • Personality and engine availability
  • Quickshifter up & down
  • Lively and balanced cycle part
  • Quality of suspensions
  • Efficient electronic assistance
  • Inertial unit
  • ABS Enduro
  • Quality of finishes
  • Overall dynamic efficiency

Weak points Enduro R

  • Coarse selection
  • Anecdotal instrumentation
  • Non-disconnectable ABS as standard
  • High price

The technical sheet of the KTM 690 SMC-R

The technical sheet of the KTM 690 Enduro R

Video test

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: winding roads with variable surfaces, dry.
  • Offroad: dirt, rocks, sand, mud.
  • Weather: sunny, cold, 0 ° to 16 ° C
  • 100 km offroad, 80 km road + circuit
  • Problem encountered: ras

Test equipment

  • AGV AX9 helmet
  • Dainese Centauri GoreTex Boots (offroad)
  • Ixon Galactica suit

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2 thoughts on “Comparison test for KTM 690 SMC-R and Enduro R motorcycles

  1. Here, first comment and it’s Tom4 … "weird"… to smile

    It will inevitably influence the price of the occasion. But not the masses. Well, the LC4 final release is really great, the electronics … why not, but in absolute terms, it was a good bike since 2014, it will remain so in 2019. Here it is.

  2. QuoteTom4
    we agree that the 701 is "the same" as the old one

    –> question

    On reading the article, I have the impression that at the engine level, it is the same box on my 701 from June 2017 and on the "new" Katoche.

    (Pass that, for the rest, there were differences at the level of the chassis between the two …)

    When will the comparison between Marie-Antoinette and the sled dog?

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