Endurance test interim balance of the KTM 690 Supermoto


Endurance test interim balance of the KTM 690 Supermoto

Endurance test interim balance of the KTM 690 Supermoto

Interim balance: KTM long-term testers

When starting it rattles, below 3500 rpm the engine lashes the chain ?? the new 690 single-cylinder strains the confidence of KTM newbies and pours water on the mills of those who are forever doubting: the high-performance single holds up?

The following is recorded from the eighties: KTM is synonymous with “Kick ten minutes” or “Not a thousand meters”. Nice anecdotes. In fact, the three letters stand for the company’s founder and the company’s headquarters: Kronreif Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. The water-cooled single-cylinder engine (LC4) developed in-house for the first time in 1987 suggested a slightly different interpretation of the abbreviation. This was afflicted with mechanical problems for a long time and often resisted steadfastly against starting attempts. Some reportedly played for more than ten minutes. An image that is so easy to shed … So it is not surprising that the MOTORRAD long-term test machine is surrounded by curious people when they check in, who do not save with comments: ?? 64 HP ?? if that holds, the Japanese would have built something like this long ago. ?? However, maybe they didn’t even try. The end of the Japanese development flagpole culminated in 2000 with the Honda XR 650 R. It was touted with an incredible 61 hp. Of these, 54 remained on the MOTORRAD test bench.

The endurance test KTM 690 SM pressed 64 hp at 7500 rpm after the running-in period despite the meanwhile tightened emission limits and sent 67 Newton meters to the rear wheel at 6300 tours ?? almost identical to the manufacturer. Especially in the upper speed range, the single lags behind and looks extremely powerful. Power from the speed cell? Parade discipline of old Yamaha XT engines? however, is not its strength. And so after the first few hundred kilometers you will find entries like this in the logbook: ?? Approaching traffic lights: You have to turn the box like a two-stroke engine ?? who needs something like that ??? Many have to get used to the tapering performance characteristics for a single cylinder.

Buy complete article

Endurance test interim balance of the KTM 690 Supermoto

Endurance test interim balance of the KTM 690 Supermoto
Interim balance: KTM long-term testers

Seat board


Seating comfort tends towards zero, but you know how: a sheepskin can help.

And not just about it. The first longer trip leads the single over 1600 kilometers to the 2007 Alpine Masters at Col du Galibier. In the saddle: test editor Werner Koch. He can hardly stand it, the upholstery is simply too hard for him in the long run. At a rest stop in Switzerland, he fishes a piece of cardboard out of the wastepaper basket in order to increase the seating comfort, but discards this idea a short time later and drapes a thick fleece sweater between the bum and the bench. Of course, that made the editorial staff smile. However, only for those who had previously only piloted the nimble Supermoto single over short distances. Or on country roads, where you do gymnastics back and forth on the machine, because then the hardness of the foam is hardly noticeable. On the other hand, hardly anyone can endure static sitting on long stages. The comfort problem is solved individually by various employees. Only later (km 23338) was the 690 equipped with the high gel seat from the original KTM accessories. This embeds the driver a little more comfortably than the original on long journeys, but raises the seat height from 89 to 91 centimeters.

Both the rather steep seat height and the hard bench fit the robust image of the supermoto. The engine joins in there. In the first second of his awakening, it rattles out of the innards of the 657 cubic thick stew ?? for some a cause for concern. The explanation is simple: the timing chain tensioner works with oil pressure and it takes a moment to build up. Vibrations are present over the entire speed range, but only have a disruptive effect at high speeds above 6500 rpm. Few drivers found it particularly annoying on the 28,000 kilometers covered. By the way: The new one is miles away from the bad shaking of the LC4 generation. The single has nothing in common with its predecessor. At full throttle in last gear (driver lying down) the speedometer shows an impressive 195 km / h, which corresponds to almost 190 real km / h. In the papers, the supermoto is stated at 185 km / h.

Even at top speed, the 690 is stable. In addition to the very good chassis, this also has to do with the strangely shaped fender. Because this is less used for splash protection. Rather, the beak increases the contact pressure of the 163 kilogram KTM, which would otherwise swing at high speeds due to lift. The following suggestion from a colleague in the logbook: “Saw here and there with the ugly beak” so it was not complied with for good reason. But back to the chassis: The stiff tubular space frame in combination with the stiff spring elements ensures impressive stability. Even with a pillion passenger weighted down with hip gold plus holiday luggage, the suspension does not get into trouble.

Deficiency symptoms


Gladly taken: The KTM was mainly used for weekend trips.

There were no serious defects on the kilometers that have been unwound so far. However, some complained about the flickering idle behavior of the single: It sometimes turned 3500 tours after starting or, regardless of outside or engine temperature, abruptly went off at traffic lights. The workshop initially diagnosed too little play on the throttle cable. As a result, the throttle was always a little open. The valve clearance was not correct later. But even the correct setting did not change the behavior of the high-performance unit. Even the so-called ?? adaptation ?? recommended by KTM for such cases. brought no improvement: Here the engine is started in a cold state and has to idle until the fan starts. The electronics then start a self-learning program in which it checks all parameters and recalculates them if necessary. Ultimately, the unstable concentricity could also be related to the accessory exhaust system from Akrapovic, which has been installed for around 10,000 kilometers and will soon be replaced by the original. MOTORRAD will report on this in the final balance of the endurance test.

The cockpit buttons are also criticized: They are too small and can hardly be operated with gloves. And the mirror mounts often vibrated. When it comes to maintenance, the relatively low fuel consumption contrasts with the high inspection costs: due to 5000 intervals, the KTM had to go to inspections five times, which cost 1703 euros. A lot of money for a single cylinder. In return, the single consumes an average of around 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers on country road cruising, and around one more on motorway stretches.

As with the tire recommendation (see box on the left), the KTM harmonises with almost all tires, there are no major weak points, at least on dry slopes. As part of the endurance test, three pairings were tried out: The rear tire from the original equipment manufacturer Bridge-stone BT 090 was worn out after an average of just 3700 kilometers. Michelin’s Pilot Power lasted 500 kilometers longer, and the Pirelli Diablo Strada lasted around 6,500 kilometers. However, the Pirelli could not convince in the wet. No matter whether December or June: From zero point grip in the rain? until ?? extremely dangerous in the wet ?? you can read everything about the Diablo Strada in the logbook. The following recommendation didn’t help much: The Pirelli does have wet grip. You just have to warm it up well. Good idea. Unfortunately hardly feasible in winter city traffic.

Let’s get to the halftime summary: The engine still sounds as jerky as it did at the beginning of the test distance, but the mechanical noises have not worsened. Oil consumption is practically not measurable, only 0.25 liters had to be refilled between the inspections. Despite the initial prophecies of doom, the agile fun mobile has achieved a top position on the popularity scale in everyday editorial work. Due to its handiness and the robust engine, it is just as popular for weekend tours as it is for short trips. The new single from Mattighofen is well on the way to polishing up the Austrian image. If it works, KTM will soon stand for “hardly any technical defects”.

Tire recommendations

In terms of tire choice, the KTM is a completely unproblematic motorcycle. Most tires differ only by nuances in terms of handling, steering precision, stability and comfort, so the supermoto drivers have a wide selection from touring tires to rubber suitable for the race track.

Metzeler Sportec M3
One of the original equipment tires on the 690 SM from the year 2008. Drives very harmoniously over the entire lean angle. Not the handiest tire, but one with which the KTM stays very precisely on the line. High adhesion. Allows the machine, which has a top speed of almost 190 km / h, to run straight ahead. A bench even when it’s wet.

Bridgestone BT 016 F / R
It is very similar to the Metzeler in terms of grip, comfort and straight-line stability. With the BT 016, the KTM drives a bit more manageable, but when accelerating in an inclined position it pushes a bit more energetically on a further line than the one intended by the driver. Still a tire with great fun and safety potential.

Continental ContiForce SM
When braking into corners, the Conti is a force. It tempts you to jagged changes of lean angle and hearty acceleration in an inclined position and draws its lines with the precision of a circular stroke. Like the Dunlop and the Pirelli with a rather stiff casing, it is positioned between the two in terms of comfort and high-speed stability. A little worse than the Dunlop, a little better than the Pirelli.

Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier or RR
The front tire already gives an idea of ​​its leadership qualities during assembly? he wants to be lifted over the rim flange and pressed onto the shoulder. Later, the Dunlop pairing turns out to be the handiest of them all, blessed with superb steering precision. High temperatures of 28 to 30 degrees let the RR work in the optimal temperature window; the liability is phenomenal. When it is cold or wet, it is advisable to warm up carefully. The Sportmax shows a certain roughness of racing tires, comfort and straight-line stability are therefore not quite on the level of Metzeler and Bridgestone.

Michelin Pilot Road 2
A touring tire that combines high mileage with very good grip in dry and wet conditions. The way in which the Supermoto can be driven out of the corners with it dispels any reservations even sporty drivers may have. On the KTM, the Road 2 does not show the spark of its otherwise criticized tilting in deep lean angles, but it also does not look as handy as on other motorcycles. Maybe because of the recommended low air pressure.

Pirelli Scorpion Sync
With the Sync, the 690 SM shows a homogeneous steering behavior with very good handling. Because of the hard carcass, the suspension looks rougher than with the other tires, and comfort and steering precision suffer as a result. The grip of the rear tire does not quite reach the level of the others either, which is never a problem thanks to the wide, tangible limit area.

Accessories put to the test

Gel bench
The rather hard original seat was ultimately exchanged for a gel seat (157.70 euros, original KTM). It doesn’t offer touring qualities either, it is a bit more comfortable. Thanks to different upholstery, three seat heights are available.

Tank bag
The tank bag with a maximum capacity of 24 liters (128.90 euros, KTM) is also recommended because it is well thought out. The division with several compartments is practical, the map compartment is removable, but should be larger. Thanks to the rain cover supplied, everything stayed dry even on the rainy autumn drive.

Crash pads
Actually a must for anyone who likes to drive to the limit. The plastic pads are simply mounted on the wheel axle and protect the swing arm and fork in the event of a fall, EUR 34.70 per set (KTM).

Exhaust system
Tried: Akrapovic complete system ?? Silencer (hexagonal set) with factory manifolds and catalytic converters (2175.80 euros). Due to the guarantee, the system was driven in conjunction with the original KTM mapping and should generate more power with a different mapping without a catalytic converter. In any case, it looks great and saves weight.

Tried, but almost nobody needs that: abrasive pads (KTM) to protect the footrest. KTM charges 19.73 euros for this. MOTORRAD thinks: Better buy a case of beer for the money …

Granted, the disc on a Supermoto machine looks quite strange. Nevertheless: Most of the drivers praised the better wind protection of the KTM original screen (49.60 euros), only a few complained of loud turbulence.

Luggage rack
The carrier (99.10 euros, KTM) is actually intended to be used to attach a topcase or luggage bag to it. But it is also suitable as a normal luggage rack. And could be better deburred for the price.

Motor protection
Highly recommended for gravel trips. Otherwise: well made, stable, but not absolutely necessary. 124 euros at KTM.

Defects in the test

It started with a crack in the cockpit housing at mileage 5446. Then there were two or three cracks, water penetrated and paralyzed the electronics. At 7887 kilometers, the instrument cluster was exchanged under warranty. The new one tore at 23,766 kilometers. Also annoying: After 12,730 kilometers, a cable from the rear light had vibrated off. Due to the construction, it could no longer be soldered on ?? the entire rear light had to be replaced (guarantee). The shaking also fell victim to two taillights. The brake disc was also particularly vulnerable. It drew attention to itself by juddering the brakes after 5660 kilometers, was first removed and later (km 14451) replaced with a new one on guarantee. The rattle of the brakes is back again after 5500 kilometers. Also exchanged: a clutch lever on which the adjusting screw for the hand width had passed.

Driver opinions

Andreas Bildl (editor)
Where is the sound?
Of course it vibrates. If it can, it should too, that’s part of the single-cylinder model. And the fact that there are more suitable machines for vacation trips is not new. But just when I sit high on this dainty Ballermann, savored the fine chassis and the carefree handling, the first-class liveliness for a single, huh, that’s awesome. Only: where is the sound?

Michael Orth (editor)
Nervous stilt
So much power, so lively, so little effort. A high-performance unit. Very special. And as it is with specialists: some things they master excellently, others not at all. I drove through the city in the rain, the traffic flow was slow. I would have loved to put the nervous KTM in the next shop window, it drives you crazy. Under such circumstances. But otherwise …

Jorg Lohse (editor)
Confession of love
Why i like her Because they hammer out this powerful commitment to the single cylinder. Where other manufacturers cut off the air and power from the single engines, Austria marches forward. This sparkles immensely on small Alpine passes. And with the comfort seat and high windshield, even a long journey on the motorway is bearable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *