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Test: KTM 690 Duke R

The new KTM 690 Duke R

Wheel further, drift sideways, ride wilder: So far, the KTM Duke has been considered one of the most rebellious bikes in the world. The R version of the 690 is unlikely to be an exception. Or does it?

Let’s count it: In 1993 the first Duke appeared with the revolutionary 553 cubic LC4 single cylinder. Six years later, the Austrians donated the Duke II a balance shaft and 625 cubic meters. In 2008 the curtain fell with a bang, revealing a completely redesigned Duke 690, which from then on powered the newly developed, 654 cubic high-performance single-cylinder. With a nominal 65 hp, this was the most powerful series single-cylinder in the world. At that time hardly anyone would have thought that this engine could be improved significantly.

But they did it. With the KTM 690 Duke R, the fourth and strongest single-cylinder Duke of all time will be in the shop windows from April. As usual at KTM, the R stands for racing. And in the case of the Duke, in addition to a weight reduction of around one kilogram compared to the normal version, it also means an increase in performance of nominally five hp.

Test: KTM 690 Duke R

The new KTM 690 Duke R


With the KTM 690 Duke R, the asphalt literally burns.

A very gentle push on the button wakes the now actually 690 cubic single cylinder from hibernation. Even when idling, it sounds pithy, hungry and ready for any evil deed. Ten or 20 cautious pass kilometers later, the engine is at operating temperature and ready to show its potential. Brief check on the switch for the driving mode: level one – soft throttle response, restrained load changes. Modes two and three are for sporty driving. With very direct, aggressive response behavior and stronger load changes. Okay, let’s go. Mode three. Long wheelie. No chance of contact with the ground. The only thing that helps is braking. The rear 240 mm disc can be dosed wonderfully and is effective. The front wheel keys down with a whistle. Good thing, because there is already the turn. The front one-finger brake is easy to adjust and a real anchor if necessary.

In a flash you fall into the Duke intoxication, in which it is only about further wheeling, sloping angles and even more lateral drifting in. Extremely high footrests and the well-functioning anti-hopping clutch installed as standard support this pace. The fork tubes, coated with titanium nitrite especially for the R model, as well as the piston rod of the shock absorber seduce you to go wild, because the chassis responds extremely fine, provides excellent feedback and plenty of reserves. Above all, however, the new 690 engine contributes to the bad-boy character: the crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons are new. A stroke that is 4.5 millimeters longer generates the displacement increase of 36 cubic meters. The compression has been increased from 11.8 to 12.5: 1. The result is great – it’s hard to believe that KTM withholds this advance from the other 690 models.

Already at 2500 rpm the newcomer tenses his muscles. No more rattling, no more chain whipping. At medium speeds, the real 690 looks worlds more potent than its predecessor. But without vibrating harder or having lost your greed for speed. So we would have wished for the most powerful single cylinder in the world from the start. The fact that it cannot quite implement the noticeable bump-plus in acceleration compared to its predecessor is due to the tight gear ratio. Two gear changes are necessary to reach 100 km / h. When it comes to pulling through, the R is clearly superior to the normal 690.

Summary: Two souls live in the wild Duke R. The high-torque engine, in conjunction with the soft response in driving mode one, is even suitable for tours to a limited extent. brilliant.

Technical data

Drawing: archive

Power on the crankshaft; Measurements on Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation +/- 5%

Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balance shaft, an overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves, roller rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 46 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 224 W, battery 12 V / 9 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, (anti- Hopping), six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 40:16.
Bore x stroke 102.0 x 84.5 mm
Displacement 690 cc
Compression ratio 12.5: 1
rated capacity 51.5 kW (70 hp) at 7500 rpm
Max. Torque 70 Nm at 5500 rpm

Landing gear:
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, adjustable rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, front disc brake, Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed caliper, Rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17
Dunlop GPR Alpha 10 tires tested

Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1472 mm, steering head angle 63.5 degrees, caster 115 mm, spring travel f / r 140/140 mm, seat height * 870 mm, weight with a full tank * 159 kg, payload * 191 kg, tank capacity / reserve 13.5 / 2.5 liters.
guarantee two years
Mobility guarantee a year
Service intervals 7,500 km
Colors Black / white / orange
price 9495 euros
Additional costs around 250 euros

Top speed (Manufacturer information) 191 (188) km / h

0-100 km / h 3.9 (3.9) sec
0-140 km / h 6.7 (7.0) sec

60-100 km / h 4.5 (4.8) sec
100-140 km / h 4.9 (5.5) sec
140-180 km / h 8.8 (10.3) sec

Speedometer deviation
effective (display 50/100) 49/98 km / h

Country road 4.0 (3.9) liters / 100 km
Fuel type super
Theoretical range of the country road 338 km

* MOTORCYCLE measurements



  • Powerful and cultivated engine
  • Sensitive chassis with plenty of reserves
  • Gasoline quality: 95 octane is sufficient
  • Light surprisingly good
  • Driving mode can be selected, making it more versatile


  • Passenger suitability restricted
  • Very poor view in the mirror

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