Top test KTM 690 Duke

Top test KTM 690 Duke

Top test KTM 690 Duke

The Duke Offensive

"We want to throw all petty concerns overboard and knit a radical landing gear around the most brutal single-cylinder in the world." It must have been in the specifications of the new 690 Duke. The motto: If it is too hard, you are too soft.

Very rough, very direct, without detours.

Sometimes relentless, but never boring. The world of the Duke. Focussed solely on one purpose. The maximum fun, the ultimate kick. It was like that in the past. In addition, vibrations of around 8.8 on the open-top Richter scale. Here you go, they were accepted approvingly if they were necessary! And now? All yesterday’s news. The new Duke is here, and hardly anything is reminiscent of the eruptive eruptions of the past. A distinct tingling sensation, a noticeable, constant massage. That’s it. From the very beginning, this four-stroke quake belonged to the Duke like the Southwest belonged to the sailor. Some even say "the duke", because the masculine article fits much better into a world in which femininity only plays a role when going ashore or on muscular forearms. The Duke has always been a real guy, and she’s always been. Now the Duke is back. Even if it doesn’t rumble so much anymore.

Buy complete article

Top test KTM 690 Duke

Top test KTM 690 Duke
The Duke Offensive

Pure aggressiveness


Real fighting spirit: the KTM 690 Duke.

Now the Duke is attacking. Men, it is what it is. This engine, which despite its different name is only 654 cubic centimeters, separates the wheat from the chaff, divides the world anew. In this single cylinder and the rest of the single world. Quite simply because after the total refusal he starts like Captain Ahab in the face of the white whale. Suddenly he’s there, full of juice, turning like obsessively. And only knows one direction. Forward. Or actually two, because a little upwards is also a must, at least in first gear. Only at 8600 rpm does this outbreak, which is unique in the stew world, end very hard and clearly in the limiter. Seen in this way, the speed window in which the brilliant four-valve engine works is no smaller than with other single-cylinder engines. It’s just higher up. A roof window, so to speak? and the sky is the limit. Whether that is in view of the performance offered? measured 70 hp at 7600 rpm really open up completely new single-cylinder dimensions and top the factory specification by five hp ?? finds good depends heavily on one’s own personality. How far you are willing to let the Duke into your life.

Because one thing is already clear after this first speed limit experience: For everyone who sees existence as a calm river, the Duke is clearly the wrong steamer. But those who rush breathlessly from one kick to the other will feel understood and challenged. Sailor or jumping jack? It’s always the same question the Duke asks. Before every curve, at every traffic light. What’s up this time It is a matter of honor that she provides the finest technical support. Not only on the engine side, where, in addition to the pure power, the impeccable throttle response and a reliably functioning anti-hopping clutch encourage great deeds, but also when it comes to the chassis. A rigid tubular space frame made of steel, 48-millimeter WP upside-down fork, fully adjustable like the shock absorber of the same brand, 320-millimeter brake disc ?? First of all, everything is there that seems necessary for the attack. The outstanding feature of the Duke, however, is hidden inconspicuously in the data box. Weight with a full tank: 160 kilograms.

Driving experience


"If it’s too hard, you’re too soft", is the motto of the Duke.

In principle, the same applies outside of town, because the Duke can quickly dispel any doubts as to whether 70 hp will provide sufficient dynamic potential for the home route. A measurement confirmed the top speed of 188 km / h, zero to one hundred in 3.9 seconds, seven seconds to 140 km / h and from 100 to 140 in 5.5 seconds. These values ​​can also be used on the hurried side of life. If the duke wants to. However, as already within the city limits, it ties its readiness to one central condition: the active driver. On the other hand, indecisive or even wandering around are immediately punished with a vague refusal. "Rolling home" ?? others should do that. What does that mean for the crew? With momentum to the corner, hard on the brake, a lot of weight on the front wheel. Ignore the unclear feedback and rely on the adhesive power of the brand new Dunlop Sportmax GPR Alpha 10 (which, by the way, wore out at the rear in the test). Don’t be confused by the light-weight rear end (wheel load distribution 53 to 47 percent) and bring about the moment when the single-cylinder pulls on the chain again as early as possible.

Then, even if the light hindquarters seems to get into heavy seas and the Dunlop’s liability reserves are apparently at the limit, stay on course and on the gas? that is the Duke’s secret. Anyone who internalizes this and who manages to incorporate the front, which tends to plunge far into their driving style, as well as the tightly sprung rear, want to go on the country road? as well as in the top test course ?? be beaten first. And that, although with the Duke from speeds over 100 km / h the lively handling gives way to a surprising stubbornness that one would not have expected it to be given the benchmarks. The lack of long-distance comfort on the hard seat that is pulled far forward, the omnipresent high-frequency tingling in all components, the lack of wind protection, the limited passenger comfort ?? all that, however, was to be expected. Perhaps even wished it to meet a requirement in the very personal specification sheet. In this regard, the Duke can playfully be both: touchstone and fulfillment at the same time.

Technology info


Without any ancillary units, the stringency of the LC4 unit comes into its own.

You can confidently marvel at it: The single-cylinder competition creates between 47 (Yamaha MT-03) and 53 PS (BMW Xmoto) with almost identical displacement, the new 690 KTM single pushes a whopping 70 PS from 654 cubic centimeters onto the dyno roller. And even in terms of torque, it surpasses the competition by almost ten Newton meters (69 to 61 Nm). How do the Austrians do it? Can they do magic? No, they just put a little bit more everywhere. With a 102 millimeter bore and 80 millimeter stroke, the KTM engine is designed to be even shorter than that of BMW (100 x 83 mm) and Yamaha (100 x 84 mm). Above all, its forged light alloy pistons with three rings have an even higher compression ratio of 11.8: 1 (BMW 11.5: 1, Yamaha only 10: 1).

In addition, powerful valves (40/34 mm) and sharp valve timing, little flywheel? finished. However, the medal also has a downside: the 690 only reaches its top form at just under 5000 rpm, outperforming the competition by far. Below this mark, BMW and Yamaha are ahead. There are also special features with regard to the structure of the compact power pack (L x W x H: 37.5 x 31.5 x 48 centimeters, without the throttle valve body, 38.8 kilograms weight). On the one hand there is the semi-dry sump lubrication (crank drive does not run in the oil, but is spatially separated, avoiding splashing losses), on the other hand there is the anti-hopping clutch called APTC, which conventionally runs in an oil bath. And of course the fully electronic operation of the throttle valve via a computer-controlled servomotor (ride-by-wire), so that there is no need for a direct connection between the throttle grip and the throttle valve.

Technical specifications


The color says it all: multi-adjustable white power shock absorber.

Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balancer shaft, an overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves, roller rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, injection, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 224 W, battery 12 V / 9 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O- Ring-chain, secondary ratio 40:16.

Bore x stroke 102.0 x 80.0 mm
Cubic capacity 654 cm³
Compression ratio 11.8: 1
Rated output 48.0 kW (65 hp) at 7500 rpm
Max. Torque 67 Nm at 5500 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, adjustable spring base, 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 220, single-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17
Tires in the test: Dunlop Sportmax GPR Alpha 10

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 * 160 kg, load * 190 kg, tank capacity / reserve 13.5 / 2.5 liters.

Guarantee: two years
Colors: silver, orange, white

Price: 8,995 euros
Additional costs: 250 euros


– The right chassis setup for every requirement from comfort to sport on a sticker under the seat. Settings in the test: comfort (country road) and sport (test course)
– Three different mappings can be selected, with number two providing direct response, while number one (with significantly less power and delayed throttle response) comes from the enduro sector and therefore makes little sense
– Despite the almost identical plastic parts, the appearance of the Duke is significantly more valuable than that of the Supermoto due to the paintwork

– Mapping switch housed awkwardly in the rubber jacket in the frame triangle
– Consideration in the mirrors restricted by vibrations

The little and the big sister

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So it’s no wonder that the 690 Duke and 990 Super Duke have a lot in common, despite their differences. Outward similarities cannot be overlooked, the greatest correspondence lies in their lively nature. And yet there are differences in precisely this respect. The central one: the little sister can’t help but play the jack of all trades in narrow streets, while the Super Duke’s repertoire also covers the relaxed hours on the motorcycle if necessary.

This ability to contemplative pace is of course mainly fed by the sovereignty that the large engine gives. At the top, measured 121 hp are compared to the 68 of the 690s. Much more important, however, in daily use: the maximum 69 Newton meters that the little Duke delivers at 6300 rpm is practically at idle for the big sister, namely at almost 2500 rpm, while the maximum peaks in 103 Newton meters at 7000 rpm . What that means is clear: the Super Duke is always and everywhere superbly motorized, while the 690 is not only somehow always driven, but also when strolling because of it "Incontinence below 3000 rpm" completely failed.

If you also take into account that the Super Duke is in no way inferior to the 690 in terms of the chassis, but on the contrary offers more transparent feedback and in the MOTORRAD points rating, especially in everyday matters, is beyond the reach of the price difference of 3500 euros. In the end, the weight advantage of 43 kilograms, which speaks for the 690, remains mainly. If you want to know what a flyweight feels like in combination with this super single, you can’t ignore the Duke (or SM or SMC).

MOTORCYCLE measurements

Top speed * 188 km / h
0 100 km / h 3.9 sec
0 ?? 140 km / h7.0 sec
60 ?? 100 km / h 4.8 sec
100 ?? 140 km / h5.5 sec
140 180 km / h 10.3 sec

Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100) 48/98 km / h
Tachometer deviation
Display red area 8000 rpm
Effective 8000 / min

at 130 km / h 5.1 l / 100 km
Country road 3.9 l / 100 km
Theor. Range 346 km
Fuel typeSuper

Dimensions + weights
L / W / H2100 / 890/1350 mm
Seat height 870 mm
Handlebar height 1140 mm
Turning circle 5200 mm
Weight with a full tank 160 kg
Payload 190 kg
Wheel load distribution f / r53 / 47%

Driving dynamics 1
Handling course I (fast slalom)
Lap time 19.9 sec
Reference Triumph Street Triple 19.3 sec
vmax at the measuring point 106.0 km / h
Reference Triumph Street Triple 111.0 km / h
Handling course II (slow slalom)
Lap time27.3 sec
Reference Triumph Street Triple27.3 sec
vmax at the measuring point 56.6 km / h
Reference Triumph Street Triple 55.5 km / h

With a lot of effort, the Duke wants to be pushed through the fast course. It has to be driven precisely and precisely. At the reversal point it is only possible to accelerate with the use of the clutch, as the motor “hacks” in the lower area. But the time is good.

In the slow slalom, the tires in connection with the chassis give little feedback. The motorcycle must be kept on pull, otherwise the line cannot be held. At the turning point, the front buckles suddenly. On the other hand, the lean angle is great, and contrary to expectations, the time is impressively good.

Three mappings, three curves: mode one castrates the single, mode two cuts everything out. The difference to mode three is barely noticeable and is also practically not reflected in terms of performance. The unwillingness below 3000 rpm, however, is glaring. A look at the gear diagram shows that in urban areas (50 km / h) fourth gear is the highest of emotions.

The Duke needs high hand strength for hard braking maneuvers. The single-disc brake only provides diffuse feedback when braking. Only gradually could the potential of the brake be fully exploited. The best values ​​were only achieved with the front brake due to the tendency towards the rear breaking out.


Sensational for a single: the performance of the Duke. The engine characteristic suffers from the refusal to work on this side of the 3000 rpm and lives from what happens afterwards. The response and load change behavior is good, the sudden death of the first 690 engines seems a thing of the past. The smooth running is not a highlight due to the design, while the clutch and transmission also meet higher demands.

landing gear
The ease with which this 160 kilo motorcycle can not be moved in every driving situation, but can be moved frequently, cannot be fully represented in figures. Incidentally, the following applies: The Duke gets better the faster the pace. Then the suspension is fine-tuned, the adjustment range of the spring elements is wide and effective. Amazing for the petite Duke: the good performance in the pillion operation.

everyday life
Lots of freedom of movement for the driver, limited space for the pillion passenger. This is how the conditions must be on a bike positioned in this way. The Duke‘s pillion grab handles are ideal for slender women’s hands. The rest is quite suitable for everyday use. However, if you want to take half of your household with you, you are at the wrong address in view of the narrow bench seat and the lack of hooks. The processing is okay.

Good effect, mediocre dosing: this is how the chapter on brakes can be summarized because the pressure point moves and a lot of manual force is required. Unfortunately, there is no ABS. There is no tendency for the handlebars to flap.

Low consumption, the usual guarantee; only with the inspection costs does the Duke fall out of line with 5000 intervals.

Overall rating
Expensive and radical: For this brief description, the Duke is still relatively good with a price-performance rating of 2.4.

Our conclusion

The Duke is the opposite of a common moped. A device for individualists who know exactly what they want and who can live with limited suitability for everyday use. If you are ready, you will have a lot of fun. All others who expect more conventional qualities from their motorcycle should look elsewhere despite the sexy shell.

Related articles

  • Top test KTM 640 LC4

    Jahn Top test KTM 640 LC4 Still crazy In the past 14 years, the LC4 evolved into today’s 640. What was left of the former off-road athlete? Are the wild…

  • Endurance test final balance of the KTM 125 Duke

    Bilski 28 images Bilksi 1/28 So technically up to date and also cool to look at, the little one blossomed into a bestseller ad hoc. But what falls

  • Yamaha FJR 1300 Tourer in the test

    fact 38 pictures fact 1/38 Yamaha FJR 1300 in the top test. fact 2/38 Yamaha FJR 1300 in the top test. fact 3/38 Yamaha FJR 1300 in the top test. fact 4/38 Yamaha FJR …

  • KTM 690 Duke put to the test – the cornering machine from KTM 20 pictures 1/20 Such deposits are no problem for the single. 2/20 Also available in black – The KTM 690 Duke ….

  • Top test Aprilia Tuono 1000 R

    Jahn Top test Aprilia Tuono 1000 R Everything stays different The Tuono is not just a naked bike. It’s a super sports naked bike. She always was. But the…

  • Test BMW R 1200 C

    Test BMW R 1200 C Chromödienradl The Bavarian version of the American dream – a motorcycle like Marianne Sägebrecht in “Out of Rosenheim”. They laughed….

  • Test and technology: individual test BMW F 800 GT

    Bilski Single test: BMW F 800 GT The new sports tourer from BMW in the test Freedom on two wheels, which also means having the choice between traveling…

  • Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA in the top test 21 pictures 1/21 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA in the top test. 2/21 Despite many buttons, great operating concept. The switches…

  • Top test Kawasaki Z 750

    Gargolov Top test Kawasaki Z 750 In a class of its own Either no opponents or “a lot of enemy, a lot of honor”? In the past, Kawasaki’s Z 750 occupied…

  • Top test BMW K 1200 R

    Gargolov Top test BMW K 1200 R I am beautiful? From Stefan Kaschel; Photos: Rossen Gargolov Designing a motorcycle of this caliber just classically…

Leave a Reply

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