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2014 KTM 690 Duke: MD Ride Review


When you ride as many large displacement, multi-cylinder motorcycles as I do these days, it can be difficult to adjust your perspective back to the time motorcycles were simpler, lighter, and less powerful. The fact of the matter is, however, simpler motorcycles are often the most fun to ride. Although Gabe had thrown a leg over the KTM 690 Duke and made his test available to MD, for various reasons I wanted to test the bike myself. The opportunity finally arrived this year. It was well worth the wait.

Looking at the specifications for the 690 Duke, it promises to be the ultimate single-cylinder road weapon. With a claimed 67 hp from the fuel injected 690 cc single, an efficient six-speed transmission powering less than 330 pounds of dry weight (claimed), and featuring modern disc brakes, it looks like it should be tremendously fun to ride.

The 690 Duke has 17″ cast aluminum wheels holding sticky, modern sportbike rubber, and stout, albeit non-adjustable suspension (including WP upside down fork and single rear shock with stepped preload), KTM delivers the chassis components necessary to take advantage of the rest of the nimble package. The tubular chromoly space frame holds it all together quite rigidly.


Ergonomics remind you of  your last dirt bike. The exception is the relatively low seat height of 32 inches. Upright and promising agility as soon as you lift it off the side stand.

The clutch engages easily, and you pull away from a stop with plenty of low-end torque. As you ride the Duke for the first time, you might intuitively short shift it (as I did) assuming that it made most of its power down low and in its mid-range. That would be a mistake.

The 690 Duke pulls hard all the way up to its 8,000 rpm redline, lofting the front wheel as you wring out first gear. It is one of those bikes where more than one gear is frequently available to satisfy any given situation. It is not fast like a multi-cylinder sportbike or large displacement Adventure bike, but it is seriously fast for a single.

Slicing through traffic is a breeze as the Duke changes direction with little or no effort, almost reading your mind. Chassis balance is good, as the wide bars provide huge leverage for the lightweight machine, but stability in a straight line (even at high speeds) is never an issue. Southern California freeway travel frequently moves at 80 mph, or so, and this is one single that handles those speeds effortlessly, with plenty of acceleration left.


The KTM 690 Duke is a pleasant riding experience, punctuated with the vibration you would expect from a large displacement single, until you take it to a twisty road, where its handling is so good it is almost shocking. If you push the Duke hard through a series of tight corners, the speed you are able to carry is remarkable, and largely unfamiliar if you have been riding much larger, heavier machines.

This bike simply generates huge confidence in its handling through the canyons. I found myself approaching familiar corners at speeds significantly higher than I typically enter them, yet coming out the other side unscathed and without giving my speed a second thought. The feeling of total command and control of this lithe machine is something you have to experience. In this sense, the KTM 690 Duke is one of the most enjoyable bikes to ride. Period.

With disc brakes (and ABS) front and rear, stopping is effective, although at the pace you can carry on a twisty road, you might find yourself wanting a second disc up front on occasion. The suspension isn’t the most plush we have experienced, particularly when it comes to absorbing smaller bumps and road chop, but it seems dialed just about perfectly for the 690 Duke’s main purpose in life.

Of course, this isn’t the best bike for long distance travel, as the vibration can become annoying on the highway during extended stints. It isn’t too bad until you push the tach above 6,000 rpm and hold it there.


Can this much fun be practical as well? We got close to 50 mpg during our test, and that’s not too bad. At an U.S. MSRP of $8,999, I can think of several other commuters that are more expensive, and a lot less enjoyable to ride. The Duke now has a genuine passenger seat (no, we did not test it) and carries 3.6 gallons of fuel.

It is a bike you could teach your significant other how to ride on, and still taunt your friends and their expensive sport bikes on most twisty roads. Basically, if you ride this motorcycle and you don’t want to buy one, there might be something wrong with you.

Take a look at KTM’s web site for additional details and specifications.  Both of the 2014 color schemes are pictured in this article.



  1. jay jay says:

    HEy – I’ve had one for a year – and the vibrations are only noticable when you are wringing it out – and at that point it is adding to the experience.

    i am older and broken, but find it fine for 4 hour rides.

    aftermarket parts are decent – you can get tail tidies, fairings, upgrades etc. much of KTM parts are transferable from bike to bike.

    they make an R version in some markets which for 25% more has better exaust, suspension and farkles etc. It’s way cheaper than doing it yourself later if you want that stuff.

    I personally hesitate to add performance parts as spending hundreds to get a small increment improvement doesn’t make sense to me, but I’ve lowered the gearing on mine for more bottom end at the expense of reducing the top speed to 160KPH.

    great acceleration, great braking, good range, and second to none handling.

    I can’t think of another road bike I would want. not bad for 9K

  2. George Krpan says:

    In Europe the 690 is more than 5000 Euros more than the 390, 10600 vs 5500. I have watched the same reviewer test ride both bikes AND the FZ07. I think he preferred the 390 to the 690 and the FZ07 over either of them. He said the 390 is as fast as his Honda NC700X. I think the arrival of the 390 to the US is a good thing. I would love to see an ADV version, many rumors abound about it. It would kill off the KLR.

  3. Mars says:

    I ride a 2010 690 Duke and I would not buy the newer model. It isn’t an upgrade, IMO. That said, the Duke is a badass bike. I find I take it out for almost all rides that are less than 200 miles. One thing – it is hard as heck to wait in line behind cars on the Duke. You can see over everyone and it is so freaking nimble you feel like a dork sitting there just because a painted line on the road says you must. I spend most of the ride passing cars nowadays. Oh, and with the Duke you can have fun at less than 100 mph, which should help keep a person out of prison.

  4. ryan says:

    KTMs are finally getting there after the help of C F MOTO..I see the 200 and the 390 ARE built in SHANGHAI..

    • nash says:

      Sorry, but NO thanks to CFMoto or Shanghai.

      KTMs Dukes 125, 200 and 390s are manufactured in India by Baja Auto, which partly owns KTM Power Sports. If I’m not mistaken, Bajaj have more experience manufacturing rugged affordable bikes than any of the PRC sweat shops.

      I have nothing against the quality of PRC-made bikes. However, I personally don’t like the thought of any more of my dollars adding to the coffers of the Communist Party of China. I don’t think what the PRC is doing in Hong Kong, Tibet, India’s Chumar region, Vietnam’s and the Philippines’ EEZs, the Senkakus, Uyghur tribal lands, etc are cool.

      I think too much of my money have already been spent on stuff that are made in China, helping the PRC manufacture more bullets, bombers, anti-aircraft carrier missiles, etc that may be used against the US or our allies.

      This is why I might choose an Indian-made KTM over any PRC-made Benelli or CFMoto, the next time I upgrade.

      Thanks heaps!

  5. John says:

    This would be a totally brilliant bike with the Yamaha 700cc twin in it.

    For me the combination of the overly big single, high price, single focus and lower, but still somewhat high seat kill it for me, much as I like the idea. The Duke 390 is cheap enough that it might be more sellable.

  6. Martin B says:

    I’ve had many thumpers over the years. I just like the way they handle with a flick of the hips, instead of any “climbing all over them like a deranged monkey” required by bigger and heavier bikes. You do miss out on the power hit of multis (well, maybe not the Duke), but I live in a country with highly policed 60 mph speed limits, and a single does fine.

    I have a Suzuki XF650, which is a modified DR650 single with a more comfortable seat, shorter suspension, and a 19″ front wheel. It also has a small fairing, though this produces more buffeting than anything else.

    I have had health problems and haven’t ridden in several years. I’ve now had two cataract operations, and a stent in my leg, and riding is looking feasible again. Imagine my surprise when my Suzuki started right up after sitting idle for three years (but with a new battery). The plastic tank and ceramic bore really paid off! Now saving up for some summer riding.

  7. moto_mark says:

    Yet another test from your friendly knee dragging web tech geek, have a nice day.

  8. frenikyn says:

    Test post to be deleted. Nothing to see here, please move along. Courtesy some knee dragging web tech geek.

  9. Roadrash says:

    I sure wish KTM was bringing both versions of the 390 Stateside for 2015.
    Are the projected sales just too low? I’d really like one!

  10. Navek says:

    having ridden both bikes over the same roads I can honestly say that the WP suspension was either wasted on me or it was not that much better than that of the FZ-09. Possibly on nice smooth roads the KTMs superior suspension would be apparent but the power and torque of the FZ would blow it into the weeds everytime. The KTMs suspenders are not that good. The KTMs light weight was what appealed to me, however, it all but refused to run below 3500rpm and then started to vibrate so much above 4500rpm I rarely wanted to go there. It’s not a good all round bike and for my purposes doesn’t even come close to the FZ-09. It is also quite expensive to maintain as it requires two oil filters and KTM want you to put some special Swiss made oil in it. All of which resulted in a $115 oil change! Screw that for what was to be a long term bike. I do not miss my 690 Duke at all. Probably the most disappointing bike I have ever bought and a testimony to the fact that those road testers who rave about it perhaps do not live in the world that the rest of us have to.

    • Vroum_Ninou says:

      From what you write I have no idea why you ever bought a Duke 690…

      • Navek says:

        I am quite old and no longer wish to lug 600lb bikes around. The combination of good horsepower and light weight was what attracted me to the bike. All the reviews were positive and so I bought one. No you can’t test ride one unfortunately, at least not where I live. What none of the road tests described was the very limited usable rev range and the total lack of the low down torque one associates with big singles. The motor is tuned to the state whereby it does not act like a big four stroke single. It is more akin to an on and off two stroke where you have to be in a certain rev range to get anything to happen (without it rattling your teeth out, make no mistake this thing VIBRATES). It was a learning experience is the best I can say about it. Perhaps if I lived where I was riding fast freeways I would have appreciated it more as It was at its best around 4200rpm which equates to 70mph in 6th.

    • Gronde says:

      Riders are mesmerized by buying something other than an Asian built bike and KTM is certainly an option. Overall, it’s not the best bike for most riders. If you have 10 grand to blow and it’s not your sole motorcycle, then you can enjoy the KTM’s limited attributes. An FZ-07/08, CBR650R etc., will be a better motorcycle with a less focused mission and most riders realize this and the 690 remains a motorcycling oddity enjoyed fully by those looking for exactly what the 690 offers. For the rest of us, more hp, more weight and less money fills the bill every time.

    • John says:

      I can imagine this being the case. I love the idea of the Duke but it doesn’t seem terribly practical or comfortable to ride. And low weight is nice but on the highway, a little more heft adds stability.

  11. billy says:

    What a cool looking machine!

    But for 9 big ones I should be trusted to adjust my own suspension. And the KTM reliability and dealer network have always been suspect, but I don’t think that will deter the type of person this bike will appeal to. Two year standard warranty?

  12. JPJ says:

    VLJ makes very valid point. How does the 690 Duke going to stand up against other bikes in the same category, Yamaha FZ 09 /07, Honda 500F, Ninja 650, Ducati Monster 821 ? I really like the 690 but would not purchase it , if it was going to be the only bike in my garage. I would love to have it as a second bike for riding the twisties or short jaunts.

  13. jim says:

    Too bad it’s 10k OTD. How well do they hold their value? Is used the way to go?

    • Luke Duke says:

      IMHO the Duke is fairly priced for the quality and technology you are getting.
      ABS, Ride By Wire, Fuel Injection, Slipper Clutch, 6 speed, 67 hp, 330 lbs. Take a look at the swing arm casting, it’s a work of art. That stuff costs. Sure a DR650 is less: no ABS, carbureted, 5 speed, maybe 50 hp, more weight, tube tires etc. You could not bring a DR650 up to Duke specs for the difference.

      There is a difference between new and used. The longer you keep the bike, the less it is. Only you can make that decision.

      • VLJ says:

        Okay, but what about an FZ-09 or FZ-07, either of which makes for a much better comparison against the 690 Duke since they’re all similar-purpose streetbikes, not Dual-Sports. Sure, the two Yamahas lack ABS and a slipper clutch, but they offer more cylinders, triple disc brakes and, in the case of the FZ-09, adjustable suspension and far greater power.

        • Vroum_Ninou says:

          I think you underestimate the importance of low weight on riding enjoyment. The Duke is 20 to 30 kg lighter than the FZ09 (not to mention that the WP suspension, although not adjustable, is of much better quality than the stuff found on the FZ). Trust me, this is a BIG difference.
          Low weight costs more than big power… and is, to me, much more enjoyable on the road. I have bikes in my garage that run the gamut from 44hp to 180hp. I always take the 140kg/44hp to have fun in the twisties. I can only imagine what 150kg/70hp (80hp for the R with the tuning kit) would feel like!
          Would I like the bike to be cheaper? Sure! But to me, having a REALLY light bike is worth that kind of money, much more than a bike that has an extra 40hp but also an extra 30 kg and lesser components (even if “adjustable”).
          I will probably get the R anyway, with even better components (monobloc Brembo brakes, fully adjustable suspensions, etc…)
          Speaking of brakes, the low weight allows for the single dick front brake set up. It save weight (very important weight: unsuspended weight) and is more than enough to offer great stopping power.

          • VLJ says:

            I have little doubt that the KTM is the superior choice on the right road. In a purely sporting environment lighter is always better. And if you’re that guy who has a collection of bikes and can afford to have one set aside strictly for ripping around tight, twisty canyons then yes, knock yourself out with the KTM.

            For most everyone else, however, $9K for a single-cylinder bike that is too buzzy/narrowly focused for anything other than city riding and low-speed canyon ripping is likely a bridge too far. What the Yamahas give up to the KTM in lightness and agility—and it’s not as if either Yamaha is unduly large or heavy, especially the FZ-07—is more than made up for by real-world usability. And in the case of the FZ-07, which starts off with what seems to be better-sorted suspension than the FZ-09, that $2K price difference vs the KTM will more than cover the cost of bringing its suspenders up to KTM-spec.

          • Vroum_Ninou says:

            I can’t argue with your reasoning VLJ… but to me riding is a passion and as such does not involve much reasoning 😀
            If it did I would probably ride a Honda or drive a car… 😉

          • Dave says:

            Everyone I know who has says the same thing: it’s great for rides up to 1 hour, after that saddle, vibration, suspension, and wind blast discomfort all but erase the good things about it.

            Seems like they could greatly improve the experience by sacrificing 5-10hp in the name of smoothness & versatility since so many riders must cover some significant distance to get to a good place to ride.

        • jay jay says:

          The KTM does not need dual discs due to the weight. they are different bikes. personally I think the yamaha is an incredibly great bike for the money, but I would pick a triumph street triple R for the extras.

          the 690 Duke is different category – I would ride both before making a decision, and not worry about spec’s

          you will have a great time with either bike.

      • jon says:

        In what way is ride by wire a technology worth paying anything for?

        • xlayn says:

          it’s tied to allow the cpu take desitions on how to provide fuel to the engine instead of being hard-tied to the throtle possition.
          Look at it that way, it becomes a software issue that can be upgraded for close to free and can be more easily tuned.

  14. Denny says:

    As I had started my riding on single cylinder bike I know, there is no better tool for that. If advanced rider choses this concept, there must be a reason for that and Duke 690 seem to have it built in. I believe it is super nimble and controllable. The only thing I wonder about is how they want to go by with this not-so-cheap product without adjustable front suspension. Well, I understand they did up to so far.

    • todd says:

      Everything is adjustable. Change the fork oil viscosity, change the level, add spacers for preload…

    • Dave says:

      I’ve had a bike or two with adjustable suspension that was useless due to incorrect spring and damping rates. Would rather have nonadjustable stuff that was right, then no need to adjust.

      • todd says:

        True, come to think of it, my Ducati, with Ohlins suspension, is not all that comfortable or compliant through bumpy turns. I’ve adjusted every knob to every position and have only found an “acceptable” position for most roads. To me, my ’82 Seca handles better and it’s pre-load adjustable suspension is pretty much spot on in every situation. Not that it’s perfect, but better.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “my Ducati, with Ohlins suspension, is not all that comfortable or compliant through bumpy turns. I’ve adjusted every knob to every position and have only found an “acceptable” position”

          crutch literally just said the same thing about his ducati at Silverstone.

        • azi says:

          Pretty much sums up my experience of Ducati suspension as well.

  15. Navek says:

    I owned one for a year and traded it in for an FZ-09. Its useable power band was so narrow I found it annoying to say the least and it is by far the ugliest bike I have ever owned. I was not sorry to see it go. The 50lbs heavier FZ-09 is a far better all round bike in my opinion but I don’t live in “Canyon Country” just rural Maine with its bumpy roads where the 690’s exceptional handling was unusable. I hardly ever got the thing into 6th gear as it would not tolerate it below 50mph. I have a KLR650 and an Enfield Continental GT which are both better singles for the roads here. Horses for courses?

    • Denny says:

      Good to read your view, really appreciated. Also good to hear you are happy with your new acquisition.

  16. Oilhead says:

    Gawd, I’ve been telling folks for years what a great ride the extinct MuZ Skorpions are. Especially when kitted with Holeshot. Bravo to KTM for always keeping a super single in it’s line-up!

    • bikerrandy says:

      I hear ya, oilhead. I can’t imagine this 690 Duke handling the twisties any better than my MuZ 660 Tour.

    • Denny says:

      What a shame the MuZ went over the edge. It was so well built machine with fool-proof engine.

    • Russ says:

      I guess us MuZ owners were 15 to 20 years ahead of the times.
      I put 35,000 miles on my 95 Tour.
      Added a Buell fly screen,M4 exhaust,nice blue paint job, and had the seat padding raised an inch to accomdate my long inseam.
      Took it on trips of 1500 miles,it would run 85 and 90 all day, and I don’t remember it having any significant vibration either.
      That was one fun bike.

  17. jim says:

    Where’s the Adventure version?

  18. john says:

    I bought a new 2013 690 in March of this year. Best bike I’ve ever owned…I’am 62… Perfect for East Tennessee mountain roads. I opted for the performance upgrade kit (exhaust Akrapovich. larger air box and racing cam) ups power to 80hp. You can’t go wrong with this bike!

    • Vroum_Ninou says:

      Great! That’s the set up I’m thinking of! Although I might go for the R, I don’t know. No issues with this set up (it’s not road legal apparently)?

  19. Luke Duke says:

    I bought one last year. KTM’s are very high quality bikes. ABS, slipper clutch, ride by wire, multiple power curves, separate ignition curves for each plug, Japanese reliability.

    * Great city bike. Lite, quick and fairly tall in traffic.
    * Wonderful sport bike. It destroyed some R6 mounted squid coming in to Borrego Springs.
    * I tour on it, but that’s not it’s strength. Lately I’ve added a detachable windscreen for touring. (Slipstreamer Spitfire) On and off in less than a minute.

    As the reviewer said: “if you ride this motorcycle and you don’t want to buy one, there might be something wrong with you.”

  20. VLJ says:

    Does anyone here know when and why our posts are hit with the dreaded “Your comment is awaiting moderation” response? What triggers it? Probably half my posts go into “awaiting moderation” status before appearing here, and some of them simply vanish without a trace.

    I’ve written MD directly to get an answer to this question, to no avail. Never received a response.

    Dirck, can you shed some light on this process?

    • mickey says:

      I hear crickets chirping

      • mickey says:

        Same here on vanishing posts, and too many annoying comment awaiting moderation notices. If you are a regular here, they are numerous and frustrating. Then the awaiting moderation post shows up in an nour or a day or never

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Not sure why you are having this problem. Can you email with a copy of the posts that vanished? It would help.

      • VLJ says:

        Dirck, no, I can’t send you a copy of the posts that vanished because…wait for it…they vanished! 🙂

        Seriously, I have no record of them. Once I hit ‘submit,’ that’s it. I expect them to post, so I don’t store them elsewhere.

        In any case, can you tell us what the story is with those incessant “Your comment is awaiting moderation” delays?

        • Dirck Edge says:

          How many have vanished? Haven’t heard that from anyone else. I’ll ask our tech guy about the “awaiting moderation” issue.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Dirck, I have had a few that vanished as well. Not many, maybe four or five in the past 6 months or so.

          • Dirck Edge says:

            We have an automatic spam filter that might be sweeping up some of these. I am checking on it.

        • mickey says:

          August 18, 2014 at 10:32 am
          Heres one from the Brno race report two weeks ago

          I made a comment earlier but it never showed up so who knows..maybe it is in moderation, but it never said it was.
          Good to see Dani on top step again. Been a rough year for him even if he is in second place in the standings. Seeing as I am the only one that roots for the little guy it was a good weekend for both of us .
          Also good to see Lorenzo back in the game. And Rossi? I had written him off when he was riding the Duc. He’s proven me wrong. The guy still has some fuel in the tank.
          Speaking of Ducatis, they seem really fast early on in the last several races. I fail to understand why they can’t keep it up and finish a race strong. Rider? Bike? Tires?

      • VLJ says:

        Okay, my response to you was just hit with the “awaiting moderation” delay, so here’s a specific example! LOL

        • todd says:

          My posts often “await moderation.” There have also been a few that submit to nowhere and just disappear.

          Also, the reply button is too close to the “report post” button for my big thumbs!

      • Provologna says:

        Above is a cell to insert my own website URL. Every time I use it my post disappears. I don’t attempt to use it anymore.

    • azi says:

      VLJ this happens to me when I use a tablet/phone browser like iOS and Win8 metro IE. No problems with regular firefox or IE. Might be a browser-specific issue.

  21. VLJ says:

    This thing clearly looks to be the weapon of choice for tight, twists roads or urban assault riding. No doubt. That being said, at an asking price of $9K I’d be hard-pressed not to grab the only-slightly larger and heavier FZ-07 for two grand less, or maybe even the FZ-09 for a grand less. Though neither of those bikes are the terror in the canyons that this little KTM must be, for most people a decent canyon ride requires a fair amount of highway slogging just to get there. Then there’s the dealer network/maintenance costs/parts availability/long-term reliability factors, all of which greatly favor the Yamahas.

    I guess if I lived right at the foot of my favorite first- and second-gear racetrack road this one would be near the top of my wish-list. Because I tend to use my bikes for more than just low-speed canyon ripping, though, this new KTM would probably only make it into my garage as a niche addition to a multi-bike collection.

  22. RC says:

    I test rode one and found it to be a very good bike overall. The main issue I have with it is the way it protests if you let the revs drop in 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th and then give it some throttle. It will buck and shutter worse than any bike I have ever ridden. This may be typical of a big single and some people are okay with that. Keep the revs up in the appropriate gear and it is fine. For a street bike I find this to be annoying, I say no thanks.

    • Scott the Aussie says:

      Yeah thats just the way modern thunpers are mate. Before I had the Guzzi I had an SRX600 and an SZR660 and they both did this, you had to keep them singing in the right rev range for it all to be sweet. But when it was…the SZR660 with a custom race exhaust sounded like a Spitfire at low level buzzing the field.

  23. Vroum_Ninou says:

    I own a Duke 390 (apart from a 990 SMT and an RC8R). After seeing how much fun the 390 is, the 690 is definitely going to be the next bike in my garage! Only 10 more kg and 25 more hp??? I can only imagine… I might go for the R, but this is not decided yet.

  24. John says:

    Seat height is really just shy of 33″, but that’s still a good direction for a bike that is no longer a super moto and is really a naked single.

    The irony, of course, is the statement that they can’t make DP or ADV version of the Duke because it’s a street bike, y’all.

  25. Paul DeMuth says:

    I thought you were Gabe.

  26. Vrooom says:

    Given I haven’t seen drum brakes on a bike in at least 15 years I think it’s time we stop mentioning “modern disc brakes”. Size, single or dual in front, and caliper configuration, sure, that’s good info.

    • John says:

      Yeah……that’s a totally logical argument at first blush. The problem is….the 2015 SR400. Not to mention probably 90% of the sub 250cc bikes all over the world. Drum brakes are far from extinct. Sadly.

  27. MarkF says:

    I preferred the styling on the previous (2008) generation; it was more distinctive and more in keeping with the original Duke and Duke II. The suspension had more adjustments, too. However, the new model has a bit more power and costs 2 grand less (!) so it seems a decent trade-off. I’m sure the suspension is more than up to most any task.

    A bike like this would make all the tight canyon corners in the area seem too easy and would encourage bumping up the already hooligan-level speeds. A modicum of restraint would be required. Around a tight cart track it would be a total blast! My experience with past 690-engined bikes shows that keeping up with bigger bikes isn’t that hard at sane speeds. On a twisty road they’ll be the ones struggling to keep up with you…

  28. Jeremy in TX says:

    I absolutely love this bike. I do not live in an area where the Duke can be even remotely used for its true purpose – most riding around here is 75 – 80 mph+ with few curves, even on back roads – but I still have to actively talk myself out of buying one at least once a month.

  29. Ed says:

    Watch out! Or “Dave” may say that we’re NOT being “civil!” We wouldn’t want that, now, would we?

  30. ApriliaRST says:

    >> The Duke now has a genuine passenger seat (no, we did not test it)<<

    Does the new seat give any more passenger leg room?

    • ApriliaRST says:

      To clarify: If they would drop the muffler to under the bike and offer lower passenger foot pegs, I’d be a buyer.

  31. TF says:

    Rode one recently when the KTM demo truck came around. Of the bikes I rode, it was my favorite even over the 1290 and 1190 ADV. If I wanted an urban commuter bike, it would be my bike of choice. I think the new 390 might be an even better (cheaper) option for that…..can’t wait to ride one.

    • BuellMatt says:

      The KTM demo truck came around my way, too. The Duke 690 was awesome! This thing was more user-friendly and telepathic-handling than my bicycle. It was so easy and so much fun to chuck the Duke around the back roads on the guided loop that I dang near traded in my 2010 Buell Lightning Long the next day, even though the KTM vibrates more. I figure if I save my $$$ I can have both – or maybe the 390 will be available in the US when I’m ready to write the check! I wonder if it will vibrate less but handle even better than its big brother.

      By the time the 690 demo ride ended, I was laughing like a maniac in my helmet. The 1290 Super Duke was next, and while it was powerful and competent, it just didn’t have the fun factor of the 690. Oh, and next weekend the Yamaha demo truck comes to town! Let’s see if the FZ-09 can make me rave the way this KTM did.

  32. cthuskie says:

    I weigh 320lbs
    The 690 Duke suspension is non-adjustable.
    My local dealer does not allow test rides.
    In it’s current , stock form , If I purchased the 690 Duke ,
    will it give me a ride I can live with ?

    • Dave says:

      Without any real knowledge of the bike I’d confidently say “no”. At your size, you’ll always benefit greatly from having the suspension adjusted to your size on anything smaller than a touring bike.

    • John says:

      What about the Duke R? More expensive, but adjustable suspension. And taller if you’re also tall.

    • mkviz says:

      Knowing that you weigh as much as the bike, maybe, but you will have to dial up the rear preload like 3-5 clicks. This bike is mainly a commuter long rides need not apply. I own one and I use it mainly to commute to work. Not sure if you will like the vibration or that it consumes oil like a Harley

    • Tom R says:

      You’re gonna need a bigger bike…

  33. John Bennett says:

    I bought one this spring and have been smiling ever since. Also own a Triumph Street Triple R which is a better bike but the 690 Duke is to quote your tester ” more Fun”. Light great chassis great brakes great motor what’s not to like.

  34. skybullet says:

    This bike is very high on my list. If you have twisties available, and tried this baby, you would be fumbling for your checkbook. Probably one of the best bikes available that will never sell well, but don’t let that stop you.

  35. Dave in Colorado says:

    Hey Dirck, nice review. I always enjoy your and Gabe’s experienced view of motorcycles and their realistic functional capabilities. I also recall your plea for sanity among posters, hoping for a civil exchange among enthusiasts. I’d be happy to see a link to your past article about that topic. I’d also like to see you “show the drainplug” on a dirtbike! Thanks.

  36. Roadrash1 says:

    Oops….2013 FZ8 that is!

  37. Roadrash1 says:

    I ride a 2014 FZ8. I would like to try the KTM. Lighter is usually more fun!

  38. kent_skinner says:

    No mention of a slipper clutch or ABS?
    The ABS is *really* good, and for all you grouchy bastards who think they are better than Rossi (and guys who also ride in the dirt) to turn off the ABS:
    1) Stop moving
    2) Press button on dash
    3) Haul ass

    I rode one last weekend. Ho-lee-shit it’s fun.
    So light. So stable. So quick.

    Because it’s naked, it lets you know when you’re going 85, which may help to keep you license in good shape. It may be the best lane splitting/city weapon/canyon carver ever built.

  39. Eric says:

    You can remove (hacksaw?) the ugly rear plate holder but what can be done about the gas tank?
    It looks unfinished at best and downright ugly from most angles. That muffler should also be sent to the rubbish bin ASAP.

    Other than it being ugly, I really do like the bike. Really!

    • Louis says:

      I like the rear plate holder on this bike. I will never understand why many riders remove the rear fender. You can’t see it when you are riding so what do you care? It serves several purposes on a street bike. It keeps water and crud off your back and bike, it holds your turn signals and license plate, and it may make the police man/woman who stops you not assume you are a typical squid. (especially if you don’t have your plate mounted in front of the back tire and under the rear fender) I am also old enough to realize the more professional you look (you and your bike) by wearing full-gear and helmet, and by riding with courtesy, the more other motorists will respect you. Just my 2 and 1/2 cents…

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I will never understand why many riders remove the rear fender.”

        Q: “You can’t see it when you are riding so what do you care?”

        A: if you look closely, you’ll notice the modern day definition of motorcycling isn’t so much about riding…? as it is about “exterior decorating”.

    • lynchenstein says:

      KTMs (in my opinion) have NEVER been pretty. They’ve always been so very ugly. But just like riding a #@7 (#!(%, once you’re in the saddle who cares what it looks like, just hang on for the ride!