KTM 690 SM Supermoto (2006 - present) review

KTM 690 Supermoto

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Sun, 1 Jan 2006 - 12:01

Details
Manufacturer:
KTM
Category:
Supermoto
Price:
£ 4930
Overall
4
A real man's supermoto
Are you man enough?

In 1998 KTM launched what it claims was the first production supermoto, the 620SM. It wasn't a revolutionary bike - the supermoto scene had been gaining strength in Europe for quite a while - but this was the first time a manufacturer had unveiled a dedicated supermoto.

Fast-forward nine years and the supermoto scene has changed. Where these bastardised off-roaders were once solely the products of specialist off-road manufacturers such as KTM, Husqvarna and CCM, the Japanese have turned the trend mainstream. And that can be a problem. As soon as a fashion becomes recognised by the masses it inevitably gets diluted. The supermotos around today such as the Suzuki DR-Z400SM, Yamaha XT660X and Honda FMX650 are a distant shadow of the converted CR500s of yesteryear. Which is where KTM could always be relied upon.

The Austrian firm stood true to the roots of the sport and kept making extreme, hardcore supermoto bikes, rather than mere visual imitations like the Japanese. Well, until now...

As well as being a completely new bike from ground up, the new 690SM also signifies new thinking from KTM. According to the firm it is aimed at "a broader target audience for city use as well as fast mountain roads, that is fun from the moment you leave your garage". Does that sound like a hardcore KTM supermoto to you? No? Good, because it isn't meant to be.

Despite the 690SM having an all-new motor - the most powerful single-cylinder production motor KTM has ever made - it's anything but a beast to ride. I was expecting a roarty, vibrating, rip-snorter of a single, but what you get is a gentle, smooth and relatively vibe-free engine. In the redesign, along with performance modifications such as a slipper clutch and lighter valves, KTM has added a balancer shaft and ride-by-wire throttle system to make the bike more user friendly.

Open the throttle and the cables from the twist-grip only move a sensor, which in turn decides how much to allow a servo motor to open the throttle butterfly, much like the system on Yamaha's R6. No matter how hard or fast you open the throttle the computer will only allow the optimum amount of fuel into the engine, decided by pre-determined parameters, which has muted the performance slightly.

Rather than the usual KTM supermoto instant hit of single-cylinder power the 690SM feels restrained, but not really in a bad way, just more controlled. Fans of previous models of KTMs will almost certainly think the new bike's engine isn't anywhere near as exciting as the old motor but, I tell you what, in the real world it is a million times easier to live with, and it isn't slow either.

And it may not feel it, but the new 690 is quick. KTM claims a top speed of 117mph and with its new six-speed gearbox the new single rips up to this figure without much effort. The revs build quickly and I reckon that, while the peak torque of 48lb.ft is at 6550rpm, there won't be much of a difference between the torque at 2000rpm and 6500rpm, the delivery is so linear.

Read more: http://www.visordown.com/road-tests-first-rides/first-ride-ktm-690-supermoto-2007/4244.html#ixzz0xd3EFZ00

In 1998 KTM launched what it claims was the first production supermoto, the 620SM. It wasn't a revolutionary bike - the supermoto scene had been gaining strength in Europe for quite a while - but this was the first time a manufacturer had unveiled a dedicated supermoto.

Fast-forward nine years and the supermoto scene has changed. Where these bastardised off-roaders were once solely the products of specialist off-road manufacturers such as KTM, Husqvarna and CCM, the Japanese have turned the trend mainstream. And that can be a problem. As soon as a fashion becomes recognised by the masses it inevitably gets diluted. The supermotos around today such as the Suzuki DR-Z400SM, Yamaha XT660X and Honda FMX650 are a distant shadow of the converted CR500s of yesteryear. Which is where KTM could always be relied upon.

The Austrian firm stood true to the roots of the sport and kept making extreme, hardcore supermoto bikes, rather than mere visual imitations like the Japanese. Well, until now...

As well as being a completely new bike from ground up, the new 690SM also signifies new thinking from KTM. According to the firm it is aimed at "a broader target audience for city use as well as fast mountain roads, that is fun from the moment you leave your garage". Does that sound like a hardcore KTM supermoto to you? No? Good, because it isn't meant to be.

Despite the 690SM having an all-new motor - the most powerful single-cylinder production motor KTM has ever made - it's anything but a beast to ride. I was expecting a roarty, vibrating, rip-snorter of a single, but what you get is a gentle, smooth and relatively vibe-free engine. In the redesign, along with performance modifications such as a slipper clutch and lighter valves, KTM has added a balancer shaft and ride-by-wire throttle system to make the bike more user friendly.

Open the throttle and the cables from the twist-grip only move a sensor, which in turn decides how much to allow a servo motor to open the throttle butterfly, much like the system on Yamaha's R6. No matter how hard or fast you open the throttle the computer will only allow the optimum amount of fuel into the engine, decided by pre-determined parameters, which has muted the performance slightly.

Rather than the usual KTM supermoto instant hit of single-cylinder power the 690SM feels restrained, but not really in a bad way, just more controlled. Fans of previous models of KTMs will almost certainly think the new bike's engine isn't anywhere near as exciting as the old motor but, I tell you what, in the real world it is a million times easier to live with, and it isn't slow either.

And it may not feel it, but the new 690 is quick. KTM claims a top speed of 117mph and with its new six-speed gearbox the new single rips up to this figure without much effort. The revs build quickly and I reckon that, while the peak torque of 48lb.ft is at 6550rpm, there won't be much of a difference between the torque at 2000rpm and 6500rpm, the delivery is so linear.

Read more: http://www.visordown.com/road-tests-first-rides/first-ride-ktm-690-supermoto-2007/4244.html#ixzz0xd3EFZ00

Score Breakdown
Overall
4

Follow Visordown

Latest News

Latest Features

Latest Bike Reviews

Crash Media Group
Visordown is part of the CMG Full Throttle Network© : welcoming over 3 million consumers each month