KTM 690 Duke Vs. Kawasaki ER-6n road test

The KTM690 Duke and Kawasaki’s ER-6n have plummeted out of the ugly tree, clattering every branch along the way. is that all?

Posted: 26 April 2010
by Jon Urry

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One man’s beauty is another man’s toad, or some such proverb is often quoted when referring to a visually challenged offspring. Usually behind the proud parent’s backs. To their faces expressions such as ‘he has his mother’s eyes’ which translates to ‘he has dad’s double chin and saggy jowls’ or ‘he looks healthy’ which means ‘I’ve never seen such a fat child before, better re-enforce the cot’ are used to avoid troublesome family feuds.

So what would the family members say of these two bikes? Kawasaki’s ER-6n is now well into its terrible twos, but its quirky looks are only being emphasised by Kawasaki with increasingly more vivid paint schemes. Like a Goth failing to plaster white face paint over a particularly luminescent zit on the centre of his/her (they all look the same to me) forehead, Kawasaki refuses to allow the ER to blend into the background of its range. Having started the ball rolling last year with vomit yellow this year sees an eyeball-melting green introduced. And good on them for such bravado. If you have it, why not shout it out.

Then we have the Austrian entrant into Miss What-in-the-World. The problem with KTM is that it’s hard to actually single out a bike in its range that looks particularly odd. They all look insane. From the angular RC8 to the mean, yet purposeful, 990 Adventure every bike from the Austrian manufacturer has its own unique style, matched to the clean, yet vibrant choice of colours. Orange or white for show, black for mean and moody. The 690 Duke errs much more towards the standout with its angular looks. I don’t know what it is, but looking at the faces of these two bikes I can’t help but be reminded of insects, and the Disney film A Bug’s Life. The KTM’s face reminds me of one of the evil locusts, while the ER-6n’s is more of a friendly bumblebee.

And this character is reflected in the way they ride. The ER-6n is friendly, warming and willing to give a pleasant experience with a sting in its tail while the Duke zips around with an eye out for trouble and an urge to cause it.

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