KTM 690 Duke (2012 - present)

The Duke really does flatter your riding and it's fast enough to deliver a real buzz.
Manufacturer
Category
Available from
2012 to 2016

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Submitted by cambangdingalosa on Sat, 05/01/2013 - 18:37

Overall Review

I'd always wanted a Duke, but as I only can afford one bike I never got one because I need a bike that can be practical as well as fun.I was brought up on dirt bikes and have had a few big trail bikes over the years but they're heavy and under powered. The new duke has a great riding position that I'm used to but is light and powerful, ok , it doesn't have a screen but the seat is at least comfortable compared to what I'm used to. Add to that the amazing fuel economy and handling and you've got a great alternative middleweight. Overall favorite thing is the lightness of it when you pick it up off the stand - feels like a push bike after my previous bike (F800 GS) but still has good stability.

Strengths

Light weight,great handling, brilliant engine above 3k rpm, can get 80 mpg if you're careful( not easy) Really nice build quality and trick chassis parts Loads of powerparts to personalise/ customise Great ergonomics, have ridden all day many times Best looking Duke IMO In fact so good the wife bought one too! *this could also be a con!

Weaknesses

Lumpy power delivery below 3k rpm but can be made smoother by running the soft setting on the mapping( which alters throttle response below 5k rpm, after that they're all the same) Eats back tyres Gear change has to be precise otherwise you can get false neutrals Don't buy if you like a nice quiet engine! Or just buy a loud pipe to hide the various rattles.

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Submitted by Pandora58 on Sun, 10/03/2013 - 09:47

Overall Review

As a first bike the Duke is spot on. It does everything, from fast A roads, and motorways to Birmingham rush hour kamikaze town riding. It's frugal and fast, has great street cred. I have fitted a Puig screen and this has made it a lot more useable on the motorway, and it still looks like a proper naked. It works all week and then we have fun at the weekends.

Strengths

Light and easy to move around. Fast enough to be fun but not so fast it's too scary to open the throttle. It does everything I ask of it and I know I will be the limiting factor for a long time.

Weaknesses

The gear box is slightly agricultural and really lets the rest of the bike down, far too easy to hit a false neutral.

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padmane's picture
Submitted by padmane on Tue, 01/10/2013 - 16:44

Overall Review

I bought this as my second bike and it's helped my cornering a lot. The brakes are fantastic. Having ABS gives me great confidence.

Strengths

The bike is so light you can through it around corners easily.

Weaknesses

Slow speed studder. You just have to keep your revs up. Heavy on the oil which I'm told will settle down in time.

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Overall Review

I really like this bike. Mine’s black (for some reason most seem to be white), and it looks unusual. It’s not pretty like my R1, nor does it carry quite the same visual impact as the Street. It doesn’t match many bikes on the road, and that suits me just fine. I rode my R1 in a pair of Kevlar jeans, offroad boots and whatever jacket came to hand; full matching leathers and a reflective visor just aren’t my thing. Nor is matching everyone else on the road. I can see this being the longest running bike I'll ever own. Roll on the winter – it’ll leave a bit more space on the road for me.

Strengths

Frugal as anything, light and with a lovely turn of acceleration. Fantastic brakes (yet to deploy the ABS). Long service intervals, relatively cheap to service. Great to use as a commuter, and also as a bit of fun at weekends. Relaxed riding position, plenty of leverage to chuck it around. And a tool kit! Switchable engine maps to make life easier and a lot more fun. And it's just that little bit different.

Weaknesses

Would have been nice to have a fuel gauge. The switchable engine maps aren't easy to change, without paying for the extra to do so on the bars.

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Overall Review

A great fun motorcycle, lightweight, naked, and economical. It's a great bike and surprisingly sporty,a single that feels light a twin. I have made it even lighter with a GPR exhaust system saving about 7 kilos. You could however make it super practical with luggage options available for some touring although I would avoid the motorways. Few bikes can deliver fun and economy in the doses that this little KTM does.

Strengths

Light weight and easy to ride, with a great turn of speed for a single cylinder bike. It is a serious tool in the B road twisties, surprising the sports bike riders, as they watch you disappear. The brakes are excellent with standard ABS, as the basic suspension is very good. Standard anti hop clutch. A bang up to date twin spark single cylinder engine. Excellent fuel economy, even when ridden hard its mpg is good. I get around 60 genuine mpg average, more if ridden easily. Long service intervals for a single, 6.5k miles.

Weaknesses

Being such a light weight bike it can be more easily effected by higher winds and road imperfections than a more heavier machine. High speed A road wind blast as its a naked is obvious, I sorted this with a Givi screen which was very effective. The gearbox is a little bit clunky. No fuel gauge, just a warning light, gear indicator to small. .

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Submitted by hood on Wed, 02/10/2013 - 17:46

Overall Review

Talkback: KTM 690 Duke (2012 - present) Posted: Today at 07:25 I love the look of the bike, I'm attracted to the idea of a large(ish) single I am avid fan of the Dakar so you cant help but notice how tough KTM's seem to be. I got mine of a chap who bought it as a second bike to just pop to the shops on, my own scenario is much the same, but a pop to the shopskind of bike it is not, if we really wanted that we should have bought 125cc Honda/Kymco type of bikes. I go out telling my wife I'll only be a few minutes, a couple of hours later I'm back having had a blast, it's like the ad for fruit pastils, you cant put them in your mouth without chewing, well the KTM's the same I would challenge anybody to ride this Duke for more that ten minutes in pottering mode, it simply can't be done. I like to do track days on my sports bikes but I thought I'd give the Duke a go, slightly nervous about being a mobile road block and yes all and sundry were passing down the straights at Snetterton but my goodness when you got into the corners.... Fitted with some sticky Maxxis tyres that look like wets and it's slipper clutch it's very light weight and awesome brakes makes this bike so much fun. Enough, I think I'll pop to the shops..... Read more: http://www.visordown.com/members/hood/chat/#ixzz2gaFU2xek

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Submitted by Saff on Mon, 06/01/2014 - 13:09

Overall Review

I went from a Hornet to a Thundercat to the 690 Duke and the Duke really brought my riding and confidence on leaps and bounds. As a lady rider, the light weight of the Duke and the low stand over height means I can manoeuvre the bike really easily. The 690 makes me grin from ear to ear already and I know I'm barely tickling the surface!

Strengths

Lightweight with a low stand over height. Handles brilliantly, really encourages you to weight up the pegs and bars around corners. Great fun getting on the gas early out of turns. Makes a brilliant noise (I've got the Akrapovic exhaust on mine). Plenty of scope for personalisation with all the powerparts available. The riding position and seat are very comfortable.

Weaknesses

Took some getting use to at lower speed lower down the revs, can get quite boggy with it being a single cylinder if you don't keep on top of this but didn't take long to get the hang off. It's a nightmare to get into neutral until it warms up.

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Submitted by dave evans on Wed, 08/01/2014 - 00:13

Overall Review

Amazing value and such an awesome design

Strengths

It's easy to ride fast or slow and very chuck able in the corners,awesome torque and pull in any gear and comfortable I had 2 duke 125's before this and they was just as good and fun just needed more speed lol

Weaknesses

Nothing I love the bike just not happy with lack of dealers in West Midlands area

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Ian Griffiths2's picture
Submitted by Ian Griffiths2 on Tue, 14/01/2014 - 20:02

Overall Review

Brakes, handling & riding position makes riding the twisty roads fun! Very forgiving bike, can handle mid-corner adjustments without any slide, twitch or loss of grip. The adjustable foot peg positions are brilliant, do you what to be nearer the gears/brakes, away from them, higher or lower you choose, a terrific innovation for people with small feet like me...

Strengths

Fantastic around corners, twisty roads, can hit the power early coming out of a corner, gives you so much confidence. I still haven't got to the bottom of how far this beauty can be lent over. Ride position is upright, you can see over the traffic, no strain, good turning circle, brilliant brakes.

Weaknesses

It's a single cylinder so isn't happy at low revs even with an assist clutch. Gearbox takes getting used too, bigger gaps between the high gears than you average Jap bike. Get wind buffeting over 85MPH, screen may help, also mirror vibe at high speeds. A couple of silly placed screws that invite water to gather, quick change to stainless screws sorts this out though.

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Overall Review

Still a wonderful bike, but the miles are starting to show some flaws.

Strengths

Still an excellent bike. Fast, easy and fun. Economical, and surprisingly cheap even to have serviced at a KTM dealer.

Weaknesses

Time and miles are both healers and revealers I find. The tank drain doesn't - water in the fuel when opening after a deluge to refuel means power drops and engine stalls when you're pulling away. Dangerous. The wind screen sold by KTM - hahahaha. The paint rubs off the frame by your left ankle - no real fix beyond putting vinyl on or rear sets. Mine got knocked over whilst stationary; I didn't really expect £1250 worth of parts and labour to put it back to condition.

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