Road Test

KTM 690 Duke long-term update 4: A temporary upgRade

Thoughts after two weeks on a 690 Duke R


After 2 months and about 2000 miles on the R I've not managed to get a single false neutral. I don't pin it everywhere by any means but I've done it on occasion and not had any trouble, and I didn't have any problem on the 2015 non-R I test rode for half an hour either. Perhaps it's boot or foot or lever position related? Or clutch? Or even technique?

I turned off the TC/MSR function just once to find out why I couldn't wheelie the R but quickly turned it back on again as it seems to have turned me into a scared pansy. Also wheelies might look fun but they're the opposite of useful or safe, and the TC just makes the bike hurtle forwards faster. On the road seems to be as useful as you probably find it on the track: I just crack the throttle open in any gear in any situation and the bike just takes off without any fuss. I've had a few proper scary wobbles though on rutted tarmac and over white lines and catseyes. Apparently I'm not alone in noticing the 2016 model appears to be somewhat less stable than the 2015, which is the opposite effect to the changes that KTM claim to have made.

Unrelatedly, ran out of petrol the other day. Range indicator said 17 miles left in tank (it was bone dry when it conked out with no warning at all). I'd only done just over 150 miles! Normally I get 170 ish. Odd. Kev's O2 controller has caned fuel cons.

BubbaDaytona's picture

My experience with false neutrals is that they diminish over time and experience with the shifting on any bike new to the rider.

Here's a quote about the reason for false neutrals on the 690s

"First gear through fourth have four dogs, so it will drop in to gear every 90 degrees. Fifth and Sixth only have three dogs since they are smaller in diameter, so it will only drop into gear every 120 degrees."

In my experience you just get used to being more positive with the upshift from 5th to 6th. Giving the selector leaver a bit of pressure before you use the clutch lever helps a lot.

I can't remember the last time I got a false neutral in the last 20,000 miles on one of these engines.

You can get the pro shift kit if you find it difficult to adjust your shifting style, good reports for the kit.

..of the 690 Duke R continues. This time, on mods and stability.

Mods fitted to my 690 are: Cyclops LED headlight bulb; Puig screen & adjustable spoiler; Kev's O2 Mod; and lastly and most recently, the Fresco de-cat.

Starting with the LED bulb... it's a bit shit really. The beam pattern is crap, and so though it's brighter in theory the beam pattern is so washed out you have to put it on maximum downward adjustment to avoid seriously blinding anyone oncoming. Its only saving grace is that is saves 35/20W of power. I might replace it with the original bulb. Apparently you can get a better beam pattern with the supplied cork spacers, except that there's no way to fit the spacers because the clamp can't close over it. I think this basically means they got the dimensions of the bulb basically wrong and it's not a drop in H4 replacement at all.

Next up the Puig screen and spoiler. Not too hard to fit, though drilling the plastic mask is actually harder than it looks. It wobbles a fair bit. I can now cruise at 85mph though, so dual carriageways are now perfectly reasonable places to be on the 690, if a little boring and wobbly.

Kev's O2 mod... this has mostly improved throttle response and engine feel between 3-4000RPM, but it comes with two quite big caveats. The first one is, it canes fuel consumption. Where I was getting 70mpg before I now get 55mpg or less. The second caveat is that it also causes somewhat fluffy running just off of idle, and has on occasion not responded to the throttle at all but felt like it was suffering fuel issues. It also frequently sounds like it's going to stall when I slow down after a blast or I'm filtering. I may remove the mod and see how I feel.

The Fresco de-cat saves, at a guess, 5kg of dead weight although the weight is in a good spot. Even so 5kg is 5kg. Some foreign types round here might not reckon it's too loud but to UK ears it's bloody deafening. It gets almost acceptable on a whiff of throttle at medium revs; anything else and it's going to shake windows and terrify horses. It is, of course, awesome. Unfortunately you can also tell that the standard fuel map doesn't quite agree with it, with a new found hesitancy at the point the closed loop switches to the open loop and the throttle response isn't quite so perfectly sweet any more. It may behave somewhat differently if I remove the O2 mod.

Lastly, stability. I've had a fair few scary moments on the 690 with it feeling like it's just about to tankslap. Also I've been strangely wary of the rear tyre seeming to squirrel all over the place like I've got oil on it, when riding on anything other than smooth tarmac. Round where I live there are ripples, ruts, trenches, on bends on on straights, and you name it, the 690 really doesn't like it and gets very, very frisky in a not very pleasant way. The only way to deal with it is to get really loose, and back off gently. I've had at least one moment just overtaking (WOT, 3rd, 60mph or so) on normal white lines / catseyes, where the whole thing went into a momentary death weave and then sorted itself out, just long enough to pucker my arse but not long enough for me to seriously consider panicking and backing off.

There are other reports of stability issues on the 690 on the internet. I wonder if they're caused by the handguards and screen? (Though the first time I had a wobble there was no screen fitted)

The emitter is slightly off - Use a 20 gauge piece of wire as a shim to tilt it slightly down in the holder. It should drop into the proper place in the reflector with good cutoff and brightness.

Thread necro!

Fitted Fresco (still got O2 Mod). It's *loud*. However it's fucked the fuelling. Had it on a dyno last week, mixture running between 17:1 (midrange) and 14:1 right at the very top, with a colossal glitch right where the closed loop switches to open loop.

So back to dyno next Monday for Power Commander V fitting and tweaks.

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