Long-term test: Introducing the KTM 690 Duke

Say hello to my little friend

THIS KTM 690 Duke is my long term test bike for the next few months, and having ridden it at the launch in December, I think I’m in for a fun time.

At the moment, the fun is being slightly stifled because this 690 is brand-spankers and not run in yet, so until it’s done 600 miles, I’m not meant to take it to the mystical lands that lie beyond 6,000rpm (and nor would I dream of it, Mr KTM, if you’re reading…).

I’ve had this bike for less than a week, and am finding any excuse to stick some miles on it so I can get that first service out of the way and begin to flirt more with the 690’s thumping engine. Needless to say, I can't wait to get out on it this weekend.

Part of my reason for choosing the KTM is because I know how good it is for blasting round twisty roads and that its low weight and punchy motor make for a lively and engaging ride. I hope that those characteristics will be capable of turning the dreariest of rides into a grin-inducing experience, hopefully making my London commute as enjoyable as a weekend blast (well, almost). I’ve also spent the last couple of years riding mostly sports bikes (a ZX-6R and a Honda NC30 before that) so the idea of living with a naked bike was, and still is, tempting.

Over the next few months I plan to use the 690 for the mundane and magnificent – daily use, track days, weekend blasts and maybe even a trip abroad. Regardless of what I get up to with the Duke, I’ll be writing about what it’s like to live with, what it’s good and not so good at, and how it performs during my time with it.

I’ll be changing a few things on it too, starting with that exhaust.

If you’ve ordered one, get in touch (simon.greenacre@crash.net) – I’m interested to hear why you chose it and what you think of it.

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