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  #1  
Old 18 Jun 2012
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KTM 690 Enduro - Can it do Africa?

Dear KTM Enthusiasts,

Im heading to Cape Town sometime next year to ride back up to the UK and one of the bikes I am looking at using is the 690 Enduro, with necessary modification for fuel and luggage.

My questions to you would be are -
Is their reliability good enough to consider such a long journey?

Are they high maintenance,Im quite handy with a set of spanners, but dont really want to spend my whole time working on a bike?

Have any of you had experience of using on of these under these conditions?

What modifications would you recommend?

Are they fickle with oil, as from my experience, getting fully synthetic fancy oils in butt f--k nowhere is at best difficult and at worst total impossible?

I have completed two major global journeys using a 1150GSA and have not experience one problem, but I really want to use something far lighter as there will be a lot of demanding dirt road, I have tried the 990 Adv, but still want lighter.

Constructive replies and information greatly appreciated.

Stuart
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  #2  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Hi Stuart,

I think the 690 is the best bike for it (apart from the 640 Adventure perhaps). I bought one 1,5 years ago and love it. 15.000 km only so far (mostly 2-3000 km trips in Europe) and I have had no issues. I have done trips alone and two-up (my girlfriend loves the bike, too) and I have done motocross trainings and the Enduromania (amateur offroad competition) with it. It is great offroad (use the offroad engine mapping and perhaps a smaller front sprocket) and huge fun onroad as it is both light and powerful and has very good suspension. Other singles I have ridden (BMW F650, Tenere, Suzuki DR) feel sluggish and antiquated in comparison. It don't like it for fast motorway riding though: it is fast and stable enough and does not vibrate much, but it is tiring due to the lack of wind protection, so usually I do only about 100-120 km/h for a more relaxing ride.

Regarding your questions:

Reliability: Apparently much better than the old LC4s (which are better than their reputation). The German Motorrad magazine has done a 50000 km test (with the Duke, which has the same engine) and was impressed with it: Dauertest-Abschlussbilanz: KTM 690 SM - Motorrad-Dauertests - MOTORRAD online As I said, I have had no issues.

Servicing: Easy to work on (much easier than the new 660 Tenere as a friend of mine who owns one says). You need 10W50 or 10W60 oil though. The 2008-2009 models have a service interval of 5000 km, the 2010 model one of 7500 km and the 2012 model one of 10000 km. So if you are happy to carry 2 litres of oil you have a 20 k range with the newest model (and I suppose the other models will also survive a 10 k interval).

Modifications: I bought a new seat (Kahedo is comfortable and I strongly recommend it), engine and radiator guards, small screen and a luggage rack (all Touratech). Even if you use soft luggage I would recommend a rack to support the tank (there is no subframe). The one from Touratech is probably heavier that the one from KTM, but seems much stronger. What still bothers me is the extremely hot standard exhaust (don't want to shell out 500 Euros for an aftermarket one though), the lack of a centre stand and the small tank. The tank is big enough for Europe due to the good fuel efficiency (3.6 l/100 km on my last 2500 trip, 0.5 l less than the new 660 Tenere on the same trip), but for Africa? Rather than buying an expensive tank I would consider using fuel bladders or canisters. Btw, there is also a bad fuel engine mapping which may be useful in Africa. Some people recommend replacing the original tank bolts with stronger ones and protecting the radiator better. Check RTW KTM 690 Enduro - ADVrider , there is a lot of useful advice.

My general advice would be to keep it as light as possible. As with any bike of course, but this one benefits particularly from it as it is very light itself and you will want to preserve the offorad capability. Try to move as much weight forward as possible (especially the liquids and the tools), also because the fuel tank is at the rear.

Hope this helps!
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  #3  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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hi Stuart,

Myself and a friend have 690's (mine an R his an E).
They are currently being shipped to Magadan for a ride back to the UK, I will will let you know how we get on with them.
We have done a fair amount of work on them, including updating the rear spring, subframe bolts, removed side stand switch, therm switch change, rad grill, etc.
Also I am running a safari tank, he is running rally raid ones, we both have rally raid fairings.
We are taking 2 sets of filters and oil with us for the journey, thats the only problem 5k changes are a bit small.

I'm running soft luggage he has hard (didnt want the extra weight, although they are nice and the security is good).

Cheers

Mark
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  #4  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart ringer View Post
Dear KTM Enthusiasts,

Im heading to Cape Town sometime next year to ride back up to the UK and one of the bikes I am looking at using is the 690 Enduro, with necessary modification for fuel and luggage.

My questions to you would be are -
Is their reliability good enough to consider such a long journey?

Are they high maintenance,Im quite handy with a set of spanners, but dont really want to spend my whole time working on a bike?

Have any of you had experience of using on of these under these conditions?

What modifications would you recommend?

Are they fickle with oil, as from my experience, getting fully synthetic fancy oils in butt f--k nowhere is at best difficult and at worst total impossible?

I have completed two major global journeys using a 1150GSA and have not experience one problem, but I really want to use something far lighter as there will be a lot of demanding dirt road, I have tried the 990 Adv, but still want lighter.

Constructive replies and information greatly appreciated.

Stuart
Not a KTM owner but rode with a couple guys in Africa and encountered quite a few. Probably saw more KTMs than any other single make on the east and west coast so any concerns about oil and maintenance intervals have been solved by a number of riders.

From the guys we were with, everyone does their usual maintenance at the major stops and I would be hard pressed to say that they had to do significantly more than the next guy.

As an added bonus, there are also a couple of KTM shops along the way where you might be able to get some basic parts or at least someone to ask about mechanical issues. Nairobi has a small dealer if you need tires or a mechanic to look at something. I believe there is some shop in Cairo, although haven't been there. Addis has a guy that rents KTM so is pretty handy with a wrench so is a potential resource for mechanical advice. On the west coast there is a small dealer in Luanda with a Euro trained mechanic. Also one in Togo, although haven't been to that one.

Having said that, I wouldn't hesitate to take a KTM but would just make sure that I needed the improved performance for the ride. Is your plan to do the east or west coast? The reason I ask is that unless one seeks it, there isn't as much demanding dirt road as one thinks there would be. You can happily ride from Cairo to Cape Town and only suffer through a couple of days or rough gravel in northern Kenya. There is a certain beauty to leaning toward more performance and going light with soft luggage, etc. but you are an old hand at all this and have a proven performer in your old bike. Depends on the terrain you plan on riding, but the tried and true might be adequate to meet your needs for yet another trip
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  #5  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Gentlemen,

All Fantastic information and greatly received.


Mark, I love that bike of your my friend, I want I want I want. So best get the cheque book out. I would live to be joining you in Magadan. I meet two Italians on there way there last year in Uzbekistan (not on my bike), they were riding to Mongolia and leaving the bikes there for the winter and finishing off latter this year, Ill see if I can find there website and PM you. Are you running a website/blog, I would love to follow?


Mountainman, Ill be taking the east route, so nce to hear that the roads arnt too grim. I dont really want to take the BMW, she has served me well and Ill never part with her, but I have spent a fortune doing her up recently and feel reluctant to ruin her again. Also I just fancy something lighter and traveling light, every time I go away I take too much gear, so i may just limit myself. I will also be doing this trip over 4 months, where previously I spent two years and required more luxury.

PeerG - Thanks for taking the time with all the information, very grateful and highly informative, thanks again.
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  #6  
Old 20 Jun 2012
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I have a 2009 690 enduro which I've used mainly for trail riding. I've also done a UK to Cape Town trip 2 up via the east coast route but on a R100GS. I would agree with MountainMan that, unless you seek out off piste the most 'off road' you'll come across are a few lumpy gravel roads.

If I were to undertake a long overland trip on the 690 I would probably go for the rally raid fairing and forward fuel tanks. I would fit the Touratech pannier frames as they are good for fixing soft luggage to and also 'triangulate' the rear subframe taking some off the stress of the forward fixing points which, I gather, can give trouble. The seat needs to be improved and a metal bashplate is a good idea. I would stick with the standard gearing, although I have a smaller front sprocket fitted to mine for trail riding at the moment, this would ruin the economy on longer road stretches. I think I'd change the silencer because at times you may not be able to get unleaded fuel and you save about 6kg and the risk of melting anything that touches it.

Maintenance:

I change the oil on mine every 3500-4000km but I'm sure this is over the top. I use 10W50.

Reliability:

The only things that have broken for no good reason are the stupid cheap and nasty plastic fuel line connector (wedged in beside the airbox) and the speedo sender. Everything else is due to use/abuse.

Generally a good bike which is certainly up to the job.
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  #7  
Old 21 Jun 2012
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The rally raid fairing is a nice piece of kit, comes with the 950 headlight also which makes quite a bit of difference.
I decided on the safari tank as it's 14ltrs over the rally raid ones which are 9.5ltrs total (that way my friend will run out before me ).
The bash plate has a 2.5ltr plastic container inside which is holding engine oil. My seat I have had reshaped and added a sheepskin (still not great but will get used to it).
Magnon you are right about the fuel pipe quick release connector, my friend broke his when he pivoted the rear up to remove the shock.

Stuart I may get around to starting a blog, depends on if i have enough energy left after riding
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  #8  
Old 22 Jun 2012
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I am about 23k kms into a RTW trip. Many people have gotten very far with the KTM 690. SherriJo just replaced her top end for the first time at 90k kms. Sherri Jo's Because I Can World Tour

I plan on ditching the hard bags in a few days and running giant loops.. and adding the RallyRaid bashguard w/ tank. I am thinking there's enough room under the motor to store spare sprockets and chain.. stay tuned.
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  #9  
Old 26 Jun 2012
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research for my RTW ktm 690 enduro r '12 in 2013

hey gents

i'm planning on doing a semi RTW. starting in perth australia, indonesia, malaysia, singapore, laos, vietnam, cambodia, thailand, india, india-tibet, and somehow thru the himalayas (need to scope this out) into china, mongolia, russia etc.

planning on going solo so wanted the best performance and reliable bike available that would be converted to an adventurer.

the ktm 690 enduro r '12 (10k maint. int.) with:

- rally raid tanks (+9L),
- adventure fairing from ktm twins,
- metal mule panniers (31+38L) and racks,
- metal bash and radiator plates, and
- 70:30 or 60:40 offn tyres is my plan.

got half of it. prob get a tank bag too. other gear i'm chasing is:

- spotconnect for gps tracking, satellite help and sos messaging (can do normal messaging thru iphone app on spotconnect satellite service)
- HUD gps
- KTM dealer recommended custom mechanical kit and training
- critical spares

otherwise specialist kit i need to take is:

- nikon d3s, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm plus tripod and accessories (gotta scope a safe packing arrangement

so i really think this will work beautifully and allow pretty broad flexability onroad considering safety and photography kink.

if you guys have any comments please let me know. especially regarding himalayan passes or methods for packing sensitive photographic equipment!

cheers

ty
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  #10  
Old 2 Jul 2012
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hey guys, Adam from Rally Raid Products here just lurking.

Thought I would drop a link to our new EVO 2 Kits.
First public viewing was yesterday its all been kept under wraps until now.

10.5 L tanks (+1L than previous) but 110mm slimmer !
55w H5 Halogen Rally Double Light

Oh and its very pretty

Link below

Wall Photos | Facebook

Dont forget to like and share us
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  #11  
Old 13 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart ringer View Post
Gentlemen,

All Fantastic information and greatly received.


Mark, I love that bike of your my friend, I want I want I want. So best get the cheque book out. I would live to be joining you in Magadan. I meet two Italians on there way there last year in Uzbekistan (not on my bike), they were riding to Mongolia and leaving the bikes there for the winter and finishing off latter this year, Ill see if I can find there website and PM you. Are you running a website/blog, I would love to follow?


Mountainman, Ill be taking the east route, so nce to hear that the roads arnt too grim. I dont really want to take the BMW, she has served me well and Ill never part with her, but I have spent a fortune doing her up recently and feel reluctant to ruin her again. Also I just fancy something lighter and traveling light, every time I go away I take too much gear, so i may just limit myself. I will also be doing this trip over 4 months, where previously I spent two years and required more luxury.

PeerG - Thanks for taking the time with all the information, very grateful and highly informative, thanks again.

Hello Stuart, I was surfing the site and saw your post. I am Roberto. One of the two Italians you met last year in Uzbekistan. Mission accomplished. We arrived in Japan. Now we go from Canada to Argentina on ktm 690 Enduro R. When are you planning on doing Africa ? After Argentina we will ship our bikes to South Africa and we will ride all the way back to Italy. You can see the details of our trip on From Italy helping children around the world on Motorcycles There you can also send me an email. keep in touch. Below is my KTM 690 with aftermarket changes.

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  #12  
Old 13 Oct 2012
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Originally Posted by PeerG View Post
What still bothers me is the extremely hot standard exhaust (don't want to shell out 500 Euros for an aftermarket one though)
I had the same issues with my 950 ADV. The problem is that the CAT is in the silencer. CAT's don't work until they get piggin' hot!

I put a couple of Wings silencers on. You can touch them as soon as you get off the bike, even in hot conditions. They were half the price of Akra's and at least as good, if not better, quality.
No idea what they cost now. Link: Because sound matters!

John
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  #13  
Old 14 Oct 2012
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690 is great and . . . only choice

Not to be provocative but . . .

The Husky TE630 has been discontinued.
The Husaberg FE570 is discontinued in the US and as of 2012 end the rest of the world.
The ancient Honda XRs are ancient, heavy, air-cooled, PIA kick-starters.
The Tenere is fine if you don't mind heavy, weak power with little chops for anything beyond a smooth gravel road.

So . . . choices are not many, but there's still a great one.

The 690's shortcomings are:
a) the subframe bolts (2) which is easily remedied.
b) rather tight steering lock - not a Ducati but not a woods bike
c) narrow ratio transmission
d) it seems to encourage a "wild 14-year old" attitude its so much fun to ride

Everything needs bigger tanks for more range . . . bash plates, a better saddle.

Why do people choose motorbikes and so heavily discount the fun factor ? The 690 is FUN. My 70-year old father in law is an Iron Butt and hater of enduros. He rode one and couldn't stop grinning or talking about how much fun it was for two days !
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  #14  
Old 21 Mar 2013
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Originally Posted by Genghis9021 View Post
c) narrow ratio transmission
Of all the reviews and owner comments I've read this is the first time I've seen anyone mention this, yet it's the first thing that struck me when I test rode the bike. My Tenere with a five-speed gearbox has at least as wide a range as the 690 Enduro's six-speed box.

I don't understand why manufacturers do this, it's one of the real negative points about BMW's F700/800GS models. Was it so they could share the gearbox from the Duke?

If I go ahead with the 690 Enduro it looks like I'll need to swap out the 15-tooth front sprocket for a 17-tooth sprocket for riding through Europe, then put the 15- or even a 14-tooth sprocket on for dirt.

Yes, and I don't understand the turning circle problem either. Why??
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  #15  
Old 20 Apr 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Of all the reviews and owner comments I've read this is the first time I've seen anyone mention this, yet it's the first thing that struck me when I test rode the bike. My Tenere with a five-speed gearbox has at least as wide a range as the 690 Enduro's six-speed box.

I don't understand why manufacturers do this, it's one of the real negative points about BMW's F700/800GS models. Was it so they could share the gearbox from the Duke?

If I go ahead with the 690 Enduro it looks like I'll need to swap out the 15-tooth front sprocket for a 17-tooth sprocket for riding through Europe, then put the 15- or even a 14-tooth sprocket on for dirt.

Yes, and I don't understand the turning circle problem either. Why??
I've been traveling for 1 year on a KTM 690. 52,000 km.

I run 16 tooth front sprocket and stock rear. It is the perfect mix for dirt and highway use. It was a dream in the desert in Morocco. The 690 has so much torque you don't need to worry too much about bottom end. As for the steering, I have never had a problem with the turning circles.
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