If you recall from our recent visit with the 690, it too was an all new offering from KTM in 2008. The original LC4 range of bikes had long performed the delicate balancing act of straddling both the off road and street markets. The basic package had been offered in everything from a track oriented SX model to canyon carving supermoto version. Perhaps the most loved of all was the beautiful rally styled adventurers, these still have a strong demand in the used bike market.
After a two decade run the big single was quite due for a revamp. While still dubbed the LC4, the next generation package is a big leap from the previous version. The 655cc motor is far more refined than its predecessor, with more power and a complete lack of vibration from the counterbalanced motor.
The fuel injection is another of the real advances. Unlike nearly every road going single produced in recent history, the 690 does not feel like it has been completely detuned. It starts, idles and runs cleanly all the time.
Coming in at a 320lb curb weight, it sits right at the very upper limit of something that could be considered a true dirt mount. Yet this puts it in the range of other 650 class dual sport models. The difference, other than the higher price, is that it boasts a significantly higher level of capability both on and off road than most of the bikes in the dual sport class.
That is emphasized by the quality of the components found standard on the KTM. The single front Brembo brake is powerful and has good feel. The hydraulic clutch and six speed transmission are nice touches. Wide foot pegs, aluminum pedals and adjustable levers are just more examples of the attention to performance found everywhere on the 690.
As performance is the priority, creature comforts are kept to a minimum. The instruments are very basic and kept as small as possible. This does make it difficult to read at times, but the automatic low fuel odo reset is a nice touch. The lighting package and switch cluster are similar to what comes on the street legal EXC models. The seat is a long and narrow instrument of torture.
The KTM always feels at home off road
The WP suspension components give nearly 11” of travel front and rear demonstrating more of the 690’s dirt focus. The 48mm inverted fork has both compression and rebound adjustments, although it lacks the preload adjuster found on most of its KTM siblings. The rear is fully adjustable and features a linkage system. Both ends are sprung relatively stiff.