KTM 690 Enduro R: KTM keeps the big bore thumper dream alive

We live in grim times. A time when a single cylinder dual sport, instead of becoming a cornerstone of a manufacturer’s lineup, is a millstone that’s dropped before it drags the company down into the sea of irrelevancy.

Or so we’re told to believe, as the Japanese OEMs move away from one of the bike designs that sold so well for the past 20 years. But no fear, KTM has your back, if you’re into thumpers. While everyone else is putting parallel twins into adventure bikes and calling it a day, KTM had the cojones to upgrade the 690 Enduro, instead of canceling it. Huzzah!

So what does that mean? It means you get KTM’s hottest take on the liquid-cooled single-cylinder 690 cc engine it’s been refining for years. This version of the Enduro R has 54 lb-ft of torque and likely about 74 hp—the kind of numbers that just make a person feel all warm and tingly, when you consider the bike has a skimpy 146 kg dry weight.

What else is new? There’s a slipper clutch and two-mode traction control, possible thanks to a ride-by-wire throttle. Not that long ago, it would have sounded like sci-fi to talk about ride-by-wire on an overgrown dirt bike, but now we’re here.

It gets more sci-fi from there. KTM also included traction control, Motor Slip Control, street and off-road ride modes, and even cornering ABS (which has an option to disable the rear wheel interference).

Back to more standard stuff, the 690 has 48 mm WP forks and rear shock. Like all proper dirt bikes, it rolls on a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear, which should make for the optimum selection of good dirt-friendly tires. There’s 250 mm of suspension travel, front and rear. Ground clearance is 270 mm.

The bike’s 13.5-litre plastic fuel tank is mounted at the rear, as with previous models. The front disc is 300 mm, the rear is 240 mm.

We’re almost sure to see this machine in Canada, although pricing and arrival date is up in the air.


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