Monday, April 28, 2014

Initial impressions: 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R

To date, I have put just 50 Kms on my brand new KTM 690 Enduro, but here are some observations. Also, note that I have only ridden it in the city (I haven't done any Dakar Rallies with it yet, no Baja races, no SuperCross events, and no RedBull Romaniacs competitions).

The good:

1. Engine power is very strong, and delivery is linear. Silky smooth, especially for a single cylinder.

2. Engine vibration is noticeable but not excessive.

3. Fuelling is spot on: no flat spots, hesitations, surging, backfiring, or exhaust popping whatsoever. Just quick and responsive throttle action.

4. Brakes are awesome. From what I've seen on the street, the anti-lock system is excellent.

5. Ride-by-wire throttle is smooth & precise.

6. Handling is light and nimble. A very agile bike to ride in the city. Suspension is soft and plushy, yet firm at the same time.

7. Headlight output is better than I expected. This is a pleasant surprise.

8. The gear shift indicator is a nice feature. It's new for 2014.

The bad:

1. The seat is absolutely terrible. Or, maybe I have delicate buttocks. This will need to be upgraded very soon.

2. The radiator fan comes on frequently in medium city traffic. My right boot and pant leg were wet from occasional shots of engine coolant coming from the radiator overflow hose. I plan to swap out the OEM 102°C fan temp switch for the 88°C Suzuki LTZ400 unit as discussed on While this won't prevent the fan from coming on so often, it will hopefully prevent coolant from shooting out the overflow hose.

3. Gearing is a little short for sustained highway riding (4,500 RPM @ 100 Km/h seems a little wound up to me). I can't imagine slabbing it for more than 30 minutes @ 120 Km/h (at which point the engine is revving ~6,000 RPM). The stock 15/45 gearing is probably just fine for two-track and fire roads, and also for city riding. But for highway riding I'd want to drop 2 or 3 teeth on the rear.

4. The front end weaves around in the wind at highway speeds. While some people find this scary, I've had this with other dual sport bikes. A steering stabilizer might fix it, but I'm sure I won't be bothered by it in the long run.

5. The OEM muffler throws a lot of heat -- even 20 minutes after the engine is turned off. Also, the sound of the factory exhaust system is rather wimpy. I'd like something a little more manly sounding (not loud, but something with a slightly deeper growl).

6. The fuel cap is a piece of junk. I can't believe the engineers at KTM haven't done something to improve this inferior design. KTM should issue a factory recall to replace this crap cap. I expect it will break within 5 fill-ups at the gas station. I guess I'll have to choose between the billet filler necks and caps offered by CJ Designs or Rally-Raid-UK.

7. Nowhere to carry the tool kit? What the fuck is up with that? Maybe the engineers at KTM feel the bike is so reliable you shouldn't need to carry the tool kit. But then, why did they include it?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Home at last

Earlier today I found out the license plate transfer was going to take a few more days than expected for my new 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (long story). Being the cowboy hooligan-type that I am, I said "fuck it" and decided to ride it home from the dealer without a damn license plate. I'm sooo bad ass!

As expected, this bike is a hoot. It builds power just like the Super Duke: it comes on strong as soon as you begin to twist the throttle. And it pulls harder and harder as the revs increase. When it gets up to 6-7,000 rpm, things get frightening. The front wheel comes up quite easily in the first 3 gears with input only from the throttle. I think I'm really gonna like this bike.

She's now home safe and sound, resting in the garage. The really sad part is that tomorrow after work, I will load the wife and kids into the car and drive 1,700 Kms from Berlin to the South of France for 16 days. Isn't that the shits?  I bring home my new bike today, and tomorrow I'm leaving town in a car for over 2 weeks.

Canadians won't like the name of the dealer where I bought the bike.

The old Super Duke is now for sale on the sidewalk in front of the KTM shop.
Asking price is €6,100 (dealer allowed me €4,800 on trade). I hope he can
make a few bucks.

0 kms

Verkauft  =  SOLD !

Shiny and new

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Out with the old...

My new 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R arrived at the dealer about a week ago. It's ready to go now, except for the transfer of the license plate and registration. Still taking care of the paperwork for that, but I'm hopeful that tomorrow will be the day.

In any event, I traded in the Super Duke for a credit of €4,800 off the €9,000 sticker price for the Enduro. Sure, the big LC8 would be worth more if I were to sell it privately but I don't speak German so trying to sell a bike when you don't speak the language isn't something I was looking forward to. Also, I like the convenience aspect of just handing over the keys during the trade-in. Simple, fast...too easy.

We worked out the details of the trade and I paid out the balance of the invoice for the new Enduro. Done.

For about 15 minutes, I was the proud owner of two KTM motorcycles. 
Here they are parked next to eachother on the sidewalk just in front 
of KTM MOTORRAD GST Berlin GmbH on Danziger Strasse.