Additional photos of this 2018 KTM 690 Enduro R are available here for your perusal.
The 690 Enduro R is KTM’s entry into the thinly populated dual-sport market. With BMW, Ducati and other premium bike brands choosing to throw everything into the adventure bike market, KTM decided to take a different approach. Focusing on lightness, simplicity, and off-road ability, the 2018 KTM 690 Enduro is a middleweight, dual sport bike aimed at riders looking to move on from dirtbikes, smaller enduros, or dual sports. Comparatively, it’s a step up in performance from all three.
Because of its on-road/off-road abilities, the KTM could even be considered a high-performance adventure bike for riders who are looking to downsize from a bigger ADV bike in order to attack tighter trails since there is less weight to wrestle. Big ADV lovers might scoff at the almost spartan looks of the Enduro R. From the meager headlight cowl to the extremely slim top-down profile, the 690 exudes form over functionality.
From the exposed orange trellis frame to the spoked wheels and minimal headlamp, the bike oozes off-road performance even just standing still. While most adventure bikes are becoming sleeker, more angular and/or curvaceous, the Enduro cares not, as it is basically a large dirt bike with indicators and a headlamp to make it road-legal. The first thing you realize is the height of the saddle. Stock, the Enduro towers over other bikes with a 36-inch seat height (shorter riders may want to purchase lowering links and a lower seat if they want to reach the floor). Of course, with such high ground clearance, the bike offers a commanding position from its pegs. The bike lords over traffic and visibility off-road is excellent.
Gauges are a simple affair with a large digital speed indicator flanked by a rev counter. The bike is powered by a massive 690cc single cylinder engine. Power is immediate and available at any revs. The 67hp is delivered to a relatively high-geared (for a dual sport) six-speed transmission. The large front wheel and thin tires make the Enduro one of the nimblest bikes on the road. The long travel suspension soaks up anything an off-road track can throw at it, without any tracking or deflection from the front wheel, which provides for a confidence-inspiring and enjoyable ride.
It is also lightweight enough that you don’t get exhausted wrestling it through dense forest or deep sand, and if you do end up on your side, it is less of a strain to stand back up by yourself. Quite different than a 600lb plus BMW GS. The only limitation to the handling package is at prolonged highway speeds. The nimble suspension and light weight that make the bike fun on trail roads or twisties, turns the bike a bit skittish and wobbly at sustained speed. This means that while it can bomb down canyon roads with the gait of a dirt bike, it is not ideal for long highway rides.
The 690 Enduro R espouses simplicity to its very core, and this can be seen with its extra features. The bike has ABS as standard (which can be turned off) and has a rudimentary (very small) gear indicator, adjustable suspension, and … that’s it. The adventurous nature of the bike can be seen in an often-overlooked feature, a fuel map selector under the seat, where the bike can be mapped for lower grade fuel just in case you need to buy some provincial fuel sold in a mezcal bottle from a roadside bodega (it happens).
This KTM (VIN: VBKLET407JM713061) was traded in to a local Harley-Davidson dealership, and as such not much is known about the prior history. From the photos, you’ll be able to identify a Yoshimura exhaust, orange spoke covers, and a USB charger mounted on the handlebar.
The Enduro R is part of a dying breed: a large displacement single cylinder dual sport machine. From its lightness to the tractor-like nature of the engine, it will appeal to a very select group of iconic riders. These are riders who want to get off the beaten path and explore roads that other bikes or cars can only dream of taking. If you are outgrowing or out-riding your current dirt bike or dual sport, the KTM 690 Enduro is worth a serious look. Likewise, if you are looking for a smaller bike to complement your big ADV-tourer, the 690 will feel featherweight by comparison. It’s one of the most versatile, go-anywhere bikes available.