KTM DUKE 690

All around commuter

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If you’re looking for a daily commuter that can easily handle traffic and highway speeds, don’t look further than the KTM Duke 690! This great naked bike has all the stuff to make it the best all-around bike for local roads.

What makes the KTM Duke 690 hover above the rest? Here are just some of the features that will amaze you.

Looking the part
The base Duke 690’s styling still stands above the rest with its orange and black color scheme. Even though the Duke was launched last year, the KTM designers have already made various upgrades for the new 2018 Duke 690R.

Leading the esthetics change is a transformer-looking, LED headlights that is really eye catching. It has better graphics to match the look. The frame is now in orange color along with the rims and forms a great contrast.

Strongest single cylinder
With KTM’s vast experience in off-road rallies and motocross, with Moto2 and 3 championships also this year, they know a thing or two when it comes to building strong and powerful engines. They are now the strongest, single-cylinder available with 690cc at 73 hp and 75 Nm of torque. This may not sound much but it is hard to produce such power reliably when you only have one cylinder to do it!


The six-speed transmission is well made and gear ratios are good. However, for urban riding, I would put one tooth gear higher at the back to help the engine in traffic conditions. The engine also develops a lot of heat that will penalize the rider if caught in one of those monstrous city jams. The radiator’s electric fan just blows hot air on your left leg and you should wear something more resilient to heat than denim pants.

Superb handling
KTM gave very good suspension on the Duke with WP tuned forks and shocks. These are able to absorb potholes well while not sacrificing ride quality. The new Duke Enduro 690R will have better suspension and triple clamps to make it corner better.

The seat is good for short trips but in long ones, the wide and angular form to cover the chassis will pinch on your thighs’ nerves. Even the back riders will complain as they have less padding. Maybe KTM had to sacrifice the foam to lower the seat height.

You can brake really late with the Duke and it will give you confidence to attack the corners. The new ones will have Brembo as an option that will give you more stopping power. With the good tires and forged aluminum wheels, you can’t ask for more!

Wish list
For highway riders, a good fairing will be essential as the naked form just gives too much wind in the face of the rider. The headlights are also aimed too high onto oncoming traffic and there seems to be not much adjustment. The instrument panel would also benefit from good placement and redesign to make it colorful and easier to read. A gear up on the rear sprocket will be good for beginners to intermediate riders.

However, you will not hear complaints on the engine and handling. The new Duke Enduro 690R will be a good bike to test in the future and see if it has improved on the above. At least in the looks department, it is going the right way. Test ride one soon and see for yourself why it’s one of the best all-around bikes out there.

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