Since debut in 2008 KTM 690 Enduro is widely used as starting point for light adventure bike builds. It is relatively light, has great engine with long service interval, it is easy to work on (maintenance and repairs) and it is designed to carry a passenger, so it can carry luggage. It has/had few flaws (fuel pump, rocker arms, tank bolts etc.), but these issues are addressed by KTM or can be easily solved by aftermarket stuff.
I acquired my first KTM 690 Enduro (2008) in 2014 and in 2016 I bought new KTM 690 Enduro (2016). I never had any major problems with any bike.
On my first 690 I experimented a bit with setting it up with aftermarket stuff, but when I bought new bike in 2016 I knew exactly what I need.
Rally style builds are very popular and there are few fantastic options for anyone wishing to go that route – KIT690, Omega kit, KTM Basel build, Rally Raid etc. I had something different in mind, as I don’t have time for overland trips and I mostly use 690 for 3-5 days trips, often camping. Off road is my priority, but I must use asphalt to get to it. I don’t use highway that much, and even if I do, I don’t ride very fast, 100-110 km/h tops. On the other hand, I found myself very often in places I didn’t plan to be, muddy, gnarly, forest tracks and trails, where I feel every extra kg I have on my bike. And I tend to fall a lot, so less things to brake, better. And – I must admit I am not best rider out there, so I need a bike that can compensate for occasional lack of skills. So, to summarize – light, off road oriented bike, with decent road handling; no need for wind protection, as I don’t ride fast; without anything that is not really needed, as close to stock as possible, unbreakable and though as it can be; luggage for 3-7 days camping trips.
So here is what I did.
2016 KTM 690 Enduro. Here is how it looked brand new.
It is very good bike out of the box, especially new ones, from 2014, with ride-by-wire and ABS. There are some rumors that KTM solved rocker arms issue on new bikes. And it seems fuel pumps are not failing anymore. And there is a lot of other, small improvements over previous model years. Not that there is anything wrong with older 690’s, just newer ones evolved, IMO.
I got rid of stock muffler. It is way too heavy and it gets very hot. I went with Wings.
Regarding quality, it is on same level as Akrapović, but at much lower price (it was less than 300 EUR + shipping). Owner, Gorazd, is great to deal with. I kept OEM air filter, so I kept stock mapping. It comes with two inserts, I always used quieter.
I also got Wings front heat shield, just for the looks. It is not cheap (approx. 120) but craftsmanship is top notch. It blends perfectly with heat shield you get with Wings silencer.
It proved to be tougher than it looks, bike was napping on that time for few time, and not a scratch on heat shield.
HANDLEBAR RISER + SCOTT STEERING DAMPER
I am 186 cm tall, I stand a lot when I am off road, so I usually need handlebar risers. This time I got BRP Rubber mounted sub - mount and Scott steering damper combo. With this setup I got additional 15 mm of rise and peace of mind on loose rock sections. To be honest, I never noticed damper doing its job, but I guess that is a proof it is working. Bike felt very stable both on and off road.
More details HERE.
I tried several foot pegs and I liked Bosley’s most. These ones are Rally pegs (115x55), 15 mm lower than stock, stainless steel. I had to grind one sharp corner from each peg, but other than that, everything was perfect. With those pegs and BRP sub-mount I achieved perfect riding position, both for on and off road riding.
Pegs are a bit large, relative to the bike, but it is like having power steering, it is much easier to steer the bike using leg work.
I will probably use these foot pegs on my next bike too.
SHORTY CLUTCH LEVER
I like to use just two fingers for operating clutch lever. That is easy on 690, because of hydraulic clutch with very smooth operation. I ride a lot off road and I am very happy with the clutch. But OEM clutch lever is too long for my liking, so my ring finger (next to pinky finger) got pinched very often. I ordered set of shorty levers from China, and while craftsmanship was good, they were not shorter than OEM one (details HERE). Then I found that OEM clutch lever for 2012 KTM 450 SX-F should be exact fit. Part number is 50302031300, and price is just below 50 EUR.
After some experimenting, I eventually kept OEM brake lever.
REAR BRAKE PEDAL
I always thought that idea of soft clutch pedal is not bad – in case of fall it would just bend and not brake, and you can bend it back. Also, chance of transferring hit to other parts of the system (shaft) is minimal. I usually followed that route for brake pedal too. 690 has very soft brake pedal out of the box, but material doesn’t allow to be bent back more than few times. So, I decided to go for stronger, billet brake lever. I choose Vanasche motorsport Rear brake pedal and I couldn’t be happier with it. Brilliant design and machining, it fits perfectly.
Vanasche motorsport offer several brake pedal pads to go with this pedal, and I got P2 – the one that is mounted on the underside of the pedal, so it is flush with top surface of the pedal. To me, this allows perfect positioning of brake pedal both for standing and sitting. Other option was P3 – stepped pedal pad, but since P2 is working great, I never tried it out.
For off road, skid plate is a must. There is a lot of quality skid plates for 690 on the market - big units like AS skid plate or Emperor racing, or lighter units like Touratech, Flatland racing, Hyde or KTM OEM skid plate. There are other options too. Mainly because of local availability, I went for KTM skid plate.
It is made of 4 mm aluminum and coverage is moderate at best, but it proved to be decent skid plate. It may be “softer” than others, but that may be good things sometimes – some hits are soaked, instead being transferred to the frame. It is very easy to remove it for maintenance, which is a plus. I also got KTM’s foam (part number 59003990250) to keep mud from getting stuck between skid plate and engine and it works well.
REAR BRAKE CYLINDER PROTECTION
On 690, rear brake cylinder is exposed from below. Theoretically, this could lead to rear brake failure, if cylinder is hit by a rock. Some skid plates cover this part of the bike too, but not the one I had. So I made my own Rear brake cylinder protection piece.
Rear brake cylinder can be adjusted (moved longitudinal) throughout full range, so height of brake lever can be adjusted. To be honest, it never happened to me to damage rear brake cylinder on my previous 690, but since I installed this guard, I found several scratches on it, probably caused by deflecting rocks. Would this be enough to damage cylinder, I can’t know, but it good to know that it is safe now.
Another great item I got from Vanasche motorsport – Billet case saver.
I heard few horror stories about snapped chains cracking cases in the middle of nowhere. I also like how it looks.
I had a problem with this on my previous 690. Radiator is exposed, and it can be easily bent or broken in case of a fall. I got KTM Radiator protection and it works great.
Easy to install, ‘invisible’ when installed and sturdy. I used zip ties instead of bolts, for securing lower part of plastic radiator screen to the KTM radiator protection.
Even more, I used zip ties instead of bolts to secure side panels – this way I minimized possibility that something will puncture radiator.
TANK BOLT KIT
Bolt kit issue is explained HERE, not much to add. I believe that bolts should be upgraded, if bike will be ridden off road.
Stock mirrors are OK for road, but for off road I wanted something that I can move away fast. I use Double take Enduro mirrors and I like it a lot.
It takes just a second to fold it and another second to unfold it.
I got these KTM rim sticker set to lighten up stock wheels.
I like this black-white design.
LUGGAGE RACK + OPTIONAL EXTENSION PLATE.
Of course, I use Perun moto KTM 690 Enduro Luggage rack SD. It is our top selling product and I really put a lot of thought and effort into it.
When I go for shorter rides, I usually have just Luggage rack mounted. It works great with Mosko moto Reckless 40 (or Altrider Hemisphere, Giant loop Great basin etc.) For longer rides, I use Extension plate too – if I use Mosko moto Reckless 80, Extension plate provides larger surface for middle piece of the bag, and if I use pannier racks with Wolfman Expedition Dry Saddlebags it is nice to have larger surface for duffel bag.
For more information about different luggage setups I used on 690, check following posts:
Again, something from our own product line. Perun moto heel guards are installed instead of stock plastic heel guards.
Heel guards provide excellent strapping point for rack-less bags. It is simple add-on, yet securing the bags is much easier with it.
I like ABS on bikes. But off road I prefer it only on front wheel. It is nice that KTM made it possible to turn off ABS using dashboard buttons, but every time you shut the bike and turn it back on, you need to disengage ABS again. With ABS dongle, I can keep ABS only on front wheel all the time.
GPS + MOUNT
I use Garmin Montana 650 for some time and I got used to it. It is slow sometimes, but it is very though unit. I keep it in Touratech locking cradle. I know several guys that use just Garmin basic mount, and never had any issues with it even on hard endure rides, but I value my navigation device highly and I just cannot rely on that small plastic bracket.
It would be perfect to have navigation device near line of sight, but without some kind of rally style fairing, I am not sure it is possible. RMS clamps are an option, but those won’t work with BRP sub mount for Scott steering damper. So, I mounted my Montana on handlebar clamp. I made little fixing plate to position it few mm’s higher and towards rider, so I can have unobstructed view of dashboard.
This setup proved well, Montana is in safe location, and I got used to it very soon.
Final piece of puzzle. Seat on 690 is very bad. It is not meant for traveling at all. Seat on my old 2008 KTM 690 Enduro was slightly better than seat on 2016 bike, but both were bad. I got Seat concept seat for this bike. I was not able to ride with it a lot, so I don’t have an opinion yet, but it feels much more solid.
OPTIONAL PANNIER RACK
I usually ride without pannier rack, but when I need it, I use Touratech pannier rack. It is made of stainless steel and it is very nice piece of kit. If I were in USA, I would check Vanasche racks too. Since I use only soft luggage, I made Side rack plates so I can secure panniers better.
I also use side rack plates to mount Rotopax cans for additional fuel, if it is needed.
WHAT I MAYBE NEED
Rade garage under-seat auxiliary fuel tank. Latest iteration is great. Rade is constantly improving it and by now it is well thought out product. If I ever feel that I need more fuel, beside Rotopax I carry occasional, I will get Rade’s tank.
I am very happy with bike set up this way. It is light, agile and nimble and riding it off road is a joy. With proper tires it can go anywhere.
At the same time, it is very decent on road.
It is confidence inspiring and it feels very solid and sturdy. After two years, I am almost sure that this is ideal setup, for me and for kind of riding I do.