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Considering a 690 Enduro R

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Hi,

Noob question here - 

 

I am trying to decide on which dual sport bike I should get. 

 

A brief history on my path to the KTM 690

 

It started with wanting a dual sport that I can ride short distances (<50mi) to the trail. I wanted something lightweight and reliable.

 

So I narrowed things down to the Yamaha WR250R vs the Suzuki DRZ400S. From what I have read, a majority (though not overwhelmingly) prefer the WR. For the following reasons: 6 sp trans, better shocks, better components all around, Wide Ratio Gearing to name a few.

 

The DRZ was revered for having more torque, better fuel economy and more availability of parts.

 

When I realized that I was most likely going to finance my purchase, I started to take a second look at KTM bikes. I originally crossed them off the list because I wasn't a seasoned rider and didn't want to be "that guy" with the KTM that look like he was just learning how to ride. Well I am re-learning since its been over 15 years since I've ridden. Now I have done plenty of mountain biking in the meantime - so I am no stranger to two wheels + off road.

 

This brings me to the KTM 500 EXC and the KTM 690 Enduro,

 

I know all the specs of both bikes and I know how they are in a performance class well above the others. But there are some things that these bikes don't have that are a concern of mine.

 

I need my dual sport to be somewhat light. Everybody says how maneuverable the DRZ400 but they say the KTM 690 is a big heavy bike. But its only 10-20 ibs heavier! 

 

I also need to have second rider pegs so I can take my wife out on a slow ride occasionally. This, I am told, is not an option on the KTM 500 EXC.

 

Lastly, I want to be able to load my camera gear for the minority of the time that I will be shooting photography in the wild. In this scenario, I am not looking to go blazing through the desert at neck breaking speeds. I just would like to show up on my scene without having to hike my gear in. I want the flexibility that a dual sport provides, in terms of route. 

 

I used to ride a KDX250 2 stroke a lot back in the day. And that was a heavy bike. I also briefly had a CBR 600 F4 (Which reminded me that I am not cut out for extensive highway riding).

 

I thought the KTM 690 would be a great option but now I am confused - so many pro/cons - I was wondering if I could have some input from this forum.

 

To recap: this is my ignorant simplistic view of these 4 bikes:

 

WR250R: Great off road and ok on road but lacks torque and expensive considering what little you get

DRZ400S: Old design, carb'd, lots of torque - kind of like a honda accord - good at everything, not great at anything except being reliable.

500EXC: Every feature geared towards maximizing fun! Power, light weight, great shocks, EFI  - but no foot pegs! 

690Enduro: Every feature I want, but the heaviest out of the bunch. Shocks not as good as 500EXC but perhaps better than the WR250R and definitely better than the DRZ.

 

Me: 200 lb, intermediate, 40 yr od rider. I want to eventually do some long distance rides. I want to explore the desert and mountains of California.

 

Thanks

 

QBizzy

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Read Truck11's post on the 500/690. This should help you a little with others inputs. He had a DRZ and went down the 500/690 road.

This question comes up a lot comparing these bikes and none of these bikes can do it all, although they all do what they were designed for very well.

Since you want two-up the 500 is out and more than likely the WR too. Your down to the 400 and 690 in your line-up. Both good maint intervals, can do limited two up, and handle Tarmac. 690 a little heavier and more road manners and of course more motor. Will feel even much heavier in the technical stuff.

Figure out where your willing to compromise because based on your listed desires you will have some compromises and that should help you pick the right bike for how you will use the bike the majority of the time.

good luck.

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KTM is and expert level bike based on full on racing bikes.. easy to get $12k or more invested in one. Are you serous enough or rich enough that this much $$ is not an issue? They are also high maintenance... the 690 is much lower maintenance than a 500.. for me this is a deciding factor, lots of road miles get a 690... little riding and max dirt fun get a 500.

 

If you are new to dirt/dual sport I would get a DRZ and try it out first. The are easy to resell when you are ready for a KTM. 

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-  take my wife  

 

-  load my camera gear  

 

-  Me: 200 lb

 

-  long distance rides.  

 

 - desert and mountains  

 

 

 

Depending on how far you actually plan to ride the bike to get to your destination to start your real riding and exploration will be a key deciding factor.  

 

Like DrKayak, me included, you will find many KTM 690 owners who are former 250/400 450/500 owners too. Many have both.  Five years ago you would not have caught me on a 690, as anything over 250lbs was too heavy and I was not ready to let go of the super light dirt bike feel.  Fast forward I recently acquired my 690 KTM Enduro BUT it was only after thoroughly enjoying and progressing away from my former WRs/DRZ/Beta 450 etc.  The new owners who bought my former bikes all lived pretty close to the woods and could ride five minutes and be in single track heaven.  I live 45 minutes from single track heaven, and got tired of trailering my bike to the destination to start riding it in dirt. In my case, I wanted something I could blast 30-40 miles at 65-70mph or all day long on asphalt and to less advanced dirt trails and ride back home 40 miles on the road again.  I tried this same scenario a hand full of times on my last 450 with a 6speed, and even though it could be done I came to the realization the bike was not designed for this, I needed the bigger bike in order to make the road time more enjoyable if I was going to gravitate away from single track and more towards actual 50/50 dual sporting instead. If I decide later on down the road I want to do dirt/woods/single track again, It will be on a 350 dedicated woods bike. I am 200lbs as well.

 

For local dual sporting under say 20 miles in any direction, riding, and back, the WR/DRZ will get you there and do the job just fine.  However, your last part stating you would be taking your wife, camera gear, and doing long distance rides puts you closer to the 690.   

 

You need to ask yourself what you plan to do with the bike 80% of the time or more ??? and this will lead you closer to the real answer. 

Edited by decooney

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KTM is and expert level bike based on full on racing bikes.. easy to get $12k or more invested in one. Are you serous enough or rich enough that this much $$ is not an issue? They are also high maintenance... the 690 is much lower maintenance than a 500.. for me this is a deciding factor, lots of road miles get a 690... little riding and max dirt fun get a 500.

 

If you are new to dirt/dual sport I would get a DRZ and try it out first. The are easy to resell when you are ready for a KTM. 

 

Solid

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Excellent responses. Thanks for the candid advice.

 

I agree completely that the DRZ would be the best fit for me. 

 

I am not looking at this from a money perspective. Since the costs are within a few thousand dollars of each other - I look more at the amount each bike will depreciate since this difference to me, best represents my financial loss.

 

What I did look at was the weight of the DRZ vs the 690. They are within 20 lbs of each other with the 690 being heavier right? Since some people are switching out their exhaust for the lighter and quieter Q4, I plan to do the same - and that is it. With the DRZ, I know that I will be spending a bit more on the DRZ. But even after my slight modernizations to the DRZ, I still have a suspension system that is subpar as compared to the 690. 

 

The way I see it, I am weighing in on concept of being an intermediate rider buying an advanced rider's bike but also, the fact that the 690 is almost perfect.

 

And again, if I had to cut bait on either bike, I think that I would lose less with the 690 since the market isn't as diluted with them. The DRZ's can be found almost anywhere.

 

But I digress - it makes more sense to start with the DRZ and move up from there.   Decisions - decisions...

 

Thanks everyone for your input - it really helps.

 

For those of you who have ridden both - is one bike better than the other when it comes to needing to be a bit more nimble? I plan to ride mostly fire roads with highway (very little freeway) travel to get there.

Thanks again, 
Qbizzy

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For those of you who have ridden both - is one bike better than the other when it comes to needing to be a bit more nimble? I plan to ride mostly fire roads with highway (very little freeway) travel to get there.

Thanks again, 

Qbizzy

 

 

Not to send you off on a tangent, but your venture here is familiar, I'll share what I can FWIW.  I've owned multiple DRZs, street and supermoto (great bikes), and would not consider the DRZ to be "nimble" for dirt.  I've also owned WRs, which you are looking at for street, "R" models.   The DRZ is good for local street use, excluding the top end gearing and no 6spd and limited suspension.  It has a top heavy '80s feel to the bike, not as balanced as the more modern 690 of course.  The 690 carries it's weight lower on the bike with a more balanced feel end to end.  The real bummer about the DRZ is not having a 6pd, so you have to gear it taller for longer road rides, then 1st gear is too tall for the dirt/mud trails. Tradeoffs.  However, you can buy a nice used DRZ for 1/3 the price of a newish 690.  They are a solid 50/50 bike (for local road riding) and can be found for good deals, but the upgrades to a stock DRZ400s  can be costly if you get hung up on changing the bike for the better. Find a good used one with upgrades done to save.   The best case for a stock DRZ is to add a slip on, re-jet it, and leave it stock for the best value, just ride it.  In any case, all of my DRZs resold quickly.  They are popular due to price/value.  Back in 2008 when I got back into dirt/dual sporting in I too went back and forth between the WR250R/DRZ400S and sort of wished at the time I would have tried a WR250R and put a stroker kit in it to make it a 310cc bike, BUT by the time I added up all the costs of upgrading the suspension on the DRZ, or the costs of adding the stroker kit to the WR250R, only then did I realize the real value of the Beta 450RS which has more power, 6spd, KICKSTARTER, much better suspension, and unreal handling in the woods. Much better value and closer to real world dirt and dual sport use.  FYI:  A used Beta 450RS, 520RS blows them all away in terms of value, except for one thing which is good and bad - it's under 250lbs and once you start riding on the road, not having the extra weight allows you to get blown around when doing 65mph+ on long stretches of open road.  Tradeoffs.  On the open road and dual track trails combined, I'd take the 690 every time. In the tighter woods, Beta 450/520 or the new 500RS every time. My Beta 450+ or a KTM 450/500 kills the 690 on tight dirt trails for obvious reasons - less weight/handling.   So, you see, it really comes down to what you plan to do with the bike and how you really plan to use it.  The real 50/50 bike I was looking for (in concept) was a Yamaha WR450R if Yamaha would just produce it. It won't happen with emissions in the US, maybe some day.  As you graduate past the DRZs and other bikes, things like 6speed, better suspension, better handling, quality of bits and parts start to become important the more you ride and examine the bike.  If you don't ride that much and just want to try it for a while, I agree with the others,  you can pick up a used DRZ400S (or a modified) plushy DR650SE if you need to take your wife for rides (try it for a 18-24 months), and upgrade again later to the 690 after you've learned what functions are  most important to you.  Having the prior bikes only makes me appreciate the 690 for what it is and what it's not. In the end, if cost is not an issue, the ultimate 50/50 street-trail weapon is the KTM 690 Enduro R.   

 

Good Luck on your venture.  

Edited by decooney
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Not to send you off on a tangent, but your venture here is familiar, I'll share what I can FWIW.  I've owned multiple DRZs, street and supermoto (great bikes), and would not consider the DRZ to be "nimble" for dirt.  I've also owned WRs, which you are looking at for street, "R" models.   The DRZ is good for local street use, excluding the top end gearing and no 6spd and limited suspension.  It has a top heavy '80s feel to the bike, not as balanced as the more modern 690 of course.  The 690 carries it's weight lower on the bike with a more balanced feel end to end.  The real bummer about the DRZ is not having a 6pd, so you have to gear it taller for longer road rides, then 1st gear is too tall for the dirt/mud trails. Tradeoffs.  However, you can buy a nice used DRZ for 1/3 the price of a newish 690.  They are a solid 50/50 bike (for local road riding) and can be found for good deals, but the upgrades to a stock DRZ400s  can be costly if you get hung up on changing the bike for the better. Find a good used one with upgrades done to save.   The best case for a stock DRZ is to add a slip on, re-jet it, and leave it stock for the best value, just ride it.  In any case, all of my DRZs resold quickly.  They are popular due to price/value.  Back in 2008 when I got back into dirt/dual sporting in I too went back and forth between the WR250R/DRZ400S and sort of wished at the time I would have tried a WR250R and put a stroker kit in it to make it a 310cc bike, BUT by the time I added up all the costs of upgrading the suspension on the DRZ, or the costs of adding the stroker kit to the WR250R, only then did I realize the real value of the Beta 450RS which has more power, 6spd, KICKSTARTER, much better suspension, and unreal handling in the woods. Much better value and closer to real world dirt and dual sport use.  FYI:  A used Beta 450RS, 520RS blows them all away in terms of value, except for one thing which is good and bad - it's under 250lbs and once you start riding on the road, not having the extra weight allows you to get blown around when doing 65mph+ on long stretches of open road.  Tradeoffs.  On the open road and dual track trails combined, I'd take the 690 every time. In the tighter woods, Beta 450/520 or the new 500RS every time. My Beta 450+ or a KTM 450/500 kills the 690 on tight dirt trails for obvious reasons - less weight/handling.   So, you see, it really comes down to what you plan to do with the bike and how you really plan to use it.  The real 50/50 bike I was looking for (in concept) was a Yamaha WR450R if Yamaha would just produce it. It won't happen with emissions in the US, maybe some day.  As you graduate past the DRZs and other bikes, things like 6speed, better suspension, better handling, quality of bits and parts start to become important the more you ride and examine the bike.  If you don't ride that much and just want to try it for a while, I agree with the others,  you can pick up a used DRZ400S (or a modified) plushy DR650SE if you need to take your wife for rides (try it for a 18-24 months), and upgrade again later to the 690 after you've learned what functions are  most important to you.  Having the prior bikes only makes me appreciate the 690 for what it is and what it's not. In the end, if cost is not an issue, the ultimate 50/50 street-trail weapon is the KTM 690 Enduro R.   

 

Good Luck on your venture.  

 

nice post sir

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Thanks Decooney for the great post! 

 

I will look in to the Beta - I like what I see in looking at the website. It looks like they have the option of being able to add second rider pegs.

 

My only concern is that fear that people apparently had with KTM bikes back in the early 2000's - availability of parts. A dealer told me that used to be true with KTM but not any more since there are so many of them out there now. But what if I need a part for a BETA bike? I need to research BETA's background a bit more obviously. I like how lightweight they are though. 

 

Thanks again,

QB

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Thanks Decooney for the great post! 

 

I will look in to the Beta - I like what I see in looking at the website. It looks like they have the option of being able to add second rider pegs.

 

My only concern is that fear that people apparently had with KTM bikes back in the early 2000's - availability of parts. A dealer told me that used to be true with KTM but not any more since there are so many of them out there now. But what if I need a part for a BETA bike? I need to research BETA's background a bit more obviously. I like how lightweight they are though. 

 

Thanks again,

QB

 

QB,

 

A few thoughts in response.  

 

First, I would probably NOT use a Beta to carry a passenger, this would be the one exception.  Plus the factory seat on a Beta is not comfortable, we  usually replace them with a Guts seat.  No fun for a passenger.  A Suzuki DR650 or KTM 690 comes to mind for that function. :)  The Beta RS is really a high end dirt bike with a license plate in the US.  

 

Beta has been in business since 1904, longer than all of them.  

 

Beta squashed the parts availability issue by locating a large parts distributor in Pasa Robles CA.  

 

The entire time I owned my Beta, parts, accessories, came drop-shipped to my door in 24-48 hours; unlike Suzuki/Honda/Yamaha who order batches once or twice a month.  

 

After riding my new 690 a bit more and comparing to my former DRZ and other bikes, if you can do a Suzuki DR650, KLR650 or KTM 690 for carrying a passenger, it might be a better choice.  

 

For regular 50/50 dual sporting and just putting along (not taking jumps :) I'm sort of a fan of the DR650 myself, nice wide comfortable seat,  plenty of torque, super plush suspension on the road, sits lower too with decent handling.  Decent used value too.  I would not recommend pushing a DR650 too hard on dirt, and that chore would bring the 690 back in to the picture.  I do like riding DR650s on the street though, kinda fun.  

 

Good luck.  

 

DR650 photo for inspiration.  

 

29241943-300x225.jpg

Edited by decooney

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You can take weight off of the KTM, or any of them for that matter, using a titanium muffler, Lithium battery.  I replaced the aluminum heat shields with carbon fiber on my 690.  They felt quite a bit lighter.  there is a thread somewhere about taking weight off the KTM.

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You can take weight off of the KTM, or any of them for that matter... there is a thread somewhere about taking weight off the KTM.

Yup, stripped as much as I could off my LC8 and swapped out light parts where I could. Then on the weekends I'd find myself paying no attention to the 12 pack of my favorite liquids and a couple pizzas. Bottom line, I found with a few better habits I could drop 20-30 lbs off me which was a feat I never reached with the 950 and my suspension was much happier and the bike "felt" lighter.

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You can take weight off of the KTM, or any of them for that matter, using a titanium muffler, Lithium battery.  I replaced the aluminum heat shields with carbon fiber on my 690.  They felt quite a bit lighter.  there is a thread somewhere about taking weight off the KTM.

 

I removed the rear pegs, brackets, removed factory mirrors for foldables,  and removed a few other small things thinking I was for the better.  Then, added a heavy duty Flatlander skid plate (heavier), added radiator guards (extra weight), along with adding a KTM tank bag, and I was right back to where I started.  I'm with the other guy, it's probably best to just lose a few pounds of body weight and accept the 690 for what it is versus trying to pretend it will transform into a 500 EXC.  :)   

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Ha!  By the time we can afford such toys, we can all afford to shed a few pounds.  But it's still easier for a portly gentleman to throw around a lighter bike than a heavier one.  I wanted to make the modifications above anyway; the weight loss is just a bonus.  I have 250 XC-FW for tight single-track. 

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Ha!  By the time we can afford such toys, we can all afford to shed a few pounds.  But it's still easier for a portly gentleman to throw around a lighter bike than a heavier one.  I wanted to make the modifications above anyway; the weight loss is just a bonus.  I have 250 XC-FW for tight single-track. 

 

Nice, that is the way to go. After holding on to my 400s/450s for a long time, finally selling them, it's taken me too long to realize I'll have to cave in and go back and pick up another 250/350 for single track, and keep the 690 for dual sporting, adventure.  I actually enjoy the extra 50-60lbs of weight with the 690 on the road or highway.  Makes it nice and smooth to ride on the road. Can't believe how good it is on the road compared to my prior 400s/450s.  

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U need to appreciate the 690's extra girth. She's a bigger gal, but by no means a fat pig. She's got the powerplant to support her weight. So let's just call her a "plus sized model". I used mine out in the desert and realized instantly I wasn't going to get the same effect that I did on my prior 300s or 530. It ain't the same machine. 690 will give u better range and that adventure taste. But then again, it ain't a 990 or one of the other big boys. It is the epitome of comprise. It's a shorter range adventure bike. It will do unbelievable things if u put the right rubber on her. Get one. You'll see.

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I went with the 690 as my first dirt bike. I also labored over it, or the 500/350's. Where I ride there are a lot of smaller bikes and I just let them do the single trail stuff. In the end, it gets you places like this, along with the other bikes, and thats whats important to me.

 

IMAGE_179.jpg

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I have done 12500 km on my 2012 690, few quick comments: its not good for single track, I find the handlebar vibrations beyond 100 km/hr really annoying, make a test ride first to see if you can live with that. I had no mechanical problems so far. You can get 225 km out of a tank so more than the smaller bikes. Power is amazing, fantastic for canyon carving. I use a Giant loop bag which fits really well but need to lift it a little bit when taking fuel but no drama, should be enough for your gear. Standard seat not bad but when I go on multi day trips I use the Airhawk seat which works well. I am 6.3 but still needed to install a Kouba lowering link to get my feet on the ground earlier, this is a tall bike in standard trim! I am a rider of average ability so off road I need to watch it but an ex mx racer from the UK who rode it recently loved it i.e. the better rider you are, the more you will enjoy this bike but plse do make a proper test ride first and check out the vibrations on the high way.

Edited by FrankBkk
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I find the handlebar vibrations beyond 100 km/hr really annoying

 

 

I just thought that was because of the Knobbies they come with?

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Nope, I switched from the original Conti TKC 80's to Pirelli MT90 but virbrations are the same, they make my hands go numb within half an hour at speeds above 100 km/h, might one day be the reason why I sell this bike.

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