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looking to jump from crf 250L to ktm 690 enduro

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Hey guys, so I'm finally at the point where I think I've outgrown the performance of the honda crf 250L – especially in the dirt. My initial thought was to jump to the exc 350 or 500 but the 'race-ready' aspect of the exc's didn't fit my needs as I need to commute 120 km in either direction to get to any off-road. That and the fact that I enjoy riding a lot of street as well anyways + do use my bike as a daily commuter – between work + play I average about 12,000km a year. In other words, I'm on the bike a lot. Not big 1000km adventure runs but just a lot of daily usage + weekend dirt runs which add up pretty quick. If i'm having as much fun as I'd like, I can sock back 600km in one weekend. Anyways, the honda is an absolute dream on the road/highway as the bike shares the same engine as the cbr 250 crotch-rocket engine – it can ride very comfortably for hours on end with the throttle wide-open with consistent top-speed in the 140km/h range. Where it's falling short is in the dirt – even with all the mods it's still very mellow + the suspension is a mushy mess. It's still a fun ride but as my off-roads chops improve, I'm looking for more. I'm looking to start getting some better air + bigger wheelies (very humbly, mind you). I can loft my front-end quite nicely in first gear but anything beyond that involves a bump/whoop to get it up.

 

Anyways, I took an exc 500 for a test ride last year during a demo day + its road manners weren't what I was looking for. And I fully get the fact that it's a 'race-ready' bike with plates that's not meant to log the type of street miles I do – which brings me to the 690 enduro. I did a fair bit of research on the exc + even did a post on TT similar to this one here + it's simply not the right fit for my needs. So I'm starting new research here on the 690 because I'm thinking AND hoping it can work for me. Firstly, is the 690 more easily maintained than the exc's? I realize it's not my timid little honda engine that the only maintenance required is an oil change once a year but I'm also very limited mechanically (skills, knowledge + resources) so all my service will be done at a local shop. The exc's we're talking oil change at 10hrs (which can easily be 1 ride for me) + top-end rebuilds at 100hrs + etc. etc. etc. Secondly, how are the 690's in dirt? Again, I'm not looking to do mx triples but I do want to wheelie off into the sunset + start getting little, little bits of air + have some fun on tight single-track. I'm not a huge single-track guy but I do enjoy it + a riding buddy knows a guy who claims his 690 is way too much engine for the tight single stuff. As well, I know the 690 is a heavy bike compared to a snappy mx bike but my bike is a sloppy 320lbs so I'm not overly concerned about the weight if the suspension + handling properly accommodate it. If you've read this far, I really do appreciate it. I'm very seriously considering this bike but I want to make sure I do my homework as it's literally more than 2x's the $$$ of what I have now. I'm willing to commit the funds if the bike works for my needs – which are lots of street, lots of highway, good dirt performance + reasonable maintenance. I would hate myself if I put that kind of money down with either of these factors being amiss. And I have to say all are of equal importance. I'd like to convince myself that maintenance wouldn't be a huge issue if the bike's performance put a smile on my face that was worth it, but the reality is is that if my bike is spending a lot of time in the shop costing me ride time, commuting accessibility AND money – that'd really wear on me + bring me down. Any feedback/input would be greatly appreciated – I wanted to start my knowledge gathering here because there's no better people to ask than you guys who own, ride + I'm sure love this bike. Thanks!!!          

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I too came from a 250l and went to the 690. I also was looking at the 500 but didn't like the maintenance. The 690 is a 250l on steroids. Same weight, 3 times the power, and better suspension. I ride in sugar sand the most, with some single track, but we have no real elevations where we are at. I'm no good at wheelies but it will definitely do it. I did go from a 15/45 gearing to a 14/48 for going slower in the tight stuff and with the more open trails I don't have to shift as much. I just have to hit it a little faster & keep it in second.

Go to YouTube and search R6realtor & north50. R6 has a 500xcw, north50 has a husky 500, & I have the 690. I'm not right no their butts in some things but they don't have to wait up for me either. In their videos you'll see that they also have street bikes so I just bought a set of 17" warp9s with some street treads that I swap out to hit the streets on. Videos should be coming soon. I put a 42 tooth sprocket on these to get some top end back. I might put the 15 tooth back on the front, run the 42 on the street, and go to a 52 for off-road. Don't know..? The 690 has a ton of torque. You'll wonder how you ever rode a 250l. The 250 got me started but, like you, I just needed more. The 690 has been good to me so far.

Edited by JohnnyRotten73

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You are quoting race service intervals for the 500 not real world.. but you already said you don't like it on the steet so who cares about oil changes? The 690 is a better 50/50 bike that the 500 for sure. Safe to say every rider would like it better on the street. It was a Supermoto before introduced as an Enduro. But, most don't like it on the dirt. Especialy shorter/smaller riders. If you are 350 and 6'6" it could be a great dirt bike... The suspenssion is not setup well for trail from the factory. I spent $$ to get mine right. No such thing as too much power for dirt.. just learn throttle control. Power delivery is fine on a 690. Not hard to control.. Do you need than much power on dirt.... no.. the power is for the street parts... it's a 50/50 bike..

 

I use mine for exploring, ride from the house, find new trail.. rip up dirt roads and paved back roads. I would never take the 690 on a dirt bike ride with smaller "real dirt bikes" Just asking to get hurt. 

 

If you have a truck to haul a real dirt bike.. I would much rather have 2 lesser bikes than a 690. Like a DR650 and a 2-stroke trail bike. Then work your way up to multiple KTMs..  :thumbsup:

Edited by DrKayak

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Just a few weeks ago I went from a crf250l to a 690 enduro. It is everything you are asking for. Wayy better on the highway, although I agree the crf was decent on the highway this bike is muchh better, more power and smoother. Better bike in the dirt for sure as it is not as top heavy, feels a lot better, and the suspension is amazing in my opinion. BUT it has a really high seat height. And that can make it harder in rocks and rough trails. I may just shave the seat down myself as their is around 3 inches of foam. Or look into a 3/8 or 1" lowering kit. I do like the comfort of the seat myself.

Overall the bike is as solid as people say it is. You can ride all day and not want to get off. Breaks are awesome and the clutch is the best I have ever used.

I hummed and hawed for a few months doing research and talking to people. You just have to pull the trigger and go for it you won't regret it. The only thing is dealing with the price. The bike is completely loaded minus a pipe, so it should be expensive but I do think it is still 10-15% overpriced. But you don't have other options.

Riding this bike makes me think the crf was a kids bike.

Not sure where you live but it's winter here in Canada and I was able to get about 1700 bucks off the otd price. Go for it man!!!

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Thanks for the feedback. I just sold my CRF250l a few weeks ago, now waiting on my 16 to arrive at the dealer.

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CTapia, you've take over my thread... haha!!! Congrats on the new ride – frickin right!!! That's awesome input though guys + thank you very much. It's especially informative seeing as there's feedback from guys coming specifically from the 250L. The writing is definitely on the wall + clearly I'm not the only 250L rider wrangling with the idea of making the jump. Now it's just a matter of pulling the $$$'s together. Ctapia, please keep me posted on your verdict regarding the new steed. As well guys, how does maintenance compare to the 250L – intervals, parts, etc.??? I know fully that the 250L is notoriously favourable in terms of maintenance + I certainly wouldn't expect the 690 to be point-for-point comparable but I also don't want the bike to be at the shop every 4000km.    

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Well done Dleo, its great to get a new bike. I'm one of the few that has stripped a 690 back and runs it purely as a big enduro beast, although most everyone does away with the stock can as its hot n heavy.

A little work can make it an awesome dirt machine, rather like a modern xr650r, just without the hassle of trying to kick it over on a snotty hillside. But its also a much better bet to get to the trailhead than an exc.

Road or track, its a great machine to ride.

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