The KTM 690 Enduro is the only mid-sized bike in the 300 lb. weight category with enough power to take on the highways at exhilarating speeds while remaining nimble off-road. With merits like that, it’s the basis for an ideal project bike. Like any machine, modifications can be made to better fit riding styles, preferences or conditions. Since ADVMoto likes to keep things quirky, we decided to showcase a range of products available from both old and new players on the ADV aftermarket scene in our efforts to transform this beast into an off-road capable, travel-friendly companion.
Rad MFG Wheels
To continue our mantra on making adventure bikes not only off-road capable but usable for the inseam challenged, we turned to our old friends at Rad Manufacturing to lace up a new 19/17 wheel combo. With the stock 21/18 wheels, the 690’s saddle height pushes 36 inches, a bit high for some. By swapping to the 19/17 wheels and using a lower saddle, we managed to get thesaddle height down to a reasonable 33 inches, which compresses even more after weight is applied. As a result, those with a 30 or 31-inch inseams can flat-foot the bike without losing too much in ground clearance.
Another added benefit of the 19-inch front wheel is that it stabilizes the bike at highway speeds. In stock form, the 690 develops notable wheel-shake at about 60 mph (without the addition of a steering stabilizer). The 19-inch front wheel also makes for better pavement carving while remaining competent off-road—balancing out the bike for true 50/50 use. The downside is that the kickstand will need to be shortened. Unfortunately Rad Manufacturing has shut down its operation, so if you’re interested in a custom wheel set, contact Woody’s Wheel Works or Warp 9 for more information. MSRP: $1,170 WoodysWheelWorks.com | Warp9Racing.com
Update: Some have requested rim specifications. Those are included below.
SAVA MC 60 GETaWAY Tires
Regardless of wheel size, tires play the most important role in keeping the right end up on any surface. SAVA’s MC 60s, available from RawHyde, proved a great addition to the bike with confident handling both on and off pavement. Although the front held out well over 3,500 miles, there remained only 10% tread on the rear. Like many big block style tires, we expect less than stellar mileage on heavier bikes, but would like to see more longevity given the 690s reduced weight and torque.
MSRP: $354 (set) RawHyde-OffRoad.com | Also available at Revzilla.com
Next we tackled chain maintenance. Dust, dirt, mud and water crossings expose chains to the nastiest of elements, and will severely eat up chain and sprocket life. Scottoiler’s automatic oiling system works well in keeping these parts lubricated. Older models simply dripped oil onto the chain, but Scottoiler’s newer system has adjustable flow rates which are vacuum actuated and only works when the engine is running. Even if you’re really good about maintaining your chain, the Scottoiler system will give you peace of mind in knowing you’re getting more life from your drive components.MSRP: $139 Scottoiler.com | Also available at Twistedthrottle.com
What’s not to love about a 70 hp, 300 lb. bike? With numbers like that promising thrilling performance, we didn’t need to do much in terms of power except in shaving a few pounds and adding some noise with a Wings Exhaust from Slovenia. Although the Wings units must be bought and shipped from overseas, they arrive amazingly fast in the U.S. Purchasing is done by email, which is a bit dated, but ultimately you end up with one of the nicest sounding finished exhausts for nearly any KTM—and at a very good price! MSRP:(Contact for pricing) Wings.si
Protection and Comfort
Lynx R Fairing from Britannia Composites
One of the biggest changes for long distance travel is additional wind protection. The stock dirt bike-like windscreen doesn’t do much in terms of keeping the wind off your chest, and with the speeds the 690 is capable of, wind protection is much needed. Full fairing kits for the 690 exist from a couple different manufacturers but also come with very hefty price tags—some sets rivaling the cost of a new bike. Ian, from Britannia Composites in Canada, came to the rescue and sent us a Lynx R fork-mounted front fairing kit. Unlike full fairing kits, which often involve serious bike modifications, the Lynx R does a good job with its adjustable windscreen while also throwing a tremendous amount of light on the road with its combo HID and LED headlamps. Installation is fairly straightforward but it’s not 100% plug ’n’ play.
The instrument cluster panel comes blank so you have to do some of your own marking and cutting—a process that can be tackled at home with a Dremel and coping saw. Also, the front brake and ABS lines need to have a long notch cut into the Lynx’s instrument panel in order to prevent the cables from interfering with the visibility of the OEM gauges. Once it’s all set up and you’ve chased down any possible buzzing points, it’ll be a highly attractive and functional front fairing, which also has extra room for GPS, charts, switches or anything else you fancy. MSRP: $531 BritanniaComposites.com
Highway DirtBike Ultimate Handguards with Mirrors
Handguards provide more rider comfort and safety, both on- and off –road, by protecting your hands from the elements, flying debris and prickly brushes along the trail. One of the stoutest sets of handguards available, that include some great extra features, is from Highway Dirt Bikes (HDB). HDB’s Ultimate Handguards are not only built tough, they also integrate into the bar clamp using machined pieces that can also be used for adding switches or power outlets. If that’s not enough, there’s also integrated bar end mirrors that allow you to say good-bye to the OEM mirror stalks. While the mirrors afford a few degrees of vertical adjustability, the handguards themselves may need to be adjust up or down a bit depending on your riding geometry. All in all, the HDB kits are amongst the toughest we’ve found. MSRP: $150 HighwayDirtBikes.com
Knight Design Footpegs
The footpeg market has gotten a lot more competitive recently. Knight Design is a home-grown U.S. shop making bulletproof pegs for all kinds of bikes. Although the current models are thicker than pictured in the accompanying photos, their swappable surface plates, or “treads,” remain the same. You can have a boot-friendly “Hunter” tread, or the more aggressive “Trakker” version (which we used). With plenty of room to clear mud, we found them relatively easy on soles while also lowering the platform 7/8s of an inch. Available in for many makes and models of bike—check them out!
MSRP: $149.95 KnightDesignLLC.com | Also available at Amazon.com
Adventure Spec Skid Plate
Plastic skid plates only go so far and are one of the first upgrades almost everyone makes to their ADV bike to improve protection. Adventure Spec’s 5mm aluminum construction is strong and protects the underside all the way back to the rear linkage. Thanks to the 690’s design, removing the skid plate is only a matter of two screws—making servicing really easy. A small flange on the skid plate that curves under the clutch may get in the way of the brake pedal, but it’s nothing a little bending can’t solve to obtain the extra clearance. Overall, it’s one of the best built bits of underside armor for the 690 out there. MSRP: $278 Adventure-Spec.com
Touratech’s KTM Luggage Rack / Adventure Spec Top Rack
The 690s lightweight design doesn’t come without some sacrifice. Regardless of the luggage type you prefer, the 690 needs extra bracing and structural support in the back due to lack of a rear subframe. Touratech addressed this problem so well that’s it is KTM’s official 690 luggage system. The system requires removal of the rear footpeg stays, and uses the 690’s grab rail bolts to create an upper mounting point. This spreads the weight out over the tanks, and put more of it on the rear peg mounts. We braced and integrated ours across the top with the Adventure Spec top rack that has nicely turned down sides and finished edges. This required a visit to our friends at Piper Motorsports for some plate grinding to clear the stand-off bar and remove material in the rack’s included spacers. The final result was a strong and attractive luggage mounting system. MSRP: $155 (top rack) Touratech-USA.com
Touratech Zega Pro Cases / Giant Loop Fandango Pro
Last, but definitely not least, is Touratech’s newer Zega Pro panniers. For an aluminum case the Zega Pros are some of the lightest in the hard case category. After a couple thousand miles, we’ve had no problem with keeping water out, even in some east coast torrential rain. With a more rounded and modern design than the previous generation, the new Pro line also features plastic corners on the bottom which can be replaced if they’re damaged.
The latches have been updated and can now be opened from either direction, plus the lids are completely removable for unlimited access (or to be used as trays). The mounting system, however, gave us mixed views. While it’s conceptually elegant and very strong, the large screws on the inside of the box which tension the case against the rack stick out considerably into the storage area, and often grab the wire used to keep the lid from opening. Simply removing the wire will solve this small problem on what is otherwise a lightweight and strong travel companion.
With the 690’s narrow girth, a mid-sized tank bag is the best fit and Giant Loop’s Fandango Pro is as large as you’d want to get before becoming too obtrusive. Extra organizing pockets and improved water resistant zippers are welcome upgrades to an already good bag. Due to the 690’s seat design, the Fandango’s permanent mounting plate needs to be loosened or removed to take off the seat, but the bag itself is well built and already eaten some sun, rain and dirt.
MSRP:$1,449 (racks and panniers) Touratech-USA.com | $230 (Fandango Pro) GiantLoopMoto.com| Also available at Revzilla.com
Although aftermarket parts are not as numerous for the KTM 690as Kawasaki’s KLR 650, enough variety exists to modify it into a worthy adventurer. KTM’s recent emphasis on street legal adventure bikes has also brought with it a philosophy of longer service intervals, lower cost of ownership, easier overall maintenance and a much more enjoyable ride on both street and trail. While we wouldn’t recommend the 690 for extended periods of interstate travel, with a little extra luggage and protection, along with ride height modifications if necessary, nothing on the market today approaches the 690 for sheer on and off-road fun.