Monday, January 27, 2014

KTM 690 Enduro aftermarket seats

monkey butt

I fully expect the stock seat to be from somewhere between uncomfortable and excruciatingly painful. With this in mind I did a little research on what kind of aftermarket solutions are available.

The AIRHAWK ($130)

The Airhawk is the budget option, the Small model is priced around  $130 on Amazon. It's cheaper than a new seat, but then again a bit pricey for what it is. (Pictured on 690 Duke) >> Airhawk

Update, June 19th
Went ahead and bought the Airhawk, more info here.

Seat Concepts ($270 complete seat)

KTM factory Ergo seat ($199)

The factory ergo seat is apparenly better than stock, but inferior to other options as far as comfort goes. It's priced at $199 at so it's not a lot more than an Airhawk and it's proper seat. 

Touratech ($659)
SIX hundred, FIFTY NINE bucks. I could hire someone to rub my buns for that kind of money. I'll pass. Kahedo is making the seat for Touratech and you can buy seat directly from them at $479.  It doesn't appear to be exactly the same but it's almost $200 cheaper.

Corbin ($379)

Renazco ($ 350 - 435)

Russell seats ($ 395)
The Russell version looks comfortable but also rather offensive on the Enduro. The pricing on the website is so complicated that I could not be bothered especially when the look of the seat is not what I'm willing to live with.

Other options

XPC Racing
Not really sure if they offer a seat for the 690. Bad website.

I would need to send in the stock seat. Not an option. Another not so great website.

I would need to send in the stock seat. Not an option. Another not so great website.


The Seat Concepts seat looks like the way to go. Pricing is reasonable and the shape looks to be a good compromise.

EDIT 5.5. 2014

I went against my better judgement and got the Powerparts seat. Mostly because that was the only seat that did not require an overseas purchase. More about the KTM ERgo seat in here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

690 Enduro rear rack (Nomadic Rack)

I've started to investigate farkling for the bike I don't even own yet. One of the must have farkles in my opinion is a rear rack. After looking at various options from SW-Motech, Touratech and the like I decided on the KTM 690 Dual Sport rack by Nomadic Cycle racks. It looks sturdy and unobtrusive. It's priced rather reasonably at $89. The only negative is that no one seems to sell in Europe.

The rack is drilled to accept Rotopax mounts which will allow to carry the reserve fuel easily and elegantly.


The rack arrived today. Looks well made and sturdy enough.

Crunching the numbers

Looking at the numbers the 690 is not the lightest or most powerful, but the combination of characteristics is so unique that no other bike comes close. The WR and CRF are light, but seriously lacking in power compared to the 690. The V-Strom and the like produce similar or more power but are hopelessly overweight in comparison. Numbers aren't everything and absolutely should not be given too much emphasis, but they do point out how exceptional the 690 is compared to anything else out there.*

* race bikes are a another matter entirely.

(range calculations are based on info provided by

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Research sources

When trying to find real information about a bike manufactures sources are usually worthless. You get the basic tech specs but everything else has to be dug up from forums adn the like. Magazine articles are sometimes useful but the the test they do are no where near as usefull as real owner reports.

Advrider is a gold mine of information on anything adventure riding related. I find it also to be more balanced that your usual Brand X fan forums. It's usually more about riding than any particular bike and that tends to bring out the more honest down to earth opinions.

Good Threads about the KTM 690 Enduro R on

KTM 690 Enduro owners show off your bike !  - lots of pics to get you in the mood

New and improved KTM690 WUNDERFEST  - the MEGA thread on the 690

RTW KTM 690 Enduro - some insights from a RTW trip with 690

RTW with Noah on a KTM 690 - RTW trip report, very good 

KTM 690 Enduro R as a semi-daily commuter - thoughs about commuting with the 690

KTM 690 Enduro R Highway Speeds  - 690 on the highway

KTM 690 reliability - opinions about the reliability

2012 ktm 690 enduro R owners, any major problems ? - a very usefull problem thread

KTM 690 luggage & rack thread  - self explanatory

New KTM 690 Thread Index - even more 690 stuff

Other places

KTM 690 Enduro - Can it do Africa? - discussion at Horizons Unlimited, another great site


Friday, January 17, 2014

Decision to buy a KTM 690 Enduro R

If I could only have one bike applies here. I CAN only have one. Reasons are many, parking space, insurance costs etc. That's not important, only thing that matters is that one bike would have to do everything.

What THE ONE is expected to be
- a daily commuter 7 months a year ( a short commute, but none the less)
- a gravel road adventurer
- a replacement second car to get the shopping and such done
- a day tripper for 300 - 400 km day trips
- a tourer for longer (1000-2000 km) trips maybe once a year
- track day bike once or twice a year
- a long termer, I need to be done with the constant bike changing

This means that versatility is key, reliability being a very very close second. KTMs don't have a reputation for being the most reliable bikes out there, nor does is the 690 Enduro R usually regarded as tourer by any of the bike rags. That said I was willing to take a chance on the reliability and trust the good people of that the 690 will do everything I need it to do.

What was the other finalist

There usually is at least one other bike that keeps you mulling over the decision. In theory a KLR650, DR650SE, DR-Z400S or XR650L would all have fit the bill, but none of them are imported here. This left me with Suzuki DL650, Honda NC700X / NC750X, Kawasaki Versys, Yamaha Tenere XT660Z (previously had that one and like an idiot sold it), CB500X  . As a means of self punishment I was not going to allow myself to get the the Tenere a second time. After comparing all the figures, prices, reviews and forum commentary I decided that the NC750X would be the other finalist. It would presumably outperform all the others when it came to daily chores, value was good and Honda reputation is still excellent. Going fast on the public roads has never been a goal, so the diesel like sluggish character of the Honda was not a big issue.

What tipped me over to the orange side

Honda would no doubt be more reliable, many times better on longer rides and more practical given the built in storage space and low fuel consumption. Honda ticked way more boxes on the "sensible things that matter" list than KTM, but riding motorcycles isn't about making sense.

The biggest deciding factor was the weight difference. Before ever riding either one, just sitting on both the Honda and the KTM on the shop floor, made the KTM feel just amazing. The Honda has a much lighter feel to it than it's over 200 kg weight would give reason to expect. But +200 kg is +200kg no matter where its placed. I would have preferred the KTM to have a little less power due to the effects the high power to weight ratio had on the insurance costs, but it is what it is. The KTM is much more bike than I can ever expect to be able to fully utilize, but I rather have that than the other way around.

The NC700X and 690 R have a surprisingly similar type of setup regarding the fuel tank placement.

The KTM also has a potential to be a winter bike due to the low weight and availability of spiked wheels. While this weighted nothing when making the decision, its a fun option to have. To be able to get on the bike just a few times during the long winter months would be awesome.

Track days was another thing that affected my decision. Surely the NC could be taken to the track, but the 690 with supermoto wheels would be awesome on the track.

The 690 had a much much wider selection of tires. Everything from long lasting adveture type tires to knobbies and spiked tires.


Depending on the source the 690 is characterized from unbearably vibey to surprisingly smooth. It is a big single and it is going to vibrate, but how much? Some owners reported losing sensation on their fingers during longer rides due to the vibrations. Other said that the bars do not vibrate but the seat does and a lot. Then again many said it doesn't vibrate noticeably at all.

If the forums are to be believed the KTM fuel pumps are made of cheese. Pick a story of any road going KTM and sooner or later you will see the words fuel pump mentioned and it's not good. Other than the fuel pump no serious issues seemed to trouble the 690 design, but a busted fuel pump is a BIG problem on the road to nowhere. Given that I am planning on buying a new bike with warranty and KTM road side assistance included I am not that worried. Besides the local dealer seems like really nice guy that apparently has a soft spot for KTM although representing few other brands too. If a reasonably priced used one appears and I'm able to sell my current one a used bike is surely an option. It just does not seem to be in the cards right now.

The 690 is high, very very high. If didn't have pleasant memory of my also very high Tenere XT660Z I would have never even considered the 690. I always considered the Tenere to be way out of my league due to my short 5'8" stature, but once my friend bought one and I got to try it there were no real issues. I could not flat foot, not even close but I was able to adjust pretty quickly. I'd say two weeks of riding the 660 made me forget the whole height issue altogether. The 690 is a little higher but much lighter and narrower than the 660 so it felt easy to handle by comparison. I had tried lowering the 660 so I know that it's an easy thing to do if it ever comes to that.

On this issue the forums & owners are nearly unanimous. The seat would kill me on longer rides. The price of an aftermarket seat will have to be calculated into the purchasing price. Wind protection is going to be non excstent, but no different from the previous naked bikes I've owned. In general no fairing will be better than a badly designed one (case in point the XT660Z)

The 690 is expensive for a single cylinder enduro bike, no way around that. Prices on the used ones are bearable, but the condition of a used enduro bike compared to a street bike with similar miles is really apples and oranges some times. In order to buy a used bike, the challenge is to find a 690 with low miles that hasn't been used for it's intended purpose, but is ridden conservatively on gravel roads. I know. It also seems that the value of an enduro would depreiciate more than a street bike no matter the miles or condition. As the 690 is going to be a long termer this is not so worrying.

Opinions on KTM electrics aside the 2014 690 Enduro R is going to have a ride by wire throttle taken from the 690 Duke. This concerns me greatly. Another non mechanical thing that would be very hard to fix in the middle of nowhere. The Duke has apparently worked fine so this is just something that has to be accepted if I'm going for the 2014 model. The best alternative would be to get a 2013 that some dealers have left, but for some reason I would have had to pay MORE for a zero mile 2013 than the local dealer wanted me to pay for new 2014.

The 690 has 12 litre tank, driven conservatively the 690 would consume around 4,5 l / 100km (according to That would equate a range of roughly 250 kms. Generally enough, but sprited riding would presumably shrink the range to about 160 kms. This added to the fact that running the fuel tank empty is suspected to burn the fuel pump means preparing the bike for some sort of extra fuel carrying capacity. Cheapest opion is a Rotopax setup of some sort and Safaritanks being the "out of my price range option".
We will see.

In short
The decision has been made. Now it's time to get rid of the old bike and either find a good used 690 or go for broke and get a brand new one. Riding season starts in about 4 months.

What is this blog

This blog consist of my ramblings regarding the KTM 690 Enduro R, prior to purchase and after. I'll be reporting all the farkling, problems, trips etc. as I go along. This more for my personal record keeping than anything else, but if someone finds something useful here it's all good.

About me

I'm not overly excited of the idea of revealing my identity over the internet so I will be keeping myself on the background and talk more about the bike and all things related. I was born in the mid seventies and have owned and ridden bikes for 7 years. I'm not a native English speaker so any and all grammar errors are there to stay. I think that's all you need to know about me. Pictured is my first bike.