Published on Saturday 7 December 2013 13:18
What's It All About?
For 2013, the new KTM 690 Duke R now comes with fully adjustable suspension, more powerful brakes and uprated power. It is the sports version of the popular single cylinder naked and is likely to keep this race replica model at the top or at the very least near the top of its middleweight class. The addition of an Akrapovic exhaust has added a further 3bhp to the engine's output making the bike even livelier than its previous incarnations.
What Does It Cost?
The price tag of around £7,250 could look a little steep but you will be buying a very well finished bike that stands comparison with the current class best. KTM's build quality has always been up there with the market leaders and the 690 Duke R is no exception. The detailing is what counts and the carbon front mudguard, crash bars, mini indicators, transparent airbox cover and the WP adjustable suspension show the company's attention to detail. The clocks are clear and well specified but the key obstacle the KTM has to overcome is convincing the buying public that well over seven grand is a reasonable amount of money to spend on what many will view as a 'mere' single, albeit the best and most powerful single available!
How Does It Handle?
It may be a single but the 690 Duke R's engine is a good deal more tractable than you'd expect, pulling smoothly and cleanly from subsonic engine speeds right up to 7,700rpm. Rapid direction changes are possible without the bike feeling as if it's going to get squirrelly and spit you off and with a bit of practice you can really lean on that front wheel, the feedback of the feather-light chassis really inspiring a lot of confidence. The longer springs in the new suspension also increases the bike's ground clearance. Hauling on the front brakes brings you to a controlled stop with no dramas thanks to the revised four-piston radial calliper controlled by a radial master cylinder. The new R's front forks use slightly stiffer springs and additional damping. The KTM 690 Duke R is even reasonably practical, with a near 14-litre fuel tank giving a range of around 150 miles. Although it's not the sort of bike you'd initially pick to travel longer distances, it's certainly more than just an urban point and squirt tool.
Riding the KTM 690 Duke R will be a completely unique experience. You'll need an early spring morning to take full advantage of the sleeping city to appreciate what this bike is really all about. KTM has not forgotten that fun should come as standard and the 2013 690 Duke R has this component in spades!
FACTS AT A GLANCE
BIKE: KTM 690 Duke R
PRICE: £7,250 (est)
ENGINE: 690cc 4v ohc single, four-stroke
WEIGHT: 149.5kg (Dry)
TANK SIZE: 13.8 Litres
December 18th 2012