Upgrading the KTM 690 Enduro for 990 SMT Subscribe Pub


I had a 2010 KTM 690 Enduro R for almost a year: put 1,500 km on it, mostly road but also some dirt, some single track.

It did live up to my dream of riding the bike to the woods (1 hour) and then play in the woods on fire roads and even single track and then ride back home. That was one of my dreams and I have to say: this bike will do it.

You can read my very detailed review of the 690 here: 2010 KTM 690 Enduro Review.

In town, it's a hoot - should probably be illegal. It has a ton of torque and lots of grip from the 80% street tires that are on it. Can jump curbs or go off-road any time. You spend more time looking for rough dirt on it than looking for speed traps!

However, it is not that comfortable for me. It's hard to put up with more than a 2 hour ride on it and that's pushing it. The seat is extremely uncomfortable (300$ for an upgrade) and the bars have too much vibration still, for my hands.

Also, there is no serious dirt trails near where I live and usually tow my Enduro bike to the woods when going with the kids, so that's not happening much either.

I will miss the 690! Definintely! If I could keep 4 bikes, I would keep it. I use it daily to the train station and back, 5 min either way and it is the awesomest bike for that. When my 390 broke down, I easily loaded the 690 on the trailer and went for a 2 hour single track session with the kid - just slower and a little more tiring, but very capable.

I am more of an off-road guy now, having more fun at 20km/hr on the single track than at 200 km/hr on some backroad. I would not be surprised to have a 690 again in a few years...


My other dream is going on long rides with my kids. I looked around and ended up testing a KTM 990 SMT and a Ducati Hyperstrada and concluded that I must simply have the 990, so I am trading the 690 for it.

The first thing to be said is that the 990 does not have much more power than the 690. The rough hp/kg ratio is 67/135 = 0.5 for the 690 versus 116/190 = 0.6 for the 990. However, the 990 has it for a much longer rpm range - it pulls like crazy from idle to as far as you dare take it. The 690 is strong as bikes go but has only one or two short sweet spots where gobs of power live.

The vibration is much less on the 990 and under 4k is fine. The seat is much more comfy and the bike doesn't feel that much heavier - I am impressed. It also has a useful windscreen. The position on it is very dirt-bike like and the layout is perfect for standing up!

In terms of long distance riding, the 990 comes with a bunch of luggage mounting options already on it - saving other hundreds of dollars. I already ordered a topcase for 200$ (the KTM topcase uses the plate already on the bike).

For offroad, the SMT has a 160mm suspension travel, in between a sport bike at 100mm and a true adventure bike at 250mm, so it should handle moderate off-roading, the common dirt road and should take some slow fire-roads... I am already thinking to swap the sport tires for some adventure tires on it.

My choices, going in to the dealer were the 990 Adventure, the 990 SMT and the Ducati Hyperstrada, but he only had the SMT and the Ducati.

Why didn't I go for a 990 Adventure? Very good question... there weren't any used ones on sale and I found a decent deal on a 2010 SMT. I think that's really why... They're also taller - a bit annoying for every day riding AND I already have a dedicated enduro bike, the 390.

Read more detailed first impression of the 990 KTM 990 SMT vs Ducati Hypermotard or the follow up reviews: 2010 KTM 990 SMT Review - part 1.

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By: Razie | 2013-05-28 .. 2014-09-23 | Tags: post , review , KTM , motorcycle

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