Originally Posted by TNC
Life is full of compromises, and they'll usually tend to put greater pressures on your motorcycling pursuits as time goes by...marriage, kids, job, etc. While bikes can be classified as toys by some, to some of us it's a critical part of quality living. Sometimes "now" is better than hoping for "later". Nothing wrong with a Suzy 400, but it'll never fill the sportbike function that the OP seems to like. I've only gotten to ride a KTM690 enduro model once, but it was fairly eye-opening. It may be the bike that might be the "one" capable of real performance on pavement and dirt. With the spare wheels/tires, it would be like cheating.
I'd be highly tempted by a good one in the used market.
I'm no KTM fan ... but have to go along with the above reasoning. NONE of the bikes mentioned so far will touch the ability of a KTM 690. Few sport bikes will keep pace with a well ridden 690 on a rough, tight and twisty road ... in either Dual sport of SUMO trim. In enduro/dual sport mode the 690 will be like a moto cross race bike compared to a KLR riding off road.
The 690 is not an ideal travel bike and not good 2 up ... but for sporty back road riding and challenging dual sport ... it's hard to beat. It's expensive but once you ride one ... you may see where the value is.
Look hard for a nice used one. Learn how to do the maintenance yourself ... cause if you don't it won't last long. It's no DRZ400S or KLR. Requires more TLC but pays off big in performance and FUN.
I've had several KTM's and ridden the 690 a few times. A friend had a 690 SUMO bike. Sold it cheap ... as it scrared him. (I should have bought it!)
Rode a 690 Enduro in the Colorado passes for a day. NICE bike.
My DR650 is a better street bike/commuter. NO maintenance type bike, fast enough and a good handler .. but no 690 ... which really is a race bike.