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Old 12-20-2014, 03:55 PM   #1
avramd OP
Joined: Jul 2013
Oddometer: 5
690 Duke performance kit on the cheap

Hey Everyone,

I've just been through an interesting experiment that I thought people here might like to know about.

I have a 2013 690 Duke. The KTM performance kit from this bike in the catalog (part# 760.12.945.000) retails for $2147, plus just under a $500 install. That's two-thousand just to be clear, there is no missing decimal or extra digit. The install is 5 hrs; the kit includes a fancy muffler, cat-eliminator pipe, free-flow airbox, a camshaft, and they load a new engine mapping to go with it all.

To make a long story short, you can actually the performance upgrade for as little as $380 - $600 *installed*. Here's how.

It turns out that as much as everyone gets excited about telling you you need a racing exhaust to take advantage of a cam, the factory exhaust has more than enough flow. You don't even need to remove the catalytic converter. But wait, there's more. The special engine map they want you to install is also not only unnecessary, but it actually makes the engine sputter/misfire at 3000-3700 rpms. And it takes two hours for them to install the map because the process involves a lot of waiting (get engine up to temp, then map, then run the engine for a while doing I don't know what).

KTM doesn't list the individual parts in the public catalog, but a dealer can get the breakdown. All you actually need is the cam ($299) and the airbox ($79). There are some bolts & such too that are included with those parts as needed. Most of the cost of the kit is the Akrapovič exhaust, and you don't need it.

The performance change to the bike is fantastic. Of course I haven't dyno'd it, but there is an obvious increase in torque all the way through the rev range. The service manager and the mechanic both rode my bike with the cam, airbox, a cat eliminator, and the custom engine mapping, and then with just the cam and airbox (cat in place and stock engine mapping), and both agree that there is no change in performance. They also checked the exhaust and said that the mixture is spot-on, the OEM mapping runs fine with the cam and airbox.

If you are wondering how I came to all of this, read on:

I love my Duke but after 6,000 mi of riding it, I always felt that it didn't have the low-rpm torque that most singles this size have. I was curious whether the performance kit would fill in that torque gap. I expect a single this size to be able to push smoothly at 2500 rpms with at least half throttle in low gears, and push at 3,000 rpms with full throttle in any gear. The stock Duke bottoms out at 3,000 rpms in gears 1-3, 3,500 rpms in 4th, 4,000 rpms in 5th, and 4,500 rpms in 6th. Meaning that it will lug if you give it full throttle outside of those parameters.

So, I gave it a try. The problem I have is that I live in a densely populated town with lots of old people, and they actually have a "loud exhaust" law here. This includes some of my own neighbors who I am very close friends with, and I come and go at all hours of the night - so law or no law, I feel them on disliking loud exhausts, and wanted to keep my bike as quiet as possible. So I decided to try the kit but with the factory exhaust. They told me "all bets are off," and I said "yeah, I know, I just want to try." They convinced me to put a cat eliminator in just to give it some increase in flow.

The first problem was that it was still loud as hell, even with the factory exhaust. The second problem is that the engine randomly misfired between 3,000 and 3,700 or so rpms. I almost dropped my bike a couple times b/c I was turning when coming off the line, and there was a sudden 90% drop in power as the engine sputtered. I also almost got hit a couple times pulling out into smaller gaps in traffic that were never a problem when the bike was in stock form. It didn't do it all the time, it was about 50% of the time when the engine was cool, and about 10% of the time when it was warm. But it sucked b/c basically I couldn't trust my engine.

The mechanic said he felt it was b/c of the factory can, but that didn't make sense to me b/c it was only at that specific rev range. Above 4,000 rpms it ran like a dream, all the way up to the redline. There is almost 3x as much exhaust going through at the redline than at 3,000 rpms, and the amount of exhaust at 3,000 rpms is the same for any given throttle position, but the misfiring was hit-or-miss for any throttle position.

So I brought it in ready to tell them to put the whole thing back to stock. But basically just for kicks we decided to see how well it ran w/ the factor map, and it ran beautifully. So then I asked them to put the catalytic converter back on, again just for kicks, but with hope, and it ran beautifully still, and nearly as quiet as stock. It does sound throatier w/ the free-flow airbox, but it's only maybe 50% louder, and only with a lot of throttle.

I can now give it full throttle at 3000 rpms even in 6th gear, and the engine is totally useable at 2500 rpms in the low gears, maybe even a little lower than that.

avramd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: On a RTW ride - currently SE Asia on the way to OZ
Oddometer: 5,427
Your butt-dyno is totally off. The Evo 2 / Rally cam makes significantly less torque than the stock one until you get to 6000 RPMs or so, only then does it make more power.

For a non-track bike I much prefer the standard cam, as do quite a few other people that have tried it.
Currently going RTW on a KTM 690 Rally, trip blog:

LukasM is offline   Reply With Quote


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