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Old 01-24-2013, 06:16 PM   #1
From A Riders View OP
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2013 KTM 690 Duke questions!

So I currently ride a CBR250R, I'm looking to upgrade to a more powerful and capable bike. I went to look at the new 2013 600rr at a Honda dealer the other day, but when I walked in there were about 40 KTMs sitting in front of me...so I sat on a 690 Duke and really like it.

A friend of mine however seems to think that I'd be digging my own grave with it because it's a KTM and they're supposed to be unreliable. I've done some searching and most problems seem to be minor warranty issues, or engines grenading...the engines seem to be rare and a very repeated story.

I really like the Duke, the dealer I went to had a Reps 2013 there (not supposed to be out for 2 months, but I'm in New England and don't have winter gear so I wouldn't be riding for at least that long anyway...).

So, all that I ask is that you share your OWN experiences with these bikes, or more specifically the 690 motors (I think the main thing that needs to be reliable), and if you don't have your own experiences and feel like sharing another riders, please just provide a link to their story. Thanks much for your help, stay safe!
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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[QUOTE

A friend of mine however seems to think that I'd be digging my own grave with it because it's a KTM and they're supposed to be unreliable. [/QUOTE]



I keep reading this on the internet................but let me tell you about my experience.
I bought a new 03 525 exc in 2002. I sold it a couple of months ago. It was without a doubt the most reliable trouble free bike i have ever owned. Moreso than the honda xr 600 i had before it, or any of the other 30 or so bikes i have owned. I had a 990 adventiure for a couple of years. i only put about 10,00 miles on it but hod NO problems. I just bought a low miles 06 525 and would not hesitate to ride it anywhere. I rode my 03 from tulsa to oregon on the trans am trail. I have been a dirt rider for nearly 40 years. 90% of the guys i know ride KTMs now. MOSTLY because they so reliable. A friend of mine put over 80 races on his KTM with nothing but fresh oil and air filters. No motor work at all. Got to a local enduro and ask around. You wil talk to many many riders who ride/race the same KTM for years without a single problem.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:14 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forum From A Riders View.

Lets move this over to Thumpers for you mate. Orange Crush is for the 950/990 Twins.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forum From A Riders View.

Lets move this over to Thumpers for you mate. Orange Crush is for the 950/990 Twins.
Thanks, I just saw "KTM" and posted there Thanks for helping!
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
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I must say I am curious about this bike. I don't mean to be nosy, but what is the price? I have found lots of info on the Duke online, but no one ever mentioons $$$.

Is it free?

thanks
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:47 AM   #6
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2013 690 Duke MSRP

2013 KTM 690 Duke MSRP is $8999 and will be available in white or black.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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Yes, MSRP is $8,999 in the US. I'll probably end up getting the black version if I get one :)
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Main question is, what sort of riding do you do, or plan on doing. The 690 will be a real hoot around town and on the open road twisties. I have a 2012 690 Enduro and it is a blast. Sod all vibration as well.
The Duke doesn't have a fairing like the Honda, will that worry you on a cold and windy day?
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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They are reliable. I wouldn't say as reliable as a 600 japanese bike but unless you do more than 60,000 miles there's nothing to worry about and even then many have gone longer without issue. I have the dirt bike version of the Duke and it's phenomenal. The power to weight ratio makes it very fun to ride.


The dirt bike version is stupidly easy to work on, not sure about the Duke but a few extra plastic bits can't be too hard to take off.

Do it I say! But I may be biased
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TheMuffinMan View Post
They are reliable. I wouldn't say as reliable as a 600 japanese bike but unless you do more than 60,000 miles there's nothing to worry about and even then many have gone longer without issue. I have the dirt bike version of the Duke and it's phenomenal. The power to weight ratio makes it very fun to ride.
I definitely agree with this.

If there was ever a 650 single made for the street, it was definitely the 690.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dotbond View Post
Main question is, what sort of riding do you do, or plan on doing. The 690 will be a real hoot around town and on the open road twisties. I have a 2012 690 Enduro and it is a blast. Sod all vibration as well.
The Duke doesn't have a fairing like the Honda, will that worry you on a cold and windy day?
I'm not sure. I currently ride a 2012 CBR250R, the fairing doesn't do too much but it helps a bit. I've ridden that think from Mass to Maine (5 hours of highway) in 30-40 degree temps...that wasn't too fun since I don't really have any cold weather motorcycle gear (I was wearing my leathers over a few layers of thermals and wind blocking gear

Anyways, I have a full face Shoei, and wear full leather gear...I don't think the lack of fairing will be that bad. I'm looking at moving more south as well, I'll use it a lot in the town/city (in college), but also love to take it into the twisties (live in the White Mountains up in NH).

Do you guys think an extended warranty would be a good idea?

Also, I take my bike EVERYWHERE. I put 3,600 miles on my 250, 1,000 were done within the first 10 days of owning it. I only got to ride for about a month, maybe a month and a half last year...and I only did went on the highway for one trip (down and back).
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:37 PM   #12
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If you're mainly riding in town and in twisties, you won't find many better (more fun) bikes. But I could see why your friend warned you...he didn't want you to have too much more fun than him
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:12 PM   #13
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man... I have been seriously drooling over this bike to.... It looks great.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:14 AM   #14
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If you're mainly riding in town and in twisties, you won't find many better (more fun) bikes. But I could see why your friend warned you...he didn't want you to have too much more fun than him
Haha possibly! He just got a DRZ400 and sold his SV650 last year when I bought my 250.

Anybody else want to share their experiences?
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:53 AM   #15
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I just did this upgrade

I actually just did the same exact upgrade. My comments on reliability aren't going to help you much b/c I only have 2500 mi on the Duke. But I haven't had a single problem in that time. I was also concerned about this, so I bought a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty with the bike. I got it from Cycles 128 in Beverly. The warranty cost $1000. So still way less than the cost of the 600RR. Other than that I'll give you my thoughts on this switch, and a little insight on the other direction you're considering.

In my case this was more of a cross-grade - because I used to have two bikes, the CBR250R and an ER-6n (the naked Ninja 650R). I had both b/c I do a lot of around-town riding but still sometimes need to enjoy some real power. I've long been in search of the perfect single-bike solution, and for me the 690 Duke turns out to be pretty close to "it."

So I sold the ER-6n and got the Duke. I kept the CBR250 for a while to make sure I was happy with the Duke enough to let go of the CBR, and eventually I was. So now for the first time since I started riding, I have a one bike with no intentions of ever having two again.

The Duke is almost completely wonderful. One big difference from the Honda besides the obvious is that it is noisey and loud. The CBR250 is remarkably quiet and smooth. I tested the BMW G650GS multiple times and it is like riding a jackhammer on the highway. The Duke is smooth enough at any speed that you forget that it is a single. I've had it close to 100mph once and at 90mph numerous times, and vibration isn't even a thought. It might even be smoother than the 250 at 70mph. But around town if you aren't accelerating hard, the 250 is smooth as glass compared to the Duke.

Riding the Duke on the highway requires a windscreen. At 65mph you're ok, but that's the limit. Beyond that, fighting the wind is tiring. I've ridden from Newport RI to Boston several times, and to southern Maine once. There's only one windscreen available besides the KTM one (which is useless), made by Puig. It makes 80 mph better than tolerable. The CBR by comparison was totally fine on the highway at 70+mph, wind-wise. Without the windscreen the wind buffeting was enough that it was hard to enjoy the bike. With it you get to focus on the wonderful power delivery and it's tons of fun.

Another thing the Duke and 250 have in common, as you would expect, is that you have a pretty healthy dose of the maximum torque available at 3000-4000 rpms. With the Duke you almost never need to downshift. With the Honda, well it's a 250 so of course you need to downshift a lot, but not always. The point is that with a 600RR you have to spend a lot of time above 5000 and even 70000 rpms which is loud and high-pitched, and attracts a lot of attention and gets horrible fuel economy. Maybe you don't care about that, but I do. Either way you either ride at that rpm all the time or you have to downshift whenever you want to make something happen. With the Duke you just go, whenever you want.

The riding position is a key differentiator here. The Duke is much more upright than the 250, and the 600RR is the opposite. I didn't like the Duke riding position at first I've always had sport bikes before and was more comfortable leaning forward. But the downside of leaning forward is that it's awful on long rides. Your shoulders and back get very sore after holding you up for over an hour, and from being hunched over. I had a SuperHawk 996, aka VTR1000. It has a similar ridig position to the RR. When riding 90 mins to Boston from Newport, I needed a full body massage by the time I got there, every time. Fortunately I was going to see my girlfriend, so usually I got one.

Now with the Duke that doesn't happen. You sit perfectly upright, so your spine is exactly straight and there is no weight on your arms. So, no sore back and no sore shoulders.

So basically the only thing I don't like about the Duke is that it is noisey and loud. It's still quieter than a bike with an aftermarket exhaust, but only barely. And more importantly it doesn't sound "nice" - it has very tappy/clattery valves. With a full face helmet on and above 45 mph, you don't notice it. But in the summer around town I do a lot of open-face or no-helmet riding at like 20mph and it's really an unpleasant sound. I also do care about how much noise I'm imparting on the people around me, particularly pedestrians in a dense resort town like Newport. I do very much miss how silent the 250 was. I fantasize about building some kind of shroud to put around the engine to block some of that noise.

Conversly, my favorite thing about the Duke is the way it always has "right-now power". You don't have to wind it up, and it doesn't get much louder even when you do. It never has that "wind the snot out of it sound" that 4cyl's do b/c even at 8000 rpms, ther are 1/4 as many cylinders firing per rev. And my 2nd most favorite thing about it is the fuel economy. Even if you ride fairly hard and do a lot of hard accelerating, you are hard pressed to get less than 45mpg. Here is my Fuelly page if you are interested http://www.fuelly.com/driver/avramd/690-duke - I've only had three out of 19 tanks below 45mpg ever.

Good luck.
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