KTM 690 Adventure (re)build

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by mrwwwhite, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. mrwwwhite

    mrwwwhite Been here awhile

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    Ok! For the build part I need to go back in time to the moment I’ve first set my eyes on one of this beauties.

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    It was in the middle of the African continent if you can believe that. We were already two days into this tough crossing from Gabon into the Congo Republic. The smooth tarmac had already ended for few hundred kilometers now. Daylight was dimming fast. It was time to search for a bush camp.

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    “We pass this village and then we look for one” we both agreed.
    We slowly navigated our way through the village main road and at one point we saw in the distance a policeman preparing to waive us to stop, so we started thinking: “if we stop now it will take ages till he will let us through, so we will be forced to camp in the village”. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you want a quiet moment at camp, especially when the road was bad.
    So I opened the throttle of my Yamaha and left in the rumble of my LeoVince exhaust.
    “Even if he takes his 150cc Chinese bike and chase me," I thought, "he's got no chance.”
    About 5-10 km later a light appeared in my mirrors. “No way… WTF… this guy's Coma or what!!! Well, I’m not going down that easy…” so I let him chase me for few more kms. But when the "policeman" managed to catch up with me, I realised I had been chased by another “oyibo”. He was Alper, a German guy also traveling around Africa and he was riding no tame Chinese bike, but a feral beast. An orange beast actually.


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    We camped together that night back in the village and learned that he was traveling with his girlfriend on a LandCruiser. But he couldn’t leave his KTM at home so he came up with this rig: he had strapped the bike on the back of the 4x4, and whenever the trails or the heart asked for it, he would hop on and ride.

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    For the next few weeks we became a team: camping together, navigating through some pretty remote areas of Congo Brazzaville and into Congo Kinshasa, a journey that sometimes required fixing washed-away bridges and sleeping with a goat and a couple of chicken. And a lot of digging, pushing and sweating of course, while wet-season Anofel mosquitoes were feeding on us. It was good fun. We eventually separated, but we all had to survive one of the most thrilling and hardcore overland routes in Africa: the Kinshasa to Lubumbashi bit. It's a 3000km stretch, but if about 600km are paved, the rest is just mayhem. That was where I really learned the hard way that every kilo counts, and that a good suspension could open up a whole new world to adventure motorcycling.

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    After this episode I spend a lot of time on the internet (during various trip breaks), researching the German guy's motorbike. I learned about rally kits and adventurised 690’s and I gulped tons of information and then some. It was the spark that ignited an idea. It was probably what lead me to do what I’m doing and to writing this thread.

    Now, I had met my future dream bike in flesh. But at the time I was way too consumed by the difficulties of the Congo crossing to notice details. Like the fact that the next 690 Enduro I saw was sporting an Alberto Dottori kit.

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    Don’t get me wrong, I still think that my trusty Tenere was the best tool for the job for our 2up around Africa journey. Perhaps with a bit more cash and more time for research a 950/990 would have been better, but I probably would have never ended up here.

    So as soon as I could I bought a 690. Or should I say that I rescued it from neglect and from a guy’s garage. I started adventurising it. I went again with a budget in mind and picked up a Britannia Composites triple-mounted fairing + a 14l Safari tank. It was a solution to have both long range, some wind protection and better lighting for under 1000E. I achieved that with the generous contribution of both manufacturers (thanks again guys!).

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    Of course what you pay is what you get. Both pieces of kit showed their setbacks, but as they say in Romanian:
    “You don’t check the teeth of the horse you get as a gift”

    I remember drooling on the keyboard while browsing through RRP website, but as an inmate said earlier, with that cash you could travel for months. In fact the difference in cash from my low cost adventurising setup to the (back the)n newly released EVO II equalled the budget for one person for 3 months of riding from Romania to Mongolia.

    Of course, nothing is perfect, not even dream kits. As time passed we all learned that the EVO has its own design flaws which cannot be addressed by a set of crash bars.


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    ©therollinghobo

    Almost at the same time with our own ride to Mongolia, I heard of Sam and Claire aka Chasing Horizons who were embarking on a RTW trip as well. They were sporting a new design, a kit put up by KTM Basel. They have a huge role in making popular within the adventure-riding community a reality known only by connoisseurs (guys who race rallies or have a very close connection with the rally-raid world). The reality is simple, although Pyndon very well pointed the differences around here: the 690 and the Factory Rally bikes have a lot in common. So much in fact that if you search even closer we have at least two inmates who did the same thing as KTM Basel did but as a personal project. Those guys transformed the 690 Enduro into As-Close-As-You-Can-Get-Ultimate-Adventure-Bike – A Dakar Factory Bike.

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    ©chasinghorizons

    Again Pyndon very well spotted the differences, but to be honest for the average rider (just look at what Chris Birch is doing with an 1190, can you do that?) it would be hard to notice most of them. And as for the durability improvements besides the difference in riding speeds, when you're traveling (not racing) any technical glitch doesn’t mean you'll lose the race and the huge amount of money you've invested in that race. Let’s face it, bikes break, period. You accept it and find ways to be prepared for it or you don’t and spend huge amount of money, time and research chasing an unicorn. Besides, when you travel a breakdown could mean a new adventure. The famous explorer Amundsen once said “Adventure is just bad planning”.

    Meanwhile I had an intermission: a pushbike trip through China and SE Asia. Once back in my garage, I was determined to follow the same route of those who were adventurising their 690s with factory parts. I wanted to follow the Basel Quest Kit idea and use the unreplaceable Factory fuel tanks, but I figured I could work my way around and design/outsource the rest. Why 'unreplaceable' you might say, when few others have designed or copied them already at a much lower cost? Well, there’s always more than meets the eye and the tank saga is no different. There’s a huge difference between all aftermarket tanks and the Factory tanks. Where all others use High Density Polyethylene to save costs (not including DIY composites, which may be ok for personal use but not that ok for commercial purposes) the Factory Tanks are outsourced to Elkamet or Acerbis, which are proven industrial manufacturers, with huge research teams. The Factory tanks are made from Cross Linked Polyethylene (with a special top secret recipe of course). PEX is much tougher on impact than PEHD so in the end a tank made of PEX is much lighter but tougher. Also the amount of fuel vapors passing through the wall is much smaller for PEX. The only drawback is the UV resistance and it’s the reason why factory tanks are painted (with the super sexy level line).

    When you take all this into consideration ~1200E for a set of Factory Tanks sounds fair, than… let’s say 15% less for about half volume PEHD tank.

    Already back then was not that difficult to find a Factory Replica fairing… replica and although some were sold as work-in-progress and needed a fair share of retouching (Alberto Dottori, Perfect Fairings etc), others were looked like a finished product and were made from the right composites: CF and Aramid.

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    A good example of fairing copy, actually even better than the one sold in the Quest Kit (look at the small airduct detail which is not present in the swiss kit; at least not in the latest models)


    Although cheaper, I cannot picture this bike with crappy glass fiber faring which will crack at the first serious off-road spill. It’s used for race fairings on track speed bikes but I would say that the crash rate there is much smaller than for an off-road rally machine which should be able to cope with inevitable spills. I was deeply surprised to find out that most “rally” kit makers are using glass fiber composites including the super expensive, uber exclusivist Quest Kit. If I were them I would have used the best quality composites (CF/ Aramid/ special epoxy) and also included the composites bash plate in the kit, and maybe save costs by discarding the Factory rear 16l tank (which is crazy expensive and only adds the benefits of 4l of fuel).

    I know that from the design point of view the low exhaust looks better with the Factory tank, because of the complete shape but there are clever ways solve the OEM exhaust tank cut out.

    Ok enough with the criticism. As they say “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” or was it the other way around :)? We say “the doofus is the buyer not the seller” but I kinda like this “Bullshit man” superpower which we all should manifest IMO. (Karl Pilkington – An Idiot Abroad)

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    The next turning point was October 2013. While we were struggling with the steep slopes in East Tibet

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    the Factory Team was testing at Olibya Morocco Rally the new weapon for total Dakar dominance in the bike category: the new fuel injected 2014 KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica. For ‘14 Dakar they further tested this completely new design, so the bike was only available for the Factory riders and starting with march 2014, after this awesome looking beast proved once again who the daddy is in the toughest race in the world, winning 1st and 2nd places, becoming available for private teams through local KTM dealers for the usual 30k price tag.

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    ©KTM

    This completely new bike is the result of over a year work of complex team: KISKA designers, Factory Team engineers and the factory riders (especially Marc Coma) but the result is outstanding. Not only they managed to make a more ergonomically, slim, capable bike but the KISKA designers managed to incorporate the new design lines of the whole KTM lineup and to bring a new approach to this form follow function over 15 years old design; from a design point of view there’s not much change from Meoni’s 950 from the year 2000 till the 2013 450 RFR, and if the 950 and 660 rally bikes are a bit different, from 2007 till 2013, 690 RFR and 450RFR are pretty identical and are the inspiration of all aftermarket 690 Enduro kits out there.

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    ©Derestricted

    Besides the EFI 450 engine, which should weight quite a lot in the long EFI vs Carb debate, just look at 2015 results and you’ll see that all bikes that finished in the first 20 are all EFI (which makes even more outstanding the 21st position of our talented rider Mani Gynes and the victory in the marathon class using the old generation carbed 450 on a shoestring budget), the new bike has a slimmer and completely redesigned chrome moly trellis frame, smaller and lighter front tanks (~7,5l liters each side), new rear tank, new suspension, new navigation tower made from CF and a see through polycarbonate front fairing (much lighter than prev version). Besides the engine and gearbox which probably is similar to previous 450 (except for the EFI) the rest of the bike is new from ground up.

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    ©KTM


    After lots of research, luckily KTM is not super paranoid and there’s plenty of info online, I made up my mind. I will build myself one of those based on a 690 Enduro.

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  2. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Long timer

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    Can't wait for this!
  3. Bli55

    Bli55 -

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    Oh boy, this is gonna be sweeeeet!! :ear

    &#1044;&#1072;&#1088;&#1105;&#1085;&#1086;&#1084;&#1091; &#1082;&#1086;&#1085;&#1102; &#1074; &#1079;&#1091;&#1073;&#1099; &#1085;&#1077; &#1089;&#1084;&#1086;&#1090;&#1088;&#1103;&#1090;... another one of those untranslatable goodies, isn't it mrwwwhite! :D
  4. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest"

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  5. FPedro

    FPedro Adventurer

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    I've been thinking along similar lines, but dont have the balls, the cash nor the skills to pull it off.
    Do you plan on adding the tanks to the 690 frame or to transplant the engine into the 450?
    Either way i'm in for the ride. Please share all the gory details;)
  6. JB67

    JB67 In the shed

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    Looking forward to this Mrwwwhite!
    Jb
  7. ramjet

    ramjet Long timer

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    Tremendously insightful information. Answers many questions I had. I'm thinking cloudsource funding for the Mrwwwhite Research and Development Team...:deal
  8. milzispete

    milzispete who did what where?

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    Doing the same with a husaberg 570. Got the tanks to fit already. Waiting on the nav tower lights, screen and I will have to make fairing sides to fit the tanks . Race ya
  9. Mikemm

    Mikemm Long timer

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    quoting the entire post? really? :pissed
  10. milzispete

    milzispete who did what where?

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    Sorry chaps. Did it from a phone and didn't realise. Noted and corrected. Bugger me did that take some deleting
  11. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Long timer

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    I wanna see a build thread! Sounds awesome
  12. 640 Armageddon

    640 Armageddon Xplorer

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    Not to hijack the thread, but this bike was in Libya

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  13. tileman

    tileman Long timer

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    Don't know if this might be any use to you but I'm in the process of finalising this screen (which is clear, 1 piece) and tower. Bolts directly to a 640 adv.

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  14. mrwwwhite

    mrwwwhite Been here awhile

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    Will do, Will do. Probably if the budget is not an issue the best way would be to squeeze the 690 engine into a '15 RFR Bike. THAT will make the Ultimate ADV Bike for sure. Fit wise I reckon they should fit. The 690 RFR and 450 RFR (pre '15) are for sure interchangeable. Inmate LukasM is riding a 690 RFR with a 450 RFR frame as we speak RTW. Then from '14 RFR to '15 RFR I don't think they changed the engine completely but only added EFI to the previous 450 engine.

    Still, you have to start from a bike that costs 30K and all components without the engine will probably cost you even more.

    What I'm doing is the most economical solution, getting the RFR parts onto the 690 Enduro bike. A kit like this should not cost more than the RRP is selling and even if a bit higher will give you tons more (low exhaust, CF bashplate, seat etc etc)

    :freaky I'm really seriously considering a Kickstarter campaign after the prototype will be ready but being such a niche product I'm afraid will not be successful.

    Although I like real racing I don't want to get caught in one vs your Berg on the Wahiba Dunes cause I know I'll lose, so I'll take the challenge here :freaky Game on!
  15. mrwwwhite

    mrwwwhite Been here awhile

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    Hehe Jonathan (aka OverlandRider) is doing the same on the 690. It will be his third kit after RRP and Omega. Having said that after inmate Milzispete's post I'm sure he would invest in adapting the parts to his Berg if he will see that others have succeeded. For Libya he really wanted to adapt a tower and the RFR windscreen to his Berg and he did it in a record time (~ a week or so before the race). Seeing that he's still in the race is a great achievement.

    Looking good tileman! What screen is that? DIY or Tenere?
  16. 640 Armageddon

    640 Armageddon Xplorer

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    I know, I was sending parts till the day he left for the rally :D
    Jonathan has a custom tower from aluminium plates, which of course is a very good alternative to the 4k retail price tower.
    I think that if you use the 2015 parts, you will get a nicer bike, (although prefer the old looks), but little lower quality. Don't get me wrong*. I am interested to see what you will use for the parts that are ridiculously expensive as the tower for example. I am sure with your skills you will find a neat solution :deal:freaky

    Next week, most probably I will finally have one of those cf towers on my desk and will try to mimic it out of polymer materials combined with aluminium. Currently I am busy redesigning the old tower to make it out of clear polymer and adapt the 2015 top bracket to it. Prototypes looked wicked, as a clear tower I think is the next step. Doing two jobs at present does not help so let's see when on earth this finishes!


    *EDIT. I have seen the RR bike, and have held the spare parts in my hands. A couple of examples are the tanks and the seat which is now a KTM seat and the tanks are thinner with a plastic threaded thing for the cap. I am sure that they will hold the distance, just to point out that the new Rally bike is not what the old was if you know what I mean. This is a cash cow for KTM now imo.
    D.
  17. tileman

    tileman Long timer

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    Its a tenere with the centre section filled in. All the tower parts and waterjet cut from HDPE sheet, UV stable and easy to modify/change/replace in someones shed with minimal tools or even on the road.

    Setup to fit 90mm hellas which come in both LHD and RHD versions so easy to make legal. In OZ "in theory" the 60mm hellas aren't legal as they aren't set up in both LHD and RHD versions although I doubt any police officer here would ever worry about it. Also the top light is the longer low beam design so the bi-halogen 90mm would fit easy then a BD Squadron or equivalent would mount below no probs. Not really a rally setup, another option for the traveller that wants to be able to see through their screen. I haven't seen many OEM tall screens that are blanked out similar to the older style ktm rally bikes, must be a reason and funnily enough now Honda/KTM/Yamaha seem to be using clear????
  18. mrwwwhite

    mrwwwhite Been here awhile

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    World is small... :)
    My advice to him was to just take a lite kit and enjoy the rally. The last thing you want when you spend so much on logistics and rally fees is a technical problem caused by the rushed build. Luckily it looks like it worked :)

    WOW clear tower. That's a new thing :). How tough will that be compared to CF/Alu for example?

    Can you explain the "lower quality" part? I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder so the old vs new part is very subjective. Personally like I said I love what Kiska designers have done with the new one :p
  19. mrwwwhite

    mrwwwhite Been here awhile

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    Clever thinking!

    I know people managed to flip the cut off part inside the 60mm projector to make it suitable for RHD but it's true legal wise it's better with 90mm.
  20. tileman

    tileman Long timer

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    How are you drilling the sheet D? Its a more difficult no? I don't think it would have the inherent ductility of the HDPE but correct if wrong on this one.