KTM 690 Enduro R vs BMW G 650 X Challenge

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by paul73, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. paul73

    paul73 n00b

    Jun 30, 2018
    Hello, I am looking for a light but powerful adventure bike that is capable of traveling long distances (I want to travel to North Afrika and later across Asia).
    I have experience in traveling on motorcycles but I never went outside Europe or to any remote areas.

    What do I want?
    My focus is more on off-road capability than on comfort. The bike has to be lightweight (<160kg dry) but should have at least 50hp.
    Also important is the reliability, and I don’t want to change oil more often than every 10k km.

    All of that doesn’t leave many bikes left and my favourites are the 690 Enduro R and the G650X Challenge. But I need help to decide which one is better for me.
    (The last thread discussing these two is from 2009 so I thought I'd create a new one.)

    My budget would allow any G650X or a 690 Enduro R up to 2013.

    So here’s what I'm thinking:

    Let’s start with the BMW, which I like more. It has a great and nearly bulletproof engine and good suspension. Also it’s FI is very reliable and it doesn’t has CANBUS (afaik). But it’s a rare and discontinued model, and it might be very difficult to find spare parts especially when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. Another downside is the lack of aftermarket parts (I was looking for the Touratech fueltank and there are only 3 left worldwide?!).

    The 690 is the better bike on the paper, but the earlier years have some serious issues. Also it’s a more modern bike with more modern electronics (CANBUS) that in my eyes are more problematic than useful. But since it was build for a longer period it may be easier to get parts (spare and aftermarket).
    The carb conversion would be something to consider to avoid CANBUS problems, but that still leaves the mechanical problems of the LC4.
    I also checked different forums only for KTM/LC4 and there are many people who have engine failures at very low mileage. I would like to trust that engine but I can’t really.
    But more owners make more people to complain so how bad are the 690 engines really?

    I rode both and they are both great on their own. I can’t decide on which one rides better. So it comes down to the mechanics.
  2. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

    Oct 22, 2017
    New 790 adventure pal..

    Canbus is no more problematic than any thing else.... In fact it's just not problematic at all

    My 1290 has it, never missed a beat.. I know of no canbus issues either on any bike.

    .theres people on here with over 100,000k...

    I'd have no hesitation with going off any were with the 1290 fresh in the knowledge it WILL make it
  3. ed mocz

    ed mocz Las Vegas Supporter

    Feb 21, 2008
    Las Vegas
    CANBUS is only an issue if the owner doesn’t know how to install aftermarket electronics. BTW I have an xchallange and wouldn’t hesitate to go anywhere. Course it has all the upgrades.
  4. wass

    wass Been here awhile

    Jun 19, 2016
    I would say with the 690 you have to take an active interest in maintenance, put the time in, get to know the bike and monitor critical components yourself. There have been quite a few RTW trips with over 100K kms on these bikes. The 690 is tough, but better you keep an eye on it. For the earlier models 2008 ~ 2015 some owners just take the approach to consider some components such as rocker arms as regular maintenance items, and replace every them fairly regularly. Older models may have some chafing on the wiring harness which will play havoc with the electronics. The latest models 2016 onwards, including the HQV '16 701, seem to be pretty solid.
    SnickterP likes this.
  5. nzrab

    nzrab Adventurer

    May 19, 2016
    New Zealand
    Hey Paul73 looks like you've got a great adventure coming up.... the question as to which bike is straight forward and not just a question of mechanics.

    I've owned a 2007 X Challenge, clocked up many kms on a 690, and now own a Husky 701. Of those three bikes the one that I wouldn't be riding is the XC. Here's why:
    • You have raised the issue of fuel capacity. The standard tank is 10 litres on the XC which doesn't cut it for rides measured in days! With any bike for your trip you will need large tanks anyway so a little moot point.
    • The rear air suspension on the XC is not good, or more to the point the standard suspension on the 690 or a Husky 701 is far superior.
    • Perhaps the biggest issue is fitting luggage racks to the bike - very few good options for the XC whereas the 690 has good choices where you can get good access to different pieces of gear.
    I'm pretty sure the XC was only made in 2007/08 so yeah finding parts will be another challenge pretty much no matter where you are in the world. The XC was very reliable - started and ran well every time. I would say the most noticable difference between the XC and the 690/701 is its much easier to ride the 690 or 701 and that is down to a superior suspension and only really noticed when you're riding rough ground. Its much more forgiving.

    In a nutshell buy the best (newest) bike you can afford and even then you will find forum posts that will talk of problems with the bike. I guess you've read some bad stuff about the CANBUS but I have never had an issue with the 690 or 701, they have been bomb proof. You just have to make sure that your bike is in great working order for the trip you're wanting to do.

    Have a great trip.
  6. paul73

    paul73 n00b

    Jun 30, 2018
    The 790 would be great if it were a bit lighter. And cheaper.

    I think I will go with the 690 then and just take the problematic parts with me. I'd rather swing the wrench a bit more often than running out of fuel in the wastelands. I guess that’s all part of the adventure. People have done it with worse engines... I will figure it out when the time comes.

    Thanks a lot guys!
  7. Chalk

    Chalk Been here awhile

    Feb 14, 2016
    Had a 690 and loved it, until the rocker arm wrecked the engine. Only 4000 miles on a 2014 model. KTM uK apsolutly usless, told me that they have never heard of any 690 rocker issues!!
    Got a X country now 9000 miles. Happy so far.
    Just my experience
  8. Davey Bee

    Davey Bee Adventurer

    Aug 8, 2009
    London, England
    I rode a Xchallenge from London to Accra. Hoped to change to a KTM to do a longer trip. Totally frustrated with KTM after sales, wrong parts, poor diagnosis, parts sent to wrong address. All minor issues at home, major issues on the road. Decided to fly down to Accra pick up Xchallenge then south. Fewer issues than KTM and until now easer to resolve.