Wednesday 27 August 2014

KTM 690 Enduro - How it rides?

Its temping to get stuck into the discussion about after-market parts, tyres, lights etc before actually looking at the basic bike as a riding experience. But lets not, just yet.

Well, its amazing, but thats not quite enough if you are about to spank close to £8000 of your quids!
Ok, it rides like a hot wind stripping a cat?, a deification on a polished shovel or other meaningless superlatives. I have read so many of these types of comments they blur into cliche'.

So really, this is how I see it. It's a tall bike that feels small and light, a friend commented on when following me on and off-road that I looked completely "at one" with the bike. This is so, its very natural and balanced, with handeling that really inspires confidence.

The lack of screen at the moment, and having no petrol tank at the front of the bike leaves you feeling a little exposed but then off road you ride it like an MX bike, shifting your weight forward and dropping you leg out in the bends. It's a totally normal action and great fun.

And fun it is, it feels like more of a toy than anything I have ever ridden.

The short gear shift criticised by some is not an issue for me, yes you do use the gears a lot more on the road but the slipper clutch works very well on the road and downshifting even at high revs is smooth and very predictable. It feels safe and very useable.

When standing and downshifting without using the clutch is smooth and easy, great when you need a spurt of power on a steep trail.

When using the Yamaha 660 or the BMW F800GS I used to stand a lot, but on the KTM I find myself sitting a lot more especially in the corners, leg out and weight forward. It is the real deal off-road where as the BMW especially, was a big bike with an off-road sticker on it.

Throttle response - Well its very quick indeed, it will hike from slow speeds to overtaking much faster than the two bikes mentioned above. I have not been brave enough to put the bike in sport mode as the "Normal"map  is more than enough at the moment, and I am still riding it under 6000rpm.

The suspension set up may take a bit of tweaking. I though I would follow the manual and set it to "standard" after a couple of days on very rocky trails the rebound seems a little harsh. The result is that the rear end skips over loose ground a little to quickly and you don't have the lovely weight and unweighting I have on my DH MTB. So I have dialled the bike (in the slow settings) to 12 clicks softening the bike. Its much better, Maybe with another few long rides it will loosen up.

So on the trails I have gone from BMW survival mode to attack. Well more like go, it feels very planted and safe. Although travelling faster if something goes wrong it will will be a faster fall.

It rails in corners, accelerates quickly, the brakes on and off-road are very good indeed. I have to say its a bit of a revelation.  I its un-farkled state the bike is very good indeed. Its not a long distant traveller but an amazing platform for the evolution.

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