We’ve got a soft spot for the hard-edged KTM 690 Enduro R dual-sport. As we reported in our December 2017 review, the 690 is light, powerful, agile and imminently capable, a bike that steps up anyone’s off-road game as long as you can get a leg over its 35.8-inch seat. But the KTM’s 67-horsepower single is buzzy, its seat is rock-hard and its 3.2-gallon tank limits range. We kept the 690 in our long-term fleet to see if we could address these issues.
To counteract buzz felt through the grips, we installed KTM’s Progressive Handlebar Damping System ($199.99), a CNC-machined handlebar mount with vibration-damping rubber inserts. Vibration hasn’t been eliminated, but it’s been reduced enough to prevent fatigue and hand tingling, especially at the end of a long ride. Comfort has been further transformed by a Seat Concepts saddle (starting at $294.99), which is wider in the back and has denser, more supportive foam without increasing seat height. With a gripper top, faux carbon-fiber sides and orange stitching, it’s a perfect match for the KTM, and I did a 300-mile day with no discomfort.
Auxiliary tanks are complicated and expensive, so I carry extra fuel in a 1-gallon RotopaX container ($59.95), which fits perfectly in Nelson-Rigg’s Sierra Dry Saddlebags ($199.95), rugged, waterproof soft bags that hold 27.5 liters in each side. Since they’re designed to attach to a tube rack, we installed KTM’s Case Carrier System ($359.99), which required drilling holes in the bodywork since passenger grab handles (and footpegs) were dropped from the 690 Enduro a few years ago. We also installed KTM’s Touring Windshield ($64.99), a Nelson-Rigg Front Fender Bag ($34.95), tough, infinitely adjustable Doubletake Mirrors ($96) and, from Black Dog Cycle Works, an Ultimate skid plate ($249) and wider, longer Traction footpegs ($229).
Our local dealer, Thousand Oaks Powersports (805-497-3765), took care of the 690’s first service ($257.15), and at 1,886 miles, the original Pirelli RallyCross tires are still hanging in there, but the rear will need to be replaced soon. The only mechanical issue we’ve had is a broken return spring for the rear brake lever ($2.35), which was an easy fix. With more comfort, more protection from wind and damage, ample luggage capacity and extra fuel, we’ve greatly expanded the 690 Enduro R’s functional bandwidth both on- and off-road. And we’re having a blast!