In mid-April, I went down to my local KTM dealer and picked up a 2016 KTM 690 Enduro R to satisfy my dirt riding desires. While the 1190 is good on dirt roads, I want to to able to get off the beaten path and 500lbs is a little too heavy for more difficult trails. The 690 is quite good at the rougher, more challenging trails that go through the woods.
At just over 300 lbs with knobbies and long travel suspension, the 690 seems to be quite good when the trail turns into a collection of ruts and rocks. As a beginner to dirt riding, I took the 690 places that were way above my skill level and the bike seemed to just plow through no matter how tough things got.
On my first day out in the woods, I only tipped it over once while trying to go through a 6″ deep mud pit. On uphill and downhill trails with loose dirt and gravel as well as some big rocks thrown in just for fun the bike was surprisingly stable. I was amazed that I didn’t fall more often.
The seat height is challenging and I can only touch the ground with my toes but I haven’t found it to be much of a problem. Because the bike is relatively light, even when it tips over to the side a bit it’s easy enough to hold it up and keep it from falling over.
On the street, the knobby tires take some getting used to as they squirm around a bit when cornering. Power is quite good and vibrations are tolerable for shorter rides. Wind protection is non-existent which limits how fast you can comfortably ride on the highway. The narrow dirt-oriented seat is certainly not intended for all-day comfort becoming uncomfortable within 30 minutes.
As the summer progresses, I expect that the 690 will be capable of taking me wherever I want to go. It could use a small windscreen and a better seat for longer rides but it sure looks like this is going to be a great bike for exploring remote areas.