In his review of the 2016 KTM 690 Duke, Evans Brasfield gave the bike a score of 89.75%. That’s a strong score, to be sure, but I didn’t pay much attention to it since, frankly, I wanted to find out for myself. Well, I’ve finally had the chance to do so, as we’ve recently put the KTM up against the new Suzuki SV650, the Yamaha FZ-07, and a first-gen SV650 from 1999. That test will go up tomorrow, but in the meantime let me say that I concur with Evans’ rating. It’s a fun bike, but without giving too much away here in the opening paragraph, here are 10 features to like about the 2016 KTM 690 Duke.

  • gjw1992

    That’s a useful list – thanks. Gives practical compelling reasons beyond simple lust for wanting the 690 duke. And did you mention lack of weight?

    I’ve heard the issue of frequent false neutrals with the 690 in general can be minimised if not avoided with technique – more positive foot action in the higher gears. So maybe not quite the negative reported.

    Which means I’m close to the point of persuading myself to get one! Orange really is the new black. Only the relative lack of dealers around here cools that idea.

    Looking forward to the comparison with the fz/mt07 and the sv650s – one chore would be as a not too occasional commuter bike.

    • 12er

      Shop last year or year before gave me one as a loaner while I had the Multi in getting some love, I didnt want to give it back… Granted it probably looked like a toy under me but it was so much fun. I love thumpers anyway and its one to love.

      I often see left over ones with $1k off, very tempting

    • TroySiahaan

      I hit a false neutral or two on the 690, but I didn’t really flick my foot under the shifter with any real purpose each time. Shift like you mean it and it’ll click into gear just fine.

  • Craig Hoffman

    How did “wheelies for days” not make the list? 😉

    The easily sun obscured TFT panel probably is easier to read while in a more vertical position relative to the sun with the front end aloft too. But officer, I had to do that wheelie back there so I could see how fast I was going…

    • TroySiahaan

      Because I suck at wheelies. Otherwise, yep, woulda made the list. :)

  • Born to Ride

    Ugh, I for one hate the industry push for these flat panel TFT displays. I hate it on the monster 1200, and I am sure I’d hate it here. I dont care how pretty it is at night when I spend at least 70% of my time riding during the day. That being said, I cannot wait to test thrash, er… ride one of these bikes as soon as my buddy at the KTM dealer has a demo.

    • TroySiahaan

      TFT displays alone are quite nice, IMO. That assumes the manufacturer places it in a position where the rider can actually see it. However, I’m willing to forgive KTM on this one on the merit that the rest of the bike is a riot.

      • Born to Ride

        That statement basically assumes that the manufacturer can shield it from all forms of glare. What about direct sunlight from behind? I think KTM’s instruments on the Superduke should be the industry standard. Analog tach, digital speedo, and a separate LCD panel for all the other pertinent info related to the electronics. Everything I want to know is instantly legible at a glance, not completely washed out by the sun.

        • Prakasit

          I am another person who is not convinced that the trend toward all TFT dash is a step forward. Would rather have an analog tach and digital LCD display.

  • JMDonald

    This bike is a perfect for a carry along recon bike. It would mesh nicely with a class III hitch carrier. It has a lot going for it.

    • Born to Ride

      I was telling my dad the other day that he needs to buy one of these to attach on a hitch for his motor home. I can’t imagine the fun this thing must be considering that it makes more torque and as much power as my old SV while weighing in 60-70 lbs less.

  • Jason Lopez

    MCN, please, please please stop doing these stupid 1 item per page lists. No one likes it and we all realize it’s just to serve as many ads as possible. At the very least, include an option to view the full list as a print option. No one wants to print out 10 pages in what could be done in 2-4. If this click bait continues, I’m unsubscribing.

    • spiff

      MCN might care but MO doesn’t know how to process your unsubscribtion.

    • Born to Ride

      To quote Kevin Duke, “You Got A Problem With Free!?”

  • Mahatma

    Have you switched sponsors from BMW to KTM? Thank god you didn’t include aestetics.

  • Shaun Harlan

    Having about 2k miles on my 2016 Duke, the only time the tft is hard to read is when the sun is directly over head. At which time the only way to read it is to block the sun. There are times when it’s difficult to read the minor info bits like ambient temp and what mode you have selected but the pertinent ones are unaffected.

    I love my Duke, it’s the most fun bike I’ve had so far.