Ride Report: 2013 KTM Duke 690

2013 KTM Duke 690 review, words and photos from Cameron Mead on two wheeled hooligans.

Here i was thinking Duke will be a week or more away yet.. walk into Boyds Hamilton and just BAMM! there it is in black/orange, just built this morning and registered as their demo.

They have sold 2x black and 2x white ones already and the owners all collected them this morning the lucky bastards. However, they still had a white one being built in the workshop.

Full Akrapovic exhaust going on, and a host of other “race” parts from the KTM Powerparts catalogue including, new seat, race cam, race airbox and more!

Back to the demo..OH pretty nice yea yea go on take it for a spin.. sure why not :)

Hop on, and its short and tall stance, the seat nice and wide, firm but a nice well thought out design & feels great, doesn’t throw you into the tank. The sit is pretty close to the bars & your perched up high with your arms in a “ready to launch off the gate” for a super-moto race, pegs are a good height, tank is narrow right where your knees meet.. so narrow you forget to grip on coming from the gsxr with its wide tank.

Took off and you ride the clutch a bit, i guess its cold but it does kinda feel like a hmm two stroke a bit like its a small turbine just building the power under that 4,000rpm area. Almost like its just unsure and waiting for you to make your mind up.. it is smooth but kinda yay or nay.

I believe its restricted in the lower gears, i never really got on it hard in 1st but it does rev with ease. The revs get up quite quick too especially with not a lot before 4,000 but then redline of 8,000.

But you can ride it sedately around town it fueled pretty well but you cant lug it in like 6th gear doing 50 like a 4cyl can , i think keeping it in 3rd gear at like 4,500 was pretty good, ready for action if need be.

ticks along nicely doing 50kph, gear changes are positive, nice little snick on the lever. clutch is hydraulic, very light but has good feel. lever is on the short side, ok for me with big hands.

Brembo brakes are good, nice lever feel probably needed bedding in some more.

Suspension, only preload adjustable on the rear, you have to wait for the R model and pay another 2,500 for the WP suspension in a month or two. But the ride seemed nice & didnt really jump out as anything not up to the task. hard to say unless your doing more than a squirt up the road.

Got some space to open it up, certainly has some pull once it gets over that 4,000 magic number you can feel the bikes lightness not holding any of it back. It does feel super-moto ish and would be great fun leaving most things behind from the exit of a corner apex. The power is nice and smooth, quite broad and effortless. Like a nice roller bearing turbo coming on, it has some balls for a little bike! and im sure it rips higher up at peak power!

Turn it in and it drops you to the road, coming from a sport bike you hardly need to look at the bar and it does what you want. knee or foot out how ever you like, its that simple.

Anything bad? could be i was holding on too tight & not enough with my knees or perhaps the height of the bars but my arms were a tad weak sauce after a quick blast.

All in all great bike, and its meant to do around 270km + to a tank of fuel.

cheers to Greg @ Boyds Suzuki. top bloke.


  1. orangeduke 3 years ago

    I have a 2012 model, but there are no significant changes for the 2013 model.

    This isn’t a bike that is particularly happy in heavy town or city traffic where you will be constantly shifting between first and second gears to find a sweet spot between the high 3000s and around 4500 rpm. Keep it in third at 4500 and you’ll be exceeding the town speed limit by some margin.

    In lighter traffic and all other conditions up to about 110 kph where wind buffeting starts to become an issue (and this is an individual issue to some extent) it’s an absolute blast and joy to ride.

    My one negative – the brake pedal is mounted too high, which means I actually have to take my foot off the peg momentarily to apply pressure – thinking of fitting the rearset to cure this.

    Have achieved 3.97 and 3.95 litres/100 km on my first two tankfulls of mixed city and some open back road (100 kph) riding.

    Finally – ever hear of spell-check? Oh well, he is a Kiwi.

  2. Pandora58 3 years ago

    I had the KTM mechanic drop the brake pedal down on mine as I had the same problem, it takes about five mins and costs a lot less than a rear set.

  3. siiiiiiiiip

  4. barry simpson 2 years ago

    i shortened my rear brake pedal plunger rod about 3 eights of an inch.and tapered it and rounded the end like stock.i still have some adj. back up if needed.it works great now.and put harder brake pads on it.i use this bike for in town riding

  5. yes spectacular

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