KTM 690 Duke VS 690 SMC – Rossfeld

KTM 690 Duke VS 690 SMC – Rossfeld

It’s been raining and kind of cold for the last 2 weeks so it was really nice to see the sun again. A small crew of us took advantage of the weather and did a lunchtime mission up the mountain next to the kiska office.


Due to the lack of oxygen my bike doesn’t like wheelying at 1600 m so I borrowed Manuel’s Duke R which had no problem.

So many nice sweeping curves all the way up and down Rossfeld.

I dropped my duke off at the local dealer to tune a few things on it and they lent me the SMC to try out. Been wanting to try one of these things for years and it was really interesting to hop from the Duke directly to this. Considering it’s the same engine the differences were remarkable.

The SMC is waay more flick-able. I was amazed how quick this thing goes from side to side. It feels really light and nimble. The front wheel pretty much never wants to stay on the ground when you are on the gas which makes it really fun but also slightly challenging, especially when gassing around bends.

In some ways I loved the seat on the SMC, its way grippier and because it’s flat it’s much easier to move your weight around. The duke seat keeps you stuck within a narrow range of movement (and is too slippery), but actually feels much better at higher speeds as well as on medium to long journeys. The SMC feels like it dips back on heavy acceleration as the suspension compresses and you have to hang on pretty tight.

The suspension is way softer on the SMC, which is good sometimes (potholes, bumpy road, wheelies) but overall makes for more of a rodeo ride. On the tighter bends, the SMC is easily superior to the Duke, but elsewhere the Duke feels more stable, planted and definitely has less vibrations too.

One thing that caught me out is that the turning circle is much more restricted on the SMC than the Duke. I tried to do a sharp turn out of the dealer and almost fell over as I couldn’t turn the wheel enough.

Overall for the mountain roads around here I think a slightly stiffer sprung version of the SMC may well be better than the Duke, although the Duke offers more touring possibilities. Man, to be honest though, I love em both, the smile on my face was just as big no matter which bike I was on.


  1. Ma 7 years ago

    Not making me happy these pictures….

    • ptsp 7 years ago

      Well, that’s not right as they were making me happy taking them : )

  2. Brian 7 years ago

    Good timing as I’ve been considering a half-liter +/- sumo for my next ride, particularly the SMC. But I think I need something more street-oriented as I find myself on slab more than I’d like to be.

    I hear, generally speaking, sumos excel on the track and in very twisty conditions. But, on the typical road, sumos may not always instill confidence. In your experience is this more or less true?

    • ptsp 7 years ago

      yea, if you are not hitting super twisties all the time I would mos def recomend the DUke over the SMC. Not to say the Smc isnt great, but overall the Duke is way more comfortable everywhere, if only for the lower position and more ergonomic seat. The Duke Is amazing on tight bends, high speeds (but if u do extended motorway rides get a small windscreen), sweepers, everywhere, Little bit chattery in the city at low speed but its a single so kind of expected and you figure out how to ride it smoothly pretty quick and can always change gearing if that’s the kind of riding you are doing. If you do a lot of motorway miles and have the cash go for a 990SMR, but overall, I have not been in any situation where I did not love my Duke. Next bike I would like, Duke R!

  3. Brian 7 years ago

    Thanks, your insight is very helpful. Love the photos!

  4. ptsp 7 years ago

    Cheers, happy to be able to help. One other huge advantage of this kind of bike is how high you are. You have great visibility which really improves safety. For example can see over most cars (in europe anyway) so can see if the person 3 cars in front is turning left and wait before overtaking.

  5. Hugo 7 years ago

    In a way the pics make me happy , but on the other way I wish it was ME taking them. I keep forgetting there’s still nature out there…

  6. ptsp 7 years ago

    Yea man, years ago I was so depressed being stuck in a city (sheffield) i tattooed the mountains on my arm to remind myself that life didn’t have to be like that and to set my path for somewhere better.

  7. Hugo 7 years ago

    Working on the path…

  8. Jack 7 years ago

    So is the duke’s seat a huge problem? And is the SMC much better in the twis

    • Author
      admin 7 years ago

      na, the seat is great, its way comfier than the smc and provides more support when you go fast. Its just not a motocross seat which allows you to move around all over the place like the smc has. the duke seat is much better for any rides longer than an hour.

  9. Jack 6 years ago

    is the duke still really fun, and more fun than a streetbike in the twisties?

  10. Author
    admin 6 years ago

    @jack, yea I love it.

  11. Jack 6 years ago

    so for daily commuting with occasional long twiste rides which is more fun

  12. Author
    admin 6 years ago

    the Duke is better I reckon, but you will have as much fun on either. just more comfort on the Duke.

  13. Jack 6 years ago

    how do you like the duke compared to a streetfighter such as the street triple

  14. Author
    admin 6 years ago

    Never rode a street triple but I heard they are great.

  15. Ashlin 5 years ago

    Howdy, love the blog! I see you’re riding with an SV. Looks like the 650. How does that keep up with the KTMs? I have an SV1000N (naked) like the bike pictured and have yet to see another blue 1000N on the street here in Pennsylvania. I love the bike, though it’s definitely not in the category of a Supersport bike like a GSXR or CBR, etc.

    Keep up the good work!

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