I had a 2008 KLR and sold that to get a 2009 KTM 690r enduro. The KLR is a good all-arounder but is very top heavy and is not made to go fast. If you try to ride a KLR fast off road, even with upgraded suspension, it gets very sketchy. The 690 is much ligher and not top heavy since the tank is under the seat/rear fender. It loves to go fast and handles off road speed very well. I am not sure the 690 would be a good bike to learn riding off road on. It is very fast and could bite a rider with no experience. Maintenence on the 690 is more like a normal dual sport. The EXC bikes are plated race bikes so upkeep on those bikes is more intense. The KLR and DR650 are probably more reliable than the 690 but I just love the 690s power and handling. On the highway the 690 might be slightly worse than the KLR but not by much. A big plus is the 690 has way more power so passing is way easier. The 690 will require a new or redone seat. The stocker is a plank. Hope this helps.
2009 KTM 690r Enduro in da house
2002 RC51 SOLD
2010 KTM 990 Supermoto R