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Old 02-13-2014, 02:41 PM   #1
Thriller954 OP
Joined: Feb 2014
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 2
KTM 690 Enduro R vs Adventure 1190 R - ?

First post, looking for advice from those with experience. Sorry if I ask a bunch of beginner questions, I'm just getting into dirt/adventure/touring bikes.

I'm getting ready to buy a bike this Summer for the purpose of adventure touring. Something that can ride on the highway and trail with about a 60% road 40% offroad mix. I'm an aggressive street rider, owning a 990 Superduke and an R1. I've never ridden offroad, but I have been on just about every 4WD trail in Colorado with my Wrangler Rubicon. So I can read terrain and pick good lines.

The kind of riding I'd like to do with the new bike will be some city, maybe commuting, but mostly long highway rides, dirt roads, fire roads, two track, some single track, mud, small rocks, etc. Moab slick rock isn't out of the questions. Neither are class 3-4 4WD trails once I feel capable. I do plan to take it slow.

Price really isn't an issue. I'm just looking for the better bike in terms of my goals. What I'm wrestling with is whether or not it's easier to make an 1190 Adventure go offroad or make a 690 Enduro tackle highways. I test road an 1190 at a demo event and really liked it. Especially now that the big ADV bike has power like my SD.

If I installed a Rally Raid Evo kit on the 690, added heated grips and a 10" wide Concept Seats pad, would the 690 be good for 7-10 hour riding days? Or is it easier to mod the 1190 with crash bars, bashplate, etc to make it decent at the kind of offroading I'd like to do?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:53 PM   #2
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1190 all the way

I don't think it's even a comparison if you do a lot of on road riding. The 690 isn't a great highway cruiser. Some will argue, but they're not even close.

The 1190 is big but so is the 690 if you're doing anything too technical.

I think you'll appreciate the power of the 1190 on road and be surprised by how well it can handle things off road, once you get used to it.

disclaimer: I haven't ridden an 1190 yet, but am basing my opinions on my familiarity with the 990 and everything I've read in the press about the 1190. I have owned a 690, and own a couple other 1200cc class adventure bikes currently.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:19 PM   #3
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For doing 40% offroad I sure wouldn't ever want something heavier than a 690.

I also think it sucks less to be stuck with a "small" bike on the highway than big one outside the roads.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:49 PM   #4
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Sounds like you need the 1190 and a 500exc.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:00 PM   #5
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Havnt riden the 1190, but I sure would like to, however I do own a '13 690. Ive just recently sold my 950, which is a bike 'broadly' similar to 1190 & I gotta say,extremely capable off road, but heavy mother in technical stuff.... for a brief period I own both, so Ive had a foot in both camps.
The 690 & 1190 will share some common ground, but at the at the extreme ends of their capabilities they both have attributes neither posses, so there will always be trade offs & comprimises. Ive got the 690 for its lightweight feel to do some big desert stuff & didnt want to lug a behemoth thru soft dune sand, but once Ive got that out of my system, Ill be going to the 1190 for sure.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:12 PM   #6
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Nice problem to have

Originally Posted by Anders- View Post
I also think it sucks less to be stuck with a "small" bike on the highway than big one outside the roads.

Build some dirt experience on the lighter bike. Then when (or if) you start finding all your offroad adventures to be way too easy trade the 6 for the 11

I've done a couple of big highway days on a 690, with the lil accessory windscreen I found it good, better than most thumpers, apart from the seat thing which you have already worked out.

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Old 02-13-2014, 07:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by techgeek View Post
The 1190 is big but so is the 690 if you're doing anything too technical.
There is a huge difference between 310lbs and 500lbs. I would take a 690 as a "go anywhere", even exploring off the known trail - I would never take a 500lb bike somewhere where it can fall over and break my leg.

While it's true I don't ride a 690 and an 1190, I do ride a WR250R and a Tiger 800XC - a dual-sport and a big ADV bike. The WRR is not super comfy on long highway trips, though I have done a few 7-10 hour road-riding days on it at 40-50mph and it wasn't so bad. I would NEVER take the Tiger in the narrow, snotty, steep, slippery stuff that I put my WRR through. It's just too nice, expensive and heavy. I would much rather put a comfy seat and some wind protection on a $3,000 bike than try to buy $2,000 protection on a $14,000+ bike that I will then have to pick up all over the trail.

Do you ride highway TO the trail? If not, you should definitely just get two bikes - a dual-sport (perhaps a 690) and a highway bike.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:35 PM   #8
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Get the 690.

Disclaimer: I have never ridden either the 690 or the 1190. But I do own a Super Duke

Trust me on this one: the 690 is the biggest you want to go, and I would seriously recommend riding a 500 or even the 350. You sound like you enjoy off road situations, and there is nothing that compares off road to any of the new dirt-oriented dual sports from KTM. And they can be geared to handle the road fine.

The 1190 is an awesome bike from what I hear, but it will overlap so much with your SD. You will do some cool adventure rides on the 1190 and get into some beautiful places that your street bikes won't go, but the first time you find yourself staring at that trail head where the real fun starts, you will be wishing you had a thumper. There is nothing better than flowing through the gnarly on a dirt bike.

If you have to have only one bike, the big adventure bikes are the way to go. Thankfully, unlike the Highlander, there can be more than one!
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JTucker View Post
Sounds like you need the 1190 and a 500exc.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:41 PM   #10
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my old man has a 14 500 exc, its a beast for sure, that being said, different tools for different jobs and you should have as many ( tools) as possible
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:45 AM   #11
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The first step is to be honest with yourself about what kind of riding you are going to do and how good a rider you are. When imagining our exploits we all (well at least I do) tend to go over the top with how adventurous I will really be, and just how great I imagine I am (I am not at all).

I have a BMW F800GS and have taken it down some pretty small and gnarly tracks out here in Cambodia, however it was only fun after the event, when I knew I had survived and had recovered from picking the thing up a few times. It is however a great bike for covering dirt roads, touring, going through town, etc, and even two up it is very capable.

I also have a '13 500 EXC and things which I had to approach cautiously on the GS would be gobbled up by the EXC almost as if they didn't exist, on the way to the stuff that challenges the EXC. I have packed up the EXC for multi day trips using Kriega soft bags and still managed to get out in the wilds, and for 3 days I can make do with a Kriega R8 and hydro 3 and packing very minimally (and sharing tools around with a few off us). These tend to be the awesome, unforgettable trips.

Having said the above, I personally don't really like riding the EXC packed down too much, so if you like lot of gear it probably isn't the best for you (most I put on are Kriega overlander 30s with R8 waistpack, hydro 3 with US5 pack mounted and a Kube pocket). For me this is manageable.

I have done long days on the EXC, including some long runs on the tarmac (450km in a single, painful run). It isn't fun but it doesn't kill you, and for me part of the 'adventure' is being away from home comforts. I am 47, so unless you are substantially older I am sure you can stand the pain.

I did look at the 690, but decided that whilst it would be better offroad than the GS, it was still so far away from the EXC that I wouldn't be able to go down to one bike, so there was no real advantage from changing.

It is true that the 690 in elite hands can do great things, but given the same rider, the 690 cannot come close to the 500EXC offroad
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:00 AM   #12
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I used to own a 950 Adventure, and now have a 690 Enduro, the two bikes are night and day difference on trails. I can do gnarlier trails on the 690 much much more easily than my 950 adventure that had the long travel suspension, steering damper, and aftermarket tripples with the super enduro off-set.

Around town the 690 kicks the pants off of the 950, extremely light, powerful, and extremely flickable. I'd say both bikes have the same acceleration up to about 60-65mph if not the 690 has a bit of an edge.

As people mentioned the 690 does suffer on the highway though I cruise at 80 in the interstate without issue, it feels a little unstable in the wind at that speed but I got used to it and it's not a problem. I put the small OEM windscreen on which pushes the air to my upper chest and off my abdomen which is good enough for me as far as windblast; Most of all it makes technical trails fun whereas on the 950 they were a bit tedious. I also get 50-55mpg regularly when riding like I stole it, and sometimes higher mpg's.

I took my 950 on a 4 week 8,200 mile trip around the west and up into canada around Jasper, Alberta. What I found is the good roads that were worth riding were all 55-65 mph speed limit that I'd be cruising about 65-70 on depending so sold the 950 and got a bike that does 65-70 easily and weighs 200 lbs less so I can really go wherever I want for the most part. That's me; I know several people that hate the 690 at interstate speeds, and others that don't mind at all.

The only thing I wouldn't want to do with the 690 is two-up for anything beyond around town.

I love it and think it's the best Dual Sport bike on the market and a very nice cross between a pure dirt bike and a road bike. Not to mention you get 6000 mile maintenance intervals and the engines last vs the pure dirt bikes with high power outputs.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by tyrsmkkyle View Post
different tools for different jobs and you should have as many ( tools) as possible
What he said...
Current bikes:

2012 Triumph Tiger 800
2010 KTM 690 Enduro R
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:19 AM   #14
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: dark side of Scotland
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I have my original '07 640 Adv and I am on my second RR 690 R, all 3 bikes have been perfectly adequate for mile munching on motorways, admittedly the 690 R have the advantage of larger FI engines, my latest has the 690 cc engine. However the question is, what do you want to do with it ?
I hesitate to use the over-worked word 'Adventure' as many manufacturers offer a selection of 'panzers' which cannot in your wildest dreams, 200+kgs , be called Adventure bikes, so I refer to 'Overland' bikes. If you begin with a 690 there will most likely be a certain amount of 'customising' to get the bike in the configuration most suited to you needs. However have no fears the 690 is a go everywhere Overlander, light, fuel efficient, easy to work on, an effect beat of burden, only downside is turning circle. My experience.

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Old 02-14-2014, 09:45 AM   #15
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You will miss the power of the 990 on the highway, but having that beast on the offroads will be a nightmare as soon as you get into technical. Especially since you are new to offroad.

The 690 is fine ride on the highway, not a big deal doing multi hours too. Sure it wont be as fast and plush as the big bike, but it will still be fine.

The seat concepts seat on the 690 is GREAT.

Make sure to get the suspension properly set up for your offroad riding style - it comes very harsh from the factory.

Although you have jeep experience it wont translate over 100% as riding a bike is much different than riding a jeep. Much different lines. Although with your background, you will quickly learn the difference.
Check out Don's Adventure Blog
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