|04-05-2010, 09:45 AM||#1|
Joined: May 2008
RTW KTM 690 Enduro
Last year Dave and I travelled 22,000 mile around the world in 4 months on two 2008 KTM690 Enduros. The best thing about this trip was the absolute joy of riding the KTM. While travelling it felt light (weighing only 138kg), powerful and responsive - even with a 14 litre auxiliary tank and hard luggage. Here are some notes about how we prepared the bikes, what worked and what didn’t. I hope it is of interest. (Apologies for the giant post...)
To drop the bike to a more comfortable height for travelling (as I am just 5’6”), I fitted a lowering link from the very helpful Norm at www.koubalink.com. We had to shorten the side-stand slightly as a result, and a larger sidestand foot was made and welded on at the same time. We installed the KTM sidestand switch eliminator as the sidestand position sensor looked a bit vulnerable.
For me (at 65kg), the standard Enduro suspension felt a bit stiff (why else would I be bouncing off rocks into the scenery?), but then I had the forks revalved by the lovely Chris Hockey (aka Dr Shox) at www.endurotech.co.uk. The result was a slightly more progressive front suspension which made the bike feel much more planted and confidence-inspiring. The excellent KTM suspension enabled us to have a lot of fun on the off road sections during the trip, and allowed us to float over the heavily pot-holed sections on the Trans-Siberian Highway.
The standard silencer on the KTM gets extremely hot so we got our friendly local KTM dealer (Clive at www.tricountymotorcycles.co.uk) to fit the Akrapovic alternative and re-map the ignition. Afterwards the bottom end felt more torquey, with just a slight loss of top end speed. The Akro looks great and also sounds great without being offensively loud.
Fuel Tank/Auxiliary Fuel Tank
The lowest fuel grade we encountered on the trip was 80 Octane. We used the standard (position 3) performance setting at all times, and the bikes ran faultlessly.
The standard fuel tank on the 690 is just 12 litre, so to extend our range we ordered the 14 litre Aquiline Safari auxiliary tank from Alec at www.coreracing.co.uk. The Safari tank is switched on when you go on to reserve on the main tank. You later have a ‘second’ reserve warning when it’s time to fill up. The main fuel tap must be switched off when filling up, otherwise the fuel in the Safari tank will overflow the main fuel tank and dribble out through the breather in the filler cap (removing the pretty graphics on the side panels in the process).
The Safari tank worked well and gave us a 300 mile/500 km range. We found that it did not affect the off-road handling of the bike at all. The bike handling was very stable with the tank full or empty, and there was no fuel sloshing. Obviously the ability to slide up the seat right to the headstock was lost but you can't have everything! The tank was very tough, and survived a crash on the tarmac (caused by a diesel spill) with only a few scratches. It also provided good radiator protection without causing cooling issues.
Initial installation (See pictures at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/dpeward/Ktm690SafariTank), and subsequent removal and re-fitting of the tank for servicing, is fairly easy, especially if the original seat front bracket is omitted. Access to the ignition switch is slightly limited by the tank once fitted, but is manageable.
The only slight issue with the tanks was that the supplied taps started to leak. This caused the main tank to overflow if we stopped for the night too soon after filling up. Aquiline have now sorted this problem.
The fuel filler cap on the 690 standard fuel tank is very stiff to unlock. The worry is that the ignition key might break off in the lock. Luckily it didn’t, but we have since fitted the KTM fuel filler adaptor from www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk which works well, and its high neck also reduces the risk of dirt falling into the tank.
We considered a number of options, and I decided to fit the Touratech luggage frame with 31 and 35 litre panniers. However, when I took the bike on a pre-trip camping weekend to try it out, I found that the panniers covered my gear with black aluminium dust, were awkward to take on and off the bike, had a separate lid just asking to be lost, and did not seem very robust or secure. I could probably have lived with all this, but the overwhelming drawback for me was the width of the system (1-2” wider than the bars), so it just had to go.
After some pleading, Paul Goulding at www.metalmule.com agreed to use my bike as a prototype to develop a Metal Mule luggage frame and top rack for the KTM 690. This meant we were able to use the far superior Metal Mule 31 and 38 litre panniers. These are robust, waterproof, secure and powder coated, and are much more in keeping with the high build quality of the KTM.
We also fitted a Givi top box. During the trip this was left empty for the stowage of helmets, gloves and jackets when away from the bike or during transit. It also provided emergency stowage space which is occasionally useful when packing in a rush! The top box was mounted on a Givi rack which was in turn attached to the Metal Mule top rack using an aluminium adaptor plate and rubber-lined 18mm P clips.
The top sub-frame bolts are a weak point on the KTM 690, relying on 8mm bolts loaded in shear. Mine did not break, but unfortunately Dave’s did (after some enthusiastic enduro riding with full luggage). Luckily the sturdy Metal Mule pannier frame managed to take the weight temporarily! They were replaced during the trip by normal 8mm high-tensile bolts (plus tubular spacers), which are still in place.
After much hesitation (due to the cost), I bought a Renazco Racing seat (www.renazco.com) which is significantly more comfortable than the KTM original. The Renazco seats are tailored for you specifically, so, as I had asked for it to be tailored to mostly off-road riding, it was my own fault that I suffered some discomfort on some of the longer days! I later bought an Alaska Leathers sheepskin seat cover in Anchorage which proved most effective, and very warm in the cold weather. Dave had his original seat reworked by a local firm Trimania, and had no comfort issues.
The Enduro has excellent Renthal bars as standard which withstood our only real accident (on the diesel) very well. Dave installed Touratech 30mm handlebar risers and also moved the handlebars forwards a little using the standard adjustments. We both added an aftermarket KTM cross bar for mounting a GPS, putting rubber underneath the clamps to reduce any transmitted vibration.
The KTM wheels are very strong, which meant there were no dented rims for us on the heavily pot-holed Trans-Siberian highway. The other bikes (BMWs and Teneres) travelling with us did not fare so well in this respect.
The Enduro has standard 18/21” wheels so there is a good choice of tyres. We used Metzeler Sahara tyres. These lasted well and gave very good grip in all conditions on and off road. We also used Continental TKC80 tyres for the main off-road section of the trip. Although they are slightly better off-road they did not last anything like as well as the Saharas. We used 2mm inner tubes and also fitted rim screws which allowed us to run at lower tyre pressures.
We used extra heavy duty KTM chains with steel sprockets. Aluminium ones wear very quickly as some of our companions found out. Dave’s chain was fine, but for some reason my chain failed catastrophically after only 2 months. We used the standard gearing.
Dave used a Loobman chain oiler (www.chainoiler.co.uk) which worked moderately well for him. I used a Scottoiler, which would have worked better had I remembered that you need to take a Scottoiler bottle (with the special adaptor) to refill it. This may have been part of the problem with my chain.
We each used a Garmin GPS60CSX GPS, which was mounted in a (non-lockable) Touratech anti-vibration cradle attached to the cross bar. The GPS was powered straight from the provided KTM accessory power connectors behind the headlight
We found the 60CSX to be an excellent and robust travelling GPS, and the Garmin map data SD cards provided a good routeing capability. The only slight issue we had was that the power switches on both of our units became more and more difficult to operate as time went on. Eventually we had to prod the switch with the pointy end of a bike key to get it to work.
I fitted a Symtec Heated Grip Kit (www.windingroads.co.uk). Grip heaters (as opposed to heated grips) have the advantage that you can use your own choice of grips. The Symtec kit is much better than other makes of grips or heaters I have tried. They have more elements on the clutch side to compensate for the lack of insulation on that side, but I also put 2” heat shrink on the left handlebar to insulate it– this really makes a difference. The grip heaters were powered straight from the switched KTM accessory power connectors behind the headlight.
When the KTM was new, I felt the throttle response was a bit jerky, so I tried a G2 throttle cam system. However the throttle response settled down after a while, and the throttle cam made little difference for the sort of riding we did on the trip.
Accessory Power Socket
I fitted a Hella plug power socket on the cross-bar for charging my camera and phone. Unfortunately this fell apart due to vibration halfway through the journey and had to be removed, which meant I was then without power charging capability.
Headlight/Indicators/ Mirrors/Instrument Cluster
We left all mirrors, indicators and lights as standard. We took a bulb/fuse kit, but didn’t blow a single bulb. We didn’t bother fitting a headlamp guard and had no issues. A couple of the mirror stems broke due to fatigue.
After a few months from new, the transparent instrument unit cover starts to give the impression of condensation, but it is just talc-like plastic dust generated by vibration. This is a common issue, and happened on both bikes. The film can be cleaned off by disassembling the unit which is very quick and easy to do. We also shock mounted the cover using a very thin adhesive pad to lessen the vibration.
The other problem we had on both bikes was that the LCD multi-pin connector sometimes made a bad connection which caused the display to blank out or become intermittent. This was easily fixed by bending the all pins slightly and using a bit of silicone sealant to dampen the vibration.
The brakes are perfect on this bike. We used sintered brake pads as these last longer.
We both had a small problem with the 690 rear brake pedal sticking, and had to use WD40 to keep it moving freely. KTM have now designed a new style pedal with plastic bushes to fix this problem, but the new pedal does not fit without the new smaller diameter pin, as the plastic bushes reduce the diameter of the hole. The original rear brake pedal is also a bit flimsy, however it did survive the trip without incident. To reduce the chances of the brake pedal being snagged and bent during the trip, we fitted a home-made aluminium ‘shark fin’ deflector (works the same as a brake snake) to work with the after-market bash plate.
We tried the Touratech gear lever folding tip, but we found it was not well designed and so sent it back.
The slipper clutch on this bike is great. You can change down even during a steep descent and not risk locking the rear wheel. We changed the hydraulic clutch fluid once during the trip as it started to look a bit dark.
We left the standard fan and thermostat. The fan does not come on until almost all temperature bars appear, which is a bit unnerving in heavy traffic, but this is perfectly normal. There were no problems with the bike overheating, even riding in 40-50 degrees centigrade heat in the Karakorum desert.
Before the trip we heard that the threaded inserts which support the standard radiator guard can be pulled out of the radiator and cause leaks, so we removed the two screws that secure the guard to the radiator, and replaced them with four cable ties. We felt that a replacement radiator guard was not necessary on the Enduro as the Safari tank offers good protection. We had no issues.
On my bike, both the plastic sump guard and the front mudguard were damaged before the trip. We managed to repair the mudguard with some aluminium sheet and pop-rivets, but decided to replace the bash plate with an aluminium GENETX bash plate from Renazco. This proved very robust. The only slight problem was that (after 20,000 miles and a lot of punishment) the aluminium mounting brackets eventually fatigued and broke. We have now replaced the mounting brackets with stainless steel ones that will not fatigue. The extension which protects the brake reservoir also cracked due to fatigue and was repaired using aluminium plate and pop-rivets.
Dave fitted the usual Acerbis Rallye Pro handguards, while I tried the new Acerbis MultiPlo handguards, just for a change. Both performed well.
I fitted the KTM 690 touring windscreen. It worked fine for the type of riding we were doing and I travel on the motorway to work every day with mine. Dave, being taller, could have done with a bit more protection at speed, but it wasn’t a great problem.
KTM neoprene fork gaiters were used to protect the fork legs, and a rubber mudflap was fitted to the rear of the swingarm to shield the linkages. We found that the front mudguard sprayed water onto the headlight, so bent it down a bit with the aid of a heat gun. This worked moderately well.
Smaller, flexible plastic number plates replaced the originals.
We concealed spare keys and cash about the bikes, Datatagged them and carried a snake lock each.
Constant vibration is the main enemy when travelling. We thread-locked nuts and bolts, and checked for items which were likely to rub or vibrate loose regularly during the trip. Where necessary we used pre-emptive tape to prevent rubbing cables. We took various spare cables, levers, bearings etc but did not need to use them.
Although oil changes have to be done relatively frequently on the 690 as it has a small sump, it is so easy and quick to do that it wasn’t really a problem. Valve checks are also very easy to do, and take just over an hour which is under half the time it takes to do the BMW 650GS Dakar valves. Valve adjustment is also very simple if you have the shims, but did not prove necessary (see http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/dpeward/Valves).
The Enduro is so small and compact that there is very little space to stow tools. After some consideration, we eventually decided to fit a Tool Tube (eBay or Dave Lomax at www.adventure-spec.com.)
This was fitted to the pannier frame using rubber lined 18mm stainless steel P clips. The tool tube worked well, but as you can see, the home-made made aluminium mounting brackets eventually suffered fatigue failure similar to the bash plate. We have now replaced the mounting brackets with stainless steel ones. A front fender pack (minus its mounting clips) proved to be the ideal size as a tool bag to go into the tool tube.
The KTM standard tool kit is very good. To supplement it we bought a pair of gorgeous Motion Pro 27 and 32 combo spanner/tyre levers from Dave Lomax at www.adventure-spec.com which saved a bit of space and weight. We also made up a small set of jump leads.
We took a second side-stand for tyre changing. This is very light and compact and at full safe extension can prop up either the front or rear wheels.
|04-05-2010, 12:30 PM||#5|
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Switzerland, near the border to the BlackForest
your report is very, very helpful and exactly what I was looking for ....
From the view of a RTW traveller, which understands the needs !
I have been riding 65000km in North and Southamerica on a Africa Twin (RD03) with almost no issuses, but I was sick of the heavy bike and bought a 2010 KTM 690 Enduro for that reason.
Right now, I am preparing the bike for Tunisia (3 week testride) and if everything is fine, we will buy a second one for my girlfriend.
I added a 950SE tank (14l) and a few things from Touratech and for the trip it should be fine for now.
Still, I have a few questions:
Which oil did you buy on the way, could you get the expensive Motorex stuff or did you use another ?
Doing the valve clearance, did you take the shims with you or .... ?
The fork is stiff, what means the forks revalved ?
Would you change the sub frame bolts as a precaution or just wait until they break ?
How many times you lowered the tyre pressure and the rim srews were necessary ?
You think, the mudflap for the linkages and the neoprene fork gaitors are really necessary?
Thanks for your opinion and do you have some pics .... ?
PS: our webpage .... www.miles-to-ride.com
|04-05-2010, 01:24 PM||#7|
Joined: Apr 2005
Great post! That's really useful information for all of us 690 owners.
2009 KTM 690r Enduro SOLD
2002 RC51 SOLD
2010 KTM 990 Supermoto R SOLD
2014 KTM EXC 500
|04-05-2010, 02:51 PM||#8|
Joined: May 2008
Wow, thanks for the kind words guys!
I will try to respond to the questions tomorrow.
|04-05-2010, 06:31 PM||#9|
Why die all tensed up?
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Dan, awesome job on the trip & write-up. Hope to see more about it soon.
|04-05-2010, 06:57 PM||#10|
need constant supervision
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Canberra ACT
I'll take along the OEM top bolts as spares becuase they just use a torx
Great write up by the way Dandini, two big thumbs up.
Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out? Will Rogers
|04-06-2010, 12:49 AM||#12|
Joined: May 2008
I would replace each original KTM bolt with a normal high-tensile bolt, a tubular spacer and a large washer, as described in the original post. It might be tricky to get the old bolt out, so it's best to guard against it - also check your nuts and bolts frequently to ensure they are tight. Even when loctited things things rattle lose eventually on a long trip. (We think that one of Dave's bolt was loose when it broke).
My tame mechanical engineer (Dave) says: “ [The high tensile bolt is stonger .] The reason for this is that the KTM bolt is machined from a bar with a relatively large diameter, at least the diameter of the large flange. The material towards the centre of such a bar is relatively weak as this is where the impurities tend to collect. A high-tensile bolt is produced from a bar of a similar diameter to the finished thread so the weaker region in the centre is proportionally smaller. The steel also has a higher tensile strength and (more importantly for this application) shear strength. In addition, the thread is produced by rolling and the head is formed by upsetting. The result is a much better grain flow than the machined alternative and hence a stronger bolt.”
To summarise what Dave says:
The high tensile bolt is:
1) High tensile steel (stronger)
2) Produced from a smaller bar (proportionately fewer manufacturing impurities in the centre)
3) Formed by rolling and upsetting (better grain flow and hence stronger).
In contrast with the KTM bolt which is:
1) Less high quality steel
2) Produced from a bar with a larger diameter
3) Formed by machining down.
|04-06-2010, 02:42 AM||#13|
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Mount Airy, MD
dandini - that's a wonderful write-up - thank you.
mtntrails screwed with this post 04-06-2010 at 03:05 AM
|04-06-2010, 06:01 AM||#14|
Joined: May 2008
To answer your questions:
Oil - we used the correct oil, but would have made do if we'd had to. You don't need much! BTW it is a probably good idea to take some clutch fluid too - doesn't take much room.
Shims - we measured the shims which were in place and took spares for the ones we would need to adjust them - bearing in mind that you can also shuffle your existing shims around - but we didn't need to adjust the valves at all.
Tyre Pressures - it's useful being able to ride at lower pressures especially in sandy conditions as you are about to find out! Maybe 20-25%% of the trip was on lower tyre pressures. Some people don't like drilling holes in their rims, but it works.
Forks - revalving. I'm about to sound silly now as I know nothing about suspension, but it's to do with fiddling with shims to make the suspension act differently at different speeds or different parts of the travel. Chris set mine up to make it more progressive in the first part so normal riding over rough roads was comfortable - rather than jarring - but when riding fast over lunatic stuff, the suspension was nice and stiff.
Mudflaps.gaiters. Not essential, but nothing is except a large tank! That said, it's cheap, easy so why wouldn't you? It saved my forks when I inadvertently rode through (quite a lot of) wet tar!
Sub-frame bolts - see my previous post.
Pics - I'll try to dig some up. :)
dandini screwed with this post 04-07-2010 at 05:53 AM
|04-07-2010, 03:55 AM||#15|
Joined: May 2008
Someone asked me if I was sponsored - the answer is no. The reason I mention people here is because I think they deserve it.
I bought the bike in the first year of production when there were absolutely no third party bits for the bike at all. I had to beg suppliers like Norm and Paul to make stuff for it and I was amazed at how helpful these people were.
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