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Old 12-20-2011, 02:10 AM   #1
kamanya OP
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KTM Oryx 690 Impressions

Here in South Africa one of the KTM dealers has put a package together that uses a lot of Rallyeraid products. I am normally an Orange Crush poster but thought you guys would like to hear of my impressions coming from the big twins side of life;


Thereís been a lot of noise about these Oryxís.

I have had opportunities to ride the 690 in its enduro form. It is potent but I didnít like it much less even want to own one. It is a race bike and touring would be tough; wind protection, range, luggage capacity, seat, gearing, pillion capacity, etc. Also, the suspension is setup for charging seriously hard and again I couldnít see the point if I was to go DSíing with it. Lastly since I only have space for one bike, the 950 has been, by a long way, ďitĒ. Anyway, in the last 6 years of ownership I have not even remotely been interested in any other bike.

I took a demo bike of Ashleyís from KTM Cape Towns creation for a really good workout. It is in high demand, but he asked me for input on the suspension and concept and gave me the nod for an extended burn. I did a bunch of mileage that gave me more than enough to get a real sense of the spirit of the thing.

Charl handing it over for a bit of gentle DSíing



Much has been written about the ability of the 690 and it has ability in spades, Iíve been with people who really make a mockery of the toughest stuff. Iíve seen in person what Alfie Cox and Marc Coma and co can do with it. I can appreciate that, but what I want is a touring capable adventure bike. My 950 has been that with no other realistic alternatives for me. I know the big twin is a bit on the porky side for some of the more hectic adventure riding, but Iíve learned to just trust the bike and plough on. That engine gets it into and out of a lot of places it really has no right to be and for that, Iíve loved it.

When news of the Oryx came along, I just rationalised that it was still the enduro bike I hadnít got on well with just with a tank and screen stuck on. But, I am curious and Ashley was willing to lend me the bike for the day. What could possibly go wrong?

First impressions;

Itís not just a screen and tank. Someone has done some serious design and fabrication. The adventure kit is really high quality. Cncíd metal and great mouldings for the screen and tanks. Nothing looks half arsed. I poked around the bike for a good hour. The Rallyeraid adventure kit is very high quality. Itís turned the 690 into a great looking bike. For some reason, I doní really see the bare 690 as eye catching but this looks the part. It has all been clearly thought out. Small things that ooze quality like the fuel quick disconnects and billet adaptor plates onto the fuel pump. I canít deny, it spoke to me seeing that it was not just any screen and headlight on it, theyíve lifted the LC8ís one and stuck it in there.

As for the rest of the bike, getting up close revealed typical high quality components, it should last well.

How does it ride?

First few moments with itÖ What an engine! I didnít even have the R that has another 8hp packed in. I do really like the shove that the 950 can give, the 690 is more snappy and is not embarrassed by the big twin. I had my brother in law Jim along with me. He was riding my bike so I had a direct comparison when jumping between the two later in the day. Iíve drag raced a 690 before on the 950 and I only just had the advantage till about 130 then it gets unfair. I believe that the bike has been given a one tooth larger front sprocket, as far as I can tell, the gearing is spot on.

A big bugbear for me was the suspension in the enduro. Ashley has been working with Hilton Hayward to create something that suits the purpose of the bike. At first the suspension, to me, was plush in the first bit of the stroke and then really harsh further down. On tar it seemed to jar on bigger ruts or holes, not a good sign for the gravel and offroad.

The ergonomics felt a bit wrong to start with. I felt cramped and there was outward pressure on my wrists (the bars are straighter than the 950, less sweep). The seat to footpeg height is greater and that was fine. Standing there is no interference with my knees as even though it has the additional tanks, itís still a narrow bike. But sitting or standing I felt too far over the bars. In looking at it for a bit I moved the bars forward by a few degrees. At full lock I had to be careful the bars didnít touch the screen, but I got 3 extra degrees in. It made all the difference. I left it there for the day.

Iíll say right now that it is a hooligan induction machine. It is terrifically quick in traffic and a wheelie slut. It is very precise. It is happy to sit at 130-140 or so but has absolutely no issues getting up to beyond 170. It was rock solid everywhere, not a wobble anywhere. That motor is really smooth for a thumper. This Oryx has an Ackropovic on and it talks through it beautifully Ė a bark that really advertises the bite. It is maybe a tad loud for good neighbourliness. Iíd keep the Db restrictor inÖ. maybe. The brakes are right up to the job with great feel and power, just brilliant. It was growing on me dammit!

I had filled up halfway through the morning. I was keen to see what the extra fuel does to the feel. I managed to get 20 litres in. As to the feel, I couldnít tell, it felt the same. Nice!


On gravel, I really like drifting into and out of fast gravel turns using the rear to steer. My big twin is really good at this. All the power makes it really easy. The trouble is that that beast picks up speed very quickly but sheds it about as fast as I am trying to lose my extra 15kgs. Itís a dangerous combination. I thought with the smaller engine, Iíd miss the power to slide around. Not a chance! Plus it is really flickable, I could throw it all over the road and be exactly where I wanted. Even when crossed up and close to a highside because I had gone a bit too far, it didnít feel out of control. The big plus being that overcooking a corner was much less drama because unlike the twin, this bike slows down when the anchors get thrown out. It is a hoot on the gravel, the gripe I had earlier about the suspension disappeared, it was now working with me than against me.


Tick another box!

We ended the day in Macasser. Well! What a stunning bike. I was lofting the front at will, charging over whoops sections that would have been impossible on the 950. I rode all over the sand quarry, it went everywhere. Just point and it climbed and flattened everything. The suspension made complete sense now. Interestingly, Jim who is a sand novice and did exceptionally well preferred the 950 to the 690 in the sand. He felt that little bike was more twitchy and the power and stability of the 950 felt easier. I think the 690 is far more responsive and quick handling. Jumping between the two in the quarry, some things stood out;

You sit in the 950 and on the 690.
The 950 has more sweep to the bars, its more comfortable especially for touring. The wrists are not extended.
Pulling on carb cables is far less delicate than on FI cables.
I was amazed at how similar in some strange way they felt. Must be a KTM thing.
How good the 950 is compared to a fairly high performance race machine.
The amount of energy spent picking up and manhandling both bikes Ė That 950 is a hernia tester.

I entered up a power line path that I normally ride the other way. Iíve been up there on the 950 but it is hard work. This just made it stupid easy. There is a good pile of rocks at the top and I purposely aimed at the biggest hardest line. I had to do it 3 times just to make sure that I hadnít imagined the ease with which *it did it.

My initial gripe about the suspension was forgotten. I understand now what it does; It is set up plush in the first bit of the stroke and the transition to the harder part of the valving is just a tiny bit abrupt for the street. But once offroad, especially the more hectic stuff where the full stroke gets used, it soaks it up feeling really easy and controlled. I know that the suspension is a work in progress - they are close. The rear is a bit too plush and maybe just because of my weight could do with a bit heavier spring, especially if I was to load it up for multiday trips. Speaking of loads, the soft luggage option would be ideal with this bike. I know that you can get hard luggage but that might be a box too far for this bike. At most a topbox maybe. It has the adventure part of the touring bike formula very heavily weighted towards the former, hard luggage would be oxymoronic. (is there such a word? Well, you know what I mean)

There is only three areas that I have an issue with. Two, to me, are really nothing. The other is huge.

It is not intended for pillions, there are no pillion pegs. Not a real biggie for me as my wife is not keen at all on bikes. But, for those passengers that bravely tag along, they are either going to have to learn to ride their own bike or sadly stay at home.

The other small oneÖ Itís tall! I was on tip toes and really battled to get the sidestand up whilst seated on the bike. I am 1.78cm, 100kgís fat and stocky. When on the move it was not an issue, but once whilst turning in a tight path the wheels were on either side of the banks and I was left pedalling in thin air for a second before I came crashing over. I think with some luggage on it might bring the height down a bit and I know that there is a lowering link available. Personally Iíd leave it and just deal with picking it up more. On that note, it crashes pretty wellÖ Sorry Ash.

The big oneÖ It is a proctological torture tool. As a tourer, that seat would have even the hardest arse begging for mercy after a few hours. No matter where I sat towards the end of the day, it hurt.

But, thatís not the worst of it. I had wondered earlier, what could possibly go wrong? From the moment I got my big twin 6 years ago, Iíve had no eyes for anything else. I am currently refreshing my bike from stem to stern, I intend to ride it for at least another 6. Over the last two days I have been playing garage tetrus in my head trying to create more space. Also, I have been doing quite a bit of surfing in the thumpers sections of the net, places I seldom go. There is, I fear, an insidious betrayal looming.





In the rumour mill a twin 7 or 800 is in the pipeline for 2013. Really, they should just do one of these.

Click on the picture to watch. Sadly my helmet cam is not in commission at the mo and I was having such fun we really didnít do the video and photoís of the thing much justice.

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:11 AM   #2
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Cost of admission?
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:07 AM   #3
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In South Africa - R105 000.00 excluding the Acro's.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:49 AM   #4
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Good write up. I have a 950 with about 60,000 miles on it and I am planning to replace it with the 2012 690R. I plan to use it for travel. I am surprised you found it cramped. I think the 950/990 is cramped because it is so short to the pegs. I have a Yam 250R that has more room. In fact, I put on a fly screen, soft luggage and a sheepskin pad, and found the little Yam to be more comfortable than my 950.

I don't ride two-up, so my main purpose in acquiring a new 690 is to shed 150lbs so I can pick it up on the trail.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:31 AM   #5
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Thats a little steap at $12,762.75 US Donkey Dollars.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:57 AM   #6
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Help me here, this looks like the Rally Raid kit tacked onto a 690. Where does the 'Oryx' label come from?
Also, who's black engine guard is that?

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Old 12-20-2011, 07:02 AM   #7
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OK, never mind, found the answer here: 2011 KTM 690 Adventure “Oryx”

'Still wondering about the engine guard...

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Old 12-20-2011, 07:14 AM   #8
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Thumb

Nice!
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:33 AM   #9
kamanya OP
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@ Pantah, I too found more leg room than the 950. It was the bars being too far back and not the leg room that did it. A few degrees forward and it felt a lot better.

@ Tattwell, bikes here are pricey. We have big import duties.

@ KTM950SE I am not sure whose engine guard it is. Sorry.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:48 AM   #10
Bill the Bong
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PSP Racing makes the bashplates. Look here:

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=66134.0
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:32 PM   #11
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no worries, im not slammin it, its a sweet bike, but by north american standards, its pricey.... not out of reach, just pricey.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:58 PM   #12
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Thanks for the link to the skid plate!
Great pic of the bike, and the still-to-be-identified black, tubular, engine guard here:



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Old 12-21-2011, 04:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tattewell View Post
Thats a little steap at $12,762.75 US Donkey Dollars.
That's not so spendy for what it is if we could actually one in the US it for that (which I doubt). I plan on buying a 2012 with a few very basic extras. Hopefully the 2012 will be the same price as a 2011. If so, I figure the sticker cost would be:

2011 690R $10300 plus destination and set-up: $10900
RR tanks from KTMtwins (new lower price): $815
KTM Touring screen: $74
Wolfman Expedition panniers: $214
Wolfman side racks: $290
Tail Plate: $100
Heated grips: $50
AK Leather Butt Pad: $110
_________________________

Total: $12,553

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Old 12-21-2011, 05:42 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
KTM Touring screen: $74

Skip this it's PS (piece of s... ). I have it and only good thing is that my Gps is "protected" from rain.
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
That's not so spendy for what it is if we could actually one in the US it for that (which I doubt). I plan on buying a 2012 with a few very basic extras. Hopefully the 2012 will be the same price as a 2011. If so, I figure the sticker cost would be:

2011 690R $10300 plus destination and set-up: $10900
RR tanks from KTMtwins (new lower price): $815
KTM Touring screen: $74
Wolfman Expedition panniers: $214
Wolfman side racks: $290
Tail Plate: $100
Heated grips: $50
AK Leather Butt Pad: $110
_________________________

Total: $12,553

You forgot the fairing....add in another sixteen hundred smackers less paint and 950 instrument panel, another $400, but who's counting? It's a love affair spend away.
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