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Thread: Adventure Bikes - KTM 990 Adventure vs 690 enduro - your experience please.

  1. #1
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    Adventure Bikes - KTM 990 Adventure vs 690 enduro - your experience please.

    Morena people.

    For the past couple of years I have been planning to do some overseas adventure riding. My original plan was to buy a 690r or 1090r in Cape Town and over a month's riding every year, slowly ride it back to NZ. Seems Covid 19 has somewhat derailed that plan, so thinking that I should use the time while things settle down a bit to explore NZ. My original leaning was to a 690r as I was going to be riding one up, and exploring some more rugged and remote areas that would mean a lighter bike made for easier travels.

    However, now thinking about NZ off-road adventure riding, I am not sure that I would go the same way. Occasionally I would take the wife, or my kids on the back for day trips (two up) so thinking a 690r might be a tad small and so am thinking a 2008-2011 990r might be a good option. I prefer the styling on these older bikes to the later 1090r and frankly, the 1290 is just too big (I am not Chris Birch). I still like the idea (when on my own) of exploring remote trails and back country, but naturally would need to travel around on the open road to reach these - for example, Auckland to the high country in the South Island, which would be made easier on a larger bike. Thus, I am torn. Go for a 690 enduro, or a 990 adventure? From those who have owned both, what are your thoughts around:

    1. Maintenance - which will be the more reliable and easier beast to maintain and manage?
    2. Capability off road in NZ, balanced with practicality on the road - which would be your pick?


    I currently have a Husky FS701 Supermoto which shares much the same engine as the 690r and, below 80kph, I like the punchy but light weight nature of the bike. Over 100kph, definitely notice the lack of HP, (but then I did come off a 200hp sports bike...) but on trails and dirt road, the speed is unlikely to be above 100kph much, so can't see extra HP as a problem. Also, I ride trail, enduro and MX and have noticed that I prefer the smaller MX bikes for this (250cc and 350cc) for riding as they feel more agile, more controllable and less intimidating when riding technical stuff. Had a 450 to start with and hated the thing. From more experienced adventure riders, is this likely to be the same?

    I am a reasonably aggressive rider, enjoying some more "sports" oriented riding, however I would deem myself very competent, but not extremely experienced on dirt.

    I am quite keen on this bike...if not a 690r.

    https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/mot...5c1bebec06-003

    What are others thoughts on this?
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  2. #2
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    I'm just the man to help with this, not only have I owned a 690 and a 950Adv, I rode most of the 990 variations in conjunction with Kiwi Rider mag.

    When I bought my 950 in 2006, I also had a 640 Enduro and three decades of enduros, trail and adventure riding experience.
    I thought I could master the 950 in no time flat.



    I couldn't.
    It scared the fuck out of me for a long time, not because it was bad, but because it was so good.
    It lulled you into a false sense of competence,
    I could get along proper off road stuff at speed, coz the damn thing handled like a big trail bike, just like the 640.

    Right up until it didn't.
    And you realised that you were trying to stop, turn or otherwise maneuver a whole lotta motorcycle.

    Don't get me wrong, it was probably the best bike I have ever owned, and I wish I still had it.
    But based on your comment "...I would deem myself very competent, but not extremely experienced on dirt" get the 690.


    They are a hoot and you will not regret it.
    Don't worry too much about what people say about it's small tank - 220ish km is possible and you can carry extra.
    However, if you are going to do long trips on it, you WILL need a seat.
    Pay the money and get the seat concepts one. You will not regret it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    I'm just the man to help with this, not only have I owned a 690 and a 950Adv, I rode most of the 990 variations in conjunction with Kiwi Rider mag.

    When I bought my 950 in 2006, I also had a 640 Enduro and three decades of enduros, trail and adventure riding experience.
    I thought I could master the 950 in no time flat.


    I couldn't.
    It scared the fuck out of me for a long time, not because it was bad, but because it was so good.
    It lulled you into a false sense of competence,
    I could get along proper off road stuff at speed, coz the damn thing handled like a big trail bike, just like the 640.

    Right up until it didn't.
    And you realised that you were trying to stop, turn or otherwise maneuver a whole lotta motorcycle.

    Don't get me wrong, it was probably the best bike I have ever owned, and I wish I still had it.
    But based on your comment "...I would deem myself very competent, but not extremely experienced on dirt" get the 690.

    They are a hoot and you will not regret it.
    Don't worry too much about what people say about it's small tank - 220ish km is possible and you can carry extra.
    However, if you are going to do long trips on it, you WILL need a seat.
    Pay the money and get the seat concepts one. You will not regret it.
    Thanks very much for that. Kind of the sense I am feeling, only mitigating factor is the ability to ride two up on the larger bike.

    Saw this come up today, which I also like as an option...
    https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/mot...2599032000.htm

    Would match my Husky FS701 & Husky FC350 too.
    Nail your colours to the mast that all may look upon them and know who you are.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    Thanks very much for that. Kind of the sense I am feeling, only mitigating factor is the ability to ride two up on the larger bike.

    Saw this come up today, which I also like as an option...
    https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/mot...2599032000.htm

    Would match my Husky FS701 & Husky FC350 too.
    Yup, pretty much the same as a 690, with the Seat Concepts seat and a bunch of great accessories!
    Depending on the price, that is just the ticket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Yup, pretty much the same as a 690, with the Seat Concepts seat and a bunch of great accessories!
    Depending on the price, that is just the ticket.
    He wants 20k for it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Katman View Post
    but once again you proved me wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by cassina View Post
    I was hit by one such driver while remaining in the view of their mirror.

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    On a basic level, the bigger the bike, the better the tourer, stock at least. Seat is more comfortable, more space for pillion, luggage etc.
    Both the 690 and 990 require tubes for the wheels, the 1090 onwards is tubeless (unless you fit tubeless kits etc) - deal breaker to me as I can't be arsed.

    You can kinda soldier through an uncomfortable tour to get to the good bits (or mod), on the other hand, trying to get a bus through a goat track is always going to be tricky. I would get the bike that most suits your aspirations for technical riding, ie, doing Grade 4 or 5 will need the 690, or even lighter. As mentioned, its the stopping/turning and tricky stuff where the weight catches up. All good power sliding out of corners through gears, then you suddenly realise the amount of momentum you have to stop on the sketchy terrain up ahead (or it steps sideways so fast you think it's swapping ends).

    Bear in mind you're not the smallest fella though, so comfortable ergonomics is going to be important.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gremlin View Post
    On a basic level, the bigger the bike, the better the tourer, stock at least. Seat is more comfortable, more space for pillion, luggage etc.
    Both the 690 and 990 require tubes for the wheels, the 1090 onwards is tubeless (unless you fit tubeless kits etc) - deal breaker to me as I can't be arsed.

    You can kinda soldier through an uncomfortable tour to get to the good bits (or mod), on the other hand, trying to get a bus through a goat track is always going to be tricky. I would get the bike that most suits your aspirations for technical riding, ie, doing Grade 4 or 5 will need the 690, or even lighter. As mentioned, its the stopping/turning and tricky stuff where the weight catches up. All good power sliding out of corners through gears, then you suddenly realise the amount of momentum you have to stop on the sketchy terrain up ahead (or it steps sideways so fast you think it's swapping ends).

    Bear in mind you're not the smallest fella though, so comfortable ergonomics is going to be important.
    Actually you raise a bloody good point that I hadn't even considered yet - tube vs tubeless tyres. Mundane, but a very practical thing when out adventure riding. Your old 950 (or was it a 990?) was actually the first adventure bike that I road, and I remember thinking at the time that it did feel quite large - although I was coming off a GSXR600 at the time. I do plan on going on some pretty rough, tight trails, hence why thinking the 690 size is most appropriate. I was also thinking about an enduro prepped 500EXC for the same reason. Best thing will be to ride a couple at the end of lock down and see.
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    You rode a 990SM, by all accounts mental compared to the 690SM, but very much a street bike with cast rims etc. 990 Adv would be a bit bigger, but the same LC8 engine.

    Kinda going through the same thing, looking at adventure bikes, evaluating 1090, 1190, MTS1200, MTS1200 Enduro, new(er) GSA... '10 GSA isn't going anywhere, but its at 150k, I need it reliable for tasks its really built for... so want to add something in place of the Tuono V2.

    Outside options for you are also the Tenere 700 (tubed), KTM 790 Adv (I think that one might be tubeless?)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  9. #9
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    I am new to adv riding and I purchased a 690R for this as well as a daily commute.

    Fantastic bike and all I have done to it is add a Wings exhaust.

    I was lucky enough to get on the KTM Rallye last year. The 690 was perfect for me there. Tank range not an issue. Lack of decent luggage carrying capacity would be an issue if I was going away for longer. Some electronic rider aids could make off road a lot easier.

    I was humbled at what other people could achieve on their bikes. The 690 looked like a toy compared to the bigger bikes. The 'challenges' were interesting. The 950 and 990 (with good riders) were simply amazing how hard they could be ridden (and seemingly barely in control at times) over the challenges. The 790s were up there as well and seemed to have an easier time with traction control.

    My next adv bike will be the 790 (or 890 when it comes out) and I will keep the 690. I was planning to do a 2 month ride around South Africa/Kenya later this year. I rode the 790 briefly and was really impressed. Less mongrel than the 690 and I think t would be a better platform as an overlander. Felt surprisingly light and nimble - KTM have done a great job.

  10. #10
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    I like the 790r (especially the Rally version) but wonder a little on reliability for a new, untested machine.
    Nail your colours to the mast that all may look upon them and know who you are.
    It takes a big man to cry...and an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

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    Hi Brett

    There were a few burned out clutches on the Rallye, but that came down to people who weren't used to a cable operated clutch setting it incorrectly. Its a seriously good bike the 790R. It doesnt have the outright power of the 990 but it feels small, is well balanced with the fuel tank and has a great cockpit and rider aids.

    There don't seem to be any serious issues on the forums other than the odd clutch as I mentioned. I am going to get one later in the year (or hold out for the 890 mmmm)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dodgy View Post
    Hi Brett

    There were a few burned out clutches on the Rallye, but that came down to people who weren't used to a cable operated clutch setting it incorrectly. Its a seriously good bike the 790R. It doesnt have the outright power of the 990 but it feels small, is well balanced with the fuel tank and has a great cockpit and rider aids.

    There don't seem to be any serious issues on the forums other than the odd clutch as I mentioned. I am going to get one later in the year (or hold out for the 890 mmmm)
    There have been a few reviews showing the 790 to be the better bike.

    But on the 790 Ive read about clutches, oil leaks, faulty screens. All the toys and gadgets may seem great, until they are not. And bikey no run.

    Tenere 700 wins that hands down.
    Quote Originally Posted by Katman View Post
    but once again you proved me wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by cassina View Post
    I was hit by one such driver while remaining in the view of their mirror.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nzspokes View Post
    There have been a few reviews showing the 790 to be the better bike.

    But on the 790 Ive read about clutches, oil leaks, faulty screens. All the toys and gadgets may seem great, until they are not. And bikey no run.

    Tenere 700 wins that hands down.
    Step away from the bong.
    Have you ridden either of these bikes?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    Step away from the bong.
    Have you ridden either of these bikes?
    Yes. HTH

    Not the Tenere 700.
    Quote Originally Posted by Katman View Post
    but once again you proved me wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by cassina View Post
    I was hit by one such driver while remaining in the view of their mirror.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nzspokes View Post
    Yes. HTH

    Not the Tenere 700.
    The T700 is a parts bin special.
    It is built to a price, and performs like it (not badly, just nowhere near as good as the Katoombah).
    And you're correct, if it doesn't have all the twiddly bits, so these can't fail.

    However, there is a lot of crap being circulated about the 790.
    Four of us that bought a 790r in the first offering and so far the only problem has been the rear brake recall.
    A five minute fix.

    A lot of the stuff on FB about the 790 is hysterical nonsense.
    For example:
    The guy that hit a rock at high speed and busted a footpeg and a motor mount.
    In his opinion that was bad design and he's been all over FB trying to "shame" KTM into a warranty claim...

    There's also been idiots showing "oil leaks" which appear to be radiator fluid overflows...

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