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Offline limacon

What 690 model to buy?
« on: April 04, 2016, 10:33:17 am »
Hi Dogs,

So - much to the amusement of my mates I'm considering replacing my beemer with a KTM  >:D

I want a 690.

Question is, what year models are the best to look for? 

I know some of the earlier models had some issues, but I've also been told that the current models have kak suspension.

I ride pretty hard (I didn't say well!!!) and need a tough bike that's good off the beaten track.

I'd really appreciate your feedback on which year models to consider in terms of overall reliability or issues, and best components.


Cheers,

Lim
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Offline Dwerg

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Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2016, 10:51:46 am »
If you are used to a BMW, the suspension on any 690 will be a step up. From memory (so speaking under correction): The pre-2012 models had longer travel with the '11 supposedly being the best suspension wise. The 2012+ models have the 690cc motor. 2014 added stuff like 4CS forks, ABS, slipper clutch and ride by wire throttle. I guess the one you choose will end up being the one that fits your budget
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 10:53:48 am by Dwerg »
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Offline Xpat

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2016, 10:59:49 am »
I would get (actually did) the 2014 with the twin spark 690 motor or later. The later models will have hopefully some if the issues of early models resolved. The only problem is suspension - mine is positively crap (but as Dwerg said, it is probably better than BMW as those came standard without suspension). I would strongly recommend getting it set-up correctly for your weight (those 4CS forks are still crap even after revalve - maybe get 2013, or get replacement forks from earlier model.

Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 11:43:37 am »
I would get (actually did) the 2014 with the twin spark 690 motor or later. The later models will have hopefully some if the issues of early models resolved. The only problem is suspension - mine is positively crap (but as Dwerg said, it is probably better than BMW as those came standard without suspension). I would strongly recommend getting it set-up correctly for your weight (those 4CS forks are still crap even after revalve - maybe get 2013, or get replacement forks from earlier model.

Thanks guys - appreciate the advice.

I'd prefer to spend as little as possible, but am not willing to chose on price alone.  I would get it setup for my weight and riding style, but not interested or don't have the time to replace entire suspension components.

I'm looking at a 2010 that's on the forum - what are the issues I need to be aware of when looking at it?  It's got 10k km's - depending on how it was ridden are there any big things I should look for?

Cheers,

Lim
“God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.” ~ Voltaire
 

Offline katana

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Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 12:01:11 pm »
Just to throw a spanner in the works.  The 701 has the long travel suspension.  Judging from what GJ managed on his, it must work really well.
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Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 12:03:48 pm »
Just to throw a spanner in the works.  The 701 has the long travel suspension.  Judging from what GJ managed on his, it must work really well.

I'd love one, took it for a ride the other day actually.  But R130k  :o
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Offline aka.Goliath

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2016, 12:10:29 pm »
I previously had a 2009 690 and the issues with that bike were just too much for me - idle issues, errors on the dash permanently, it would just die on me and it would take an hour or so to get going again etc. I now have a 2014 and I'm much happier, it is an awesome bike - I took it to wild west the other day on the blue loop and it did much better than I thought it would also the engine is super crisp and way less vibey. However there are still some issues - I have now had my seat and dash/speedo replaced under warranty. The air box is really crap so needs some work, I installed a unifiter and copious amounts of grease to seal around the edges which seems to work now and it doesn't let any dust in. I'm going to pick up the EVO airbox cover which should help but time will tell. I also have burnt out my clutch but that's probably my fault. The suspension is not as good as it used to be although after Hilton Hayward 'touched' mine it rides much better than the demo I've ridden before and loaded for my Nam trip it behaved very well. If you want to ride any sort of long distances you will need to do a good amount of adding accessories which are not all that cheap. Fuel tanks, seat, windscreen, offroad dongle (for the ABS 2014+), Rear racks for luggage, Fuel filter, Spot lights (very important, the light may have been updated but it's still like using an miners acetylene headlamp).

I can't talk about about the other years as I have not ridden them but I must warn you of one last thing once you have ridden one of these 690's all the concerns and worries go out the window. There is still nothing quite like riding one of these beasts and it puts a smile on my face every time I ride it. You at least know most of the issues upfront. See you on the dark side.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 12:14:32 pm by aka.Goliath »
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Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2016, 12:19:19 pm »
I previously had a 2009 690 and the issues with that bike were just too much for me - idle issues, errors on the dash permanently, it would just die on me and it would take an hour or so to get going again etc. I now have a 2014 and I'm much happier, it is an awesome bike - I took it to wild west the other day on the blue loop and it did much better than I thought it would also the engine is super crisp and way less vibey. However there are still some issues - I have now had my seat and dash/speedo replaced under warranty. The air box is really crap so needs some work, I installed a unifiter and copious amounts of grease to seal around the edges which seems to work now and it doesn't let any dust in. I'm going to pick up the EVO airbox cover which should help but time will tell. I also have burnt out my clutch but that's probably my fault. The suspension is not as good as it used to be although after Hilton Hayward 'touched' mine it rides much better than the demo I've ridden before and loaded for my Nam trip it behaved very well. If you want to ride any sort of long distances you will need to do a good amount of adding accessories which are not all that cheap. Fuel tanks, seat, windscreen, offroad dongle (for the ABS 2014+), Rear racks for luggage, Fuel filter, Spot lights (very important, the light may have been updated but it's still like using an miners acetylene headlamp).

I can't talk about about the other years as I have not ridden them but I must warn you of one last thing once you have ridden one of these 690's all the concerns and worries go out the window. There is still nothing quite like riding one of these beasts and it puts a smile on my face every time I ride it. You at least know most of the issues upfront. See you on the dark side.

I'm not planning on doing too much long touring on it - I already have a similar bike and its painful to say the least to sit on the highway. 

I'm so worried about getting one and struggling with problems, I know there are many niggles to each bike but I don't want to be distracted by the awesomeness of the bike by being soured with niggles and issues.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Offline boland

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Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2016, 12:40:28 pm »
In my opinion if you can get a clean R model from 2010 onwards you should be fine. Choose the one you can afford. Take it for a good test ride and see if it pulls properly, look for smoking etc and you should be fine.

I'm very biased, but theres not another bike like it on the market. It's a beast and will put a permanent smile on your fave :ricky:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2016, 12:52:17 pm »
If you worried about reliability, go for the later models - they seem to have managed to sort out at least some of the electrical issues (which were the biggest problems as they were bitch to diagnose and would leave you stranded). But as AG says there are still annoying things there like instrument cluster dying (on mine at 2500 km), stupid airbox, subframe bolts, etc. Most of those though (with exception of airbox over long run) are not showstoppers - i.e. should not leave you stranded somewhere in sticks.

You say you don't want your bike for long distance dirt trips (I bought mine - with rally kit - exactly for that, and yes it is big pain on tar, but then I avoid that as much as possible). So, what do you want the bike for? To be honest 690 (and I'm sure 701, as well as TE610/630) are pretty specific niche and - unless you are into rallying they have IMO pretty limited use. They are not very good enduro bikes - anything between 350 - 500 cc will be much better. The weight, comparatively shitty suspension and not the least silly narrow gearbox will work against you - they can do it of course, but you will suffer.

I bought mine specifically as long distance (long service interval, big enough engine for relatively relaxed running, light) dirt focused tourer and so far (bought the bike in Octover 2015) have done two longish trips - each over 3000 km. Mozambique/Zim in December (RR here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=188438.0) and 11 days through Botswana over Easter. This works IMO however only if you are dedicated to the dirt - the tougher the better, and do not want the bike to be the limiting factor (i.e. have to turn back because of bike - your riding skills taken into account). For easy dirt roads most people ride, any of the cruisers from 800 to 1200 will be better option.

It works for me - but I seem not to be a good sample of what people like to ride here on WD. It would work much better though with wide ratio gearbox - really cannot comprehend why they don't put one in 690 or 701 - major pain in the ass if you have to combine relatively fast riding with crawling in 1st gear like I had to here riding through 15 km of aardvark/rabbit holes - that 610 with beautiful wide ratio gearbox was much better for that:


Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2016, 01:33:31 pm »
If you worried about reliability, go for the later models - they seem to have managed to sort out at least some of the electrical issues (which were the biggest problems as they were bitch to diagnose and would leave you stranded). But as AG says there are still annoying things there like instrument cluster dying (on mine at 2500 km), stupid airbox, subframe bolts, etc. Most of those though (with exception of airbox over long run) are not showstoppers - i.e. should not leave you stranded somewhere in sticks.

You say you don't want your bike for long distance dirt trips (I bought mine - with rally kit - exactly for that, and yes it is big pain on tar, but then I avoid that as much as possible). So, what do you want the bike for? To be honest 690 (and I'm sure 701, as well as TE610/630) are pretty specific niche and - unless you are into rallying they have IMO pretty limited use. They are not very good enduro bikes - anything between 350 - 500 cc will be much better. The weight, comparatively shitty suspension and not the least silly narrow gearbox will work against you - they can do it of course, but you will suffer.

I bought mine specifically as long distance (long service interval, big enough engine for relatively relaxed running, light) dirt focused tourer and so far (bought the bike in Octover 2015) have done two longish trips - each over 3000 km. Mozambique/Zim in December (RR here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=188438.0) and 11 days through Botswana over Easter. This works IMO however only if you are dedicated to the dirt - the tougher the better, and do not want the bike to be the limiting factor (i.e. have to turn back because of bike - your riding skills taken into account). For easy dirt roads most people ride, any of the cruisers from 800 to 1200 will be better option.

It works for me - but I seem not to be a good sample of what people like to ride here on WD. It would work much better though with wide ratio gearbox - really cannot comprehend why they don't put one in 690 or 701 - major pain in the ass if you have to combine relatively fast riding with crawling in 1st gear like I had to here riding through 15 km of aardvark/rabbit holes - that 610 with beautiful wide ratio gearbox was much better for that:


Thanks X-Pat,

I enjoy hard adventure riding - Swaziland, Lesotho etc.  I do love good dirt roads, but more inclined to look for the twisty knarly stuff.  I do want the flexibility of a road legal bike though, I don't have a trailer or bakkie so often endure the ride to where the good riding starts.

I've currently got a X-Challenge, great bikes but let down by very shite suspension - I don't think its worth trying to modify it to suit my needs.  I'd prefer a aggressive bike with good components straight from the factory.

Cheers,

Lim
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Offline Xpat

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2016, 02:01:46 pm »
If you are into gnarly stuff, I would strongly recommend to look into TE610/630 (they are coming back as SWM RS650 - at least in Europe). That in my opinion is far superior to 690 for gnarly stuff - it provides for much better traction with its short first two gears paired with long stroke tractor like engine. When I go to Lesotho, I take always Husky - like so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If-WqzuVJk0

690 rules in high-speed open desert roads with whoops, sliding corners and stuff. It is revvy short stroke engine suited for that.

Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2016, 02:08:45 pm »
If you are into gnarly stuff, I would strongly recommend to look into TE610/630 (they are coming back as SWM RS650 - at least in Europe). That in my opinion is far superior to 690 for gnarly stuff - it provides for much better traction with its short first two gears paired with long stroke tractor like engine. When I go to Lesotho, I take always Husky - like so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If-WqzuVJk0

690 rules in high-speed open desert roads with whoops, sliding corners and stuff. It is revvy short stroke engine suited for that.

Hmmm, great point.  Problem with the 610/30's is that they're as rare as hens teeth, so are the service, spares and aftermarket accessories.
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Offline katana

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Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2016, 02:16:24 pm »
If you are into gnarly stuff, I would strongly recommend to look into TE610/630 (they are coming back as SWM RS650 - at least in Europe). That in my opinion is far superior to 690 for gnarly stuff - it provides for much better traction with its short first two gears paired with long stroke tractor like engine. When I go to Lesotho, I take always Husky - like so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If-WqzuVJk0

690 rules in high-speed open desert roads with whoops, sliding corners and stuff. It is revvy short stroke engine suited for that.

Hmmm, great point.  Problem with the 610/30's is that they're as rare as hens teeth, so are the service, spares and aftermarket accessories.

I believe the Xchallenge to be a great bike.  Since you have pay in anyway, spend the bucks and get your suspension customized.

p.s.  I have been looking at the 690's on sale as well, but it will replace a GS12000.
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Offline Xpat

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2016, 02:21:38 pm »
True. Then maybe XR650R? Also not readily available, but it seem more than Husky and I believe Conrad from Offroadcycles can sort you out with any aftermarket accessory and service. The only problem is lack of starter (though I heard a kit can be bought for that).

Look, 690 will do it, but as I said IMO it is not the right tool for the gnarly stuff. Even with smaller front sprocket it will not chug along over the rocks as well as traditional thumpers. It is amazing for the fast flowing stuff though - that's why I bought it for long distance rides and keep Husky for gnarly stuff.

I think the best for you would be to arrange a ride on 690 ideally on the terrain you want to ride and make your mind. You may even find out that X-CH may fit your bill better. Suspension on later 690s (2014 and later) really isn't anything to boast about - even with new springs and revalved - mine was done by Hilton (it's definitely much better than stock, but not perfect by any mean). I would let you ride mine, but it has rally kit and is not IMO suitable for rock climbing anymore as I wouldn't like to test the side tanks on the rocks.

Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2016, 02:28:39 pm »
If you are into gnarly stuff, I would strongly recommend to look into TE610/630 (they are coming back as SWM RS650 - at least in Europe). That in my opinion is far superior to 690 for gnarly stuff - it provides for much better traction with its short first two gears paired with long stroke tractor like engine. When I go to Lesotho, I take always Husky - like so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If-WqzuVJk0

690 rules in high-speed open desert roads with whoops, sliding corners and stuff. It is revvy short stroke engine suited for that.

Hmmm, great point.  Problem with the 610/30's is that they're as rare as hens teeth, so are the service, spares and aftermarket accessories.

I believe the Xchallenge to be a great bike.  Since you have pay in anyway, spend the bucks and get your suspension customized.

p.s.  I have been looking at the 690's on sale as well, but it will replace a GS12000.

I don't think I'm willing to spend R20k on a R45k bike and risk being disappointed by the result.  Don't get me wrong, the X is a great bike but is by no means the "Hard Enduro" BMW originally marketed it to be. 
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Offline limacon

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2016, 02:35:51 pm »
True. Then maybe XR650R? Also not readily available, but it seem more than Husky and I believe Conrad from Offroadcycles can sort you out with any aftermarket accessory and service. The only problem is lack of starter (though I heard a kit can be bought for that).

Look, 690 will do it, but as I said IMO it is not the right tool for the gnarly stuff. Even with smaller front sprocket it will not chug along over the rocks as well as traditional thumpers. It is amazing for the fast flowing stuff though - that's why I bought it for long distance rides and keep Husky for gnarly stuff.

I think the best for you would be to arrange a ride on 690 ideally on the terrain you want to ride and make your mind. You may even find out that X-CH may fit your bill better. Suspension on later 690s (2014 and later) really isn't anything to boast about - even with new springs and revalved - mine was done by Hilton (it's definitely much better than stock, but not perfect by any mean). I would let you ride mine, but it has rally kit and is not IMO suitable for rock climbing anymore as I wouldn't like to test the side tanks on the rocks.

I really appreciate your offer anyway - thanks Xpat.  Yeah, I'll see if I can find someone with a stock 690 whose willing to swap bikes for an hour during a local outride.

Regarding the X-Challenge possibly being better with regards to suspension - you're welcome to come around for a braai and try mine out, it's difficult to describe just how terrible the air shock is, you have to try it for yourself!!

I'm not operating on an unlimited budget, so I'm a little reluctant to get any of the rarer bikes (XR650R or TE's) although I'd love to add them to my collection. 

The vid you posted is exactly the kind of stuff we often get ourselves into, but I wouldn't say its what we primarily ride.  I do enjoy a good fast flowing dirt road, forest tracks and single track, however the hard enduro stuff is best left to the real plastics. 

Cheers,

Lim
“God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.” ~ Voltaire
 

Offline Xpat

Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2016, 02:54:36 pm »
If you want to try 690 just on normal dirt roads/double track, I'm happy to meet up somewhere and let you ride mine, just not keen to take it into hard rocks. I'm planning ride in DeWildt this weekend, but on 630 (with other guys mostly on Husky's) - not sure whether Saturday or Sunday yet. So I can let you know later this week and if you are available we may meet somewhere.

Yes I forgot about airshock on XCH - that thing is seriously bad joke.

Offline IanTheTooth

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Re: What 690 model to buy?
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2016, 03:18:35 pm »
Went riding yesterday with a bunch of guys all on KTM 690's (with one XR650R thrown in) on a mixture of easy and gnarly and I was really impressed  by the big KTM's. Which one to buy? A new one of course, Silly!

PS super impressed by the big Honda too!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 06:10:59 pm by IanTheTooth »
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Offline wolf skaap

Re:
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2016, 03:51:06 pm »
Sounds like you have already made up your mind on getting a 690. I would have tried to replace the XC's shock with whatever else I could find. (There are many blown 250F's around)

Debating the 690's pragmatism is a moot point IMO



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