•  KTM 690 SM new rear
  •  KTM 690 SM new right
  •  KTM 690 SM new front

March 2008

I finally have my 690 SMR!

After months of teeth grinding, staring at the same pics over and over again, putting BS on fora and irritating the hell out of people around me, I picked her up yesterday.

After a 4 year detour on various LC8 models back to a single! There has always been a lot of discussion about the polarising design of the KTM SM models or 'Beaksters' as they're also nicknamed. When I saw the first pictures of KTMs long awaited new LC4 back in 2006 my first though was "Oh my g*d, what F is that?!?!..." I was 100% sure I'd never wanted to be seen on such an ugly bike!  But as with a lot innovative designs that really b(r)eak with a current design mould, you get used to it over time. When the bike hit the streets it turned out that the specs and performance set new standards for road going high performance singles. Both for the engine and chassis.
The KTM 690 is the strongest production single in the world today (2008). And even more important, KTM also took care of the weakest point of the old LC4s; the insane vibes that really wear you out over time. The 690 has a balancer shaft that actually works, EFI with a 46mm throttle body, slipperclutch, the lot. And still 3 KGs lighter than the old LC4 engine. A masterpiece setting a new benchmark for a big 4-stroke single. The super stiff trellis frame and chassis are light-years ahead of the previous generation too. A worthy successor of my beloved Duke I.

Now I own a 690 SMR and love it to bits. I even like the quirky beak! Funny thing is, the SM gets a lot praise and thumbs up but mostly from non-bikers. The majority of bikers (still) think it's awkward and too far off from run-of-the-mill bike design. Good! The beak turns out to be much more functional than expected giving more wind-deflection and weight over the front at higher speeds than the other 690 models. Especially with the fly-screen fitted as I found out later, making the SM(R) an amazing good 'all round' funbike able to cover some distance as well. As far as singles can be all round that is...

I've put the first KMs on it in the freak'n cold and she's a peach. After quite some new bikes it still is something special to put the first virgin KMs on a bike. That smell of the engine at a traffic light making you wonder 'is everything really ok down there?'... It feels sorted and smooth. The new 08 fueling is clearly better than before. The suspension seems more controlled and smoother than my mate's 07 Prestige (must be the different setup for 08). The Dunlop GPR Alpha 10 tires feel OK too. Despite the cold and between the damp patches on the road I cleaned up the rear to the edges. A sign of good things to come...

Adding some bling and the modding will start soon. Those pipes huh?... :-)

Last modified: 06-09-2009