KTM knows a thing or two about single cylinder bikes. The Austrian company has been building world-beating offroad bikes since the dawn of time, and as well as winning the inaugural Moto3 championship last year, it also boasts 11 successive Dakar victories – all of those with thumpers (they actually have 13 successive victories but a V-twin broke the single’s winning streak in 2002). Which is handy, as the Dakar engine actually forms the basis of its current LC4 690 lump, which for 2014 now finds its way into the Enduro R alongside ABS and new WP forks.
The LC4 engine was first used in the 2005 Dakar bike before being evolved to power the firm’s range of single-cylinder roadbikes. When it comes to pushing a motor to its very limits, there are few challenges as hard as the Dakar Rally, so it is fair to say this is one tough little engine, as well as a powerful one. Producing an impressive 49Kw and 68Nm of torque, the 690 is not only peppy, it is also extremely technologically
advanced and comes with ride by wire, variable fuel maps, a slipper clutch and a fuel-efficient twin-sparkplug head design as standard.
It may only have a single overhead camshaft rather than the more common twin-cam design, but that hardly seems to be effecting its performance. Even with my very limited off-road skills, I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Enduro R in the dirt. While purists may hate the thought of off-road ABS, to nervous riders such as myself it was a very welcome safety net. When you get more confident you can turn it off completely or buy a dongle to allow the rear to skid while the front still has ABS. With such a strong off-road heritage, it would be completely against KTM’s principles to soften the Enduro R too much and in the right hands it is still very competent when the going gets tough.
But the company has relented slightly. As well as ABS, KTM has also added more road biased Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara tyres to make it appeal to those who aren’t after a pure off-roader. The LC4 engine is frugal, reliable and with its low-down grunt, perfect for either on or offroad use. The 910mm seat height is a bit of an issue if you aren’t that tall, but weighing just 143kg dry, the KTM is far more manageable at low speed than the likes of the BMW F800GS. With adventure bikes now increasing in popularity, many riders are starting to turn to them for practical transport as well as off-road riding and even world travelling. If you want a machine that can take on the toughest of challenges, the one powered by a proven Dakar-winning engine and built by the company who dominates the world’s toughest race is a pretty safe bet.
Configuration single cylinder
Cylinder head SOHC, four valves
Bore/stroke 102 x 84.5mm
Compression ratio 12.6:1
Power 49Kw @ 7500rpm
Torque 68Nm @ 6000rpm
Final drive Chain
Frame material Steel tubular
Frame layout Trellis
Front: 48mm inverted forks, fully adjustable
Rear: monoshock, fully adjustable
Front: 21 x 1.8 Rear: 18 x 2.5
Tyres Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara
Front: 90/90-21 Rear: 140/80-18
Front: Single 300mm disc, two-piston caliper
Rear: 240mm disc, one-piston caliper
Control: Disengageable ABS
Weight 143kg (dry, claimed)
Seat height 910mm
Max width Not given
Max height Not given
Fuel capacity 12L
Fuel consumption 4.2L/100km
Top speed 160km/h (est)
Tall seat height
Slightly firm seat
Protect your KTM. Call Shannons Insurance on 13 46 46 to get a quote today.