The KTM 690 is one of the longest-running bikes in the KTM range, with production starting back in 1994 and continuing to the present day. It hasn’t always been called the 690, however, it started as the 620 and has evolved since then to its current form. It currently features a 693cc engine.
This article answers the question: “How long will a KTM 690 last?”…
Here Is The Short Answer To How Long A KTM 690 Will Last:
The KTM 690 should last you up to a healthy 60,000 miles before any major work is needed on the bike. Reaching that milestone depends on the rider using the bike responsibly and not overtaxing the various components. That range should mean the bike lasts around 5-10 years depending on annual mileage.
The other requirement for reaching a 60,000-mile mark before needing excessive maintenance or overhaul is following the recommended KTM maintenance schedule for the bike in the meantime.
How Many Miles Will A KTM 690 Last?
According to the reports of most users, the KTM 690 is good to last as long as 60,000 miles when maintained and looked after properly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If owners fail to fulfill the maintenance schedule, then they may end up with much less mileage.
At 60,000 miles, the bike is likely to need some major overhaul and may require some key components replaced as with any motorcycle.
If you were to carry out this maintenance, then you should expect the bike to continue working well until it reaches 100,000 miles or beyond, but only with a significant overhaul.
The KTM 690 has undergone many changes in its long history and has come to a point now where the construction is very solid, especially in the engine, brakes, and chassis.
With these critical components strengthened, the rest of the bike naturally doesn’t require much more than the regular maintenance schedule dictates.
How Reliable Are KTM 690s?
KTM bikes with single-cylinder engines are renowned for their reliability overall, especially in the last half-decade or so.
Many KTM models have been revamped and greatly improved in the period between 2015 and 2017, giving them not just better looks, but also more solid engine construction, better reliability, and enhanced performance.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t any problems with the KTM 690 that may need to be addressed by owners.
One in particular that has come to people’s attention is an issue with a leaking rear shock.
The problem with the rear shock leaking is that it is nearly impossible for anyone to DIY this job without major deconstruction. It, therefore, has to be left to KTM professional technicians.
On top of that, there have also been some issues with premature corrosion of the exposed metal components, especially the polished ones.
This means that owners need to take special care to clean and dry these components more frequently, especially if using the bike in any adventure off-road settings, as this will exacerbate the problem.
How Long Do KTM 690s Last Vs. Competitors?
In general, you can expect your KTM 690 to last just as long overall as any of its major competitors such as the 600-700cc varieties of the Kawasaki Ninja range.
They are certainly just as solid in their engine construction as Kawasaki bikes, but perhaps lack the ease of maintenance that Kawasaki owners enjoy overall.
It’s easier to get Japanese brands like Kawasaki and Suzuki models that are similar in size and scope to the KTM 690 over the 60,000-mile mark into the high-mileage ownership area.
That’s not really to say that KTMs are more inherently riddled with problems, but rather than in the competition of reliability between already-reliable brands, the Japanese brands would more likely still emerge on top.
When it comes to toughness, however, the KTM 690 lasts very well in multiple settings.
Like many of its KTM siblings, the 690 has a very strong, solid, and durable build and everything has a premium feel. At the same time, you never feel as though you’re going to break anything when you push the bike a little harder.
It’s like KTMs were made with the expectation that more of their owners would ride them harder than other bike owners dare.
One issue with the rear wheel that KTM 690 owners have reported that some other brands manage to deal with more successfully is the locking up of the rear wheel during downshifts.
On the KTM 690, if you want to stop this, you have to purchase the additional Track Pack, which means added costs, which is hard when the KTM is already priced above quite a lot of the competition.
Which Are The Best And Worst KTM Models?
Besides the KTM 690, the KTM Super Duke 990, which was produced from 2005 to 2013 is probably one of the best models they’ve produced.
The Super Duke 990 offers a great amount of power, but also stunning agility and handling with many pointing out that the bike handles like a much lighter model.
The KTM 690 is still an impressive KTM model and has been much-loved by its owners.
There is a smaller model, the KTM 2-stroke 300cc models (XC-W) are also very popular with adventure and stunt bikers, and we had to highlight it in this piece because the 300 acts in particularly good contrast with the worst model that KTM has likely produced, which is the 450 EXC.
In fairness, the 450 EXC, objectively speaking, is not too bad of a bike. It runs well, handles well, and has the same decent engine-build quality that you’d want from any KTM bike.
Those points are all positive, and necessary because the bike is not cheap to buy. The 450 EXC, however, also was the KTM bike with arguably the most complaints from riders, too.
First, the bike’s underside, chain, sprockets, and other sensitive areas were considered to be overexposed to dirt, grim,e, and other contaminants.
What’s more, they’re none of them easy to clean for any rider.
The bike is light and easy to change position for cleaning, but it’s both difficult and inconvenient to get under there for cleaning.
Speaking of inconvenience, another big problem with the KTM 450 EXC was that if you wanted to make changes to the side panels, you had to essentially deconstruct a big part of the bike, removing the entire airbox.
This makes modification very difficult.
What’s more, stunt bikers complained that you could never securely attach rear turn signals to it because the design meant that a basic stunt like a wheelie would see the turn signals kicked off by the rider every time.
Are KTM 690s Expensive To Maintain?
In the grand scheme of things, the KTM 690 is not among the most expensive bikes to maintain, and that’s because the bike’s solid construction allows for owners to be able to rely on basically sticking to the maintenance schedule to guarantee up to 60,000 miles of use.
For this reason, the KTM 690 is certainly no more than any other bike to maintain, on average, which is about $800 to $1,000 a year excluding gasoline.
How Long Do The Brakes Last?
You should expect the brakes on the KTM 690 to last easily up to 20,000 miles provided that you don’t overtax them.
If you go easy on the brakes and don’t have to do too much extreme emergency stopping, then you might even get 30,000 miles out of them.
How Long Do The Tires Last?
Motorcycle tires typically last up to 5 years maximum, and that’s about the same for KTM bikes, and the KTM 690. Most modern KTM bikes come with Pirelli tires, which are obviously a great brand and can guarantee a nice, long 5-year lifespan.
If you ride the bike frequently, however, and take it off-road, adventure or stunt-biking, then you can expect tires to get worn down within 2,000-3,000 miles.
This is especially true of the rear tire. Other KTM models have been a little infamous for their need for frequent rear tire changes.
How Long Does The Gearbox Last?
The gearbox should last you your 60,000 miles, but it could suffer if the bike is being used by a less experienced rider who isn’t as skilled with gear shifting.
With more extreme usage, the gearbox might need some serious attention when it gets to 20,000 or more miles.
How Long Does The Chain Last?
The KTM chain is very solid and should last about 20,000 miles before needing a change.
Cheaper brands often let riders down with the chain, with the worst ones lasting only about 5,000 miles. KTM shouldn’t let you down in this regard.
What About The Insurance?
The KTM brand is associated with off-road, adventure, and stunt biking. The bikes, therefore, tend to fall into something of an above-average bracket when it comes to insurance.
The national US average for motorcycle insurance is about $700 per year, but you can often expect to pay more than that for a KTM 690.
If it’s an older model and you have a good riding record, you might get it down to the average or even slightly below.
5 Best Tips To Prolong The Lifespan Of Your KTM 690
1. Oil Changes
KTM models are known to some degree for needing frequent oil changes, especially the off-road and adventure models.
Be sure to keep the oil healthy, because, with the power in the 690, it will be easy to create overheating and wear and tear without proper oil changes.
2. Ride the KTM 690 Frequently
Don’t leave your bike sitting there gathering dust and tire rot for long periods of time.
Take it out at least once or twice a week for periods of 40 minutes or more. This will keep the mechanics ticking over nicely.
3. Lubricate the Chain Properly
Keep the chain well lubricated, keeping an eye on its condition every 400-500 miles or so.
If you’ve been riding a lot in a short period, check it every 300 miles. It will extend the chain life and keep the bike running smoothly.
4. Don’t Overtax the Bike
These bikes are built for performance and built to be ridden, but they are not impervious to harm.
Overtaxing the brakes will prematurely wear out the pads and potentially cause damage; overdoing it on the rough ground can wear out the tires too quickly, and pushing it too fast too long might cause overheating.
5. Regular Servicing
On top of everything, follow the maintenance schedule, get your bike checked properly by qualified mechanics to ensure all parts are working properly.
In particular, get the gearbox, clutch cable, brakes, carburetor, exhaust, oil, and filters all inspected, as well as the chain. Follow the recommended schedule, and you won’t go far wrong.