The 2016 KTM 690 Duke and Duke R are more powerful and refined than ever before, and now also get a host of electronics. Big single-cylinder engines aren't for everyone, but for thumper fans, this is the real deal
KTM have updated the 690 Duke for 2016, with the bike’s 690cc single-cylinder engine now being Euro4 compliant. The largest-capacity, most powerful single-cylinder motorcycle engine currently in production (which now has two balancer shafts instead of one), this unit produces 73 horsepower and 68Nm of torque, and is smoother and more refined than ever before.
Apart from the new engine, the 2016 690 Duke gets revised steering geometry for improved stability, an on-board multi-function computer, ride-by-wire throttle, new instrument panel with colour TFT display, and an optional track pack that includes traction control and multiple riding modes, including rain and sport.
With the first KTM Duke having been launched way back in 1994, the Austrian company (now 47% owned by Indian company, Bajaj Auto) has never stopped evolving the bikes and the new 690 Duke is a proper sportsbike with hard-hitting real world performance combined with a healthy dose of practicality. For hard-core sportsbike fans, there’s also the new 690 Duke R, with an Akrapovič exhaust, 75bhp and 74Nm of torque (2bhp and 6Nm more than the standard bike) and a wider powerband.
As before, the 2016 KTM 690 Duke gets high-spec fully adjustable suspension from WP, braking components from Brembo, a light and stiff trellis-type chassis made of chrome-molybdenum steel, and lean-angle-sensitive Bosch 9+ two-channel ABS. The bike, which weighs about 145kg dry, rides on 17-inch cast-aluminium wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) ZR-rated rubber.
Big thumpers are not for everyone, but if you liked the previous-gen 690 Duke, you’ll probably love the 2016-spec model even more. As for us, we’d just take the new 1290 Super Duke GT and be done with it.