The KTM 690 Enduro. Ah, the independent candidate. Weary of the establishment and the moronic tendencies of the two party system, the independent scorns convention and shows open contempt for partisan ways. He’s the longshot who often has superior credentials, but circumstances (or media assassins hired by the Big Two) usually dictate a cruel yet inevitable demise.
That trend may continue in this election. The deck is stacked against the 690 Enduro, primarily because I am truly unworthy of this race-inspired machine. Even though I’m good about riding within my limits, you don’t give a Ferrari to a 16 year old. And while I’m not a complete lost cause off-pavement (I did manage to survive 1100 such South American miles), I am hardly the jockey to crack the whip on this dualsport thoroughbred. Certain high quality pieces of gear or equipment should be earned, methinks. They shouldn’t sell magnificence to someone whose only credentials are sufficiently deep pockets.
Speaking of that, the KTM blasts through the $10k sticker barrier with the greatest of ease, and that’s before Farkle #1. Hmmm.
All four of the bikes have some aspect to them that goes against conventional logic. So in that sense, the KTM fits in just fine.
The KTM is similar to the BMW in that these bikes offer the promise of grand adventure to compensate for any visual shortcomings. Nevertheless, the Enduro is pretty sharp looking to my eyes. There’s nothing wasted; it’s a clean design that’s all business. Though, I sure would like an alternative to the Happy Halloween paint scheme.
Another single-cylinder thumper, the heart of the KTM is lightweight, reliable, and returns a marvelous 75-80 MPG. Where the BMW inexplicably is limited to just five gears, the Enduro has a full six pack that’s fully welcome when you hit the pavement or an open highway (not that asphalt is the KTM’s primary mission). The 2014 twin-spark version supposedly addresses some of the high speed buzz that has numbed hands from Mattighofen to San Diego.
The KTM bestowed an instant level of comfort and confidence, and that’s a big part of what got it included in this election cycle. With an impossibly beautifully high seat, I felt the same jubilation that only tall people can understand when they step into a hotel bathroom and discover the shower head is mounted at seven feet instead of five.
As is the way with performance machines, less is more. As in, less weight equals more money. The Enduro is a wonderful 345 lb fully gassed, a massive 75 pounds lighter than the BMW. That’s like tossing my ten-year-old nephew off the back of the bike. And as any solo adventurer will attest, every pound matters when it comes time to lift the bike back up on loose sand with a 60 MPH Argentine wind trying to blow you back over.
If I admit I’m not really good enough to exploit it, I surely ain’t good enough to improve it.
So why is the KTM even in the discussion? Well, because I rode one recently, then rode it again a few days later, and I loved it. I loved how its mere presence would encourage me to get my meager off-pavement skills more in line with my reasonably capable on-pavement skills.
Still, the fact remains that I would be far smarter to get something more appropriate (and dull, and unexciting, and less inspiring) while I earn my dirt and gravel chops.
But I’m not very smart.