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Drooooool - KTM 690SMC review
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Drooooool - KTM 690SMC review - March 6, 2008, 01:04 PM

http://www.crash.net/motoring/roadbi....html#pictures

» Home » Road Bikes » News » 2008 KTM 690 SMC - Mossy Rides [More Pictures]2008 KTM 690 SMC - Mossy Rides

Mossy discovers that KTM have built a bike that defines the phrase, "greater than the sum of its parts".

Impressive.


Comment on this Story Words/pics by: Chris Moss/KTM

KTM’s SMC (Supermoto Competition) is one of the three bikes in the new 2008 690LC4 range, and when it comes to thrills and excitement it’s the best of the trio. It’s true that the other two in the line up set a very high standard when it comes to sporting performance, but the SMC just pips them. As far as encouraging stunt riding and lifting spirits, its right up there with the best on the market. Few bikes get a hold of you and make you laugh out loud like this one does. And that happens each and every time you ride it.

I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun on a motorcycle. And it’s been a hell of a long time since I felt so confident when I’ve been riding so close to my own personal limit - something made all the more remarkable given that the roads I was whizzing along were extremely challenging, not to mention very risky. Crashing at virtually any point along the rock-flanked, twisty and undulating Spanish mountain route, where KTMc hose to launch the SMC, would have some pretty nasty consequences. But that still couldn’t stop me having one hell of a time.

A bike has to be pretty special to generate that sort of faith, and even though it’s not got a spec sheet you’d normally associate with a sportsbikeworthy of much praise, there’s no doubt the KTM has plenty of potential to thrill – you’ve just got to be selective with your playgrounds. It’s the highly capable engine and chassis cocktail that gives the SMC such endearing qualities.

If I was to prioritise the high-quality components of this brilliantly balanced package, in as much as how influential they are to the feel of the bike, I’d have to start with the suspension and tyres. Both the WP forks and shock are softly sprung and use up plenty of travel when you’re using the bike harder. But they’re so well damped and controlled, and give such precise feel and feedback that combined with the exceptionally grippy Pirelli rubber, the bike feels just about uncrashable.

On the morning of the test, I got a chance to take the KTM to its edge on a track. Essentially a coned-off car park, the make-shift circuit served as a real test of the ultimate cornering potential of the bike. And it was a test the SMC passed with flying colours.

So tight and tortuous was the circuit that I almost felt dizzy from the scores of laps I completed. The composure of the KTM on the other hand never faltered. And such was the superb feedback from the suspension and tyres, even when they got to the limit of their grip you were the first to know about it and ready to deal with the issue accordingly. Allied to strong progressive brakes and a friendly motor, it wasn’t long before I had total belief in the SMC’s abilities. It was this feeling that made me feel at ease with the bike even when I was riding hard up in the Spanish mountains.

It doesn’t hurt that the KTM only weighs 139.5kilos dry, feels more like a fast bicycle than a motorcycle, and can be dominated and forced to go just where you want it to with ease. It’ll track your chosen line precisely and can always be relied on to stay right on course no matter how bumpy the corner. I only lost tyre adhesion once during my time on the road, and recovered from it instantly thanks to the early warning from the suspension and the rubber. The KTM really is quite a special handling bike.

Part of the flickable and agile feel of the bike has to be down to not only the light weight of the SMC but where that weight is located and distributed. Part of the reason for this could well be where the fuel tank is located. Instead of sitting in the conventional spot in front of the rider, the SMC’s tank sits towards the rear under the seat. I didn’t get the chance to ride the bike when the tank was nearly empty, but even when it had used half the capacity the balance of the KTM still felt very good.

Being only 12 litres large, you’d expect the tank range is probably not going to be too lengthy, but you can bet the single cylinder engine will only sip, rather than sup fuel, so it’ll be good enough to be practical.

The engine is the real surprise of the package and shouldn’t really be able to power the KTM in the spirited manner that it does. The single’s 63bhp power output is only a fraction of what most multi-cylinder engines make these days. But because it’s so punchy and usable, you can be far more aggressive with the throttle and use everything it has with full confidence – even using the ‘extreme’ setting selected on the three-stage power switch.

The chassis balance, brakes and slipper-clutch allow you to charge deep into corners quickly, and getting the power down on the exits was easy on the hairpin-laden route we tested the bike on too. Allied to the high corner speed the SMC could so easily carry, it was often just a case of topping up the pace and maintaining the momentum. Hanging on to the speed wasn’t the challenge you expected. It’s far more rewarding having to ride carefully and accurately to keep the average speed high, than knowing you could just make up for errors and lost time by relying huge power to claw back what you lose. The KTM

is a great bike for teaching you how to ride at your best, regardless of your level of experience.

It didn’t hurt that the test route was tight and narrow and brought out the very best in the bike. But even on the motorway, the KTM could sit at 100mph all day long if you wanted (not that he tried that of course... ahem – Ed). Thanks to the counterbalance shaft making the engine smooth, and the naked bike somehow giving more protection at speed than you’d think, it wasn’t a chore to sit at three figure speeds for extended periods. The SMC is hardly what you’d call an all-rounder, but it can tackle a lot more than most think it would. Only the lofty seat might present a problem to some from time to time.

As a scratcher the KTM is brilliant, though it does pay to choose just the right roads to fully appreciate this aspect of the bike. In town, provided you’re tall enough to get your feet down at the lights, and can tolerate the average steering lock, the 690 is also well-suited. And it can cope quite nicely with the odd longer trip now and again too, though you shouldn’t expect too many VFR-like luxuries and practicalities
But what it can do and deliver in quantity is fun and heaps of it. Its simple and basic design lends itself to this sort of satisfaction. And the bonus of all the KTM’s entertainment value is that it comes at much more sensible speeds than it does on some of the bigger sportsbikes.

Bikes making under 65bhp and able to crack only 120mph might not sound like they add up to much in theory. But as the 690 SMC proves, sometimes it’s not just the figures that are important, but what they add up to that really counts.

STAT BOX

KTM 690 SMC

Price: £6,195
Performance: 120mph

Engine
Type: liquid cooled, four-valve, sohc, single cylinder
Displacement: 654cc
Bore x Stroke: 100 x 60mm
Compression: 11.8:1
Power (claimed): 63bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque (claimed): 47lb/ft @ 6,000rpm
Carburation: Keihin fuel-injection with EPT and 46mm throttle bodies
Gearbox: six-speed

Suspension
Front: 48mm inverted telescopic forks, fully adjustable
Rear: cantilever monoshock, fully adjustable (including high and low speed compression damping)

Brakes
Front: 330mm disc with four-piston radial caliper
Rear: single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper

Wheels/Tyres
Front: Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa Pro, 120/70-17
Rear: Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa Pro, 160/60-17

Chassis:
Type: Steel-tubed trellis
Rake/trail: 27degrees / 115mm
Seat

height:
900mm
Wheelbase: 1,480mm
Fuel capacity: 12litres
Dry weight: 139.5kg
Contact: 01280 709500, www.ktm.co.uk



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March 20, 2008, 01:24 PM

Oh dear god now what have they done!!!! I wonder if I can trade in or sell the 690SM?


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March 20, 2008, 01:47 PM

I was wondering why you didnt wait for that one Dodge


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March 20, 2008, 02:24 PM

overblown! :-p


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March 20, 2008, 04:27 PM

Is this bike substantially better than 625SMC? If so, in what ways?
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March 20, 2008, 04:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold
Is this bike substantially better than 625SMC? If so, in what ways?

More power.
Fuel injected.
Slipper clutch.
Sixth gear.
Tach.

Just to name a few.
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March 20, 2008, 05:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rddy
More power.
Fuel injected.
Slipper clutch.
Sixth gear.
Tach.

Just to name a few.
counter balanced....

I have the SXC 625 Motard - it's the same as the SMC minus the emissions crap.. and a slightly smaller swing arm - but they both have the 625 High Flow head - mines been regeared to more street orientated and has the smc carb - etc....

You could hang a can of paint from a handlebar and it would mix it up nicely... It's not bad when you are moving around on the seat and actually riding to ride it.... but it sucks if you are just droning along...

Friend of mine will have the 1st one in the area - it's good to work for the dealer... I will get a 1st hand report when i steal it from him.. errrr borrow it for a bit..


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March 20, 2008, 05:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondahawkrider
counter balanced....

I have the SXC 625 Motard - it's the same as the SMC minus the emissions crap.. and a slightly smaller swing arm - but they both have the 625 High Flow head - mines been regeared to more street orientated and has the smc carb - etc....

You could hang a can of paint from a handlebar and it would mix it up nicely... It's not bad when you are moving around on the seat and actually riding to ride it.... but it sucks if you are just droning along...

Friend of mine will have the 1st one in the area - it's good to work for the dealer... I will get a 1st hand report when i steal it from him.. errrr borrow it for a bit..
Ask him to put me down for the 2nd one!
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March 20, 2008, 09:28 PM

Well I needed a bike asap to commute on. I may have something in the works.


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March 20, 2008, 09:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge131
Well I needed a bike asap to commute on. I may have something in the works.
for an inter city commuter.. nothing is better that a 'tard....


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