KTM 690 Supermoto - aka SM (the one with the funny beak)

Hi Guys,

Looking for a bit of advice:

Thinking of buying a ~2008 KTM 690 SM as a day2day workhorse, small budget means it will be around a 2008 bike;

  • 1 to 4 times a week commuting across the year, each trip 25 miles total journey but its all London City miles (but max around 4k miles a year in total)
  • All weathers use, including emergency riding volunteering late at night, mostly B roads with a bit of A road
  • Country lanes fun on weekends with friends
  • A tiny bit of motorways, here and there to visit friends “up norfffff” or one off trips
  • Will fit heated grips as its a must for me
  • Will be kept under a cover when not in use, but will always be living outdoors. Rarely be in a garage…
    (I will do the usual and look for bikes with low mileage, low number of owners, lots of service, looked after etc)

My questions for any experienced LondonBiker reps:

  1. Is KTM reliability good enough to cope with the living outdoors under a cover for the next 3 years (lenght of time I’ll probably keep it). I have previously owned Yamaha and BMW, hence am used to very good reliability and bikes that start up no matter how cold it is and if I haven’t used them for a couple of weeks
  2. Are these bikes actually reliable in general? Won’t be falling to bits after a while? I hear horror stories of misting speedometers etc, any of it true?
  3. Is KTM independents for services quite reasonable? I don’t expect uber cheap, but on par with BMW or a lot more expensive?
  4. How bad are the service intervals? I mean in real life compared to what I read officially on KTM? Expensive every time or quite reasonable? Every 3k miles seems quite a lot!
  5. Its a single cylinder but on a plus I keep hearing the engine is “not that vibey”… true?
  6. Basically, am I mad to consider this as my next bike?

I am thinking about the KTM 690 as I have always gone for what I would term “grandad jack of all trades” bikes. 800cc ish bikes that have ABS and do a grand job of doing everything I want ok, 5/10.

My thinking was - what the hell, lets go for a bike that is excellent at one thing (fun fun fun!) but is going to be a pain for everything else. But at least I will remember the fun moments.

Problem is that I have just had my first child, hence can’t really afford a bike that is “fun” but then ends up costing thousands to fix all the time and doesnt start up in the mornings when I need to get to work (high pressure job, need confidence that the bike will get me there when I need to get there).

Thanks for reading and all comments welcome.

From what you’re saying it sounds like a supermoto is not the right type of bike, especially if the distance up north is quite long?

They are lovely bikes and the newer you get have become more reliable and comfortable to live with (unlike my 05 625 SMC) but I’m not sure they are designed for long trips .
3K miles is not that much if you consider you’ll only do about 4K in a year? MY GSR had a 4,000 mile service interval. Also from my old SM, it was a lot lot cheaper - single cylinder. A few things did break on mine periodically but very rarely things that would keep me from using it (i.e. speedon not working, indicator not working etc etc - nothing major :D). Only thing was with mine that as time passed after last service, so it struggled a bit more.

However I never got to 3,000 on mine, always serviced it sooner… but they were a lot less than the GSR. Finding a guy who knows KTMs might be very adviseable though. I use a guy in Sussex who used to be a dealer but is now independent… where abouts are you? :slight_smile:

Thanks Serrisan,

I’m Wimbledon based. Speedometer not working can be a big and costly problem though…

Will see if anyone else also comes with any feedback.

Don’t forget though mine was part of the agricultural range of ktms that shook so much, they broke a lit of irelevant things. The later versiin were a lot softer

I’ve got a 2010 690 enduro r and have used it for the odd commute, but not every day.
4k miles per year should be doable on a 2008. I’d make sure it’s got a decent service history prior to buying it. All the major services should of already been done once for that age of bike.

Im on my 2nd 690 now, great engines and will do everything you’ve mentioned and will be fun to ride. I would go for 690 smc over 690sm, more Fun :smiley: But i use it for weekend fun only!!!

Very reliable engines, for singles :wink: misting speedometers was the problem 2008-09.
Another big problem; if not garaged, it could be stolen, its popular bike.

My 990 used to live out doors under a cover, started fine every day, no problems. Exhaust headers can be prone to corrosion so check before you buy and acf50 them, chromed spoked wheels are best avoided as the chrome peels off and the spokes rot. Generally KTMs are reliable bikes now, and a lot of fun. I have done over 20k on mine inc commuting and only very recently after the bike had sat for about 6 weeks did it not start. 20mins on the charger and it was all back to normal. Get a very good lock and a ground anchor if you can, popular with scrotes.

Heap of shite, buy a BMW…

Thanks for the eloquent and well argued points ijg5… ;p

As to the others, thanks especially re misting speedometer, that would be a big expensive problem for me if it goes wrong…

The outdoor living 990 was good to see, just got to make a decision and go from there. I just don’t want to pay lots of money for replacement parts going wrong all the time that’s all…

I’ve 120k between two KTMs and if looked after they are the best bikes, and both have lived very outdoor lives.