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EICMA 2012: Last morsel – the 690 DUKE R

We’ve still to look at the Red Bull Rookies machine for 2013 (that will be done with a bit of help from Sandro in the coming days) but the last streetbike we wanted to highlight from the EICMA show in Milan is the new 690 DUKE R.

For all those heading to the Italian city over the coming week, don’t miss out the chance to swing a leg over this fetching sporty version of the popular single …



The 690 DUKE made a splash on its launch last year where it became a tremendously big seller for KTM. Now the new R model for 2013 takes the sporty emphasis up a notch with a range of added-on features such as a new Akrapovič exhaust, milled and orange anodised triple clamps, a sturdy guardrail, new footpegs and a light alloy machined, radially mounted Brembo M50 unit with the now fully adjustable upside-down forks. The new WP rear shock (with reservoir) provides all possible settings for separate high-speed and low-speed compression damping. The bike has increased the fun factor but can easily be tamed thanks to the latest ABS system from Bosch.

The birth of the 690 R derives from the adventures and development in the European Junior Cup, which this year was contested with race-prepared 690 DUKEs at selected rounds of the World Superbike Championship. The heat of the action on the track helped cast the modifications to the 690, thus creating the R and forging the most sophisticated and powerful four-stroke single cylinder on the market with 70hp pulling at the chain; several more than the standard model.

The 690 DUKE R is a firmly geared towards the rider who wants to edge their knee closer to the tarmac. The chassis is damped higher, tighter and harder. The upside-down fork honours the separation of rebound (in the right fork) and rebound (in the left). Sensitive response is guaranteed for optimal grip when it gets tough on the limit. By permitting fine detail adjustments the WP rear shock allows easy setting for a comfortable ride on winding roads as well as for the crisp rush on the racetrack with slick tyres.

It looks mean, moody and marvellously ready for a blast. Fancy a go?

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