Monday, October 7, 2013

Ridden: KTM 690 SMC

Its 5:49 on a crisp Sunday morning. The mist rises from the winding asphalt road which cuts a path through the humbling mountain range. Birds are singing amongst the trees in their usual harmonious tone. However, they are soon interrupted as a roaring thunder approaches. Suddenly the mountains awake with a trembling shudder as the new 690 SMC appears around a bend and within a few seconds, all is peaceful again.
Welcome to KTM’s 690 SMC which is built for the adrenalin filled world of Supermoto, characterized by squealing tyres, high performance bikes, and near vertical wheelies and endos. The Supermoto class began by taking MX bikes and fitting them with road going tyres and racing each other around tight twisty tracks. To win requires rapid acceleration and powerful breaks not to mention extreme lean angles. KTM has dominated this segment of the market for years and this has further been cemented into place with their new 690 SMC following on from the successful 660.

The 690 SMC features a single cylinder 654cc engine producing 46.3kw’s and 64 nm’s of torque. This powerful motor revs all the way to 8000rpm and links up to a six speed gearbox. Brembo supplies a 320mm front dist with 4 pot caliper and at the rear a 240mm floating disc with single piston. The slipper clutch is a dream to operate and delivers the power to the super sticky 160 section Pirelli Supercorsa pro. The suspension on the SMC is fully adjustable and provides great feedback to the rider and turn in is also sharp thanks to the MX style wide handle bars. The SMC definitely displays great agility through the twisties leaving superbikes in the dust. Another interesting feature is the fuel tank which is incorporated in a plastic molded rear fender. This is by far the best looking Supermoto on the market in my opinion.
The combination of super sticky tyres and trick suspension make this a fantastic bike to ride on the road or track, and although the seating position is relatively high, this does mean extra ground clearance which is perfect for hoping curbs and ramping speed bumps. The brakes are excellent, and speed is scrubbed off easily which is a requirement as the new LC4 engine accelerates rapidly throughout all the gears with the front wheel often leaving the ground.
However, if there is a criticism, it’s that rider comfort isn’t the best because of the narrow seat but then again this is a purpose built bike, designed to thrash through the Supermoto track. Fun is provided in abundance on the SMC and because its road legal traffic jams are a worry of the past, not to mention the fact that lane splitting is made easy thanks to the compact frame.

The LC4 KTM engine contains a balancer shaft which provides a smooth ride and the exhaust tone is a thunderous symphony awakening all that stands in the path of the 690 SMC. Considering the dry weight is 139.5 Kg’s the power to weight ratio is substantial and fellow Supermoto riders will appreciate the rapid acceleration.
If you are looking for a bike that provides great thrills, inspires confidence and gives most other bikes a damn good thrashing through that mountain pass, then look no further.

Trick engineering
Uncomfortable seat (who cares?)
Burnt a hole through my new tracksuit pants

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