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Sep 28th 2018, 10:12 AM   #1
 Pavement Tested's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  '08 GSX1300R, '06 GSX-R 750, '17 KTM 690 Duke
KTM 690 Duke or Suzuki DRZ-400SM?

First let me say that I know these 2 bikes aren't direct replacements for each other but the Duke is considered to be an SM and they both seem to meet my goal.

I'm looking for a change of pace in riding on the street. I used to be that guy who had to set land speed records everywhere I went. I paid a price for that and learned to get my speed fix on the track so I've slowed down on the street. I currently have a '12 Concours14 that is my daily and an '08 Busa in reserve for those sunny day rips. I feel that both bikes are essentially the same and one needs to go.

Reasoning for eliminating one over the other:
I bought the Conny with the intention of riding the US 4 corners during the summer of '17 since my Triumph ST wasn't gonna hack it. Things didn't work out and I didn't make the trip. When I got it, it was priced well and made sense despite my lack of enthusiasm for the Kawasaki brand of motorcycles.

I've been a Suzuki fan for a long time, having had 2 Gen 1 Busa's in the past and doing a cross country trip on one of them. I just happened to walk into a local dealership one day last year and fell in love with an '08 Busa they had sitting there. It only had 1910 miles on it! I traded my Triumph for it, developed a love/hate relationship with it over the next few months while working out the years of neglect while it was sitting and now I don't think I'll ever let it go.

I've been chatting with friends about a change up to a bike that is smaller and a bit more nimble. One that would be fun on short rides and be decent to make my daily work commute which is only a few miles. A buddy recently got a DRZ-400SM and let me borrow it the last few days. I enjoyed riding it but don't know that I'll be really happy with one because I come up with more negative things about the bike than positive things. I know it's a proven bike that's virtually bullet proof and there are plenty of aftermarket upgrades available for improving it but I don't want to sacrifice reliability for more performance which is very often the case when doing things like increasing displacement etc.

I've also always been a KTM fan having dreams of owning an RC8 some day and have admired the Duke line for quite some time. If my wife ever decides she wants to learn to ride I fully intend to get her a 390. I like the fact that they're fuel injected and they're priced in the same ball park as the DRZ.

I'm interested in tracking whatever I get as a change of pace for my GSX-R 750 and I feel that a 690 would be a little closer to riding position and performance than a DRZ. Suspension work will be in order for both bikes since I'm heavier than the average rider. I'm also taller than the average rider at 6'2" and don't know if I'd be cramped on a 690.

So I'd like to have some feedback from both sides. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Sep 28th 2018, 01:15 PM   #2
 Sentinel's Avatar
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Harlequin
I've been eye-balling another 690 Duke. I had a 2010 and I liked it - sorta. False neutrals and it would stall sometimes. Well, often. And it shed bolts all over the road. I had an on-going Loc-Tite program. That said - it was fun as hell.

For me, if the FZ07 was half a hair better, I'd go for that over the 690. It is a bit heavier, but that twin cylinder motor is a lot easier on the body than the big single.

The 690 is a paint shaker.

I'd not do the DRZ. Over-priced. IMO.

Of the two - the 690 is WAY better.

Surprised no one has told you to get a SV650.

Or you could be a Real Man and buy a new 790 Duke and let us all know how that goes.

Sep 28th 2018, 01:43 PM   #3
 Mudslinger's Avatar
  Sep 2016

  Africa Twin
Or you could wait to see if the Yamaha TENERE 700 is any good. If not then I'd go with the DUUUUUUke.
Attached Thumbnails
KTM 690 Duke or Suzuki DRZ-400SM?-fbb0610f-d632-428b-ba5b-e307e7568c62.jpg  
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Sep 28th 2018, 02:21 PM   #4
 HTS's Avatar
  Jan 2016

It sounds like HP is a major factor for you and that is not the DRzís strong suit. The Drz can be tuned for a bit more grunt without sacrificing reliability; was your buddyís bike stock? FCR carb or at minimum jet kit, air filter and Airbox mod, full exhaust... gearing changes are easy and doesnít affect speedo/odo. This wonít change it into a track monster but it sure turns a commute or a day ride with friends into a good time. It will keep up with almost anything in corners and handles very well.

I bought my Ď05 in 2009 for 3500 and Iím sure it would sell for the same today; they havenít changed over the years so they hold value pretty good if you find a cared for used example. Mine satisfies my inner hooligan just fine!
Sep 28th 2018, 07:00 PM   #5
 paradox206's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Des Moines

  690 SMC R, XR650R, M1200S, VFR800, & GSXR750
I enjoyed my DRZ SM for commuting, but it wasn't enough. I miss it for sentimental reasons, but that's it. After that, commuting with the sport bike hurt, the sport touring was heavy and the Monster is a little too much power and a little cramped (I'm also 6'2"). My xr650r is an enjoyable amount of power and the seat position is comfortable while allowing for a better view of traffic.

So saying that, I'd go for the 690 Duke. I'd get some Knight Design lowering pegs for commuting (love them on my VFR) and keep the stock ones around for the track. Freeway handler and urban assault bike.
Sep 29th 2018, 07:37 AM   #6
 bcj's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  teh rock

  K1200RS SV650
I don't really favor single cylinder bikes much larger than 350 or so.
Tiny multiples are more complicated than the weight trade off in my mind.
When you get into larger singles the extra weight slamming around brings the vibes.

Once I got an F650 BMW as a courtesy bike while my K was in for service.
The front fender was bouncing around all over. Only 1 bolt out of four loosely holding it on.
I took it right back. Would never be confident that something else might be falling apart.
On a dealer bike. Oh well.

The naked SV has been a solid performer since I got it in '08.
Had the valves checked and new sprockets and chain at 20k, but nothing since.
I've got new plugs for it, but still havn't put them in. It keeps going with no complaints.
It rattled the left footpeg loose once early on, but blue loctite put that to rights ever since.
Those are the only mechanicals it's needed. I did get a rear shock and might get front springs. Someday.

It's no speed machine, or I don't treat it that way.
More than I could ask for as a commuter or suburb explorer.

Edited by bcj on Sep 29th 2018 at 07:40 AM
Sep 29th 2018, 11:47 AM   #7
  Mar 2016

  '14 KTM Duke 690, '08 BMW K12GT, '05 BMW R12ST
I've a 690. I call it Mr. Snappy.

Great torque. Great Suspension. Get the KTM aftermarket seat, or live to regret the stock seat. I dropped the front in the clamps, about 1.5" . . . much better.

I've had the F650GS, and now the KTM. I'm not sure I agree with the above's comments about vibration and loose bolts. Never an issue for me on either bike. Yes, a single vibes more than a twin, a twin vibes more than a 4. No surprise.

I'm in the process of disabling the rear brake's ABS, so I can have a bit more fun.

You can light up the rear at will, lift the front too easily.

Generally, this bike is "Instant JackAss, just add rider."

Edited by FireDave on Sep 29th 2018 at 11:50 AM
Sep 29th 2018, 02:15 PM   #8
 Pavement Tested's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  '08 GSX1300R, '06 GSX-R 750, '17 KTM 690 Duke
Thanks for all the feedback. I hadn't considered an SV650 for the street. To be honest, I don't think it's quite what I'm looking for. However, I have been a little interested in one as a track only bike to replace my 750. That's something for the future tho.

Conveniently enough Suzukis and KTMs are dealt out of the same shop local to me so I went to have a look. They have an '18 DRZ but as was stated above, I think it's priced high for what it is and after having gone on a few rides I find it too "dirt bikey". I do want a dirt machine eventually but question how much I'll want to put my mostly street with some track bike in the dirt. I don't want to run duals purpose SM tires and if I have to swap wheels every time I want to hit the dirt, I probably never will.

They also have 2 left over '17 Dukes that are priced to move. I sat on one and found it to be bigger than I expected which is a good thing. I was concerned about being cramped and it proved to not be the case. SO, I worked out a deal that I can live with, dropped a deposit and will see what the bank says.

Side note, I have a 2012 Concours14 for sale...
Sep 30th 2018, 06:35 AM   #9
 Sentinel's Avatar
  Jun 2016
  Poor Tortured

  2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Harlequin
What did they let you have the Duke for?

I am Jonesing for one (but I'm gonna keep my C14) but the used market price is just a tic over what I want to pay.
Sep 30th 2018, 06:42 AM   #10
 Willow's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Silverdale, WA

  848evo, DRZ400SM, XR100
Can't wait to see it!
Sep 30th 2018, 08:29 AM   #11
 Pavement Tested's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  '08 GSX1300R, '06 GSX-R 750, '17 KTM 690 Duke
Originally Posted by Sentinel
What did they let you have the Duke for?

I am Jonesing for one (but I'm gonna keep my C14) but the used market price is just a tic over what I want to pay.
The deal is not done yet so I'll hold off on the details for now. The dealership claims that they're losing money on the bike tho.

I'm not trading my C14 for it cuz they have 3 there already (2 '09s on consignment and a new leftover)and were taking in a 4th (another '12 with less miles and more accessories) the day I went to work a deal. I understand their reluctance to have 5 C14s on the lot so they didn't offer me top dollar. In the grand scheme of things I will do better because they ate half of the tax credit money I would have had to pay and I'll get more for the C14 private sale.

Originally Posted by Willow
Can't wait to see it!
I'm just hoping I'll be able to show it!
Sep 30th 2018, 09:50 AM   #12
 PeteN95's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Muklilteo, WA

  Suzuki DL1000, Honda XR650R, KTM 250 XC-W
Great choice, as the '16 and newer Dukes have the secondary counter balancer in the head and are said to be the smoothest, most powerful singles made!
Sep 30th 2018, 05:50 PM   #13
 liberpolly's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  Ducati Diavel, Aprilia Scarabeo
Duke is a very fun bike, congrats!
Oct 1st 2018, 06:55 PM   #14
  Jan 2016
  Gig Harbor

  BMW F650GS / BMW R12R
Hey, Pavement Tested...if things havenít gone too far down the road with that 690 Duke perhaps you might want to wait to take a look at this new Indian when it becomes available. It looks pretty awesome, and probably doesnít ride like a typical 1200 V-Twin.
Oct 1st 2018, 07:41 PM   #15
 Pavement Tested's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  '08 GSX1300R, '06 GSX-R 750, '17 KTM 690 Duke
Originally Posted by FidalgoRob
Hey, Pavement Tested...if things havenít gone too far down the road with that 690 Duke perhaps you might want to wait to take a look at this new Indian when it becomes available. It looks pretty awesome, and probably doesnít ride like a typical 1200 V-Twin.
I'm picking it up tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestion. However, the Indian is not at all what I'm looking for, never mind the $15,000 base price. I'd say it's more competition for the 1290 Super Duke which I have no interest in, but if I was I'd still go with the KTM. It's about the same price, readily available, is lighter and makes more HP and torque than the Indian. Just saying...

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