My dealer has a 690 to demo, so I stopped by and took her for a whirl. My test loop included four miles of twisty two-lane roads, some urban traffic, and a little single track.
The bike looks darn good in person and has a high feel of quality to it. The bike is tall, but not too tall for me. I'm 5'8" w/ a 30" inseam.
The motor has some serious grunt. You could easily spin the rear wheel in the first three gears on gravel covered tarmac. When on the paved road, the bike has no problem getting up to speed and overtaking cars, if needed. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test it out on higher speed straights to see how it did in terms of keeping speed and the buzziness of the motor.
The seat is a little firm, you can tell KTM intends for this bike to spend most of it's time off road. That point is further extenuated with the OEM knobby tires.
So, I took the bike to some single track trails on property owned by the dealer. This big bike has some single-track potential to it. I rode my DR to the dealer and the KTM definitely felt lighter. Of course, it is at only 300 lbs.
The biggest disappointment to me was the turning radius of the bike. It does not have a lot of opposite lock comparred to other off-road bikes I've ridden. In fact, the 690 Enduro has the least amount of opposite lock comparred to these other bikes. Heck, my Super Duke has more opposite lock! I'm not sure how KTM managed this engineering goof. I'm sure the engineers intend for you to turn the bike using the throttle anyhow.
Regardless, the bike is amazing!
I'm just not sure if it's right for me. I need to figure out how I want to use a dual sport right now. I'm leaning towards something I could attack the fireroads around my area with confidence (handling / ability confidence and bike can take the abuse confidence). But, I would also like something that I could put hard luggage on and take long trips up north to Canada, Michigan, and New England where the roads are less twisty and less smooth thanks to the harsh winters.
There are nice luggage options for the 690 Enduro starting to emerge which would convert the bike to more of a modern Adventure, if you will. I'll need to wait and see what comes out for it.
In contention would have to be the BMW 800GS. Though I doubt the baby GS will have the off-road prowless of the Enduro, it would be nice to have the smoother twin engine for the longer hauls.
Only time, a few more test rides, and potential future year-end bonuses will tell where I end up.