690/701 transmission


Staff member
I started 2020 with the intention of getting geared for DS / light adv fun this year, but Covid happened.
I was finally able to get my M1 last month and scheduled to get my M2 in 3 weeks.
I've tried light adventure bikes, and they are not for me, nor is the 500 for reasons I don't want to get into here.
In all my research and what I want the bike for, I've landed on the 690 / 701.

My biggest concern is the transmission. Given I'm going for the new LC4 with a lean on the 690, I'm buying 19+ new, and it ain't cheap.
Reviews are plentiful on the street ratio of this gearbox. What is not clear in most reviews is the terrain type they were using the bike on, and what I'd argue are probably unrealistic expectations of this bike in the terrain they want to ride e.g.: single track

Is the 1st gear as atrociously tall as everyone says it is?

If you currently own a 690/701 Enduro or SMCR, any year, and wouldn't mind a visit for a short test ride, I'd also be very interested if that's an option...PM / e-mail

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks, Steph


New member
I’ve got a 2012 Enduro R in sumo shoes you’re welcome to come try.

First is definitely on the taller side, I’ve taken it to limerick before with stock knobs/gearing and it was fine.


New member
I am also considering going for a 690 or 701. I've compared it against the 790 and Tenere 700 and think it's best suited for me. Any feedback?


Staff member
I got one in September for dualsport / light adv purposes.
My trail weapon is an XCW 300. I wanted something I could ride to the trails and make day rides out of and eventually multi-day adventure rides ...this bike is my unicorn for this purpose and raked up 4000 km's in 6 weeks.

If you don't mind the vibes, you can snap an older 690 / 701 for cheap now that the new LC4 engine is out (less vibes). New engine is 701 2017+ and 690 2019+

The trellis frame is a thing of wonder, it really is. For all the BS around the gas tank in the back and the "weak" subframe bolts (easy 50$ fix), this negativity comes from people that don't own the bike. It wears it's weight incredibly well. Is it heavy, yes, do you feel like you are riding a big top heavy bike, no. It rides like a big dirt bike. This is by far it's biggest selling point.

I rode Marks 690 before pulling the trigger because of all the mentions of the shitty transmission ratio and weight fear. Yes it has 6 gears, no it's not wide ratio. This is the bikes biggest downfall in my opinion, however, only if you try to make this a highway and single track weapon. The ratios can be corrected by playing with sprocket sizes, but you always end up losing out on one end. The stock ratio is perfect in my opinion. I get highway at 120 km/h comfortably, gravel roads, 2 track, and the occasional single track to chain trails, it works great at that.

Plan to drop some $ on farkles to make this bike a unicorn. The UK emission standards screwed this bike, especially <40% throttle, its really starving for fuel and incredibly frustrating to lug at low throttle. 2019+ model years the stock ECU is now locked, you cannot update the map, nor can your KTM mechanic do it. At a minimum, plan on an exhaust (Wings), aftermarket ECU (Dynotjet, Rottweiler Performance + fuel dongle) and airbox mod (I did Rade garage to also fit a 5.5L aux gas tank under the seat). These 3 mods are a must (gas tank optional). I had to ride the bike stock for the first 1000 km's to break it in, I would of sold the bike if it wasn't for these 3 changes, it was that drastic for me. Keep in mind my daily lugger is a xcw 300 for trail riding. You'll read opinions that none of this is necessary, and that is true for anyone that doesn't try to lug this bike at low rpm's since the air/fuel ratio is pretty good >40% throttle. Check out the Rottweiler video's on this, it's well documented.

The new suspension is also really good. You'll read horror stories of the 4CS being crapola. On the 19+ you have the XPLOR front forks and back shock, they also lowered the bike 2", just great all around with plenty of clearance. My 300 XPLOR forks needed new base valves and a mid-valve on the compression side for trail riding, not this 690. They really dialed in the XPLOR suspension front and back off the floor.

Yes, I love this unicorn and will keep it forever.
It was really expensive to farkle out. If you have money to burn, do it, you won't regret it.


New member
Thanks for the response and detailed info. I'm on a 19' FE 450 right now and had to do some modifications to it as well, they come so lean. I went with a JD fuel injection tuner and that made it feel like a 450 should. I'm a big guy, so I put heavier springs in front/rear and I'm happy with it. I have researched the mods you mention for the 690. Interesting how Husky went with the newer engine sooner (second balancer?) and I would be considering the mods mentioned for sure. I didn't know husky went to the new engine sooner. I'm also very intrigued by the Tenere 700 as of late. My 450 will be set up for more single track/gnarly oriented trail riding and Area 31, yes everyone says it's a big bike and heavy but I don't race and I love the bike. I'm looking for something additional for day trips, or a cruise from Ottawa to Calabogie for a tour then home or similar type adventures. There is a lot to see in the Ottawa area and i'm looking for something to cover some ground on, but also hit the rocky/technical stuff as well. I put over 60hrs on the 450 this year, but i like the idea of a summer evening rip from my garage or a weekend tour to some new destinations while being a little more comfortable and having to do less maintenance. Any input is welcome! Cheers and Merry Christmas!


I just got a 690 and the gear ratios are ok. I'm usually in 3rd or 4th on my 300 at LImerick, With the 690 1st & 2nd on the same trail. But the seat height is way taller than my 300.