One look is enough to tell experienced motorcyclists that this KTM is a great bike for sliding around corners, riding wheelies, doing stoppies, smoothing rough pavement, hitting the random road jump and generally paving over all kinds of life’s roughest spots. In those conditions, the 690 SMC defiantly excels. The element of surprise, though, was finding out how comfortable a commuter this single-cylinder supermoto machine can be.For a 5-foot-8 rider with a 30-inch inseam, the SMC’s 35-inch seat height is a stretch; but once the KTM is underway, its motocross accommodations allow the pilot to move freely around the cockpit in search of a desirable “ergo triangle.” The moto elbow-bend provided by the high/wide handlebar, the relaxed footpeg position and a relatively cushy seat make it easy for the SMC’s rider to get comfortable.
Amazingly smooth-running thanks to a counterbalancer, the 654cc (102 x 80mm), liquid-cooled four-stroke that motivates the SMC uses roller rockers atop its four valves. A 46mm Keihin throttle body with electronic butterfly assistance helps the big Single make 62 exceedingly tractable claimed horsepower. Exhaust gases exit through a cat-equipped stainless steel silencer.
“We knew going in that this machine would be a good-time gizmo, but we were amazed to uncover the SMC’s practical side.”
At a suburban 60 mph in sixth gear, the SMC’s grips are virtually vibration-free, with a tolerable tremor transmitted between the ankles through the chrome-moly trellis frame. As you accelerate to highway cruising speed, there’s still no notable handlebar vibration, even with the need to hang on tighter against the surprising amount of upper-torso airblast the Single is quickly able to generate. The handguards do a nice job of protecting the hydraulic clutch and front-brake master cylinders (please see video).
Another thing that helps the KTM roll so merrily along is the more than 10 inches of suspension travel front and rear provided by its 48mm WP inverted fork and linkage-mounted WP shock—both of which also contribute to the bike’s massive ground clearance. Add 3.5- and 5-inch-wide front/rear 17-inch aluminum rims wrapped in sticky Pirelli sport tires supporting just 305 pounds of motorcycle, and you’re straddling a recipe for real streetbike excitement.
Stopping this supermoto special falls to a single radial-mounted four-piston Brembo caliper and 320mm disc at the bow, with a single-pot, 290mm disc astern. KTM’s excellent APTC slipper clutch keeps rear-wheel chatter to a minimum, just the thing for those sideways corner-entry hacks.
Instrumentation is sparse, though a cool, vertically stacked LCD bar-graph rev-counter makes it easy to keep tabs on the LC4’s relentless march toward its 7500-rpm power peak.
We knew going in that this machine would be a good-time gizmo, but we were amazed to uncover the SMC’s practical side. For sure, $10,298 is not chump change, but backing this KTM into your garage—or into a couple of corners on the way to work—is a great way to add a little excitement to the daily grind.