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KTM 690 En­duro R £7899 v Husq­varna 701 En­duro £7999

Again, both bikes share the same twin-plug 690 sin­gle-cylin­der en­gine, the same frame and have sim­i­lar forks and brakes. The Husky has a slightly larger fuel tank (13 litres to the KTM’S 12) and mi­nor styling tweaks, but not much more than that.

On the road both bikes feel sim­i­lar, the most ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence be­ing the KTM’S more road-bi­ased Met­zeler tyres. They give a lit­tle more con­fi­dence on tar­mac plus a lit­tle ex­tra sta­bil­ity es­pe­cially on long, fast cor­ners. How­ever, the Husky’s more dirt-bi­ased Con­tis make a real dif­fer­ence off-road.

When the go­ing gets tough, the KTM strug­gles as its tyres start to clog up with mud and sim­ply turn into slicks, of­fer­ing no grip. They are fine rid­ing down grav­elly lanes and on firm off-road sur­faces but strug­gle in deep mud. The more knob­bly tyres on the Husky of­fer more grip in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, which in turn gives more con­fi­dence. As a rel­a­tive of­froad novice, I felt more com­fort­able on the Husky as the front gave more feed­back and more grip. It’s worth not­ing, though, that both bikes share the same wheels so you could sim­ply fit the dif­fer­ent rub­ber.

The Husky has more sus­pen­sion travel, con­firm­ing it as the eas­ier ride when the go­ing got hard. The ABS is iden­ti­cal on both bikes and can be de-ac­ti­vated, but we de­cided to leave it on, even in deep mud. It works well in this en­vi­ron­ment and is per­fect for in­ex­pe­ri­enced riders.

Ex­perts will scoff, of course, and will prob­a­bly con­sider th­ese bikes too heavy and big to be con­sid­ered se­ri­ous off road­ers. How­ever, in our hands, on-mild-to-easy go­ing they were help­ful, fun and safe. What’s more, when you’re rid­ing home tired and wet you can cruise hap­pily along at 75mph, cov­er­ing se­ri­ous miles that would be well be­yond a proper en­duro bike.

MCN Ver­dict

Price is the prob­lem here. Both en­duro ver­sions come in at just un­der £8000. I know ded­i­cated smalle- ca­pac­ity en­duros from both man­u­fac­tur­ers aren’t much cheaper (Husky’s FE 350 is £7699), but eight grand for a bike you’re go­ing to bounce over rocks seems ex­ces­sive to me.

SUB­SCRIBE TO­DAY… Op­tion 1 Print 13 is­sues for £21.25 when you pay quar­terly by di­rect debit Op­tion2 Dig­i­tal 13 is­sues for £16.75 when you pay quar­terly by di­rect debit Both bikes’ ABS worked well ofoff-f-road Light and ag­ile, Husky’s tyres helped Op­tion 3

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