Friday, February 5, 2010

2010 KTM LC4 Single Cylinder

Compact, lightweight, powerful and reliable. The 2010 KTM 690cc LC4 engine would be a fantastic unit to use in the VUN.

Weighing only 38kg and putting out 70hp the LC4 is in a different league than any other single cylinder engine on the market. The VUN's Rotax 650 only puts out 54hp by comparison.

A single overhead camshaft to operate the 4-valves keeps the cylinder head compact and light while the central balance shaft keeps primary vibrations to a minimum.

The engine also features an anti-slip clutch which is an important feature for large, single-cylinder engines. This ensures maximum control when entering a corner at speed by preventing rear wheel chattering.

Putting it to the test

This all sounds great on paper but what is this engine actually like to use? Is it a good peak performance engine at the expense of ridability or is it strong all round?

To help answer these questions I took a 2009 specification KTM 690 Duke on a test ride through the winding forested roads of Auckland's Waitakere Ranges.

First up: a start-stop ride through city traffic and a quick pit stop at the Hardware Cafe on the southern end of Auckland's Scenic Drive.

The LC4 engine proves to be tractable with plenty of acceleration at low RPM. This makes it very easy to ride in city conditions. But it is on Scenic Drive, the tortuously tight and twisting road that passes over the Waitakere Ranges where the KTM really proves its worth. Riding a light weight, nimble single on these roads reminds me exactly why I chose to buy a VUN. It is just one heck of a lot of fun.

The LC4's power is impressive. It is plentiful at low RPM but when you wind up to around 8,000 rpm you really feel a good kick of acceleration. It is hard to believe that all this power is coming from a single-cylinder engine. The 2009 model I rode has about 15% less power than the new 2010 model so this year's model must be really something.

The Duke handles really well and it is an all-round nice bike, well built with top quality components. For me the riding position felt too high and too upright. I prefer to sit into the bike and I am used to the prone sports bike riding position. The whole time I was riding this bike I just kept thinking... imagine this engine in my VUN.

A big thank you to Auckland Motorcycles and Power Sports (AMPS) for entrusting me with their test bike. Anyone in the Auckland region wanting a good deal on the last KTM Duke they have should head down to their showroom in Newmarket right away.

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