KTM RC8 R (2009 - present) review

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Thu, 4 Jun 2009 - 12:06

Details
Manufacturer:
KTM
Category:
Sportsbikes
Price:
£ 14995
Overall
4
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Perhaps because KTM are best known for producing some of the best off-road competition machines of recent times, when the RC8 arrived a year ago many people expected KTM’s first attempt at a pure sports bike to be filling half of every superstock race grid by the end of the 2008 season.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Some customers experienced gearbox problems, others complained of poor fuelling characteristics at low revs, and all the time a lack of outright power compared to the Japanese in-line fours ruled the bike out as the weapon of choice for most superstock competitors.

If you ask me, the RC8 is a brilliant first effort by KTM, a firm entering this most competitive sector of the bike market with no previous experience. The issues it has had with the bike are teething problems, nothing more. All of which I know is scant compensation if you spent the best part of £11,000, only to find yourself on a bike that won’t stay in gear. KTM has addressed - and for the most part sorted - all the RC8’s initial gripes, as well as adding a host of trick bits and tweaks that should make it a real contender, both on the road and on the track.

The bores have been taken out 2mm, shoving capacity up from 1148cc to 1195cc. The compression ratio has also been raised to 13.5:1, and with altered valve timing and engine mapping to suit, the R model feels a lot more gutsy than the stock bike.

Click next to continue

Perhaps because KTM are best known for producing some of the best off-road competition machines of recent times, when the RC8 arrived a year ago many people expected KTM’s first attempt at a pure sports bike to be filling half of every superstock race grid by the end of the 2008 season.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Some customers experienced gearbox problems, others complained of poor fuelling characteristics at low revs, and all the time a lack of outright power compared to the Japanese in-line fours ruled the bike out as the weapon of choice for most superstock competitors.

If you ask me, the RC8 is a brilliant first effort by KTM, a firm entering this most competitive sector of the bike market with no previous experience. The issues it has had with the bike are teething problems, nothing more. All of which I know is scant compensation if you spent the best part of £11,000, only to find yourself on a bike that won’t stay in gear. KTM has addressed - and for the most part sorted - all the RC8’s initial gripes, as well as adding a host of trick bits and tweaks that should make it a real contender, both on the road and on the track.

The bores have been taken out 2mm, shoving capacity up from 1148cc to 1195cc. The compression ratio has also been raised to 13.5:1, and with altered valve timing and engine mapping to suit, the R model feels a lot more gutsy than the stock bike.

Click next to continue

Price: £14,995

Front suspension: 43mm USD fork, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: Monoshock, fully adjustable
Front brake: 320mm discs, four piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 220mm disc, two piston caliper
Dry weight: 182kg
Seat height: 805/825mm
Fuel capacity: 16.5 Litres

Colours: Black/Orange/White

Engine: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, V-twin, 1195cc
Power: 168bhp @ 10,250rpm Torque: 91 ft.lb @ 8000rpm

Top speed: 165mph

Score Breakdown
Overall
4
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