THREE KTM employees have joined together to combine two of the Austrian firm’s bikes; the RC8 and 690 Duke into a supermono race bike project.
Forming HKR Racing, friends Christof Henco, Markus Krämer and Nico Rothe came up with the idea in December 2009, in what Christof describes as a fairy-tale ‘dark and cold’ winter night. From the conception the build took the trio three and a half months to complete the first bike, with less time spent creating a second and third as they had learnt all that they needed to do in the first iteration of the HKR Duke 690.
The engine from the 690 Duke has been tuned, elevating the power output from 63 to 80bhp through adding the KTM powerparts kit, new cam, air filter and an experimental Akrapovic exhaust, plus some engine-mapping. Frame-wise the major area of the chassis remains the same, however modifications have been made to the Duke frame through chopping the head stem out and welding an RC8 one in – adapting the head angle to suit. Right now the wet weight for the machine is 135kg, though work is still be undertaken to reduce this further.
Advantages provided by pairing the high-capacity single-cylinder four-stroke engine into a compact superbike chassis has resulted in an extremely low weight and excellent handling. “The best feeling is simply going to your own personal limit, without the need for electronic gimmicks. It's still real riding,” said Christof describing the ride, “Cornering and braking is totally awesome. The riding is such that a smile is basically guaranteed.”
Overall a cost of a seasons racing per bike comes to €10,000, the affordable effectiveness of the single-cylinder bikes means most of the expense goes towards the amount of tyres used with saving going towards the brakes, drive train and other costly components of racing.
HKR had great support from the KTM factory, but the project is completely independent from their employer and all financing and work was by them. The team have had some help from companies including Akrapovic and Blickfang, who Christof say ‘are just as passionate about the project as they are’.
Follow HKR Racing’s progress via Facebook.