2009 Milan Show: 2010 KTM RC8 R

Finally for America, KTM’s RC8 R V-Twin superbike for the street.

Photography by Bruno dePrato

2010 KTM RC8 R at the 2009 Milan Show
2010 KTM RC8 R at the 2009 Milan Show

KTM and Aprilia share a common technical approach. Both of these European manufacturers are willing to sacrifice engineering perfection in favor of a more homogeneous integration of engine with chassis.

With the RSV4, Aprilia gave away the superior balance of a 90-degree V-Four in favor of a more compact 65-degree Vee. KTM did much the same when it conceived the original 75-degree 950cc V-Twin. A 90-degree V-Twin would have had perfect primary-order balance, but it also would have posed chassis-packaging problems. A 75-degree Vee was a functional compromise; even so, an 1190cc RC8, bored out from its 1148cc stock displacement, finished second in its first outing in the German IDM Superbike Championship.

For the RC8 R, displacement grew to 1195cc, good for a claimed 170 horsepower. The engine is harnessed to a simple tubular trellis frame in which the engine serves as a stressed member. A 43mm WP fork is teamed with a fully adjustable WP shock. Steering geometry is very aggressive (23.1 degrees of rake, 3.8 inches of trail), and wheelbase is 56.1 inches.

The RC8 R is offered in two special editions: an Akrapovic Replica (featuring a special, high-performance exhaust system built by the Slovenian specialist) and a Red Bull Replica that celebrates the R's brilliant debut in the German race series. A "club" race kit bumps output to 180 hp.

2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R