The KTM RC8 R with less orange paint then it's 47cc smaller brother the RC8. We were more than willing to test the 1195cc, 167 horsepower 75 degree V-twin KTM. The RC8's equipped with an honest, flexible engine with plenty of midrange. It matched Ducati's 1098 on peak power but, with less top-end rush, didn't feel as fast. The 'R' is the extra 47cc, accomplice by wider bores, plus new, high compression pistons and more aggressive camshafts completely alter the riding characteristics of the
KTM RC8 R compared to the RC8.
The KTM RC8 R is now a beast, with amazing acceleration at any throttle opening and a stunning top end in the last few mm of the throttle twist. KTM claims 167 horsepower,; for me it feels less, anyway it's enough engine power to keep other 1000cc class motorcycles in sight.
The delivery is so explosive it makes controlling the KTM RC8 R tricky in the rain. Other riders complain of a mid-rev glitch which I didn't notice, but I certainly notice a sharp throttle pick-up which takes concentration to keep smooth, it feels like the KTM RC8 R's throttle response hasn't improved at all. Then I try the 'street' throttle, not the 'race' throttle which is fitted as standard – it's an alternative, mechanical way of shaping power delivery. Instead of electronic power delivery shaping or switchable power maps as you could find on other 1000cc class motorcycle, the KTM RC8 R comes with two throttle tubes; the race throttle uses a quick-action, circular pulley which delivers linear travel while the street throttle has a cam-shaped pulley which opens at a more gentle rate. The difference is stark. With the race throttle the KTM RC8 R is harder to ride smoothly, with the smallest movement threatening a have you on the pavement. Fit the street throttle and the KTM RC8 R feels a different motorcycle. Changing the throttle takes just over five-minutes.
The KTM RC8 R's gearbox has been improved, but I think that there's still room for improvement.
For the chassis of the KTM RC8 R, the steel trellis frame and alloy swingarm are the same as we can find on the KTM RC8, but geometry is tweaked with more trail for greater steering stability. Fully-adjustable WP forks and shocks use softer springs than the RC8. Brembo Monobloc calipers, 10-spoke forged wheels and Pirelli Supercorsa tires complete the specifications.