MotoUSA’s test rider-preferred sportbike on the street, the KTM RC8R (read the final results of the 2011 Superbike Smackdown VIII Street shootout) continues to evolve for 2012. The updates are entirely mechanical with emphasis put on the drivetrain and chassis.
One of the weak points we experienced with this year’s bike was its gearbox. Specifically, the shift throw was long and we occasionally encountered mis-shifts on the racetrack at speed. Engineers addressed this by re-engineering the shift drum and fitting an updated gear shift linkage. Furthermore, a sensor has been installed which automatically adjusts the level of engine braking depending on gear in lieu of a true slipper clutch.
In terms of the chassis, the WP inverted fork now uses a larger internal air bladder up 30mm to 110, while the shock features a slightly softer spring. The eccentric ride height adjustment also has a greater range of variation. As always, the RC8R continues to offer class-leading levels of chassis and control surface adjustment.
For the most part the water-cooled 1195cc V-Twin engine is unchanged except for the fitment of a 0.2 pound heavier crankshaft and heftier flywheel with 25% more inertia. This should give the RC8R a bit more grunt off the corner—something it has historically lacked as compared to Ducati’s 1198 Superbike. The engine timing and fuel maps have been altered and are now identical to the spec on this year’s optional Club Race Kit. Other refinements include the functionality of the LCD dash display.
The 2012 KTM RC8R is available in black and white color ways. No official word on U.S. pricing or availability, but expect the price to be right around $16,499 based on the ‘11 MSRP. Expect a First Ride report this winter.