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2012 KTM RC8R First Look

Friday, November 11, 2011

2012 KTM RC8R.
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.
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JRocketLawrence   November 27, 2011 08:57 PM
Loved this bike since its introduction, but Until the '11 and '12 Model years it really didn't have the same level of performance or quality as the Ducati. I agree that to some degree the magazines have pandered to Ducati in the twins/exotics market the same way it seemed they were doing with Suzuki in the Big-Four Liter bike segment but as I said before the bikes are only just now becoming real competitors, In the past I would have given the styling to KTM but for overall performance and quality I would have taken the Duc until 2011 when it seemed KTM really evolved the RC8 into what it should have been before it entered the market but now that the 1199 Panigale is on the way I think the KTM will be in the back seat again.
zoomdude57   November 27, 2011 02:59 PM
I am very happy with my 2011 RC8R. Great power delivery, crisp handling and typical KTM build quality. This is a very versatile bike and easy to use both on the street and at the track. Real world is a good description. If you want a bike with pedigree or the most HP, this is not the machine. If you want a solid everyday sport bike the KTM is a winner.
Piglet2010   November 19, 2011 08:40 PM
KTM cannot compete with Ducati on a level playing field, since the KTM name lacks the status of the Ducati name. A KTM is just a motorcycle, while a Ducati is also a fashion accessory and status symbol.
Fangit   November 17, 2011 05:32 AM
This bike has been screwed over by the press in general since it was released in favour of the "venerable" 1198. It has matched the power and speed of the 1198 all along. It beat the 1198S in master bike. IMO it's styling is fresher and more bold than any Ducati. It sounds better (no rattly clutch) is way more comfortable and a better real world bike. Shame the public are so brand focused to ever believe a new KTM could challenge Ducati's best sport bike. But it was a brilliant effort that deserves more recognition. And now the Panigale has copied the underslung exhaust which is an excellent solution. Panigale styling is a dog's breakfast IMO but I hope it grows on me.
themountain   November 15, 2011 05:57 AM
Compared to the Panigale that thing looks like an odd horse shoe!
Piglet2010   November 12, 2011 08:33 AM
The orange and white looks really good together.
leward18   November 11, 2011 10:37 PM
As far as looks, I think this RC8R rivals the new Panigale. But Ducati's racing pedigree would be my deciding factor. On the street you can't loose with either one.
irksome   November 11, 2011 01:25 PM
One of the few genuinely attractive sportbikes to come out in the past few years. Too many new bikes look like Transformer kiddie toys to me but, then again, I'm old. I'm looking to move on from my '98 Speed triple in the next year ot two and frankly, the only bikes I like right now are Moto Guzzis, the '00/'04 V11 or the 1200S.
JBZ   November 11, 2011 07:53 AM
the version in white is one of the best looking motorcycles I've ever put my eyes on. Stunning. Go Austria.