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KTM RC8 Sports Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

The KTM RC8 is the revelation of 2008… even though we’ve known it’s been coming for four years. Perhaps we should’ve given KTM more credit because all their machines (on and off-road) to date are superb. Nonetheless the RC8 is simply stunning and for all the right reasons. Its engine is powerful and usable; handling shames Japanese and Italian superbikes; looks totally different to the norm but is, oh so appealing.

 

Watch the road test of KTM's RC8

 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

KTM claims 150bhp from its own designed and built V-twin. Whatever the final figure delivered at the rear wheel is it’s ample for 99% of riders. The torque curve is flat and juicy with power at the top end of the rev scale. There weren’t any signs of erratic fuelling on the bikes MCN rode and no sign of missed gears – although some launch bikes were reported as suffering from both faults. MCN’s first ride on the RC8 rates the engine as one of the best V-twins on the market today.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Another high point of the KTM RC8 is the clever use of WP Suspension front and rear. Four years of development with the RC8 project has lead to comfortable suspension for the road, and race-like action with just a few simple tweaks of the suspension’s easy reach adjusters. The RC8 steers like a whippet on a sugar rush but this quick steering doesn’t translate into instability, far from it. The RC8’s premier level of handling will flatter any riding style and is only one of two bikes available today that will anyone to ride proper fast so very easily.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Ultra-modern WP Suspension. Complete adjustability of footpeg and handlebar controls. Easy to get out rear ride height adjuster. MotoGP dash that can be toggled between road and track applications and worked via a bar-mounted control. Rear subframe adjustable for height… and the detailing goes on.

 

KTM RC8 (2008-2010)

Detail Value
New price £10,695
Dealer used prices
£5,500 (2008) - £7,290 (2012)
Private used prices
£4,950 (2008) - £6,560 (2012)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1148 cc
Power 152.2 bhp
Top speed 178 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Every component part, be it plastic, metal or other, fits so perfectly and looks to have been made by redundant Swiss watch makers. Reliability shouldn’t be an issue as the motor is based on the already successful 990cc LC8 engine powering the Super Duke and SM models

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

One point lost here because the £10,695 asking price drops the RC8 midway between Japanese 4-cylinder superbikes and Ducati’s 1098 exotica. If KTM had pitched the price closer to the Japanese, its proposed R version of the RC8 would be cheaper and, arguably, steal some of Ducati’s 1098S and 1098R sales. Find a KTM RC8 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

2008: KTM RC8 launched

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 178 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.27 secs
Max power 152.2 bhp
Max torque 88.5 ft-lb
Weight 198.5 kg
Seat height 805 mm
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 1148 cc
Engine specification 8v 75° liquid-cooled V-twin, 6 gears, fuel injected
Frame Tubular steel trellis
Front suspension adjustment Preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, compression (high and low speed) and rebound damping
Front brakes 2 x 320mm discs, 4-piston radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers
Rear brake 1 x 220mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

See all KTM RC8 motorcycles for sale

KTM
RC8

2680 miles

£10,495

KTM
RC8

17000 miles

£5,500

KTM
RC8

11621 miles

£6,994

KTM
RC8

7200 miles

£6,275

KTM
RC8

7695 miles

£6,199

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(7 reviews)

  • fun

    petedj

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Gearbox mod sorts that out.. no neutrals, clutchless changes no problem. Fueling sorted with Akrapovic and latest mapping + throttle cam mod. Handling superb once set up. 100% reliable, no leaks. Only gripes, could use.. a few litres more fuel capacity, gear indicator, orange not my favourite colour. Very trick motorcycle, good quality components, lot of fun, recommended

    08 November 2011

  • genious comes at a huge cost!

    alvarez

    Average rating rating is 2.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    without exception my RC8 is the best handling bike have ever ridden!!! It is such a shame it is constantly leaking oil or coolant or being called in for repairs (inc for some new pistons and cams!!) for mine i've had poor paintwork discolered and peeling, gearbox bodges, engine oil seal leaks, coolent seal leaks, the list goes on and on and on...... mine has had the oil leak repaired 3 times I took it out today and yet again the engine is bathed in a film of oil.... ho hum back we go again seems like half my RC8 ownership time has been spent riding dealer demo bikes not what I paid a hell of a lot of money for! (never thought i'd say this but maybe I should have bought a Ducati......god help me!) Even all the above is almost forgivable due to the exceptional handling but the final straw is the piss poor attitude of KTM UK they are truly the most arrogant bunch of idiots I have ever had the displeasure to deal with! seems once they have your money you no longer exist and they will do the absolute bare legal minimum they can get away with in ALL cases ....nice! If you buy one you need to be very lucky indeed hopefully you'll never have to deal with the importer and relive the Monty Python parrot sketch....if you don't have a charmed life get a Jap bike or a Ducati and spend the summer on the roads not hanging around the local KTM dealer with all the other poor RC8 owners taking turns riding crappy single thumpers....

    20 July 2009

  • KTM RC8

    AdmBarnett

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This has the potential to be a fantastic bike. A lot of reviews and test fault things like the gearbox or the fuelling at low revs. These can be an issue straight from the box, but this bike has so much that can be tailored to the individual, that an hour or two setting things up for yourself, will result in a sports bike that is second to none for handling, comfort, performance and overall enjoyment. I have never known a bike change so much over its first 1000 miles. After running it in, it has become a lot smoother, and seem to have loosened up considerably. A great bike, with plenty of quality kit as standard

    09 September 2008

  • white finger

    elvis_lives

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    so for the past few weeks been out test riding some bikes. i own an r1 07 with all of the trick stuff on and currently running rosso's. i do about 10k miles per year on the thing and generally ride hard..ish. the rc 8 is a great looking bike and with the apro can on sounds awsome. having just read some reviews here i though i would add a few of my own. vibration on the handlebars is extreme - do 10 hours on one of those and you can forget picking up your pint. brakes on or off - very sharp throttle ditto , low speed stuff in the towns is a mare and the fueling is diabolical.i understand the apro can and re-map which will set you back approx 1.8k fixes that but hey for 10/6k would have expected better pick up and throttle response. out on the open its good , great traction , good front end , rear a bit twitchy but then again i didnt play with the suspension so probably all rectifiable. bike is neutral and corners well and does nothing too surprising when gasing out of the bend. riding postion is good and both myself and cpt ashby thought the std screen and postion ok. false neutrals - ditto those mentioned by others , red line it and the limited doesnt half let you know you may have edged it a bit too far guv. i would like to see one of these after a year or two and check the build quality - even the demo bike was looking abit shabby after 4k miles. overall - is it worth 10k - yes i'd say so , would it do agressive long mileage - mmmnnn only time will tell. better than the 1098s by far in everything but not as rideable and positive as the R1 -07. saying that if they cut me deal i'll have one - and ride the spots off it for 12 months or so. if you like a bike with a bit of charracter and not the ususal kasayamahondiki then you have to have one.

    01 July 2008

  • White RC8

    leepin99

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I love this bike, i parted with an SP1 a year ago for a blade and never clicked with it. Bought the bike at the NEC on looks and v twin power alone and i havent looked back. Very comfy to ride distances on and goes like a bastard, which is whole point of having a v twin, punches out of corners and roundabouts like only they can. The mirrors are a bit crap and i look thru my arms not either side of them, but what you see is a bit of a blur, but if you ride fast enuf then there shudnt be anything beind you to worry about. Lovely in white and i think it will be the best bike i ever owned. Must adjust the rear brake as per one owner pointed out, its quite a stretch. Pricey but worth it bike, can do the lot very well..

    05 May 2008

  • Stunning Bike

    DBMB

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Due to the range of adjustability,the gear change needs setting to the correct position to avoid false neutrals. Once done,this is an utterly stunning bike.The handling is out of this world.

    16 April 2008

  • Fixer's RC8

    Fixer

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I picked my RC8 up on the 1st April and only had 3 days with it before I went to Scotland to see my grandson - in the car, because my wife and our dog needed transportation as well! So far the Ride and handling have proven to be superb. I was expecting a snarling beast that would try to rip my arms off when I opened the throttle and one that would cause the front wheel to lock at slow speed having read all the reviews about how good the brakes are. I needn't have worried though...the bike is quite docile under 7000rpm and pulls away cleanly. The brakes have enormous feel to them and you can use them at slow speeds in the wet without fear of locking the front up. At higher speeds they are phenominal, you would swear the tarmac is being ripped up! The quality is superb. All the fixings are good, the panels fit well and the bike feels well put together. Value....I was very happy with what I paid for it and, having owned a 950 Adventure before, I'm looking forward to my relationship with KTM and JD Racing continuing for severl more years. The engine is clattery as was my 950 Adv but when riding along it is not intrusive to the overall noise the vee-twin makes from it's underslung exhaust. The power is first class and coupled with the weight of the bike leads to very blurry scenery quite quickly! The second day I had it I went for a ride to Falmouth and got pulled over by a couple of Policemen in their Volvo estate. The driver jumped out as I was removing my helmet and was quick to say "It's Ok mate, you're not in trouble"! They just wanted to look at the bike as they were both bikers and mine was the first RC8 they'd seen! The only downside so far is the poxy Meta alarm which, although it's "plug and play", 'won't do what it says on the tin'. Still, it's not made by KTM so what did I expect? I love this bike, it's more comfotable than any other sports bike I tried and fulfills all my expectations and then some! Well done to KTM for having the guts to launch such a great bike!

    10 April 2008

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daveajj

User's Badge

daveajjsays

RC8

Post KTM RC8 
Had a test ride today was thinking about part-exing the blade. The KTM has had rave reviews and looks so different, was sold on the looks alone.
Unfortunately the bike i had, had a few issues.

Cons.
Very very viby, i know its a V Twin but the mirrors may haswell not have been there and after an hour after handing the bike back my fingers were still tingling.
Gearbox, lost count of how many times i found a false neutral, was pretty scary at times, expecially when you're relying on engine braking.
Rear brake hadn't been adjusted to suit my positioning, had to fully extend my boot before i could touch it.(when i got back the dealer said one of the lads borrowed it to do Donnington and hadn't put rearset back to standard).
Good or bad?? the front brake was very sharp(one finger only please).

Pros.
Great looks,
Sounds awsome
handles great, very light & slim feel.
Seating position is very comfortable, bit like my old CBR600F.
Torque!!!

Altogether not a bad bike and i'm sure the gearchange issues can be resolved, but really i still preferr the Blade.
Anyway some pics below from today........and how lucky was i the bleedin' rain stayed away

29 April 2008 19:59

daveajj

User's Badge

daveajjsays

RC8

Got my test ride booked for tomorrow, weather had better bleedin improve.........thinking of part ex my blade.......

28 April 2008 14:07

eddieknocker

User's Badge

eddieknockersays

Fuzz

Love your bike! Love the abuse of police powers!

13 April 2008 09:19

regthehedge

regthehedgesays

ktm rc8

sounds like the dogs doodahs. well done to ktm for upstaging ducati with thier first attempt at a four stroke v twin super bike. not too sure of the looks, but its growing on me. Its also a pleasant change to see ktm can produ7ce a high performance engine that can manage 45 mpg, so why cant the opposition. ridiculously poor fuel consumption figures only play in to the hands of anti bike groups et al.

10 April 2008 18:53

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