KTM RC8 (2008-2010) Review

Published: 21 March 2008

"Looks totally different to the norm but oh so appealing"

KTM RC8 review action

"Looks totally different to the norm but oh so appealing"

  • At a glance
  • 1148cc  -  152.2 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  145 miles range
  • Insurance group: 17 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (805mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 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

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

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 group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 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.

 

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their KTM RC8 (2008-2010) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 4.1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4.6 out of 5
5 out of 5

fun

08 November 2011 by petedj

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... Read more capacity, gear indicator, orange not my favourite colour. Very trick motorcycle, good quality components, lot of fun, recommended

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
2 out of 5

genious comes at a huge cost!

20 July 2009 by alvarez

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... Read more 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....

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

KTM RC8

09 September 2008 by AdmBarnett

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... Read more 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

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

white finger

01 July 2008 by elvis_lives

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

White RC8

05 May 2008 by leepin99

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... Read more 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..

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Stunning Bike

16 April 2008 by DBMB

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. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fixer's RC8

10 April 2008 by Fixer

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... Read more 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!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued 2010
Original price £10,695
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 152.2 bhp
Max torque 88.5 ft-lb
Top speed 178 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.27 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Specification
Engine size 1148cc
Engine type 8v 75° liquid-cooled V-twin, 6 gears, fuel injected
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 198.5kg
Front suspension Preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension Preload, compression (high and low speed) and rebound damping
Front brake 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

History & Versions

Model history

2008: KTM RC8 launched

Other versions

None

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