The RC’s steering bears all the right sportsbike hallmarks – light, flickable and capable of lightning direction changes. On the road it’s just brilliant, bowling along with the motor in its sweet spot, dancing on the gear lever, holding off the excellent brakes for as long as possible. The limiting factor when pushed hard, surprisingly, isn’t the tyres - it's the suspension. The RC’s WP forks and shock feel budget and can, under hard cornering, lose control and start chattering mid-corner. You’d think being WP – who are owned by KTM – it would be better.
Limited to 15bhp, it’s easy to assume the RC’s engine will be similar to other 125s – and, at first feel, it is. The throttle is effectively an on/off switch, and the motor needs a big smearing of clutch to get away at the lights, just like a two-stroke. But the gearbox is smooth and clutch action light, so it’s easy to blend drive into one long slur of acceleration. And once rolling, the engine doesn’t feel artificially restricted; it gathers momentum smoothly and with as much gusto as the law permits. There’s nothing of substance below 8000rpm and by 10,500rpm it’s all over, but 2500rpm is just wide enough to hold 60mph at a vibe-free 8000rpm. Top speed is an indicated 84mph.
Designed in Austria and built in India, the RC125 features WP suspension and Bybre brakes (Brembo's Indian division).
Big-bike looks, great steering, sweet engine, good brakes and clever features at a premium price put the RC at the top of the 125 tree. But it loses a few points for cheesy details and feeble suspension. The KTM's price is just above rivals - which is fine, as long as build quality issues don't emerge.
Superficially the RC125 looks the part. Its sharp, angular fairing, tank and seat unit maintain a KTM family resemblance, and under the skin there are good ideas as well some obvious budgetary constraints. Clocks are well spec’d with fuel gauge, gear position indicator and various trip functions. Pillion pegs are nicely sculpted and the tail unit is made from soft rubber which looks like a solo seat but is actually a pillion pad.