Another high point of the KTM RC8 is the clever use of WP suspension at the 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 on the easy-to-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 was only one of two bikes available at the time capable of allowing people to ride properly fast so very easily.
KTM claims 150bhp from its own designed and built V-twin engine. That said, whatever the final figure delivered at the rear wheel is, it’s ample for 99% of riders (even in an age of 200bhp+ monsters).
The torque curve is flat and juicy with power at the top end of the rev scale. There also weren’t any signs of erratic fuelling on the bikes MCN rode either and no sign of missed gears – although some launch bikes were reported as suffering from both faults. In fact, MCN’s first ride on the RC8 rated the engine as one of the best V-twins on the market at the time.
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 previously successful 990cc LC8 engine powering the Super Duke and Supermoto models.
Despite the visible stunning built-quality, internally the bike does have some gremlins, with owners revealing issues with false neutrals, oil leaks, flaky paint and replacement cams and valves. That said, when it's running right they appear to love 'em!
The KTM drops a point here because the £10,695 asking price meant it sat squarely between the 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. You can find a used KTM RC8 for sale here.
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The RC8 is shod with ultra-modern WP Suspension, complete with adjustable footpegs and handlebar controls. It's also easy to access the rear ride height adjuster, too.
Up front, there is a MotoGP-inspired dash that can be toggled between road and track applications and works via a bar-mounted control unit. The rear subframe is also adjustable for height and the detailing goes on.