KTM RC8R (2009 - 2010) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Power: 159 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: Medium (401 lbs / 182 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Unashamedly a circuit-based blaster that will need a road-rider to be fully aware of what he is about to buy if it’s to be used on the road. From the competition-biased WP suspension to the 170bhp engine and the lightweight Marchesini wheels in between, the KTM RC8R cries out for corners to be taken at speed. Although it doesn’t need to be ridden hard to appreciate it. But when it is given its head the rewards are, possibly, the same as narcotics. KTM RC8-R in a sentence: styled to be different; made to please.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Increased trail figure (97mm total figure) over the RC8 makes the KTM RC8R a stable bike through long sweepers but still a quick steering, nimble tool through the twists. Front and rear suspension is race quality and has suitable adjustment (high and low speed compression adjustment at the rear) to dial in the bike to suit anyone and all road/track conditions – settings found under the seat.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The same LC8 engine as used on the current crop of large capacity KTM machines (990SM, RC8 etc) but with capacity increase to 1195cc and additional tuning work (new cams and timing, compression hike and so on). It’s a bloody gutsy lump down below and matched with an impressive amount of top end drive. What is the driving force is the linear torque output that makes riding the KTM RC8R as easy as opening the throttle. Sticky gearbox problems aren’t, thankfully, inherited from the RC8, thanks to new gear selector mechanism and revised gear cluster dogs. Comes with road or track throttle tubes: road version has a chamfered cam to smoothe out low rpm throttle delivery by reducing amount of throttle cable pull for a given amount of turn.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

No complaints whatsoever on the way the bike is built and finished. As said, the gearbox issues that affected early RC8 models has been resolved, and on our test bike no major fuelling problems (still a slight flutter around 3500-4000rpm for noise emissions). There is a lot of forum traffic on the subject of engine reliability but KTM reckons it is now on top of past issues.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Blimey: £14,995 – a lot of wedge in anyone’s book. For the performance and components that adorn the bike then maybe the price is justified when comparing to Ducati’s Ohlins shod 1198S at £16,495 – which the KTM RC8R has the edge over. Find a KTM RC8R for sale.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

WP suspension as a product doesn’t have the brand name and desirability of Ohlins when really it should have – the suspension on the RC8R is belting. Marchesini forged wheels are par for the course on a grade-A superbike as are the Brembo Monobloc race-spec brakes. But its other areas that will tickle your fancy: adjustable footrests, levers, handlebars, subframe position and rear ride height are all there and easy to achieve. Compare and buy products for the KTM RC8R in the MCN Shop.


Engine size 1195cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 75° V-twin four-stroke. Six gears
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 182kg
Front suspension Fully-adjustable
Rear suspension Fully-adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320 disc with 4-piston calipers
Rear brake 220mm disc with two-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 29 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 159 bhp
Max torque 88.42 ft-lb
Top speed 170 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 10.77 secs
Tank range 125 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2008: All-new KTM RC8 sportsbike introduced
2009: UK introduction of RC8R – a tuned, race-ready machine

Owners' reviews for the KTM RC8R (2009 - 2010)

3 owners have reviewed their KTM RC8R (2009 - 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.

Review your KTM RC8R (2009 - 2010)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 3.3 out of 5 (3.3/5)
Equipment: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
5 out of 5 RC8R Owner - Australia
21 April 2010 by clivefrench

After a rotten honeymoon with a 09/R1, I traded it in for a RC8R. It was all I needed to restore my faith in bikes. It is uncatchable around the any bend on our very fast rides, powerful stoppers, stays on line and looks good just standing still. Always a crowd puller in a sea of Ducs. Only two complaints - an occasional false neutral which could be 'cos the bike is still tight and too light a throttle spring which cannot be fixed. Can't wait to start my track days.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Track-tested RC8R
30 July 2009 by foggie996

I'm not a racer but recently had opportunity to test an RC8R at Donington. It has very light and rapid steering and drops into corners swiftly but smoothly without any instability - a bit un-nerving at first but quickly got used to it. On the second lap I was getting my knee down without trying and was extremely confident in the bike - even relaxed and knee-down through Goddards. The power is plentiful and smoooooooth just wind on the throttle and she flies really hard and deceptively fast. The seating position is comfy and surprisingly spacious - I'm 6' and felt right at home- not cramped like the 09'blade. By the end of the session I was having a great time and wanted to take it home with me and my R1 - KTM said no - dammit!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 tested RC8 and RC8R
15 April 2009 by powerj

I had a go on a RC8 in 2008 when they were first launched . Only did 5miles and took it back --poor gearbox and down on power compared to a Jap 4 . Recently tried a RC8R --what a difference , lots of power , amazing handling , better than a 1098 ( not tried a 1198s yet) . All i need now is to sell my 2008 zx10r

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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