KTM RC8R (2011 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 175 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: Medium (406 lbs / 184 kg)


New £13,499
Used £6,200 - £10,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

KTM have listened to the criticism of poor fuelling and harsh throttle response and come up with a heavily revised package for 2011. More power, better fuelling with the same stunning looks and responsive handling. No electronic rider aids make it rewarding and engaging to ride either on or off the track.

Ride quality & brakes

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

Because it’s the ‘R’ model it’s loaded with top of the range components ranging from Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes and WP suspension. This combines to give a plush yet highly responsive riding experience. Footrests, seat height and handlebars are also adjustable to suit. Manoeuvrability of a 600 with close to 1000cc power.


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

New twin spark technology (two spark plugs per cylinder) give better fuelling and improved cam timing which makes power delivery smooth. Heavier flywheel helps in this area too. KTM are claiming 175bhp at the crank and because it’s a v-twin it’s still easy to ride and deceptively fast. 

Reliability & build quality

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

The styling and quality of finish on the latest KTM’s is impressive. The RC8R engine is KTM’s base engine which is proven to be reliable although currently untested in this new more powerful guise.

Value vs rivals

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

£12,695 remains a lot of money for any bike, but the RC8R represents Superbike exotica at around the same price you’ll pay for a 1000cc Japanese four. Stunning to look at and packed with high quality components it’s a genuine alternative to an 1198, RSV4 or S1000RR.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

Compared to it’s 1000cc and 1200cc rivals the KTM is devoid of any electronic rider aids. Due to the sweet chassis and refined power characteristics the KTM doesn’t need rider aids but it’s in a market where they are becoming ever more prominent and sophisticated.


Engine size 1195cc
Engine type 2 cylinder 75 degree four stroke 6 gears
Frame type Chromium-Molybdenium trellis
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 184kg
Front suspension WP 43mm upside down forks
Rear suspension WP rear suspension 4014VP
Front brake Brembo four piston calliper – 2 x 320mm discs
Rear brake Brembo twin piston calliper
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 ZR 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 29 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £150
New price £13,499
Used price £6,200 - £10,000
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 175 bhp
Max torque 94 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 106 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

KTM RC8 launched 2008.
KTM RC8R launched 2009.
Updated RC8R launched in 2011.

Owners' reviews for the KTM RC8R (2011 - on)

7 owners have reviewed their KTM RC8R (2011 - on) 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 (2011 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
4 out of 5 RC8R: it's stood the test of time.
14 November 2021 by Vaughan Ward

Year: 2012

If only it was still in production, but with the next generation Superduke R motor. The latter is noticeably smoother and more tractable at lower revs. These are the real revs needed in everyday riding, not just the top end for trackdays.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

All very adjustable, without you needing a masters degree in setup. But the delivery setup was absolutely fine for me.

Engine 4 out of 5

Going from the sublime fuelling of a Triumph triple to a big sports V-twin resulted in the obvious imperfections at 'urban' revs. Towns get in the way of B-road fun, but the towns will always be there. So, it would be a little easier to live with if it was smoother throughout the rev range, not just from 6,000 onwards.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

It's engineered. High end fittings such as WP suspension and Brembo brakes etc.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

No horror stories. Just filters and fluids, little else.

Equipment 3 out of 5

It can't get top marks if you compare it to todays sports bikes with a myriad of electronic trickery. It has none of the latter. But that doesn't bother me. It has a throttle and brakes. One ought tone able to use a combination of those to stay out of trouble.

Buying experience: Bought it new from the main KTM dealer in the South East. They were about to stop making them so I was able to secure a healthy discount. I've owned it for 9 years. It's value bottomed out 3 years ago and has been on the rise ever since. It's not far off what I paid for it now!

4 out of 5 Yeah baby - RC8R
16 September 2021 by Steve

Year: 2011

Amazing power delivery, handles like a pro, exclusivity and in my opinion a real looker. Parts becoming harder to find at a reasonable price.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I'm 6"3' and find it comfortable, like most sports bikes can be a pain around town. I can ride it until the fuel warning light comes on. not recommended for pillion unless you're under 4"3'.

Engine 5 out of 5

power delivery spot on, mine has an after market exhaust and mapped. masses of torque and pulls long and hard.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

not missed a beat since ownership, always garaged so no rust issues, likes to eat tyres due to the ft lb torque figures

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

had the 'big' service done as part of the purchase, was advised £750 worth...'gulp'

Equipment 3 out of 5

last of the true superbikes... No electronic aids, the way it should be. Don't go cheap on tyres, they wont last. S22's are my choice of tyre. they last and are great med/fast road tyres. get some frame, fork and swing arm protection... not cheap to replace any parts with o.e.m.

Buying experience: Dealer bought, came with a 'full' £750 Service and free delivery (50 miles). no complaints from me.. they wanted £7500 (18k on clock with full service history) and I paid it, just before the prices of the RC8R's started to climb.

5 out of 5 180bhp / 180kg torque monster!
07 July 2020 by James Stone

Version: Akrapovic edition No. 50/100

Year: 2011

Annual servicing cost: £150

What a bike!! an absolute animal to ride on the road with endless amounts of torque which is amplified by its light weight especially when fitted with the Evo-4 club racer kit putting out 180bhp with zero aids/ rider assists A real head turner with an absolute thunder like sound track when fitted with the Akrapovic titanium exhaust capable of throwing 6-8 inch flames on the over run (the inner child approves) Incredibly comfortable even with the aggressive looks but an absolute pig to ride round town with the difficult low engine speed throttle input Full review on my YouTube channel (including the flames) https://youtu.be/zqF37qeTwYk

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brembo Monoblocs & WP suspension - 10/10 although maybe the rear damper is a little to firm for the road in on the softer settings

Engine 4 out of 5

Huge grunt from 4,000rpm all the way to the red line - lacks the screamer feel of the inline 4 motors but it’s to be expected from a V-twin or that generation

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Hasn’t left me stranded yet but removing the fuel tank requires the removal of the rear subframe due to a swelling fuel tank other wise you will cross thread the mounting screws (really common issue)

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Capable of returning 40+ mpg on a run but to be honest given it’s engine cc/ power I have been really impressed - covered better MPG than my friends 2006 ZX10R

Equipment 3 out of 5

2012 models had a gear indicator but the dash is pretty dated given the cost - does the job though with lap timer, remaining range etc

Buying experience: A sure future classic and always draws attention when out

5 out of 5 The Beast
24 September 2015 by Nicktempuk

Year: 2014

Sublime and stunning in a world look a likes

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The ride quality was the clincher. Absolutely amazing.

Engine 5 out of 5

A beast !

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Quality is exceptional. Reliability - to early to commment

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Multi-adjustable everywhere

5 out of 5 As great to ride as it is to look at
04 November 2011 by pumpkinescobar

I hired a 2011 RC8R for a trackday at Snetterton recently and thought I'd share a few comments. When I first pulled out of the pits I couldn't believe I was riding a twin, it was so smooth and the power delivery wasn't lumpy at all. I've honestly never felt more at home on a bike, even though I'm 6'3" it was comfortable and roomy. Despite the fact it was raining most of the day the RC gave me the confidence to push harder and harder with each lap. It didn't put a foot wrong and even when I messed things up (slight lockup of the back when I changed down a gear too many), it never felt out of control. It's probably not as quick as a Jap IL4 in a straight line, but it's got so much grunt out of the corners you'll be having too much fun to care. My only gripe about it is the gearbox, I'm used to a slick and smooth Honda, but this was clunky and at times a little frustrating. It's probably just the case that I needed to get used to it, but I found myself wishing for a quickshifter. In summary, stunning to look at, stunning to ride, bags of personality and it makes you feel special. What more do you want in a bike? I'm saving up already.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 This is the bike
02 August 2011 by chriswren

OK, if you can only have one bike this is it, it is that good. I love this bike cause it is just so easy to ride, it is like a sexy Fireblade twin. It just feels nice to ride and own and happy to pile on the miles. 5 track days and 3000 fun miles since April with many more lined up. Comparing this to other recent bikes Fireblade, 999s, MV Agusta F4, 1198 this is the one that I have kept and abused. Might not be the fastest on paper but I am faster on it, I feel confident to push it further than the others and I get a great deal of feedback and know I don't have to worry about what it is going to do. Some may question why I have rated equipment as 5/5, when it doesn't have all the latest gadgets, well it has everything it needs to be a great bike. If your in the market for a supersports for fast road, track and loading up with luggage then this is the bike. The only thing I don't recommend it for is going two's up.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 King Twin
12 July 2011 by James525

Superb twin, power everywhere, no trick gadgets, just predictable handling. I replaced a ZX10-R 2008 with this and the technology gap was so wide I couldn't believe the enhancements. My riding improved, my abilities improved. Race parts, race performance - high recommended. In line 4 converted to the Twin King!

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