We revisited the 2011-2016 KTM RC8 R this year concluding with: "Outlandish superbike make a surprising used buy".
Our freelancer John Urry said of the bike:
"My memory tells me riding an RC8 should be disappointing. But what my mind is recalling and what I’m currently feeling are very different. As the RC8 R surges forward it is as far from the underpowered V-twin I was remembering – it’s a proper V-twin superbike in every sense of the word. How is my memory so far off the mark?
"Despite some glowing reviews, when the original RC8 arrived I felt let down. It looked stunning, but performance wasn’t up to scratch, especially when compared to the new Ducati 1098 – hampered by a power deficit and a lack of electronic assists. But nowadays it’s a very different prospect.
"The RC8 R’s lump may be lacking ponies compared to an 1198 or Panigale, but with nearly 160bhp at the rear wheel it’s hardly tardy. Unlike early Panigales, the RC8 R’s power is nicely spread through the revs and it doesn’t really need the absent electronic assists as the power delivery isn’t abrupt or overpowering.
"And it handles well. Despite feeling quite tall, when you up the pace the RC8 R responds. It comes loaded with quality components such as Brembo brakes and WP suspension, so the sporting potential is there, but it’s not quite as single-minded as a modern sportsbike. And that remains the RC8 R’s trump card – it’s a great road bike that is also very handy on track, rather than a mental sportsbike being forced against its will to ride on the road.
"When you sit on it, the RC8 R feels tall and narrow but not cramped. It defies the current trend for miniature sportsbikes and is a very comfortable place to spend time. And one that can be made even more accommodating thanks to built-in adjustability. This is a bike that feels as if it has been built by enthusiasts who understand that what motorcyclists demand and what they actually need can be very different. In 2008 fashion told me I wanted 180bhp. The reality is 160bhp in a comfortable sportsbike with a smooth power curve was more than enough."
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