KTM’s new road bike spotted on test in Austria

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These exclusive spy-shots show for the first time the latest bike in KTM’s range to use the firm’s new V-twin engine, the LC8.

While the first dedicated road bike to use the new engine was expected to be a supermoto-style bike, similar to the current single cylinder Duke II, the new machine appears to be far more like Ducati’s Monster.

Once KTM’s road-bike arm is more established, it plans to introduce more models based around the same engine design.

When you look at the specs on the motor it is hardly surprising KTM is so keen on using it. The 75-degree V is claimed to be the lightest and most compact of any of the twin motors. Because of the size of the angle between cylinder it is shorter than Ducati’s 90-degree motor and doesn’t require the heavy balancer shaft of Aprilias 60-degree twin.

With a capacity of 942cc it produces a competitive 102bhp when fitted to the forthcoming LC8 Adventure big trailie.

In early tests, before the engine was officially revealed in the Adventure prototype last year, the firm claimed to have seen around 130bhp during dyno tests – without any serious tuning work. That’s enough to make the engine a good basis for a superbike – which is handy, as that’s just what KTM eventually plans to put it in.

The first KTM bike to debut the V-twin motor, the big trailie styled Adventure, weighs just 189kg (416lb). That puts it significantly below the weight of similar style bikes like the BMW R1150GS and Honda Varadero, which both weigh around 220kg (484lb). Much of the saving is believed to come from the design of the motor, which weighs just 56kg (123lb).

Even if the road-spec bike pictured here is as heavy as the trailie, it will be 4kg (8lb) lighter than the S4 Monster and 6kg (12lb) than the Hornet 900. And there’s a good chance it could be even lighter.

The naked Duke will be helped even further by its chassis design. The frame is steel trellis, like the Monster, and appears to share its design with the LC8 Adventure. However, lower front and rear suspension means the bike’s overall appearance is quite different from the first machine to use the V-twin.

Production KTMs all come with WP suspension as standard and the naked bike is no different. But while most KTMs have long-travel off-road kit, the Duke LC8 uses superbike-style upside-down forks and a WP shock with rising rate linkage at the back. Even extruded aluminium swingarm looks identical to the Adventure’s.

The wheels appear similar to the 640 Duke supermoto, but with extra width to cope with the V-twin’s power. The brakes are the same twin Brembo Goldline used on Aprilia RSVs – so there wil be no problems bringing the lightweight KTM to a halt.

The large amounts of gaffer tape covering the tank suggest it may be hiding a new concept in tank design, or alternatively they simply haven’t yet made it. Equally, the stacked headlight arrangement is identical to the Adventure’s – which could mean the firm is looking for a family appearance, or that the prototype is simply running the Adventure’s headlight as a stop-gap.

KTM are set to release the 950 Adventure as the first of its new range of bikes in early 2003 with a price tag around £8000. The naked bike should hit showroom soon after and is likely to cost around the same price.

There’s more on this in the December 26 issue of MCN.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff