KTM is giving the RC8R its first significant update for 2011, with engine, suspension and cosmetic tweaks.
The changes are intended to make the RC8R more competitive against revamped opposition such as the 1198S – making it a more attractive proposition to new buyers, rather than a must-have new model for owners of the old bike.
The key change is a new crankshaft and flywheel – the change in mass is claimed to give smoother running than the first incarnation of the 1199cc 75° V-twin, which was criticised for it’s lumpy, rough-edged power delivery.
New cylinder heads use two spark plugs per cylinder, and contribute to the claimed 5bhp increase in peak power, which now stands at 175bhp with 93.7lb-ft of torque (3lb-ft more). A mechanical slipper clutch has been fitted to tame the massive engine braking on downchanges from the high-compression motor.
The chassis is essentially the same – the tubular steel chassis with fully-adjustable WP suspension front and rear uses the same hardware. The internal settings are revised, with a claimed improvement in ride quality on the road. The rear shock is now on an adjustable eccentric mount for ride-height adjustment to give different geometry on track.
New colours mark the new bike out – white/orange or black/orange bodywork, both with orange frame and wheels. The styling is unchanged.