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The KTM super sports car in R version

So far, the throne in the sport twins seemed firmly in Italian hands. The RC8 R should now bring enough power and polish in detail to successfully take this place.

There they are now. Around 30 KTM RC8 R.s Neatly lined up in the pit lane of Portimao / Portugal, on shiny, new Pirelli Supercorsa SC2 racing skins. And waiting to be chased out onto this phenomenal roller coaster. Too bad that one rain shower after the other wets the slope, which slows down the drive. After all, with the new R version, the Mattighofen-based company is launching the most powerful serial twin of all time. A predicate that ?? does one see from the exotic 1098 R ?? had recently attached the Ducatis 1198 S to the lapel. It’s that fast. While 165 hp were previously rumored for the RC8 R, the official data sheet now even shows 170 hp. And 123 Newton meters of torque.

The necessary engine modifications compared to the RC8 weren’t even that far-reaching. Thanks to two millimeters more bore, the 1200 twin practically exhausts the capacity limit for two-cylinder superbikes to the full, and its top performance is 250 rpm later. That is around ten percent more power from almost four percent more displacement with only a slightly higher rated speed. Respect. The maximum speed, however, remained unchanged. Changes to the engine housing were not necessary for the performance cure. New pistons ensure a higher compression, revised, lighter connecting rods with a trapezoidal tapering upper end for more stability. And they largely compensate for the extra weight of the pistons. Sharper camshafts with longer opening times and elongated holes on the camshaft gears for fine adjustment control the gas exchange. The cylinder head with its 44 mm titanium intake and 37 mm steel exhaust valves, like the injection system, remained unchanged. Including the channels, which are reworked by hand in the area of ​​the valve seats.

There were also some innovations for the transmission. A modified star gear, together with narrower claws on the gears, which, however, increase the play in the drive train a little, and a revised shift drum ensure smoother gear changes. The return and locking lever springs could therefore be softer for smoother switching processes. Incidentally, these modifications apply to all RC8s. KTM has completely redesigned the chassis, also due to the criticism of the rock-hard shock absorber of the RC8, with softer springs at the front and rear and completely re-tuned damping. The center position of the eccentric for adjusting the rear height roughly corresponds to the rear that was placed all the way up on the first RC8, and its adjustment range has been increased. Beautifully slender Marchesini forged wheels, together with the tires, are supposed to save around one kilogram of weight and further inspire the already remarkable handling of the RC8. In addition, the Brembo monobloc calipers are allowed to hit their claws into brake discs that are half a millimeter thick. Sounds pretty promising.

Here we go!


Remove the mirror and taillight unit, and the RC8 R is ready to race.

Ritsch! Zip up the station wagon, visor down. Take a deep breath. No end of the clouds in sight, after all the rain has stopped. And without driving impressions, no driving report. So pinch your buttocks and get out. Great decision. Two things are clear in no time: On the one hand, the Pirellis deliver a surprising amount of grip in the wet. On the other hand, the RC8 R can be moved quite confidently even under such adverse conditions. Well, the load change reactions are still clearly noticeable, but still more moderate than with the RC8. It brings some relief if the supplied handle with a progressive opening curve is installed instead of the standard gas handle with a linear opening curve. It causes the throttle valve to open more gently the first time you apply the gas, which dampens the load change reactions somewhat. Good in everyday life or on wet roads, on the other hand, the engine does not seem quite as lively. Ultimately, it’s a matter of taste.

And does not change the fact that the V2 tackles extremely well from low revs. This is a wonderful way to power out of switchbacks at low speed in second gear, the massive torque and the very even power delivery are a boon under these weather conditions. Likewise, the amazing grip on and the enormous feedback from the rear wheel. You can pull the cable quite bravely until it slips for the first time. And even then, the slides can be checked without any problems. So the rain dance quickly loses its horror. Still it’s nice that it is finally drying. However, the standard setup is too soft for increased speed on the racetrack. Like the RC8, the reacts "R." sensitive to minor changes in the chassis setting. Eccentric a little lower, a little more damping at the front, high and low-speed compression adjusted at the rear, and you’re up and running.

In the element

Neither the endlessly long full-throttle downhill right that leads to the home straight, nor the end of the long straight, where downhill you have to get into the iron heavily, embarrass the chassis. The fork ?? it no longer has a hydro-stop as an end stop, which makes its last 20 millimeters of spring travel more effective? parried the emergency stop without bottoming out. When anchoring, the control unit closes the throttle valve somewhat more slowly. This should act like an idle gas increase and prevent rear wheel punches. Stamping is not an issue. However, this system does not work as confidently as a slip clutch, sometimes the change of engine brake and short-term irritation "Chasing" of the motor. If the muscle man is let off the leash, however, nothing is left to be desired. From a powerful center he storms steadily and energetically up the speed ladder with mighty steps, so that the front wheel loses grip all too easily on hilltops. At such moments it becomes clear that the RC8 R wisely wears a steering damper.

The corridors can now be stepped through precisely and with short, crisp paths. The dynamic appearance is also underlined by the vehemence with which the RC8 R can be chased through alternating curves, handling and precision are inherent in it anyway. Triple clamps with a lower offset now ensure a longer caster, which takes away the hippiness of the almost nervous handiness of the RC8 and provides more sovereignty and feedback. At the end of the day there is still a special treat waiting for you. An RC8 R equipped with the in-house club race kit. Akrapovic exhaust, matching mapping including camshaft setting and thinner head gasket, which increases the compression to 14.2 to one, should release 180 hp. Seems believable. How the V2 spiced up in this way starts in the middle is a show, the angry flare that sweeps through the cylinders from 8000 rpm and hurls the RC8 R over the course, impressive. But even in the standard trim, the RC8 R underpins its claims to the throne of the twins. Unfortunately, this self-confidence is reflected in the price. With a hefty 20,995 euros, it is also on par with the Italian competition.

Technical data KTM 1190 RC8 R


Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 75-degree V-engine, crankshaft lying transversely, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 52 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 450 W alternator, battery 12 V / 11 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 37:17.

Bore x stroke 105.0 x 69.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1195 cm3
Compression ratio 13.5: 1
Rated output 125.0 kW (170 hp) at 10250 rpm
Max. Torque 123 Nm at 8000 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, steering damper, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 320 mm, Four-piston fixed calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 220 mm, two-piston fixed calipers.

Forged aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17

mass and weight
Wheelbase 1425 mm, steering head angle 66.7 degrees, caster 97 mm, spring travel f / r 120/120 mm, seat height 805/825 mm, dry weight 182 kg, tank capacity / reserve 16.5 / 3.5 liters.

Two year guarantee
Colors black / white / orange
Price 20,995 euros
Additional costs 200 euros

The differences to the KTM 1190 RC8


With even more displacement, the KTM 1190 RC8 is also a real 1200.

– Larger pistons with two millimeters more diameter for 1195 cm3 displacement and higher compression (RC8: 12.5: 1)
– Power increased by 15 hp, is now available 250 rpm later, maximum torque increased by three Newton meters
– Camshaft wheels adjustable via elongated holes
– Larger heat exchanger
– Clutch springs ten percent harder
– Thermal insulation for the front manifold to reduce heat radiation

landing gear
– Triple clamps with smaller offset for longer caster (RC8: 90 mm), milled upper triple clamp (RC8: cast)
– Forged aluminum wheels (RC8: cast aluminum)
– Standard tires Pirelli Supercorsa SP (RC8: Pirelli Supercorsa Pro)
– Suspension strut with a lower spring rate of 95 N / mm (RC8: 110 N / mm)
– Piston rod titanium aluminum nitride coated. The piston rod carries a shim package instead of free bleed (rebound and compression no longer influence each other), so that the damping should remain more stable even when the shock absorber is hot
– Suspension travel 120 mm (RC8: 125 mm)
– Fork: springs 9.5 kg / cm (10.0 kg / cm)
– Titanium-aluminum nitride-coated sliding tubes, fork has no hydrostop, end stop via rubber buffers
– Adjustment range of the eccentric for height adjustment of the rear doubled

– The thickness of the brake discs grew by half a millimeter to 5.0 millimeters, using a different steel alloy, other things
– Front fender made of carbon, newly formed windshield
– Frame color orange, cladding black, aluminum add-on parts such as swing arm, notches, fork bridges black anodized

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