Source: Motorcycle USA
While the small European manufacturer has been quite modest regarding the 2011 RC8R’s updates, simply calling them a few tweaks here, and tricks there, the truth is within a single lap at speed the bike felt like a totally new and completely improved motorcycle. Quite refreshing, actually, as most of the other manufacturer’s PR men would have had an advertising field day to pimp this “heavily updated” motorcycle. But instead of feeding us loads of PR spin, KTM decided to let the updated motorcycle do the talking – a smart, but also bold move. At least, as long as the machine speaks the language speed…
The RC8R gets a mechanical slipper clutch for ’11 model.
A softer shock spring and updated damping settings allows the rear tire to bite into the pavement better.
The Dunlop SportSmart tires are a step down on the Pirelli Diablo SPs, providing a relatively vague front end feeling and lacking any kind of solid rear end drive-grip when pushed at an aggressive pace:
Stability at lean is a strong point of the RC8R’s chassis.
The Lamborghini of sportbikes: 2011 KTM RC8R.
The thing I’ve always loved about the RC8R is its fantastic ergonomics. It’s a very slim motorcycle with a fairly short seating position. The handlebars feature an excellent stock bend and aren’t positioned abnormally low. Without a doubt it is a ridiculously comfortable motorcycle to ride even at speed around the racetrack. Having just had knee surgery four weeks ago I don’t yet have the dexterity to ride other sportbikes but since the KTM offers so much adjustability in terms of footpeg placement, it made it fairly easy for me to put in a fair number of laps racetrack.
Power-wise, the engine felt like it pumped out more torque than last year’s bike. It still revs pretty fast and doesn’t vibrate anywhere near the ’10 model which will be especially welcome on the street. I also like how the engine pulls all the way to redline which is very surprising considering its V-Twin engine configuration. Throttle response was excellent which made it easy to get on the gas early off the corner. Overall engine performance felt like it could be on par with Ducati’s 1198. The transmission works great and the new slipper clutch is well calibrated.
Next to increased amount of engine torque the biggest improvement I noticed was in terms of handling. As before the bike is incredibly agile from side-to-side. The biggest problem with last year’s bike was how it wouldn’t hook up off the corner during aggressive cornering maneuvers. The rear end was so stiff that the rear tire would just spin. And while it was really fun it wasn’t exactly the quickest way to get around. The updated rear suspension allows the rear tire to mash down into the pavement better instead of just spinning atop. Front-to-rear suspension balance was excellent which helped make the bike very easy to ride.
-Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor
Engine: 1195cc liquid-cooled, V-Twin, 8-valve
Bore x Stroke: 105.0 x 69.0mm
Compression Ratio: 13.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-Injection, Keihin 52mm throttle body
Ignition: Keihin EMS
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, hydraulic actuation
Final Drive: Chain 17F/42R
Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder-coated
Front Suspension: WP inverted, 43mm, fully adjustable, TiAIN (Titanium Aluminum Nitride) coated
Rear Suspension: WP 4014 mono-shock, fully adjustable including ride height
Front Brakes: 320mm dual disc, Brembo monobloc, four-piston calipers
Rear Brake: 220mm disc, dual-piston Brembo caliper
Tires: 120/70-17; 190/55-17 (Dunlop SportSmart)
Wheelbase: 56.10 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.33 in.
Seat Height: 31.7 in.(low); 32.5 in. (high)
Rake / Trail: 66.7 deg. / 3.82 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.35 gal.
Curb Weight: 443 lbs.
Price: TO be Decided.