2012 KTM RC8 R Superike | Preview

2012 KTM Motorcycle

When KTM released the RC8 R in 2009, the bike was direct competition to its then rival, the Ducati 1098.

KTM’s superbike continued progressing to new levels, the Austrian machine gaining worldwide status after taking the 2011 German Superbike Championship.

And for 2012, KTM further revised its signature 175-horsepower superbike, the RC8 R receiving some updates to the engine, transmission, suspension and electronics. The bike is also still offered in the RC8 R Race Spec, a full-on race machine.

Starting with the 1195cc 75-degree V-Twin, KTM added 100 grams of weight to the forged crankshaft for more inertia, allowing for better mass distribution and smoother running. KTM further enhanced the engine’s inertia by 25 percent through beefing up the flywheel a kilogram.

KTM also revised the camshaft timing on the two overhead camshafts, updating them to the same aggressive profile (former 8.5 to 6.5 degrees) offered in KTM’s updated Club Race specs (the Club Race kit basically allows a rider to turn the KTM RC8 R into a race machine).

The four-valve RC8R continues to feature the twin-plug ignition that “fires the two differently sized spark plugs in each cylinder head independently of each other in such a way that more efficient combustion and a smoother, optimally controlled combustion sequence are achieved at all times. The result: even more controllable power, lower fuel consumption and less emissions.”

Feeding the 2012 KTM RC8 R is a Keihin fuel-injection system that features twin throttle valves and a 52mm throttle body that has a ISC (idle speed control) cam to allow smoother airflow in the initial range of movement. KTM also enhanced the 2012’s V2 with revised fuel maps based on Club Race specs.

The RC8R’s six-speed transmission was also updated. KTM first added a sensor that allows the ECU to help control engine braking depending on the current gear, killing the need for a slipper clutch. KTM also redesigned the RC8 R’s shift drum to reduce weight and provide better shifting, and also added stiffer aluminum gear shifter linkage for more precise shifts and easier adjustability.

Further sticking to its “Ready to Race” adage, the RC8 R features revised suspension settings and updates to the fork and shock. The front WP 43mm fork now has air chambers, up 110mm from 80mm, and the WP rear monoshock has a reduced rear-spring rate from 542 to 485 lbs. per square inch. KTM says this “provides an improved setting for track usage and improves daily riding comfort.”

The rear linkage eccentric has also been revamped with a larger range of adjustment – 12mm.

Stopping the RC8 R are Brembo Monoblock four-piston, radially-mounted calipers squeezing two 320mm discs up front, and a two-piston fixed caliper squeezing a single 220mm disc out back. The KTM superbike rolls on a 17-inch rims, with a 3.5-inch wide front, and a 6-inch wide rear; the bike arrives stock with 120/70 ZR 17 (front) and 190/55 ZR 17 (rear) rubber.

As for other new highlights, KTM says the RC8 R features a gear indicator in both Street and Race mode – shown in two places: as a line under the RPM and as a numeric display. The superbike also has instant and average fuel economy updated every 3 seconds.

KTM is offering the 2012 RC8 R in either a white or black color scheme, with LED lights surrounding the headlights. Although KTM hasn’t reported the MSRP as of this writing, expect to pay around $16,500.

2012 KTM RC8 R Specs:


  • Engine type: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
  • Displacement : 1195 cc
  • Bore/stroke: 105/69 mm
  • Power: 175 hp @ 10250 rpm
  • Torque: 93.7 lb-ft @ 8000 rpm
  • Starter/battery: Electric starter/12V 11.2Ah
  • Transmission: 6 gears
  • Fuel system: Keihin EFI (throttle body 52 mm)
  • Control: 4 V/DOHC
  • Lubrication : Pressure lubrication with 3 Eaton pumps
  • Engine oil: Motorex, SAE 10W-50
  • Primary drive: 40:76
  • Final drive: 17:37
  • Cooling: Liquid cooling
  • Clutch: Wet multi-disc clutch, hydraulically operated
  • Engine management/ignition: Keihin EMS


  • Frame: Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder-coated
  • Subframe: Aluminum
  • Handlebar: Aluminum stump handlebar
  • Front suspension: WP-USD 43 mm
  • Rear suspension: WP-Monoshock
  • Suspension travel front/rear: 120/120 mm
  • Front brake: 2 x Brembo Monobloc four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
  • Rear brake: Brembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 220 mm
  • Wheels: front/rear: Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17”; 6.00 x 17”
  • Tires front/rear: 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17
  • Chain: X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16″
  • Silencer: Stainless steel underfloor silencer with regulated catalytic converter
  • Steering head angle: 23.3°
  • Wheel base: 1,425 mm
  • Ground clearance: 110 mm/4.3″
  • Seat height: 805/825 mm – 31.7″/ 32.5″
  • Tank capacity: approx. 16.5 litres/ 4.4gal – 3.5 litres/0.9gal reserve
  • Weight (ready to race): approx. 184 kg / 405.7lbs (without fuel)