KTM RC 8C First Look (21 Fast Facts For Track Day Fanatics)

If you want a purpose-built motorcycle for off-highway riding or competition, you have dozens to choose from if you like the dirt. However, there are almost no options for a rider who wants a track bike and has no interest in street-legal accouterments. The engineers and marketers in Austria are stepping into the breach with the KTM RC 8C, a track-only motorcycle that realizes that not everyone can exploit a superbike’s capabilities. We can’t take one out on circuit yet, but we can take a closer look at this revolutionary offering from a major manufacturer.

  1. Unlike the Euro-only Yamaha R6 Race, the KTM RC 8C will be available in the United States, and it won’t have lighting. That gives the KTM a lock on the US market, though we hope it will force Yamaha’s hand and the R6 Race will be made available to Americans—sans lights, of course.
  1. Krämer Motorcycles, based in Germany, had a hand in the development of the KTM RC 8C. Krämer builds bespoke race-ready motorcycles, including the KTM 690-powered HKR EVO2-R and 890-engined GP2-R.

KTM RC 8C: Price

  1. The RC 8C’s motor is the same twin used in the 890 Duke R. To keep the RC 8C accessible and affordable to operate, the motor is no different from what is offered in the KTM 890 Duke R. However, it has superior breathing, plus engine management that doesn’t have to kowtow to the EPA or DOT. The 889cc twin has peaks of 128 horsepower and nearly 75 ft-lbs of torque. That’s a nine-horsepower gain over the 890 Duke R.
  1. Twin Air designed the new airbox and air filter. There’s a ram-air intake opening in the upper fairing, feeding an airbox that sits where you expect to see the fuel tank.


  1. Krämer Motorcycles built the exhaust system, which incorporates a titanium Akrapovič muffler with a carbon-fiber end cap. If your local track doesn’t allow full-song exhausts, a 98 dB muffler is optional.
  1. The frame is unique to the RC 8C, and optimized for high-precision on the track. Being a KTM, it’s a trellis design with extra-stiff chromoly tubing.

KTM RC 8C First Look

  1. Geometry can be adjusted as desired. The headstock can be positioned over a two-degree range, in half-degree increments. The fork offset can be anywhere from 26 to 28mm. The standard rake is 23.3 degrees, trail out of the box is 3.9 inches, and the wheelbase measures 55.1 inches. The dry weight is just over 308 pounds—of course, “dry weight” is a meaningless spec unless clearly defined.
  1. The fuel tank has three duties—carrying fuel, subframe, and seat unit. This reduces weight and keeps the center of gravity at the center of the motorcycle. Krämer’s motorcycles have this same design. Racers will appreciate the fuel line, which allows for easy draining of the tank.

  1. No surprise, WP takes care of the suspension and steering damper. The WP Apex Pro 7117 steering damper is identical to what’s used by racing teams supported by WP Suspension.
  1. The WP Apex Pro 7543 fork is race-spec. The fork’s closed cartridge design offers precisely adjustable damping, with damping consistency aided by a pressurized internal oil reservoir. By splitting the compression and rebound damping duties between the two fork legs, all adjustments can be easily made at the fork caps.

KTM RC 8C For Sale

  1. The WP Apex Pro 7746 remote-reservoir shock is fully adjustable. The damping and spring settings are optimized for the track, and WP claims “precise manufacturing tolerances…[for] maximum precision and direct feedback.” There are separate adjustment circuits for high- and low-speed compression, plus the standard rebound damping options. The shock has an adjuster for spring-preload and length, giving the rider two ways to adjust ride height.
  1. Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC1 racing slicks are mounted on forged aluminum Dymag UP7X wheels. The 17-inch rims are 3.5 and 6.0 inches wide, and sport a 120/70 front and 180/60 rear. If you’d like a wider rear tire, the rims and swingarm will accommodate a rear tire as wide as 200mm.

  1. The Brembo brake components are race-spec. Brembo Stylema calipers are mounted with titanium bolts and grasp on full-floating aluminum 290mm discs—320s would be overkill given the RC 8C’s weight and performance. The Brembo 19RCS Corsa Corta radial master cylinder has MotoGP lineage. The master cylinder can be adjusted between three different bite points, with the most aggressive Race setting replicating MotoGP-level instantaneous braking response. The rear disc is a 230mm unit.
  1. Ergonomics are crucial in racing, and the KTM RC 8C has plenty of adjustability for personalization. The footpegs have three positions over a 2.6-inch sweep, while there are two seat height choices via an eccentric subframe mount. The CNC-machined clip-ons accept different tubes, and the grip-angle adjustment covers 30 degrees. The grips have a height adjustment range of nearly an inch and a wide adjustment range of almost 1.2 inches.

  1. The KTM RC 8C’s bodywork is inspired by the RC16 MotoGP racer. The fairing is reinforced with carbon fiber and Kevlar, and those winglets aren’t there simply because they look good. The winglets function as wheelie control and boost high-speed stability. As a track bike, the bodywork is designed for quick removal and installation in the pits.
  1. To keep track day costs down, the chassis is designed to minimize damage in a crash. Crash pads are standard on the frame, fork legs, and swingarm, and are supplemented by swingarm and fuel tank protection.

  1. You can monitor your progress via an AiM MXS 1.2 Race TFT dash. It features a data logger and integrated GPS. While on the track, essential information regarding settings and lap times is readily available. Once in the pits, AiM Race Studio gives you access to mountains of data:
  • Track speed
  • Track position
  • Lap times
  • ECU mode
  • Throttle position
  • Engine speed
  • Gear position
  • Acceleration
  • Deceleration
  • Water temperature
  • Oil pressure
  • Battery voltage
  1. There will be only 100 KTM RC 8C motorcycles built.

  1. KTM is offering an RC 8C track package, though we don’t have a price. You get an extra set of Dymag wheels with discs, front and rear stands, tire warmers, and a KTM Race carpet.
  1. If you’d like to ride a KTM RC 8C at Circuito de Jerez with Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio, that is certainly a possibility. Of the 100 purchasers of the RC 8C, 25 of them will be able to ride with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing test team at a date and price to be named later. Everyone who ponies up for that experience also gets the track package.
  1. The KTM RC 8C has an MSRP of $38,999, and it can be ordered on the KTM website starting at 10 a.m. EDT on July 22. Gentlemen, start your computers.


Photography by Rudi Schedl and Fotografie Mitterbauer