RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
Our Fanciful Friday-series has seen some extreme motorcycles already. Think of the BMW M1000RR, the Aprilia RSV4 XTrenta and the Ducati Superleggera. When we’re talking about next level superbikes, the KTM RC 8C can’t be left out.
Meet the most outrageously tech-packed KTM superbike ever: the KTM RC 8C. Take a quick look at it and you would swear it is a true MotoGP race bike. But better. Because it is available to the ‘average, normal person’. At least, if you’ve got 39.900 euros to spare. And are one of the 200 lucky birds who were quick enough to not think about it and just buy it.
The 2023 KTM RC 8C isn’t ‘just a proper track bike’. It has looks that come straight from the MotoGP paddock. And technology to match it. To quote the Austrian manufacturer, the KTM RC 8C only exists with one purpose. “To stamp orange authority on the starting grid”. Well, you won’t just make a huge impression with this dream bike. You will probably steal the day, if you are able to ride it. Because it is a true track devil.
It is engineered without compromises. Are you a novice track rider? Then this Austrian beast might be a bit much for you. Frankly, not just a bit. But a whole damn lot. It was made for riders who lay their elbow on the tarmac on every possible occasion. And shatter lap records on the go.
If you are the type of person who has to sleep on a decision, this bike is not for you. Not because we don’t stimulate thinking big decisions through. But just because there were only 200 made. So it is very limited edition. Just like the KTM RC 8C from 2022, which was available in even fewer units. Only 100 lucky souls will ride that orange Austrian superbike.
The KTM RC8 has been around for quite some time. The famous 1200cc V-Twin superbike is no sport bike for the faint-hearted.
KTM revealed their superbike at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2003. It had lots of mid-range power and pulled forward like a train. It wasn’t just the performance that was impressive. The looks with its sharp lines and edges were something completely different as well. Of course it is a matter of taste, but we’ve always been secret fans of the original RC8. Sadly, the production of the road legal RC8 stopped after the last models rolled off the assembly line in 2012.
The public adopted the RC8 with open arms. It was something completely different from all the Japanese and Italian bikes. And it did quite well in racing too. So why is the original KTM RC8 road bike no more?
According to some interviews with Stefan Pierer (CEO of KTM), the brand figured the bike to be too dangerous for the public roads. He stated: “if your superbike is reaching 200 horsepower or more, it is impossible to argue that it belongs on the street. Is really doesn’t, anymore”.
That surely won’t have been the sole reason to stop the production of the original KTM RC8. At that time, the brand had already hit a big success with the SuperDuke models. We have to face the fact that naked bikes are way more popular on the roads. So it might have been a financial thing as well. Resources can only be spend once, so if you can reserve some extra budget for the development of your best selling motorcycle, then we do understand that decision.
But it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we miss the sharp silhouette of the RC8 on the road. There is just no other bike like it. And we love it for that.
Producing track only superbike isn’t new these days. Other brands like Ducati, Yamaha and Aprilia have also introduced high-tech and -spec track only superbikes. KTM introduced their new groundbreaking RC 8C in 2022. That time, it came with a very in-your-face orange livery. We actually loved it. Let’s be honest. A KTM bike just sort of has to be orange..
For 2023, the brand introduced the all new KTM RC 8C 2023 in a stealthy black colourway. They could have left things with the different colour and updated wings, but the brand probably thought that wasn’t enough. The 2023 KTM RC 8C is the closest you can get to a Moto2 production bike.
The brand didn’t just update the colour and wings, but also the electronics and added some weight-saving solutions.
Engine: 890cc LC8c DOHC parallel twin engine
Power: 135 hp (99 kW) @ 11.000 rpm and 98 Nm @ 9.500 rpm
Seat height: 820 mm / 32.2 inches
Fuel tank: 16 litres / 4.2 gal
Dry weight: 142 kg / 313 lbs
Top speed: 173.98 mph / 280 kph
The 2023 RC 8C is even lighter than its predecessor from 2022. And it is slightly more powerful. KTM achieved these performances by installing a new, lighter titanium valves and conrods. As well as two piston rings, higher compression ratios and a bigger throttle body.
It also hosts a chrome-moly steel frame, a new titanium exhaust system thanks to Akrapovic and WP Pro Components suspension.
Like that is not enough already, the bike can be set and configured fully to the rider’s ability. Or ambition. Think of an adjustable steering head, adjustable offset of the CNC-machine triple clamps, an adjustable degree of bite from the Brembo Stylema calipers and even of the RCS19 Corsa Corta master cylinder. Oh, and adjustable throttle response. That’s a lot of ‘adjustable’ in one paragraph..
We could give you a whole article filled with the technical features of the 2023 KTM RC 8C. But you can read those specs anywhere. We mostly want to say that we are very happy to see KTM building a true sport bike again.
The sport bike game has been dominated by Japanese manufacturers for ages. And we can’t ignore Ducati’s show of force of late. Or the ones of the Germans, with their BMW S1000RR. Take a quick glance on track, and you see Panigale’s and S1000RR’s everywhere.
In our humble opinion, we could use a bit more orange on track. The brand is a familiar sight in the off-road world. And they do great things with their Moto3 bike as well. But we love seeing them step up their game in the heavier sport bike segment as well. So cheers to you, KTM.
The 2023 KTM RC 8C is a limited edition race bike that comes as close to a Moto2 production racer as one can get. It is even faster and even more lightweight than its predecessor from 2022. It swapped its bright orange colour for a stealthy black livery with orange details.
With only 200 units available, it sold out in only 3 minutes. We’re not surprised by that. KTM has been missed in the heavier sport bike game, since they stopped producing the original and road legal KTM RC8. So we completely understand people were jumping for joy when the brand announced their track only KTM RC 8C. We hope to see one on track in real life one day.