In 2009, KTM introduced its ultra-racy RC8R to the European market-and kept it there. But for 2010 the up-spec RC8R is coming stateside, and it's poised to give the Italian V-twins and Japanese liter-bikes a run for their money.
The R is a totally different beast compared to its base-model brethren. The 1195cc, 75-degree V-twin has bigger Nikasil-plated cylinders that push up against World Superbike regulations, and house aluminum slugs that boost compression to 13.5:1. Revised porting and more aggressive cams (with adjustable sprockets for race tuning) conspire to bump output to a claimed 170 horsepower with 90.7 lb.-ft. of pavement-rippling torque. If that's not enough juice for power-hungry riders, KTM's Club Racer Kit includes an Akrapovic exhaust and head gaskets that supposedly add another 10 ponies to the bottom line.
The R-model uses the same lightweight steel-trellis frame as the RC8, but with new machined triple clamps with less offset designed to keep the bike stable at mach speed. The WP suspension components get a slick TiAIN coating as well as revamped spring rates and damping directly aimed at railing on the racetrack. Forged-aluminum Marchesini wheels are over 2 pounds lighter than the RC8's, and come shod with Pirelli Supercorsa SP buns.
Endowed with this level of components and tuned to the moon, the RC8R takes the marque's "Ready to Race" slogan to a new level. Speaking of which, industry insiders say we should see the RC8R on the WSBK grid in 2012.