It's no secret KTM is working on a V-4-powered sportbike, and now we've seen photographs of what appears to be a KTM factory test rider aboard a modified—and heavily disguised—Aprilia Tuono V4 R. Despite the fact that KTM appears to be gathering baseline data from a competitive streetbike, comments from KTM President Stefan Pierer in a recent interview with Motorcyclist contributor Alan Cathcart suggest the Austrian manufacturer's new superbike won't be street legal at all.
"Let's be honest," Pierer said. "If your superbike is reaching 200 horsepower, it's impossible to argue that it belongs on the street. It really doesn't." Pierer outlined a plan where KTM would produce a V-4-powered MotoGP prototype for the 2017 racing season and offer a customer version for closed-course use only. "We'll call it the RC16," Pierer said, "and it will also be available to the normal customer for private use on track, but it won't be homologated for the street."
Pierer says KTM might build 100 to 200 units of the RC16, selling for somewhere between $100,000 to $200,000, with a “near-90-degree” V-4 in a steel-tube trellis frame. Unfortunately, this sounds like the end of street-legal superbikes from KTM. “As soon as the RC16 is available for customers we will stop with the RC8. With the increase in safety concerns, I’m afraid bikes like this don’t belong on the street, only on a closed course.”
It’s not clear what KTM is up to, but considering the recent string of cutting-edge, world-class motorcycles rolling out of Austria, it’s hard not to be excited about what’s coming next.