KTM has pulled the wraps off its mystery new motorcycle, the limited edition KTM RC 8C, its first big-engined sportsbike since the short lived but fondly-remembered RC 8.
A track-only model designed to capitalise on KTM’s ongoing success in the MotoGP World Championship, the RC 8C is inspired by the Moto2 chassis the Austrian firm competed with in the intermediate class up until the end of the 2019 season.
However, while the RC 8C certainly borrows heavily from the ‘Moto2’ with its purpose-built, lightweight chassis, it isn’t a straight up copy with plenty of slashes and creases that more than mimic the RC 8 with which it shares its heritage.
Furthermore, as the name indicates, KTM have swapped out the control-spec Triumph 765cc triple-cylinder engine with its own 889cc LC8c parallel twin, as shared with the 890 Duke R, which generates 128bhp and roars from an Akrapovic titanium muffler.
Combined with a featherweight 140kg, the KTM RC 8C is close to a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, meaning it should have no trouble keeping up with more powerful but more cumbersome sportsbikes on track days.
Indeed, the hand-built KTM RC 8C is for track use only with the company keeping everything in check in the bends with race-spec Brembo brakes, dedicated airbox and filter, WP APEX PRO components and lightweight Dymag wheels, while wings fashioned on the MotoGP-spec RC 16 are also in evidence.
For those with a penchant for getting the best possible laps on a track day will appreciate the AIM MXS 1.2 RACE dashboard and data logger GPS function.
Could we see a roadgoing version of the KTM RC 8C?
Track only sportsbikes are all the rage at the moment with Yamaha shifting the R6 onto specialist price lists, while Aprilia offers a Trofeo version of its RS 660 and RSV 4.
For many the KTM RC 8C will delight and frustrate many KTM fans who have been crying out for a sportsbike to continue the solid foundations as laid by the RC 8.
That model was designed to launch KTM’s sporting move into WorldSBK, but found itself with the wrong specification of model when the regulations swung away from its intentions. This of course led to its move into MotoGP – which has already delivered four wins – but it meant the end of a short road for the RC 8.
However, while the RC 8C is certainly a very devoted track only model and one that is almost certainly going to sold out before you’ve finished reading this article, one has to wonder whether this is KTM testing the waters a bit.
Indeed, while developing the Moto2 in a track-only model isn’t a huge leap for KTM, the fact it has had to swap out the engine means it will have gone to a lot of development effort for what is essentially a limited edition model.
If the feedback is good, it’s not beyond doubt that KTM could use this as the basis for a return to the roadgoing sportsbike arena.
After all, we like the KTM 1290 Super Duke R a lot, but we salivate at the prospect of a RC1290 R just a little bit more.