What a time to be a superbike fan. Last week, Italy released the Ducati Panigale V4 R, which Germany promptly followed up with the BMW M1000 RR. And now, Austria joins the party with the updated KTM RC 8C.
Beneath its fairings lurk KTM’s 889cc LC8c parallel-twin engine. This is the same powerplant seen on the 890 Duke R, but now sports titanium valves and connecting rods, twin piston rings on each banger, and a larger throttle body. The compression ratios have been increased, too, bumping power up from 128hp in last year’s RC 8C to 135hp (and 98Nm) in this year’s iteration.
On the face of it, that doesn’t sound like much, especially compared to the Panigale V4 R’s 240.5hp, but the RC 8C weighs a mere 142kg dry. For comparison, Ducati and BMW’s 200hp beasts both weigh north of 170kg.
There’s a hefty dose of proper MotoGP stuff aboard this bike as well. Most obvious of which is the aerodynamics of the front cowl. The shapes of the fairings and the winglets have been derived directly from the brand’s MotoGP bike. The air inlet sits front and center, and routes into the airbox located where the fuel tank would be on a street motorcycle. Meanwhile, the actual tank is under the rider’s bum.
The quickshifter shifts GP-style (one up, five down) to make banging through the gears much faster. As is traditional with Team Orange, WP Apex Pro takes care of the suspension. Both the fork and the monoshock have been softened to improve damping and rider confidence. Slowing the bike down is a pair of high-end Brembo Stylema calipers.
When it comes to electronics, the dash has been redesigned for the 2023 model year to include a GPS data logger that will flash lap times after every run. The electronics suite also allows for adjustments to the throttle response and the engine braking, with various levels available to suit each rider’s style and preference. Traction, anti-wheelie, and launch control systems are standard, of course.
Only 200 units will be sold worldwide with each unit bearing a unique serial number on the triple clamp. Time to whip out that checkbook—if the superbike hasn’t already sold out, that is.