Where once the sports bike was king, the UK has seen a dramatic decline in its popularity thanks to the emergence of naked and adventure bikes which now account for the majority of new bike sales in this country. The big question is why? The answer is not that surprising though. The biking fraternity is getting older and larger and less inclined to squeeze themselves onto a bike more suited to a fit flat race jockey than a middle-aged European. The naked and adventure bikes offer more comfort and flexibility without reducing the enjoyment and speed only previously available on a sports bike.
So, with sales plummeting can the latest KTM RC8R stem this tide and put the sports bike back on the 'must have' lists of the UK's bikers? It does at least tackle the fundamental problem highlighted above in that the rider can sit higher and adjust the riding position to suit. This KTM has been ergonomically engineered to fit the rider's changing shape.
The RC8R will cost you £12,995.The detailing on the latest bike is very good and it's easy to see where the money has been spent. The brakes, the dash with digital speedometer, revs, temperature, odometer, twin trips with average speed and mpg plus gear position and full lap timing data. It also has a beautifully integrated exhaust and tail light assembly. It all combines into a fantastic look, if a bit angular which is typical of the KTM brand. The RC8R is available in white and orange or black and orange.
The KTM RC8R is a grownup's sports bike. It doesn't want for anything and can match, if not beat, any of the established large capacity sports bikes. It is light, manoeuvrable and frighteningly fast yet is easy to use every day.
The power isn't overwhelming and is eminently predicable throughout the rev range. It can however feel a tad abrupt so you'll need to be careful in the lower gears when accelerating else your front wheel will be pawing the air for a good proportion of the time. Nevertheless this KTM's engine is pretty smooth for a twin. That's not to say you'll mistake this for a four, the vibrations coming through the seat, pegs and bars reminding you that the KTM is still throwing two pretty big pistons about.
The KTM RC8R will certainly put a smile on your face. The manufacturer has done a great job in recognising the short comings of the traditional sports bike in the current market place and in the RC8R has gone some considerable way to address these issues.