Thursday, December 1, 2011

KTM Street Fighter Model 2012

Taking the “Ready To Race” motto to heart, 2012 sees six street models in the KTM lineup, headlined by a heavily revised RC8 R. Here then is a breakdown of each model.


While visually similar to the previous RC8s, the 2012 version goes beyond a new paint scheme (which, personally, looks stunning in either of two configurations). Its headlight is now surrounded by LED marker lights. Attention was given to not only bump power slightly, but moreso to manage it. 

The 1195cc, 75-degree V-Twin remains; enhanced with dual spark plugs for better combustion, and new camshaft timing the 2012 RC8 R now matches the increased power of its own club racing kits. A forged crankshaft actually receives an additional 100 grams of weight for more inertia. That combined with a 25% heavier flywheel will help alleviate the abrupt throttle response the RC8 was notorious for. But that’s not all, the 52mm throttle bodies now have an idle speed control cam to allow smoother airflow in the initial range of movement, like when applying throttle exiting a corner. Of course, this change in airflow required the ECU mapping to be tweaked to compensate

The gearbox wasn’t ignored either when going over the RC8 R. Of note is a gearbox sensor that allows the ECU to help control engine braking depending on the current gear. This will help reduce rear-end chattering when diving deep on the brakes for a corner. Other improvements to the tranny include a revised drum and linkage to save weight and provide better shifting. 

In the suspension department, the front fork now receives a larger air chamber (110mm vs. 80mm), while the rear shock’s spring rate is reduced from 95 to 85 N/mm. Both changes provide a better compromise for street riders who want a more comfortable ride, but who still take their RC8 to the track occasionally. Rear ride height now receives a larger range of adjustment, with the rear linkage eccentric adjustable up to 12mm. 

The rider interface is slightly revised as well, with the gear indicator in both Street and Race mode shown in two places; as a line under the RPM and as a numeric display. Instant and average fuel economy is updated every three seconds, and speaking of fuel, the RC8 R now has an option to switch between two different fuel maps depending on the quality of gas available, with the default 91 octane setting good for a claimed 170 horsepower. The second setting, set for 94 octane, can reach a claimed 175 horses. As far as electronics, the RC8 R doesn’t receive traction control like many of its counterparts, unfortunately, but it still looks to be a worthy competitor in the literbike wars. Pricing is still undetermined.

RC8 R Race Spec

Upping the ante for the serious trackday or racing enthusiast is the RC8 R Race Spec, which practically throws the proverbial “kitchen sink” of parts from KTM’s performance catalog onto the RC8 R. To start, the base RC8 R is stripped of its street plastics and fitted with track versions instead, with no cutouts for lights or mirrors. Next comes an Akrapovic Evo 4 titanium exhaust system, thinner head gasket, and more aggressive cam timing (a tool to adjust the cam timing is also included). A freer-flowing air filter is installed, while the race ECU is programmed to match the new engine components. This is mated to a racing wiring harness which eliminates all the unnecessary wires (like those that operate the lights), all in the name of weight savings. All told, the Race Spec engine puts out a claimed 180 horsepower and 97.4 ft.-lbs. of torque.

Also included in the Race Spec is a slipper clutch and quickshifter for the GP-style (reverse) shift pattern which comes standard. A WP 4618 race shock is fully adjustable, while the WP fork receives TiAIN coating for the slickest surface possible. Both units are tuned specifically for the Race Spec chassis. Forged Marchesini aluminum wheels shave some weight off the stock bike and are mounted to Dunlop race slicks. 

Other notables include machined adjustable footpegs with carbon heel guards, adjustable race brake and clutch levers, 520 chain and sprockets, high-performance brake pads, quarter-turn racing fuel cap, carbon engine guards and a bike stand from Power Parts. Pricing is also yet to be determined for the RC8 R Race.

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