Features 2 Nov 2022

Three Things: KTM RC 8C performance

A closer look at the immensely popular track-only platform.

The KTM RC 8C has been immensely popular, both since its introduction to our domestic market and also on a global scale. With the second generation of the track-only platform receiving an overhaul for 2023, CycleOnline takes a look and Three Things surrounding the RC 8C project in our latest feature.

Image: Supplied.

Project overall

The KTM RC 8C is engineered to be a bespoke, no-compromise track weapon, with the latest 2023 model limited to only 200 units – which sold out within minutes! First revealed mid-last year, the KTM RC 8C is a limited-production built platform and is designed only for closed course, boasting premium components, technology and performance to optimise rider experience for its purpose. Only 100 units of the first 2022 model were manufactured, with 24 later being available to Australian consumers at $56,900 – all snatched up swiftly in our domestic market. Weeks later the 2023 KTM RC 8C (59,900 AUD) was announced with Australians able to order at the same time as those in Europe, with the latest platform revised, reworked and more ‘Ready To Race’ than ever before thanks to a radically evolved engine, electronics and chassis components. Notably, there is no street-legal version of the KTM RC 8C, but the model’s immense popularity begs the question of whether the Austrian manufacturer will roll it out in the coming generations.


The 2023 KTM RC 8C boasts a 135hp, six-speed, two-cylinder, four-stroke, parallel-twin LC8c engine that is liquid-cooled and moulded specifically for the circuit, with a displacement of 889cc. A range of features, electronics and technology aid in the rideability of the extremely potent motor, including a PASC anti-hopping slipper clutch, engaging when engine-back torque becomes too high and also assisting when the throttle is opened up. Essentially, it prevents rear wheel chatter when braking into a turn. Lighting-fast shifting is provided on the KTM RC 8C thanks to its quickshifter+, allowing clutchless upshift and downshift while out on track. Air intake is maximised by a unique air filter box with a Twin Air filter, also enhancing throttle response. This, together with the precision engine management system and new fuel pump meet the demands of the ram air intake system. A channelled body panel design allows air to be forced right into the heart of the RC 8C, enabling explosive power. Data logging is available through the factory AIM MXS 1.2 Race dashboard and logger, allowing speed, position on track, lap times and critical engine data in real-time to be viewed. Also adjustable are the throttle response, traction/launch and anti-wheelie control, as well as engine braking with handlebar switches allowing ease of change. Providing the KTM RC 8C with a unique tone, a lightweight titanium Akrapovic exhaust system is fitted and minimises weight, while providing a nice finishing touch aesthetically to this ‘Ready To Race’ platform.

Image: Supplied.


Working again with Kramer Motorcycles for fabrication, the 2023 KTM RC 8C is one of the company’s clearest racing expressions. The bike can be tailored in many ways, including the adjustable steering head to the offset of the CNC-machine triple clamps, and the degree of bite from Brembo Stylema callipers and RCS19 Corsa Corta master cylinder. The 2023 KTM RC 8C’s dry weight has been optimized to just 142 kg and the superb agility of the CrMo4 steel frame gives a prototype vibe to successfully attack the inside lines against any superbike. Aerodynamic efficiency is a major consideration on the KTM RC 8C and the platform is designed to allow for optimal ergonomics, creating a triangle between footpegs, handlebar and seat. Adjustable clip-on handlebars, footpegs and an eccentric subframe mount are used to change the seat height – which comes standard at 820mm – to make sure there’s always space to get your head down and elbows in. The carbon fibre front fender features a quick lock system, and an air scoop to channel air over the brakes and into the radiator to enhance cooling. Designed and optimised by the team that developed the KTM RC 16 MotoGP bike, the RC 8C makes use of ultra-strong and lightweight GRP with carbon kevlar-enforced fairings, complete with stability winglets -providing downforce when it’s needed most. A swingarm scoop also aids in downforce, while channelling cooling to the rear tyre. Suspension-wise, the hand-assembled package is put together in the same department responsible for the assembly of the RC 16, and includes a fully adjustable 43mm upside down WP Apex Pro 7543 closed cartridge fork and WP Apex Pro 7746 shock on the rear that is also compression, rebound and length adjustable. Boasting a set of ultra-lightweight Dymag forged aluminium wheels, the KTM RC 8C comes equipped with Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC1 racing slicks. Thanks to a quick-change assembly and axle setup, wheels can be swapped out without disassembling the brakes. Integrated into the rear show frame and seat unit, the RC 8C’s 16-litre fuel tank has been developed to be easy to drain thanks to a click on the fuel line connector.