News 8 May 2024

The 990 RC R prototype that spearheads KTM Supersport entry

KTM 990 RC R Track edition will further enforce racing pedigree.

KTM striking new 990 RC R prototype will form the basis of the Austrian brand’s return to the mid-capacity sportsbike market from next year, set to officially launch in early 2025 as a homologated production model for the street and with a ‘Track’ version to follow.

Image: Supplied.

The 2025 KTM 990 RC R, which is set to roll off the Mattighofen production line early next year, embodies a racing DNA that will also see the manufacturer enter Supersport competition as soon as this season in select European championships.

It will be KTM’s first road-going ‘superbike’ since the V-twin 1199 RC8 – and an R version – that was on the market between 2008-2015. More recently, KTM had introduced the circuit-only, limited edition RC 8C model that has spanned multiple generations in the past three years, alongside the lower capacity, single cylinder RC range.

“The KTM 990 RC R is a groundbreaking innovation for those who live for the thrill of cornering,” explained Riaan Neveling, head of KTM global marketing. “It’s for those who lean close to the road, almost brushing their knees, and then push the limits, dragging elbow to the tarmac on the race track. This bike offers power and prestige without the exorbitant price tag.

Image: Supplied.

“At last, we can unveil our KTM 990 RC R and introduce a truly exceptional motorcycle to dealerships in early 2025, fulfilling the anticipation of countless riders and race enthusiasts – we believe the KTM 990 RC R will quickly attain cult status because it excels at the two things it was designed for so remarkably well. Success will be evident on the track, but the unparalleled experience for customers on the road will truly set it apart.”

The street homologated KTM 990 RC R will utilise the LC8c engine (128 horsepower and 103 Nm of torque). Its steel frame has been engineered for dynamic performance, with increased weight bias towards the front-end, featuring a dedicated steering head angle of 25 degrees and offset for enhanced steering responsiveness. Beefed-up stiffness gives the right feel and stability under acceleration on bumpy roads or on racetracks while also maintaining agility, especially at low speeds, and it has a diecast aluminium subframe.

Ergonomics are key to the KTM 990 RC R’s behaviour. Lengthy experimentation primed the six contact points on the tank for a better connection, leaning and ‘tucking in’ to ensure comfort but also support for knees, arms, and lower pressure on the hands. A new fuel tank has been shaped as a main component of the ergo. Adjustable footrests play a part, as well as the fully adjustable WP APEX Open Cartridge Suspension, light weight cast aluminium wheels wrapped in Michelin tyres.

Image: Supplied.

Its MotoGP heritage is evident with the wind-tunnel-chiseled aero wings that provide stability for braking and cornering and other edges and profiling around the bodywork that screams ‘racer’.

If there were any doubts about the bike’s intended purpose, the minimal modifications required for the transition to the KTM 990 RC R Track edition should reinforce its racing pedigree. Crafted by KTM in its Austrian factory, the modifications strip away the road-legal essentials, incorporate protective components, fine-tune adjustments, customise further, and revise racing bodywork, including a full exhaust system.

KTM is filming a multi-part behind-the-scenes documentary, which will follow the final stages of the research and development process moving all the way from the very beginning to the final unveiling of the finished street homologated version of the KTM 990 RC R.