2022 KTM RC 8C - Performance, Price, and Photos

This limited-edition beast is what the fiery-eyed pegdraggers dream about

KTM builds its RC 8C to be as close as you can get to a factory race bike, right off the showroom floor. Top-tier, hand-laid bodywork meets with ample power and race-centric electronics to make a potent package. Plus, as a limited-edition with only 100 units planned for sale worldwide, it brings a level of exclusivity that’s hard to match, let alone beat.

2022 KTM RC 8C Performance and Capability

2022 KTM RC 8C - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Power for the KTM RC 8C comes from the proven LC8c plant, a parallel-twin straight out of the Duke family, but tuned up a bit for the track. The KTM RC 8C produces 128 horsepower and 74.5 pound-feet of torque.

Dry weight is 308.6 pounds (140 kg), so by the metric system, the power-to-weight ratio is nearly 1-to-1. That’s pretty doggone good by anyone’s standards.

Bore and stroke mic out at 90.7 mm and 68.8 mm to give it an 889 cc displacement with a smokin’ hot 13.5-to-1 compression ratio that will bring special fuel demands. That’s a necessary evil to achieve those lofty power figures. The KTM RC 8C top speed is 174 mph.

Up top, dual over-head cams time the eight-valve head with 37 mm intake valves and 30 mm exhaust. The cam followers come treated with carbon for long service life. The cams — assembled instead of forged — reduce the overall weight, and the cams share the top end with a third balancer shaft to take some of the sting out of the engine vibrations.

Power flows through a slip-and-assist clutch that adds another layer of protection for the rear contact patch. A six-speed transmission crunches the ratios with a tough, chain-and-sprocket final drive.

Ride-by-wire throttle inputs work with the Bosch EMS, and the wet or dry engine mapping, engine braking, and pit-lane speed governor modify the final output. Also part of the stock equipment is the Quickshifter+ feature that lets you work both up and down the range without ever rolling off or pulling the clutch for dead-fast holeshots and solid acceleration.

The handlebar switchgear comes set up for racing and it’s very clean and easy to manipulate, even under the stress of racing. A titanium Akrapovič exhaust tames the decibels with a carbon-fiber end cap.

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid cooled 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, parallel twin
Displacement: 889 cc
Bore x Stroke: 90.7 mm x 68.8 mm
Power: 128 hp (94 kW)
Torque: 74.5 lb-ft (101 Nm)
Lubrication: Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Starter: Electric starter
EMS: Bosch EMS with RBW
Chain: 520 dry weight 140 kg
Clutch: PASC™ antihopping clutch, mechanically operated
Transmission: 6-speed


2022 KTM RC 8C - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Since the RC 8C is a race bike proper with no street-legal purpose, the factory spared no effort when dialing in the bodywork. The front fender’s carbon-fiber construction keeps unsprung weight low at the front axle.

It covers multiple bases with the uprights acting as spoilers for the forks and an air-scoop built into the top that helps feed the radiator. Just above, externally-mounted biplane winglets generate downforce to keep the front wheel planted. They come with a vertical outboard element that eliminates the drag-inducing wing-tip vortices that could otherwise develop.

Between the wings, an intake port replaces the headlight. It feeds pressurized air from in front of the bike into the intake for a built-in boost to the volumetric efficiency as your speed reaches into the triple digits.

Up top, a bubble screen defines the upper side of the rider’s pocket, but you’ll have to put your chin on the tank to fit into it. The Kevlar-reinforced fairings are the quick-release variety for easy access at the track.

Behind the glass, a five-inch TFT dash comes set up with racing in mind. It has AIM RaceStudio metric-tracking software so you can watch the “fight tape” once you’re done for the day.

Slightly nose-down and tail-up, the deep-scoop seat pulls the pilot down into the bike for good integration. A dead-narrow waist and lots of room for body English let you go ahead and drag that elbow if you like.

KTM RC 8C Specs
Ground clearance: 5.9 in. (150 mm)
Seat height: 32.2 in. (820 mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.2 gal. (16 l)


2022 KTM RC 8C - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Chro-Moly steel tubing on the RC 8C is the material of choice for the frame, because of the strength and inherent flexion it brings to the table. We get a peek of the Trellis where the cowling opens up, but for the most part, it remains mostly hidden beneath the bodywork.

The stock rake angle rolls at a dead-short 23.3 degrees, which is about as nimble as it gets. As part of the race-tastic adjustments on the bike, you can change the rake by a few degrees each way so you can dial it in just where you like it.

WP floats the front end with its 43 mm, XACT PRO 75 forks on 4.72 inches of travel and is fully tweakable with cap-mount adjusters. Out back, a WP APEX PRO 7746 coil-over monoshock takes care of business with a 4.72-inch stroke and full-range adjusters.

Super-light, 17-inch, forged-aluminum Dymag wheels round out the rolling chassis with Pirelli Diablo Superbike racing slicks in a 120/70 ahead of a 180/60 with room to go up to 200/55 on the stock swingarm. Needless to say, the hoops have the highest available speed rating.

Dual, four-bore Brembo Stylema Monobloc calipers bite 290 mm front discs, while out back, a twin-pot anchor and 230 mm disc take care of business. The front master cylinder comes with an adjuster that lets you dial in exactly where you want the bite point to be to complete the racing tweaks.

Chassis & Suspension
Frame: Chrome-molybdenum steel tubular space frame, powder-coated
Front suspension/ Travel: WPXACTPRO7543/ 4.7 in. (120 mm)
Rear suspension/ Travel: WPAPEXPRO7746/ 4.7 in. (120 mm)
Steering head angle: 66.7°
Front brake: Dual 290 mm discs, Brembo Stylema Monobloc four piston, radially mounted caliper
Rear brake: 230 mm disc, Brembo twin-piston floating caliper, brake disc

2022 KTM RC 8C Price and Availability

The 2022 KTM RC 8C costs $38,999. At the time of this writing, the launch was only 10 days old, so there may still be some of the 100 planned units for sale still available if you hurry.

Color: Orange
Price: $38,999


2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R - Performance, Price, and Photos
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KTM enters the fray near the top of the food chain. Also high on that chain, I found the Kawasaki as a suitable competitor in its Ninja H2 R race bike.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 R

Built for the track, the Ninja benefits from many of the same design features with an engineered front fender, downforce-generating winglets, and a racing-style cockpit. Kawasaki benefits from a slightly larger engine with its supercharged, 998 cc four-banger plant that puts out a staggering 326 horses with 121.5 pounds o’ grunt to give it a significant power advantage.

The H2 also benefits from one of the most robust electronics suites in town. That lends it even greater tunability than the RC 8C.

ABS comes stock on the Ninja, and so does Kawasaki’s Intelligent Brake System which turns in ABS protection but with a natural feel at the levers for which KTM has no answer. The Ninja H2 R rolls for $56,500, and here is the trade-off for all that extra power and fandanglery.

He Said

“Race-only bikes are few and far between, and it seems they usually come in limited numbers, something to do with the racing rules about civilian access of the factory racing machines I think. The RC 8C kind of disappoints in the electronics; I would have expected a list more like the Ninja’s instead of what we’ve got, but what are ya gonna do?”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This isn’t a completely new new bike. The exterior is reminiscent of the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike with a retuned LC8c engine from the 890 Duke R, and suspension from the WP bikes. It’s a very race-worthy machine, and limited edition, so if you want one, act fast.”

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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