Soon, the KTM RC8 will be no more. And its replacement, the V4-engined track-use-only KTM RC16, will come with a stratospheric price tag
Speaking to Speed Week, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has said that the Austrian company is now planning to phase out the ageing V-twin-engined RC8 superbike. Unfortunately though, the succession plan doesn't seem to be very clear. 'Yes, we make a successor, the RC16. [But] we take responsibility as a manufacturer and say that any motorcycle that is beyond 200 horsepower has no place in public transport,' says Pierer.
Now this is where the confusion starts. 'We make a new superbike and the specification is relatively simple - it corresponds to the MotoGP regulations of 2016, so 1000cc,' says Pierer. So, instead of being a real successor to the RC8, the new RC16 will probably be a track-focused machine which anyone can buy, as long as that "anyone" is able to pay a very, very large sum of money to the Austrians.
'The first roll-out of the RC16 is planned for autumn 2015. In 2016, we will undertake final development and the bike, which will only be for closed circuits and not for road use, will be available by the end of 2016,' says Pierer, who adds that the KTM RC16 will be fitted with a tubular steel chassis, the best of WP suspension components and a V4 engine.
When it comes out by end-2016, the V4-powered KTM is likely to cost anywhere between 150,000 - 200,000 euros and the Austrian company expected to sell about 100 units of the bike per year. According to Pierer, KTM will also supply this bike to any MotoGP teams that might be interested, and will also provide technical back-up and support to such teams.
While the KTM RC16 project definitely looks very interesting, it's a pity that soon there will no longer be an affordable litre-class KTM superbike which 'regular' buyers can afford.