KTM entered the MotoGP premier class in 2017. Without a flagship sportbike in its supersport lineup, Team Orange didn’t have a production model to champion its Grand Prix innovations. That’s until the 2022 RC 8C hit the scene with MotoGP-derived tech and aesthetics. The limited-run, track-only model promised Moto2-style power and agility, but KTM isn’t resting on its past achievements with the revised 2023 RC 8C.
The fully-faired sportbike shares the same engine with the 890 Duke platform, but the Austrians take special measures with the race-ready variant. In the 2022 RC 8C, the LC8c engine cranked out 128 horsepower (compared to the 890 Duke’s 119 horsepower). The 2023 edition ups the ante with 135 horsepower (at 11,000 rpm) and 72.3 lb-ft of torque (at 8,250 rpm).
Gallery: 2023 KTM RC 8C
KTM achieved those figures by installing lighter titanium valves and conrods, a larger throttle body, and an upgraded fuel pump. Two piston rings optimize the rotating masses while a higher compression ratio squeezes every ounce of performance out of the parallel-twin engine. Offsetting those performance gains with extra durability, the brand also removed the top balance, fine-tuned the crankcase balancer shaft, enhanced the clutch preload, and adopted a Pankl oil cooler.
The RC 8C still boasts a CrMo4 steel frame, but the WP Apex Pro fork and shock now offer more supple configurations for additional feel and feedback. A new titanium Akrapovic exhaust system also streamlines the track weapon’s form. In all, the 2023 RC 8C actually gains nearly five pounds on its predecessor, coming in with a dry weight of 142 kilograms (313 pounds).
Still, KTM readies the supersport scalpel for battle on the track with an adjustable steering head, CNC-machined triple clamps (with offset), superbike-worthy Brembo Stylema calipers, and an RCS19 Corsa Corta master cylinder. The GP-shift Quickshifter+ caters to racers and track riders' preferences while the GPS-equipped dashboard and KTM RC16-inspired handlebar switches put the RC 8C’s traction control, power maps, and engine braking at the rider’s fingertips.
Available in a satin black finish with orange accents, KTM will produce 200 RC 8C units in 2023. Each example will roll on Pirelli Diablo slicks and comes with its serial number stamped on the top triple clamp.
The first 30 customers to secure a 2023 RC 8C will earn the chance to receive the model at Spain’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo on April 26, 2023. Former Grand Prix riders will offer coaching throughout the day while the WP Suspension technical crew adjusts the chassis to the rider’s dimensions and riding style. KTM will handle accommodations, food, and bike transportation from Austria to Spain. Even with all the 2023 RC 8C's upgrades, KTM will only charge customers $600 over the 2022 model's list price ($38,999) at $39,599.