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2008 KTM 1190 RC8

2008 KTM 1190 RC82008 KTM RC8

The year 2008 will go down as one of the most important milestones in the history of KTM. For the first time, the successful manufacturer of sports motorcycles will present an own “Made in Austria” Superbike, thus entering what is indisputably the highest level of series motorcycle manufacturing. The KTM 1190 RC8 embodies the ultimate desire of the entire company to create unique, technologically high performance sports motorcycles, whose effect is felt through the entire body long after the rider has climbed down from the machine. KTM, with the 1190 RC8, introduces the unique combination of technology and design that totally meets the challenge of the label “Superbike”.

On May 1, 1955, just two years after the founding of the company KTM in Mattighofen, two KTMs roared their way to victory and second place in the international Rupert Hollaus Memorial Race on the Salzburg Autobahn. In the narrow saddles of the two 125 ccm machines were national champion Paul Schwarz and Erich Trunkenpolz, son of the KTM founder Hans Trunkenpolz. Even before their first offroad successes, the street bikes from Upper Austria were already creating a furore and in doing so, signalled the start of KTM’s inimitable success story in motor cycle racing.

Then 50 years later, in June 2005, the decision was finally made at the company headquarters in Mattighofen, Upper Austria: KTM was to design and build a Superbike! Based on a prototype that was first exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2003, the project, the most comprehensive and challenging ever faced by the company, took off at great speed. While designs were being drawn up at the Design Studio KISKA, the pressure was on technicians in the motor and chassis departments to bring to fruition the very first series KTM Superbike in just 30 months.

Even when KTM had already developed truly inspiring, light and frisky LC8- two-cylinder motors for the Adventure, Supermoto and the Super Duke models, a completely new one was developed especially for the 1190 RC8.  The aim was to create an ideal mixture of massive torque that could be called up over a wide range, and super sporty, high performance. It is now true to say that the second generation of the LC8 motor has exceeded all expectations.

And in order to transfer this massive motor performance onto the asphalt, all the normal standards and requirements for the chassis had to be exceeded. The compact two-cylinder motor with a cylinder angle of 75° is therefore teamed with a stable, yet uniquely light meshwork chassis made from highly rigid tubular steel. Precisely balanced, the chassis of the 1190 RC8 delivers just as much pleasure on winding country roads as it does on super fast racing circuits. The chassis technicians have consciously placed the highest worth on the harmonious interplay between handing and stability.

And so those at the helm of the first KTM Superbike are able to enjoy a perfect ride on a wave of torque, there has been no compromise made in matters of “Suspension Elements” and “Brakes” and only high quality components, especially developed for the RC8, have been used.

The sophisticated ergonomics, which includes comprehensive adjustments to suit any rider and any riding situation, are a fixed part of the complex Superbike technology.

Technicians worked to ensure that every part of the most powerful KTM of all times was perfectly coordinated with every other during the entire development process. Innovative solutions and meticulously detailed work guarantees the riders of the KTM 1190 RC8 experience a level of rideability that until now has never been achieved.  The total control of the entire motorcycle in any riding situation not only ensures unlimited riding fun on the open road; it also delivers an amazing Superbike performance on closed racing circuits.

A massive 125 Nm torque, 155 hp top performance, 198 kg in weight with a full tank: Spectacular benchmark data, that together with the unique riding feeling, makes the 1190 RC8 not only a potential Superbike but above all, also a real KTM.


Based on the very lightest state-of-the-art serial twin-cylinder ever, a completely new engine was created for the 1190 RC8, an engine that not only delivers all you would expect from an ultramodern Superbike but also provides a perfect example of the ideal combination of peak performance and massive torque. Its extremely low weight and very compact design also allow ideal positioning within the vehicle. With a maximum of 155 PS at 9500 rpm, a torque of 125 Nm and weighing only 62 kg, the latest LC8 engine generation is the ideal source of power for a Superbike.

In the crankcase, which is equipped with a space-saving dry sump lubrication system and an integrated oil tank, a slide-bearing, wrought crankshaft turns with a stroke of 69 mm. Together with a bore of 103 mm, this produces a displacement of 1149 ccm. High-strength wrought conrods, ultraflat pistons as well as two countershafts ensuring high engine performance are further basic components of this state-of-the-art powerhouse.

Two camshafts per cylinder, driven by chains, activate the total of eight valves via cam followers. The cylinder heads, which are of completely new design, contribute significantly to the powerful and cultivated engine performance.

A 6-speed dog-clutch engagement transmission transfers the generous power of the V twin-cylinder to the rear wheel. The transmission ratios of the individual gears are designed to allow optimum acceleration.

This strongest KTM series engine of all time has an electronic Keihin injection system with a throttle cross-section of 52 mm, automatic cold starter with idle control, lambda control, height compensation and an immobilizer. In addition, the engine features a trendsetting CAN bus system, which allows direct communication with the modern instrument unit.

The sophisticated exhaust system is definitely one of the technological highlights of the 1190 RC8. For example, exhaust gases escape via a large-volume silencer on the underside of the bike. This underfloor principle offers several advantages. In addition to optimum exploitation of power and its favorable location with regard to the bike's center of gravity, this solution guarantees minimum noise levels, while the controlled catalytic converter easily meets the requirements of EURO III exhaust emission standards.


For this first Austrian Superbike, the engineers at KTM put their considerable expertise to work to create an innovative frame made of high-strength chrommoly steel. In addition to allowing optimum positioning of the engine, the connection of the different-sized pipes makes for incredibly low weight. At less than 7.5 kg, the backbone of the 1190 RC8 is a good 5 kg lighter than comparable light alloy bridge-type frames.

And with a wheel base of 1429 mm and a steering head angle of 67.8°, the frame welded in Mattighofen offers convincing stability in every situation. In addition, the geometry of the vehicle can be modified.

The striking two-part swinger arm, made from anodized cast and sheet metal, is an important component of the RC8 chassis. It is not only an optical highlight, but also convincing on the road, offering exemplary traction and stability. The wheel axle clamps, designed for particularly fast wheel changing, also reveal the attention to detail that is typical of KTM.

KTM can rely on the long experience and competence of WP Suspension and has used its highest quality suspension elements for the 1190 RC8. At the front, shocks are absorbed by a finely tuned 43mm upside-down fork with a wide range of possible settings. The spring preload can be adjusted over a range of 10 mm, the compression phase 32-fold and the traction phase 28-fold to suit specific requirements.

A sophisticated deflection system at the rear end supports a racing-standard central suspension strut. It allows adjustment not only of the spring preload (infinitely variable) and the traction phase (28-fold) but also separate adjustment of the compression phase in the low- and high-speed range, thus permitting precise adaptation to the specific conditions. The new KTM Superbike is also equipped as standard with an adjustable WP steering damper.

Right from the start of the development process, the overall concept included ensuring ergonomically ideal seating for the driver. The RC8 offers a vast range of possibilities for individual adjustment of the driver's position. This idea was consistently applied and enables drivers of all shapes and sizes to get their "workplace“ just as they want it – whether for driving on a racetrack or on the road.
For example, the height of the rear end can be adjusted by 20 mm, and handlebars and footpegs are height-adjustable, too. If desired, further adjustment is possible via the height of the seat. And all operating levers (handbrake and foot brake lever, clutch lever, gear lever) can also be adjusted.

The use of top-quality Brembo components guarantees strong braking performance whatever the conditions: At the front, there are two 320 mm floating disks in combination with radially-fixed four-piston monoblock calipers and four individual pads for targeted application of braking power and extensive reserves. The brakes are actuated via a radial brake pump.
The rear wheel is braked effectively via a two-piston floating caliper and a 220 mm brake disk.

The well-balanced running characteristics and easy handling of the bike are supported through the use of light alloy wheels in five-spoke design in sizes 3.50 x 17 and 6.00 x 17. Ultra-sporty road tires, 120/70 ZR17 on the front and 190/55 ZR 17 on the back, connect the 1190 RC8 with the asphalt.

The birth of the 1190 RC8 is also the birth of a new generation of instruments. The ultralight multifunction display is linked with the motor management and the bike's electrical system via CAN bus technology and offers information on speed, engine speed,. water and air temperature as well as a host of other functions. These can be accessed either in road or racing mode via a menu button on the handlebars.

In this greatest development project in the history of the company, KTM once again succeeded in keeping the weight of the bike (ready to drive and with a full tank) to a record low, in keeping with its motto "Ready to Race“. At just 198 kilograms, the 1190 RC8 is lighter than any other Superbike on the market and proof of KTM' striving for technological perfection.

One look at the 1190 RC8 and you just know it: that has to be a KTM! KTM's first Superbike is an expression of the company' conviction that cutting-edge technology and eyecatching design are inseparable. All development teams worked closely together to create a motorcycle which will not only wow drivers with its performance. The 1190 RC8 embodies the company's ambition to create something extraordinary. Innovations such as the flexible ergonomics, the unique exhaust solution, refined metal surfaces, the LED technology used for the indicators and tail light or the razor-sharp cut of the rear end are at the same time unique design objects.

The KTM 1190 RC8 is available in orange/black and white/black and is sure to cause a stir, not only when accelerating or banking on corners.

And of course, KTM also has a wide range of top-quality accessories for the fastest motorcycle ever to be developed in Mattighofen. The KTM superbiker can choose from a wide range of exclusive KTM Power Parts, ranging from parts specially designed for use on the racetrack, such as the powerful Akrapovic racing exhaust, ultralight carbon wheels or fairing parts to racing footpeg units and other useful extras.

Just like every KTM, the first Superbike is above all there to be ridden! That is why - effective immediately - KTM is now offering the RIDE ORANGE concept along with the established “Adventure Tours” institution for all customers who are real asphalt devotees. In addition to touring on the most beautiful national roads, professionally organized racing circuit training - and that means riding at an angle that can be nothing short of thrilling – has now been added to the annual program.


  • Completely new developed, ultra compact, second generation LC8 twin-cylinder with 1,148 cc capacity
  • Keihin fuel injection system, throttle valve diameter 52 mm
  • Innovative underfloor exhaust system with catalytic converter with lambda
  • Motor management coupled with CAN Bus System
  • Extremely light tubular space frame with light alloy subframe
  • Anodized light alloy 2-armed swingarm made from cast and sheet metal parts
  • Highest quality, fully adjustable suspension elements from WP Suspension
  • Adjustable geometry and seating ergonomics
  • Latest generation multi-functional display
  • As of spring 2008, available in orange / black and white / black

Technical Specification

Engine type 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
Displacement 1,148 cc
Bore / stroke 103 / 69 mm
Power 113 kW @ 10000 rpm
Torque 120 Nm @ 8000 rpm
Compression ratio 12.5 : 1
Starter / battery Electric starter / 12 V 11.2 Ah
Gear box 6 gears, dog clutch engagement
Fuel system Keihin EFI (throttle body 52 mm)
Control 4 V / DOHC
Lubrication Pressure lubrication with 2 Eaton pumps
Engine oil Motorex, fully synthetic, SAE 10W-50
Primary ratio 40 : 76
Final drive 17 : 37
Cooling Liquid cooling
Clutch Wet multi-disc clutch, hydraulically operated
Engine management / ignition Keihin EMS
Frame Chromium-Molybdenum trellis frame, powder-coated
Subframe Aluminium 7020
Handlebar Aluminium stump handlebar
Front suspension WP-USD Ø 43 mm
Rear suspension WP-Monoshock
Suspension travel front / rear 120 / 125 mm
Front break 2 x Brembo four piston, radially bolted caliper,
brake disc Ø 320 mm
Rear brake Brembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 220 mm
Front / rear rims Cast aluminium wheels 3.50 x 17'' / 6.00 x 17''
Front / rear tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17
Chain X-Ring 5/8 x 5/16" 
Silencer Stainless steel underfloor silencer with regulated
catalytic converter
Steering head angle 66.7°
Trail 90 / 92 mm
Wheel base 1,430 mm
Ground clearance 110 mm
Seat height 805 / 825 mm
Fuel capacity approx. 16.5 litres / 3.5 litres reserve
Weight (ready to race) approx. 188 kg (without fuel)