Sunday, June 16, 2024

MOTORCYCLE & LIFESTYLE ONLINE MAGAZINE

HomeZA BikersMotorcycle NewsA New Era for SuperSport Motorcycles: The KTM 990 RC R

A New Era for SuperSport Motorcycles: The KTM 990 RC R

Image source: KTM

KTM has for a long time now seen the writing on the wall, the story of the slow death of the horsepower-rich and torque-poor inline-four supersport motorcycles. Let’s face it, sport bikes are a dying breed, and have been for the last decade. Statistics prove it—more people are interested in function over form, and the extinction of the beloved 600 cc supersport is just one example. To many petrolheads, this may sound like the end times, but there may be a little light at the end of this dark tunnel and right now the brightest light is an orange one.

Image source: KTM

Before you say it, no, this is not a dressed-up Krämer GP2-890RR track bike, nor is it a new-age replacement of the legendary 1190 RC8 R superbike, but rather this new KTM is the future of supersport machines, welcome to the KTM 990 RC R. I would be lying if I said this new creation doesn’t embody the two above-mentioned machines because it does, in fact when it also screams KTM RC16 winter test GP replica—it embodies all that is KTM, and that is Read to Race, proven by their 341 FIM World Championships.

Image source: KTM

Man, oh, man has it been long since we’ve seen something as dressed up and as special from this Austrian manufacturer. It has been almost sixteen years since we saw the 1190 RC8 R compete in the local racing scene, on the top stages of WSBK and cruising around on our streets as if it rolled out of a Tron movie. The OG RC8 R machine was in design light-years above the rest and fast forward to the present day I think KTM has done it once again, but this time they have upped the ante.

Image source: KTM

KTM have jumped the gun on purpose with the KTM 990 RC R. What do I mean? Oh, yes the ‘RC R’ is in its “live”, for us all to behold prototype faze. It’s KTM’s way of showing us as well as all the other manufacturers that they have got what it takes and it goes without saying, that KTM has full belief that the 990 RC R is the future of supersport racing. The live viewing of this development project will be put to the test not just on YouTube teasers and on a workbench but also in wildcard race entries in non-point scoring outings across select European supersport series’, to ignite the anticipation amongst fans further.

So, what do we know then? The RC R is a ground-up build with the best Frankenstein parts from the GP team and then some and what it shares with the 990 Duke is its powerplant and nothing else. We know RC R has just under 130 hp and 103 Nm at its peak rpm and the rider’s weight gets pushed more forward in its newly frontal weight-biased steel frame.

We see a steering head angle of 25 degrees and offset for enhanced steering responsiveness, as well as a further beefed-up stiffness that gives the right feel and stability under acceleration on road and track surfaces while also maintaining agility. When looking at the images you can see that the rear diecast aluminium subframe has a taller and more aggressive pith compared to the Duke.

Image source: KTM

When it comes to ergonomics the 990 RC R is somewhere between an Aprilia RS 660 and a Ducati Panigale V2. This means the KTM isn’t overly wristy, but also it’s no couch either. KTM have looked at these two machines and has found a balance that suits the racer and the daily rider. How they’ve done this is by loads of experimenting with different rider heights and with their clever six contact point fuel tank sum. The mathematics sees a better connection patch, leaning and ‘tucking in’ to ensure comfort but also support for the rider’s knees, arms, and lower pressure on the hands.

Adjustable footrests play a part, as well as the fully adjustable WP APEX Open Cartridge suspension and lightweight cast aluminium wheels wrapped in Michelin tyres.

Image source: KTM

As mentioned above the RC R does echo design features found on the RC16 MotoGP bike and that’s thanks to their wind-tunnel-chiseled aero wings. As well as looking cool they function in adding stability for braking and cornering. I would have loved to see a double pipe setup on the RC R, one on the right and another under the rear subframe as on the RC16. Maybe we’ll see a certain power part that gives us that mini RC16 look.

Image source: KTM

For now, KTM is keeping the headlight a secret, but as Gareth Davidson (product marketing manager for KTM) has pointed out, it will be a single lamp unit upfront and with the hint that the front fairing hole isn’t for ram air, we can get pretty creative in our own minds on how the end product may look. I still think they’ll design something similar to what they had on the RC8, but with a modern twist of course.

Image source: KTM

The KTM 990 RC R will be a road-going machine but KTM do ensure those that bleed orange that there will be minimal modifications in the guise of powersports to turn your RC R into a track edition. Crafted by KTM in their Austrian factory, the modifications strip away the road-legal essentials, incorporate protective components, fine-tune adjustments, customize further, and revise racing bodywork, including a full exhaust system. These modifications ensure that riders focus on lap times rather than leisurely rides. Additionally, the ease of repair, low maintenance requirements, and extensive official dealer support provide further advantages.

Image source: KTM

I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously excited to swing a leg over a 990 RC R and maybe for the first time in a long while, bleed orange once again. For now, you can stay in tune with the 990 RC R’s journey, by following KTM’s YouTube channel.

Bjorn Moreira
Bjorn Moreira
My name is Bjorn Moreira (Senior Editor at ZA Lifestyle) and I always long for the next adventure. Why yes this may be a problem, but I’m what you call a #LIFEAHOLIC which I have been since my very first breath. My passion leads me to enjoy capturing memories on camera, riding motorcycles, cycling and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
RELATED ARTICLES

STAY CONNECTED

74,000FansLike
10,500FollowersFollow