The motorcycle world is still processing Honda’s decision to make a road-going version of its RC213V MotoGP race bike, and whether you think its price tag overwhelms, or its spec-sheet underwhelms, the Honda RC213V-S is a testament to the engineering that HRC is capable of producing for its racers.
KTM has a similar philosophy afoot. Though Stefan Pierer has made it clear that there will be no successor to the KTM 1190 RC8 R street bike, the company will be making a track-only customer version of its own MotoGP race bike: the KTM RC16.
Citing that street bikes have become too powerful, Pierer says that KTM will no longer follow other manufacturers in making road legal superbikes for the average Joe.
Industry experts will explain that the horsepower wars are expensive propositions for OEMs, and that the world’s sport bike market continues to shrink, thus making it a hard case for a motorcycle manufacturer, of any size, to continue making liter-bike offerings.
Cynics would suggest instead that KTM is still licking its wounds from the RC8, a bike that never sold well, though primarily through KTM’s own mismanagement of its launch, and because of its dirt-bike focused dealer network in the USA.
Whatever the reason, KTM’s future path has been made clear. The “Ready to Race” brand continues to push into the on-road sector, as well as into Grand Prix racing.
KTM’s Moto3 efforts have paid off well for the Austrian company, and while Moto2 remains a single-engine series and thus uninteresting to KTM, the Austrian brand has eyes on MotoGP for 2017, which is surely interesting.
Time will tell how potent KTM’s offering to teams will be (KTM will not directly run a racing effort, instead giving factory support to an already established MotoGP squad), and as we get closer to 2017, we will learn more details about the company’s 1,000 V4-power GP bike, and its customer counterpart as well, which is due in the second-part of 2018.
For now, we get word that it will cost a mere €140,000, a “more affordable” option to the Honda RC213V-S, if KTM is able to find demand for 150 to 200 units.
Making it available as track-only, perhaps KTM has already learned one of the lessons brought out by Honda’s folly with its halo bike. Time will tell for certain, though.
Other details gleaned suggest that the KTM RC16 will come to customers with a seamless gearbox, as well as pneumatic valves — two items missed by the RC213V-S because of its road-going nature.