To many of you, the bike you see here is something of a unicorn. A street-legal, single-cylinder sportsbike that weighs just 275lbs and makes 70bhp. That KTM LC4 motor is well-proven, has reasonable service intervals and won’t rattle your fillings out. Looks sexy in RC8-esque fairings too. The problem? KTM doesn’t actually make it, instead, the RC4 is only available in kit form from a German supplier.
Mid-capacity, single-cylinder sportsbikes hold so much promise because they’re: a) really light b) really torquey and c) incredibly simple. Those three attributes should equal accessible performance with the kind of handling typically reserved for GP bikes, all at reasonable cost.
Manufacturers don’t really make anything like this because its appeal is relatively limited to a few hardcore, small bike, track-riding aficionados. The modern 600cc, inline-four sportsbike sells in high enough volumes that its costs are massively offset by volume. You’re not riding a budget $10,000 vehicle, you’re riding something that’d give a multi-million dollar race car a run for its money both in performance and technology, just benefiting from the economies of scale. Engineering a bike like this RC4 from the ground-up would equal the cost of developing that 600, but couldn’t bring such high volumes, leading to a higher price. You may desire the more focussed, more special machine, more expensive machine, but the market at large wants that do-absolutely-everything, performance pinnacle 600 for less money.
But don’t lose all hope. Remember that future product plan for the Austrian company that leaked back in August? It included mention of a “Moto3 350.” Since that’s the wrong capacity for the class and it’s included on a list of production bikes, it sounds like KTM could be cooking up something similar to this RC4 itself, albeit even smaller and even lighter.
If it uses the same 350cc single as the KTM 350 EXC-F we’re currently tooling around on, then we’re pleased to report that that four-valve motor is an absolute peach. Smooth, powerful and quite unexpectedly torquey for such a small capacity. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, you can convert your 690 Duke into an RC4 by writing the nice Germans at Mototech a check for €4,800, waiting for a box, then turning some wrenches in your garage. The kit alters suspension geometry, revises the ergonomics for sport riding (mirrored after the RC8) and fits that angular fairing.