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News No More Superbikes for KTM – CEO Says They’re Too Dangerous For Public Roads

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' started by NetriderBot, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. #1 NetriderBot, Apr 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2015
    There’s a headline you won’t enjoy reading, especially if you’re a fan of KTM and their underrated 1190 RC8. KTM CEO and President Stefan Pierer has stated in no uncertain terms that he believes as a producer of sportsbikes, KTM has a serious responsibility to their customers regarding safety and that therefore means saving you from yourself.

    That statement was made in an interview conducted by legendary motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart and published in CycleNews magazine. The interview is quite an interesting and lengthy read and was spread out over two issues, but it’s the second part of the discussion that’s a real eye opener.

    Stefan Pierer’s shocking announcement came in response to a question regarding KTM’s return to MotoGP in 2016. Here’s the reason for returning to MotoGP:

    We’d like to produce a successor to the existing RC8 V-twin… In which case, let’s do the following: We’ll stick to making a Superbike, but only for closed course usage. So it won’t be homologated for sale as a streetbike. Okay? So then to produce that we will take the best prototype development arena available, which is MotoGP. And for the 2016 season there will be new rules introduced when the playing field will be leveled with a standard electronic system, so then KTM can challenge Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki and Aprilia on an equal basis. So that’s the concept for development. We’ll call it the RC16 and it will also be available for the normal customer for track days or private use on track, but it won’t any more be homologated for the street. It’ll be a really serious sports and race item for closed course use only.

    Just to make sure he was hearing things correctly, Cathcart pressed the KTM CEO and asked if there would be at least a homologated version of this machine? In answer, Pierer again said “No, because we at KTM think that a sportbike with such performance doesn’t have any place on the public roads.”

    The KTM RC 8 R will be discontinued soon and will not be replaced because it’s apparently too dangerous for public roads.

    He goes on to say the following:

    But let’s be honest, if your Superbike is reaching 200 horsepower or more, it’s impossible to argue that it belongs on the street. It really doesn’t, anymore.

    As soon as the RC16 is available for customers we will stop with the RC8. The design is outstanding. I would say it’s still state of the art, and there is nothing else like it. It’s a classic Superbike. But with the increase in safety concerns, I’m afraid bikes like this don’t belong on the street, only on a closed course.

    So is Stefan Pierer just another CEO completely out of touch with reality and condemning KTM to a future of mediocrity? That’s a difficult argument to make, as Pierer has presided over KTM for a number of years now and its current success is no doubt in large part due to his leadership. He also stated that part of his reasoning is fear of European politicians who would ban motorcycles outright if they could. So in effect, his decision is perhaps one designed to avoid the issues from the 90’s where governments almost intervened to stop the top speed wars.

    But it’s also a huge cop-out. KTM’s most powerful bike on sale is the 1290 Super Duke R which produces 177 hp (The 1190 RC 8 R makes 172 hp but weighs 5 kg less). That sort of power has been available in motorcycles since the Hayabusa was released over 15 years ago and the Suzuki certainly had none of the electronic aids that the Duke does such as traction control, lean-sensitive traction control, ABS and various engine modes when it was first released. So why is it now all of a sudden too dangerous for the public?

    Secondly, does this dangerous amount of horsepower also encompass other types of bikes like sports tourers? Say, the 1290 Super Adventure which delivers 160 hp and was only just released? Or are motorcycles only dangerous if they’ve got sportsbike fairings?

    We can understand being cautious of politicians and their desire to interfere, but to leave a motorcycle company who’s motto is ‘Ready to Race’ without a flagship sportsbike you can ride on the road? Does not compute.

    Continue reading...
  2. So it's not being discontinued because it's been a rubbish seller and styled like a 1980 Volvo.
  3. I bet a 200hp 3 tonne car is more dangerous than a 200hp bike if you turn off the self preservation switch.
  4. Nice spin for "The huge cost of type approval isn't justified according to market forecasts. So we'll just build a track bike instead and f*** the business case."
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. So what's the point in spending the money to race in motoGP when you don't even have a superbike in your line up to sell to the public? From a business stance it sounds like a waste of money for KTM to go racing in a class that it doesn't even sell in. I know they will have race only versions... but that never makes a company money due to the low volume of sales.
  6. Maybe, they are true petrolheads and only in the business of selling road bikes to fund their real love, which is racing?
    If that's really the case I kind of admire it, but nobody tell the bank.

    This is kind of a contradiction IMO. Real racing is not road riding.
  7. Thank God, someone is finally thinking of the children.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  8. I highly doubt the KTM RC8 made more money than the KTM 200. It's all brand image, people see KTM race bikes, and go buy a KTM 200/390.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Was it first published on the 1st of April?
  10. That's what I was wondering! Strange marketing slogan "Ready to Race" with comments like that. What he says kind of rings true... but in my mind it sound like KTM gave up competing the with the crazy bikes being brought out by the big brands.

    Although the RC8 is a very good bike, on paper it never looked as impressive as the other competitors. Real world was a different story. I was looking forward to them bringing out a new RC with the 1290 engine :'(
  11. This is true, although there is a large leap between MotoGP race bikes and built-to-cost 200/390's.

    To me it would make more sense to keep a flagship Superbike, with possibly a Supersport below it in the range, followed by the 390/200's.

    That way they can market the flow on effect that racing brings to their bikes, with the greater volume allowing for more advanced technology on the smaller bikes.

    It would also keep people buying KTM's. If i started on an RC390 for my L's, I would want to upgrade to something like an RC690 (if only) before upgrading to an RC8.

    If you decided that you wanted a dirt bike as well the first ones you'd look at would be KTM.

    Without any bikes to upgrade to, I would be making the move to other brands pretty quickly once being unrestricted.
  12. Who says they won't produce an "RC 690"? He simply states they will not continue the RC8 and that they will not build 200HP superbikes. They still have the 1290, it's well short of their 200 hp limit so will likely continue.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  13. He's treating customers like idiots while manipulating the business situation to look good in the eyes of EU regulatory bastards. His antics make me angry.
  14. KTM have form in getting things really, really wrong commercially in a fairly high profile manner.

    Mind you, the guy who said no to providing the bikes for Long Way Round has probably spent the last 10 years sitting on a Vienna street corner with a cardboard sign and a dog on a string :D.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. [​IMG]

    • Like Like x 1
  16. They only import about eight RC8 's to Australia each year because they're hard to sell. The Duke and RC390 on the other sell like crazy and are much more profitable to their business.

    They're still going to produce a race bike for the public it just won't be road legal. I think it's quite a smart move.
  17. Seemed to work for Ferrari.......
  18. Agreed - I totally thought it was an April fools joke. "KTM says they'll stop making good bikes!".
  19. Changed my mind. Going racing and not worrying about road riding wannabes is one thing.
    Bellyaching in the media about 'too dangerous' is bullshit and biting the hand that feeds you.
  20. Don't think the guy on the RC8 at the lights appreciated me ripping him off on a cruiser (156 Nm @ 2750 rpm), but when he did pass me he dwindled very quickly in the distance. Luckily we were on a motorway...those things ARE dangerous.
    • Dislike Dislike x 1