Ktm Rc8r

As a streetbike, the KTM has a lot going for it. For one thing, it's the only bike here with adjustable ergonomics. Raising the handlebars all the way and lowering/forwarding the footpegs reveals the bike's dirtbike roots as it rotates you into the most upright seating position of the bunch—excellent for sporty street riding. Even more impressive is that the tailsection can be raised/ lowered! The main thing that needs fixing—the thin seat—is an easy-enough wrong to put right, and KTM stepped up with new heat-abatement measures for 2010 said to cure our main com lternative

Control Tire: Pirelli Supercorsa SP

Even as we've entered an age of production superbikes equipped with active traction-seeking systems, be it DTC on corner exits or ABS slowing for the next, the time-honored importance of having competent rubber meeting the road remains. It's also good practice in a sportbike comparison to use a common "control" tire, giving each bike fair and equal footing. Anticipating chilly conditions at Miller Motorsports Park, we fitted the bikes with Pirelli Supercorsa SP radials, a street/track-day tire we chose for its broad temperature operating range and trustworthy performance without a requirement for tire warmers. Following a day of circuit use, the same tires served us well on a wet and dry street ride. "Pretty amazing grip for a 'street tire,'" say Associate Editor Mark Cernicky's notes. "Single-compound design rolls nicely into turns instead of a dramatic dive off the shoulder." Some bikes used them up more than others (176 horsepower, traction control or no, will do that), but the Pirellis showed impressive durability under extreme duress (thy name is Cernicky )

plaint with our last RC8.

At just 416 pounds, this bike's a willing urban accomplice, with light, precise controls and steering, and a willing, revvy, magnificent-sounding Twin with a near-perfect powerband for street use. Not too loud, not so quiet.

Some of us old-school types would have a hard time shelling out the money for a bike covered in so much flat black, but our favorite 16-year-old kid took one look at the KTM and said, "Now that is a cool motorcycle." (And KTM makes some shiny RCXRs, too.)

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