BMW HP2 Sport vs KTM RC8

Duel in hell: BMW HP2 Sport vs KTM RC8

BMW HP2 Sport takes on the KTM 1190 RC8. But which one is the best?

The Nurburgring, called the Nordschleife since 1983, is probably the toughest, most challenging race circuit in the world. Often called the ‘Green Hell,’ the Nordschleife is all of 20.83km long, with 33 left and 40 right turns. It runs through picturesque valleys and mountains, but on the track, most people are going much too fast to have any time to admire the view.

Töff magazine recently had the opportunity to pit a KTM RC8 against a BMW HP2 Sport, with their test rider Helmut Dähne thrashing both bikes around the Nordschleife. Some people have all the luck in the world, eh? Anyway, here are some excerpts from what Töff and Dähne have to say about the two bikes:

For what it’s worth, the KTM attracts more attention than the BMW, with people stopping to take pictures and ask about the bike. Also, the RC8’s seating position is surprisingly comfortable – riding it 500km on the highway is effortless. It even lets you easily carry some luggage with you. KTM engineers seem to have thought of everything. BMW, the touring specialists, are not even offering any luggage options on the HP2 Sport. It’s a twisted world…

The RC8 has the better engine, the BMW has the better chassis...

The BMW HP2 Sport – the strongest, most athletic Boxer ever promises to deliver pure sportsbike-spec riding dynamics, as does the KTM RC8. So, the Green Hell is the right place to be testing these bikes, as it would the maximum amount of strain on the chassis, gearbox and brakes.

And speaking of the chassis, the BMW’s is clearly better. It offers very precise handling, always letting you stick to the chosen line. The KTM feels a bit more… nervous. In fast bends, it’s not always easy for the KTM rider to stick to his chosen line. You must often make frequent corrections to the steering and it takes some time before you can really settle in with this bike. In terms of sheer handling prowess, the BMW clearly has an advantage with its chassis.

Riding these bikes at the limit is hard work. Much harder than, say, a Fireblade

Where the Boxer suffers is low-rev torque – there simply isn’t enough. There’s no getting away from it – the KTM engine is much better. Sure, it vibrates more than the BMW, but the power delivery is linear, more consistent. The HP2’s engine isn’t as soft, gentle as a Japanese inline-four, but it certainly feels more pleasant than the KTM engine, which vibrates enough to shake the ends of the bike’s handlebars.

Overall, neither bike is suitable for amateurs. Both, the BMW and the KTM, are much harder to get the best out of than, say, a new Fireblade. However, we must say the BMW is the more consistent of the two.

For the full shootout, visit the Töff website here...

Specs: BMW HP2 Sport

Engine: Four-valves-per-cylinder, DOHC, 1170cc boxer-twin

Power: 133bhp at 8,750rpm, 115Nm at 6,000rpm

Chassis and suspension: Steel tube frame, Telelever front fork with Öhlins spring, Single-sided Paralever with Öhlins spring at the back, both ends fully adjustable

Brakes: Twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers at the front, single 265mm disc at the back

Wheels and tyres: 17-inch forged alloy wheels, showd with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) tyres

Weight: 199kg with fuel

Specs: KTM 1190 RC8

Engine: Four-valves-per-cylinder, DOHC, 1148cc v-twin

Power: 154bhp at 10,000rpm, 120Nm at 8,000rpm

Chassis and suspension: Steel tube frame, WP 43mm USD forks, WP monoshock, both ends fully adjustable

Brakes: Twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers at front, single 220mm disc at the back

Wheels and tyres: 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) tyres

Weight: 198kg with fuel

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