6. KTM RC390

KTM RC390

What is it?
Inspired by its Moto3 championship-winning Grand Prix racers, KTM has now developed a line of small-displacement road-going sportbikes for the masses: the RC125, RC200, and RC390. While the first two are targeted towards European and Asian markets, KTM will eventually bring the RC390 stateside, where it could compete with the likes of Honda’s CBR250/300, the Kawasaki Ninja 300, or even the Honda CBR500R. KTM claims horsepower and torque figures in the ballpark of 43 and 25 ft-lb, respectively, from the 373cc Single.

Why are we excited to ride it?
We have a soft spot in our hearts for small-displacement sportbikes. Something about maximizing corner speed while having minimal fear of a throttle-induced highside appeals to us. Unlike the Japanese models mentioned earlier, which appeal to beginning or re-entry riders, the only beginners the RC390 welcomes are beginning road racers. With its lightweight steel trellis frame, steep steering head, short wheelbase, WP suspension, and Brembo brakes, the RC390 has all the makings for a sportbike that should handle with scalpel-like precision. It should also appeal to road racers young and old. The downside is that we likely won’t see it on our shores until late in the year.