Johannesburg - KTM insists that a 125 doesn't have to be a stepping stone, a temporary compromise on the way to a 'real' bike. And here, as if in proof, is the RC125 sports bike, specced to a level that will have some litre-class riders grinding their teeth in frustration, with looks to match.
In 2011, the KTM Duke was the first 125cc machine with ABS as standard and yes, the RC has the same buzzy little 11kW four-stoke single, but this is much more than a Duke with a fairing.
The familiar looking tubular-steel trellis frame has been revised, with a steeper had angle to reduce both trail and wheelbase for quicker, more agile handling.
Running gear has been sourced from industry leaders WP (suspension) and Brembo (brakes), with a radial-mount four-piston calliper on a 300mm front disc and a single-piston sliding calliper on a 230mm rear platter - modulated by the latest Bosch 9MB two-channel ABS.
Thanks to state-of-the-art lighting, the Grand-Prix-derived styling almost seems to disguise its road-legal requirements. The twin headlights use small projector lamps, while the daytime running lights, tail and brake lights, number-plate light and indicators all use compact, energy-saving LEDs
‘REFUGEE FROM THE RACETRACK’
The front indicators are integrated into the mirror housings while the tail and brake light are set into the back of the seat, improving the RC's aerodynamics as well as emphasising its 'refugee from the racetrack' persona.
Even that neat monoposto tail-piece isn't - it's actually a neat pillion perch that's not as hard or unforgiving as it looks, with easily removable pillion footpegs for that pure race look.
And under the screen, a digital liquid-crystal dashboard displays, speed, revs, gear position, fuel gauge, service interval information and trip data such as fuel consumption and average speed, as well as a shift light, for those not paying attention to the digital rev-counter.
The RC125 will be available at KTM dealers from September 2014; prices, as always, when they get here.
SPECIFICATIONS: KTM RC125
Engine: 124.7cc liquid-cooled four-stroke single.
Bore x stroke: 58 x 47.2mm.
Compression ratio: 11.6:1.
Valvegear: DOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.
Power: 11.3 kW at 10 500rpm.
Torque: 11.8Nm at 8000rpm.
Induction: Bosch digital electronic fuel-injection with 33mm Dell'Orto throttle body.
Ignition: Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment.
Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch.
Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by chain.
Front Suspension: 43mm Endurance (WP) inverted cartridge forks.
Rear Suspension: Endurance (WP) monoshock adjustable for preload.
Front brakes: 300mm disc with ByBre (Brembo) four-piston radial-mount calliper.
Rear brake: 230mm disc with ByBre (Brembo) single-piston floating calliper.
Front tyre: 110/70 - 17 tubeless.
Rear tyre: 150/60 - 17 tubeless.
Seat height: 820mm.
Dry weight : 135kg.
Fuel tank: 9.5 litres.