Italian born KTM Product Manager, Diego Arioli has worked on the RC from the very beginning in 2011. We chatted to him to find out more about the development of the RC125…
What made you want to bring out a mini-sportsbike now?
“We made the decision to bring out this kind of bike right at the beginning of the development of the Duke – two products from the same heart. We wanted a product for the younger generation. It’s not just a Duke with a full fairing – it’s highly adapted to be an honest supersport motorcycle. It’s the first from a new platform for us.”
Who is your main target market for this machine and how successful are you hoping it will be?
“It’s the young generation – new and young riders. They are usually more excited by smartphones and we want them to be excited about motorcycles. We’ve gone more extreme with our design to appeal to them. If they don’t get excited by what they see then we’re not sure what they want! The idea is that they get the RC125 and then progress through the range onto bigger machines. Admittedly, it’s not a cheap bike but younger riders may be bought it by their parents – features such as the ABS will appeal not only to the rider, but their parents as they can be assured that their loved one is being looked after. The 125 Duke is the best-selling 125 in Europe; we think the RC will be as successful.”
What other projects have you worked on?
“I’m responsible for the complete line that we produce with Bajaj [KTM’s factory in India] – so I oversee machines including the 125, 200 and 390 Duke as well as the RC 125, RC390 and the C200 – but the C200 is mainly for Latin America.”
Having worked on the Duke and the RC – just how similar are they?
“Although they have the same heart, they are two different souls. The Duke is more for every-day riding as it is more comfortable and the riding position lets you see the road ahead clearly. The RC riding position gives you more dynamic control. The engine is the same – although the RC has a larger generator to power the double headlight. The chassis is different too – the steering angle has been moved 1.5 degrees closer than the Duke to give better ground clearance for leaning and reduce the wheelbase and trail. The front suspension stroke has been decreased to 125mm and there’s a stiffer spring in there too for the supersport feeling. The fairing gives an advantage on top speed too and allows riders to get that extra 2mph – important on a 125.”
What do you ride in your spare time?
“I ride a 390 Duke on the road. I really like it as it lets me find my own limit – I am a confident rider but I don’t manage to get on the limiter on the big bikes so the 390 is perfect for me – plus it has a lot of the benefits of a bigger bike such as USD forks and ABS. I have been riding the RC too – I noticed that often on smaller machines, other motorcyclists didn’t nod or wave – but on the RC they did. The RC takes you back to being a teenager and brings back all the memories from your early riding years – its great fun.”
Read our review of the KTM RC125 here