After I shared that I was buying a Krämer HKR Evo2 S for my next track bike, the most common response I got was: “…a what?” I guess we should start there!
I gave a very short history about Krämer Motorcycles in my last post: the company “started in Germany as just a hobby in 2009, building a prototype racing bike for their own use. This ultimately led to the foundation of the company in 2014. The first model of the young company’s history is the “HKR EVO2″ where “HKR” stands for the first letter of the last names of Christof Henco, Markus Krämer and Nico Rothe. In 2009, the three of them started developing their own motorcycles in order to race it. This first motorcycle was called the EVO1. The HKR EVO2 is therefore its successor and already includes four years of pre-development through experience gained on the EVO1 model.”
They have distributorship in several countries. Here in America they partnered with Joe Karvonen, the owner of Sisufab in West Fargo, North Dakota. Beyond that, they have regional dealerships in the Pacific Northwest (Turn TWO Motorcycles in Portland, Oregon) as well as the Northeast (Seacoast Sport Cycle in Derry, New Hampshire). There’s no one in the Southwest at the moment, but based on how this series goes, Adam and I may represent Kramer over at our shop, Iconic Motorbikes.
Kramer currently offers three motorcycles, all of which utilize KTM motors:
GP2 890 R – $33,995
This is the top of the Krämer lineup, powered by the KTM 890cc parallel twin. You might know this motor from the 890 Adventure, the 890 Duke, or even the RC 8C – in fact, KTM basically took the Kramer GP2 and modified the bodywork, paint, and wings to create the RC 8C. The motor is surrounded by a chromium-molybdenum steel trellis frame, fiberglass bodywork, and a 4.2 gallon fuel tank which doubles as the seat. Kramer claims 130 horsepower and a curb weight of just 309 pounds!
The components are top-notch: WP Apex Pro suspension, Hyper Pro RCS steering damper, KTM’s power assist slipper clutch, Brembo M50 calipers, Dymag forged aluminum wheels, and more.
Kramer HQ back in Germany markets this bike as “More Is More.” Amusingly, they market the below HKR EVO 2 as “Less Is More.”
HKR EVO2 R – $22,995
Krämer calls this an “elite, hand-built production race-ready motorcycle.” It’s their best single-cylinder machine, powered by the LC4 690cc thumper found in bikes like the KTM 690 Enduro R and 690 SMC R. Just like the GP2 890 R, it’s blessed with a cro-moly frame, fuel tank that doubles as a seat (this time it’s a 3.17 gallon tank), and fiberglass bodywork. This bike makes 80 horsepower and weighs a stunning 276 pounds ready to ride. It’s also got excellent components: WP Super Sport suspension, Brembo monobloc calipers, Dymag forged wheels, etc.
Krämer has offered this model for a few years, and it’s almost always what comes up whenever someone searches for a review or a second opinion on the Evo2:
Rennie Scaysbrook of Cycle News
Troy Siahaan of Motorcycle.com
Zack Courts of RevZilla
I ended up speaking with Rennie, Troy, and Zack before I decided to pull the trigger for myself. They all obviously had great things to say, but what I most appreciated is that beyond the bike, they all said that Joe Karvonen was very knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with. I’ve had a few phone conversations with him since and I don’t disagree!
Based on my conversations with these guys (who are all quite faster than me), I decided that it made sense to go with a cheaper version of the Evo2 that Kramer offers called the Evo2 S:
HKR EVO2 S – $15,995
This is what I bought – it’s the “budget” version which Krämer calls “an affordable, race ready, production motorcycle.” The one-sentence summary is that the “S” is for track days while the “R” is for racing. It shares the frame, bodywork, and tank with the higher-spec R model, but (as you can guess from the $7,000 price difference) other components aren’t as nice. Big differences include a single rotor up front (vs. two), cheaper WP suspension, cast aluminum wheels (vs. forged Dymags), and a cheaper dash.
Lots of riders haven’t heard of Krämer yet, but racers sure have. In Zack’s review, he says: “When I gridded up for American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) racing at Laguna Seca last month, there were at least half a dozen other Kramer HKR-EVO2 machines taking the green flag in each of the two classes I entered.” That was almost three years ago.
That’s why I think the creation of the cheaper “S” model is such a savvy move by Krämer – bringing down the price point makes the Evo2 much more interesting to someone like myself who wants to have fun at a track day but doesn’t want to compete (and more importantly to me, doesn’t want to spend nearly $25k on a track toy). $15,995 isn’t exactly cheap either, but when you think about how much it costs to turn a street bike into a track bike then it doesn’t seem unreasonable.
Zack also concluded his review with a sentiment that stuck with me, and I’m hoping to experience it for myself: “[The Kramer] is as comfortable, predictable, and rewarding to race as any machine I’ve ever tested. Even Ducati’s Panigale V4R or Honda’s MotoGP-replica RC213V-S, performance machines of epic proportions, didn’t build my confidence as quickly as the Kramer. If you’re thinking, “Those bikes are viciously fast,” I would say that has something to do with why they aren’t as forgiving. The HKR-EVO2 is manageable and easy to control for mere mortals, which is something that truly matters and is often overlooked by racers.”
My bike arrives in a week and my first track day is a week after that. Let’s see how it goes!