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Old 07-04-2005, 04:00 PM   #1
Anthony OP
Hurry up, Stephie!
 
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Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
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Our huge list of big and ongoing problems

I have put this off for a long time, but I have seen many posts recently from disgruntled KTM950 owners and those interested in potentially becoming disgruntled KTM950 owners AND I am STILL having issues with my bike, so I've decided to tell my and my wife's stories of KTM 950 woe, name names and hang it out there. My patience has been stretched beyond my ability for discretion. To any of those named who may read this, you'll have to own your mistakes, I suppose. I have tried to point out the positive as well as negative here.

I DO love riding this bike. I do not regret having purchased it as it has been a learning experience and an Adventure. I would like to RIDE home from vacation more often on the bike and not in a truck, however.

I am a bit pissed off that the state of motorcycles is seemingly such that $12,000 doesn't buy you any guarantee of reliability whatsoever. I keep hearing statements that this bike is so much more reliable than xxx brand is/was. It's really kinda sad that motorcycles are so shitty.

Here goes, my bike first, then Steph's:

(For reference, we live in Flagstaff, AZ. Bernie's is 2.5 hours away in Mesa, AZ and Northland is 10 minutes away, down the street. We purchased the bikes at Bernie's. Northland is not currently an authorized KTM950 dealer.)

Problems with Anthony’s KTM 950:

1) +/-1000 miles, carburetor had small black chunks in float bowl , bad idle, dirt from bad gas or charcoal from canister?, good faith discount on labor from Bernie’s. Same day, special trip to Phoenix.

2) +/- 1000-2500 miles, Inconsistent idle and stalling at idle, carburetor intake boot torn by mechanic at Bernie’s after carb cleaned, I paid for carb sync and then trouble shoot and replacement boot after sync did not fix by Theron at Northland. 3 days total down time.

3) +/- 7000 mile, black stuff in coolant. Bernie’s replaced water pump under warranty. +/- 3 weeks down time. Bernie’s picked up bike, I retrieved bike.

4) +/- 7200 miles, one week after water pump replacement, I check coolant and find same black stuff still present. Check with Bernie’s, who checks w/ KTM to find that radiator had not been appropriately flushed after water pump replacement. Northland authorized to remove and thoroughly flush radiator. KTM covers this service and staff at Northland is led to believe that they are an authorized KTM950 service center either by KTM and/or Northland ownership. This information is conveyed to me. +/- 3 days down time. Labor covered by KTM, materials covered by Bernie’s.

5) +/- 10,500 miles, engine loses significant power in rainstorm on Mexican dirt road. Subsequent need to rev engine and slip clutch to keep from stalling causes clutch basket and friction plates to disintegrate and destroy most of the engine. (Please bear in mind, I really did not want to camp in the middle of nowhere, in a foreign country, in the rain.) Friend drives 40 hours into Mexico and back to truck bike home, I cover his expenses. Northland begins repair under the assumption that they are an authorized KTM950 service center. KTM will not let Northland proceed as Northland ownership and KTM have decided to butt heads at my expense. Theron at Northland shows me damaged parts from engine including clutch and heads and little piles of metal shavings in engine case. Bernie’s picks up bike from Northland. Todd Jones at KTM assures me that Bernie’s will expedite this repair and apologizes for all of my trouble. I check in with Bernie’s after one week to find they have not even looked at the bike yet, as they are too busy. Bike finally reassembled and returned to me by Bernie’s. +/- 6 weeks downtime.

6) Theron at Northland performs 600 mile service/valve adjust on “new” engine to find heads and cylinders have not been replaced, which he feels is shoddy/sub-standard given the condition of the engine after the failure. He thinks I will have oil pressure issues as the plane bearings in the head were scored and that I may burn oil as the cylinders were damaged. I accept his input and choose to not pursue this at this point, as the bike runs fine. I pay for additional 600 mile service because I wanted “second opinion” on engine rebuild.

7) +/- 12,000 miles, clattering noise that usually goes away after a couple of seconds on start up persists for several minutes of riding and oil light flickers while riding on highway. I change oil per owner’s manual directions to see what I might find. There are significant amounts of metal in oil tank screen, filter and oil. Bernie’s is told by KTM to pick up bike and trouble shoot. Bernie’s and KTM eventually determine that an oil check-valve spring is under spec, (41 mm instead of 42 mm), and replace this part. Bike seems to be fine. KTM thinks amount of metal in the oil filter I sent them is acceptable. Tim at Bernie’s test rides bike for 50-100 miles and all seems to be OK. KTM extends warranty for another year, admonishing me to use only KTM950 service centers, or void this extended warranty. KTM covers repair. +/- 3 weeks down time.

8) +/- 13,000 miles, coolant begins overflowing from coolant bottle. Theron at Northland bleeds cooling system and cleans radiator cap, which solves problem. +/- 3 days down time. At this time, new radiator cap is on order as old one’s seal is looking pretty bad.

9) +/- 13,400, Clattering and persistent oil light flickering, even with motor revved. Bike is parked in my driveway, waiting on discussion with KTM tomorrow when they reopen. I think I will ask for a new motor; I think it’s the only fair solution at this point…
Problems with Steph’s bike(s):

1) +/- 1000 miles, bike won’t start easily, blows smoke on start up, won’t idle properly deliver bike to Bernie’s. Faulty vacuum valve on evap emissions system causes cylinder to flood with fuel rich mixture causing rich condition. Evap system “temporarily disabled” by Bernie’s per KTM. KTM covers service.

2) +/- 2000 miles, after bike is dropped once, bike won’t idle properly and is hard to start. Theron at Northland finds stuck float, cleans and reinstalls carb. We pay for service.

3) +/- 3200 mile. On a trip to eastern AZ, engine makes terrible noises and self-destructs in the rain on a twisty mountain highway. We ride 2 up to hotel. I spend he next day riding home and driving back to the White Mountains to pick up the bike and my wife. Water pump had allowed coolant to pass into oil system. This causes filter to not pass oil and consequential engine failure. This is only discovered after Bernie’s rebuilds engine and oil light comes on while test riding. After 2 months of waiting on parts and service from Bernie’s, I contact KTM via email with story to date on bike. KTM sends new/demo (with around 2000 miles on it) bike to Bernie’s to replace this one rather than making us wait for parts that may or may not fix problem. KTM covers service.

4) +/- 7000 miles (bike #2). Clutch drags inordinate amount unless motor is revved up on start up, no matter whether bike is warm or cold. Worn out clutch is replaced by Theron at Northland, seemingly prematurely. Springs and pushrod for new clutch seem to address problems that led to premature clutch wear. We pay service. This bike is functional at this point.
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:07 PM   #2
SQD8R
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49 views and no replies ...

Two things stood out to me...


1.
Quote:
I DO love riding this bike. I do not regret having purchased it as it has been a learning experience and an Adventure.
and ...

2.
Quote:
KTM extends warranty for another year, admonishing me to use only KTM950 service centers, or void this extended warranty.
Nice to see that despite the issues you've encountered, certainly more than others have suffered, 'gee who, SQD?' , regardless of make/model of bike, that you still have a positive attitude and aren't doing the 'I hate whatever brand' rant, a rant you'd certainly deserve in my opinion.
Also it is nice to see KTM stepping regularly and taking care of you, esp. with that extended warranty. I've never heard of that occuring before. Thanks for sharing and best of luck tomorrow.
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SQD8R screwed with this post 07-04-2005 at 05:18 PM
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:09 PM   #3
Flanny
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Sorry to hear you've had such a bummer of a time.

I have a bunch of opinions of what you have been posted, some in terms of known issues that you could have avoided, some stuff I would have done differently etc. but frankly, I just too "bitched-out" these days to reply either constructively or argumentatively.

You know, I come to this forum to learn a few tricks, and to be inspired by some of the truly amazing ride reports and photos, and sometimes to help some other folks who just need a little guidance. By some measures (like BMWRIDER with 50K posts) 1000+ posts is not significant, but it does represent a pretty substantial investment of time to me and my family.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I'm a little sad that this whole Orange Crush forum has turned into pretty much "whiner central". Not to deny that the 950's have had issues, but more to highlight that the nature of the posts is shifting away from constructive, collaborative discussion in favour of bitching and moaning.

I've had NUMEROUS issues with both of my 950's. Mostly of them have been minor annoyances that I was able to repair myself, or that the dealer has ultimately fixed after some frustration. The point is that when I have had issues, I don't feel the need to vent them out on the forum. I have often posted what I believe are interesting threads in the name of trying to find some collaborative solutions to the problems I've encountered, but I don't think I've ever just thrown my arms up and spewed out a bunch of issues for the sake of spewing.

Anyway, like I said, I don't, in any way mean to deminish your obviously frustrating experiece, I'm only expressing my own disappointment that this forum is beginning to suck due to people's apparent need to moan and complain with no apparent objective other moaning and complaining as a means unto itself.

It's kinda like being at the tail end of a party that was really good about two hours before...when you suddenly realise that everyone who is left is really drunk and quite annoying and it's time to head for home because there are not likely to be any more good times...That's how it's starting to feel in here lately....

So, the only thing I will add is that I hope your post has vented you sufficiently not to continue posting over and over again like WEFNW. I don;t think I could take another round of posts like that...
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:24 PM   #4
Anthony OP
Hurry up, Stephie!
 
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Flanny-

Please don't shoot the messenger w/ me. I've held off on this post for a LONG time, but the issues just keep coming. At some point it has become hard for me to believe that I'm just having "bad luck".

This forum can serve many purposes to many people. I am not complaining for the sake of complaining. In fact, I think I've kept my tone pretty neutral. I wish there had been a post here like mine and some others before I had purchased this bike; there really wasn't at the time. Many folks come here to glean EXACTLY this sort of info before making a purchase.

I know the bad news/experiences here can be disheartening. I have not ridden for long, but I ride with folks who have been waiting for years for a bike like this, and I think the negative feedback is kinda wrecking the dream for some. KTM should really get on the Q.C. and try to save that dream.
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:30 PM   #5
Anthony OP
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Location: Flagstaff, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SQD8R
Also it is nice to see KTM stepping regularly and taking care of you, esp. with that extended warranty.
Yeah, funny thing, that.

I have purchased a STAR SPORT warranty that goes into effect after the KTM expires, but now it's only good for one more year, and I am kinda conflicted as to whether I should just have my local guy, who is a total anal retentive pro mechanic fix my current issue using the STAR SPORT warranty (which the service manager locally could probably pull off in spite of the KTM extension) or to try and get a motor out of KTM. Better to have these options than none I guess...
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:35 PM   #6
FarmerRick
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I have to sincerely agree with Flanny! I'm a noob poster with <250 posts but having ridden my 950 now for 9k miles since last September I'm becoming more and more enamored with the personality of the bike.

The 950 has a lot of upside to it and I'm still waiting to hear the enhancements and improvements that folks have made (hint: Flanny... what front brake did you use??) to make their bike an even more enjoyable experience to ride.

Today I rode, saw the odometer turn 9k, knew it was time to change oil so what did I do when I got home... Pulled panels off, put on the blanking plates, changed the coolant (cause I could), changed the oil and filters (no metal parts anywhere on any of the magnets or screens), did a final installation of the SM fender, pulled the right caliper (converting to a single disc), tested the carb synch and put it all back together again. This reminds me a lot of my old Ducatis... get to know your bike, enhance it where it needs to be enhanced for you, ride it and enjoy the personality!

The preponderance of whining that I hear is root caused by a sub par dealer not by a sub par bike! I love my dealer (who is 3.5 hours from here)! He'll get any part I need, be ready for me if I need his assistance with a simple phone call and has ALWAYS kept me up to date on what's going on with my bike and KTM TSBs.

I'm sorry for those of you who don't have a dealer who takes care of you! In the mean time, I'll be riding my bike with a big ol' grin on my face!!

Rick
Franklin, TN
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Old 07-04-2005, 05:52 PM   #7
MookieBlaylock
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thanks for your candor anthony.Hopefully wesnf won't show up to rub it in your face.
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Old 07-04-2005, 10:07 PM   #8
KTMax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanny
I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I'm a little sad that this whole Orange Crush forum has turned into pretty much "whiner central".
Boy do I agree with this!!...

Not withstanding Anthony's story which is really awful.

Apart from a crack in my frame I've had NO problems at all with both my 950s. First a 2004, now a 2003 S. Nore does my friend with his 2004. Combined that's almost 30K miles of trashing and manic fun. Nothing...
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Old 07-05-2005, 08:01 AM   #9
jsrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanny
sometimes to help some other folks who just need a little guidance
And we appreciate it! Please don't lose heart, for our sake.
Quote:
It's kinda like being at the tail end of a party that was really good about two hours before...when you suddenly realise that everyone who is left is really drunk and quite annoying and it's time to head for home because there are not likely to be any more good times...That's how it's starting to feel in here lately....
In my experience with these kinds of lists, the signal-noise ratio ebbs and flows. Hopefully this one will flow back to the signal side.
Quote:
So, the only thing I will add is that I hope your post has vented you sufficiently not to continue posting over and over again like WEFNW. I don;t think I could take another round of posts like that...
I think f'n wes put us all in a bad mood. If we can quarantine him in a corner of his own, and all take a deep breath, maybe we can get back to figuring out where to run our carb vent hoses :-).
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Old 07-05-2005, 09:23 AM   #10
Rad
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Hey Anthony

It is no fun to love a bike and have it do to you, for what ever reason (bike or dealer caused) what yurs has done. Some of us have been there. I had the 9th BMW R1100S made and the list of problems with it was daunting.

You have every right to post; you need not apologize to anyone for post'n the "facts" as they relate to you. If you want to be angry, you have that right also.

We have had marquee lovers of every type on this site that defended their choice of bike at the drop of a hat and we have had marquee haters who have trashed their hated marquee at every opportunity. This has included, BMW lovers/haters, KLR lovers/haters even lovers and haters of Orange bikes. It is life on the internet.

Best of luck and feel free to post on this thread anything you wish regarding yur bike. As readers, we will sort through the words and take from them what we want.

Good luck
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Old 07-05-2005, 09:43 AM   #11
motoman250f
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It's getting to the point that everybody is bashing a 03 or 04 bike like ktm hasn't delt with these problems. If you have an 03 or an early 04 you better be keeping an eye on a few key things. The bad thing is that the few key things have a potential to destroy the engine so there is little room for mistakes.

I'd like to see a posts where people say "here is what I've learned, get the 05 because all the problems I've seen are related to 03 or 04 known issues" instead of "its hopeless,, stay away from this bike!"

I would have sold the bike at step 5, Then I'd have been back here explaining what I learned not mounting a case against KTM.
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Old 07-05-2005, 10:41 AM   #12
YOGOI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony
I wish there had been a post here like mine and some others before I had purchased this bike; there really wasn't at the time. Many folks come here to glean EXACTLY this sort of info before making a purchase.
I have two questions for ya.
1)If there were posts like this would you have bought your KTM's?
2)If you could go back in time, would you buy your KTM's again; In hopes that you would not have the same problems.

I too have had a hand full of probs, and I feel your pain. BUT, I like Flanny am uncertain what you hope to accomplish with this type of post.

IMO, your list of 1-4 was the dealer using your bike as a trainer for the mechanics. I say this becouse it is what happend to me and I know I would not of had as many probs if I didnt let the dealer screw with my bike so much.

Now that my warranty is up I have started doing my own problem solving and so far it has been much better than leaving the bike at the shop for who knows how long.

This is not a KTM DEALER bash ether. I have the same complaints with all DIRT BIKE shops, and I like the KTM dealers better than the Honda, Yammy, Suzzuki, and Kowi, dealers.

If I could go back in time, I would do it again, (the bike I always wished someone would make) in hopes my luck was better.

What I would do different is what GEC said. " get to know your bike, enhance it where it needs to be enhanced for you, ride it and enjoy the personality!"

I hope your probs. w/ Steph's bike are over. Keep us updated on what KTM does with yours.
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Old 07-05-2005, 10:46 AM   #13
dzrtracin
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Bottom Line

its the indian not the arrow, if you don't have a competant wrench, its hard to have a reliable ride, 2 wheels or 4.
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Old 07-05-2005, 10:53 AM   #14
Steverino
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Sorry you are having so many problems Anthony, good luck getting them resolved. Still loving mine, and hope and pray I do not have these kinds of problems.
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Old 07-05-2005, 10:56 AM   #15
GB
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Anthony,
You have my sympathies. You have been more than patient. I think ultimately for me, the lack of confidence that I would have in this bike would force me to get rid of it. If I'm taking another out of town trip on it, I'd be wondering if I'm going to make it there and back, and would be asking my wife to follow me in the truck, just in case, and we could take turns riding it..

That's really too bad. I hope you do get some satisfaction out of your purchase and it finally gives you a trouble free ride.
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