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Old 10-31-2011, 12:13 PM   #1
zolo OP
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What's the REAL story behind KTM saying no to Long Way Round?

So I started watching the Long way Round series again. I'm curious as a new KTM owner and ex GS owner.
Does anyone know the reason KTM said no to Ewan and Charlie?
Im sure there is a thread someplace....maybe its been beaten to death.

They say that KTM didn't think they would make it? Is that the whole truth beginning and end of the story?
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:23 PM   #2
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I’ve heard a few rumours like they wanted full KTM sponsorship, etc. What I have been told by someone who would know (mum’s the word) OB1, Boardman and the camera man went through a total of four GS’s each for long way round...
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Image control...

KTM is a very grass roots company in terms of promotion and advertising. And they pretty much put all of their eggs in their "Rally" events. The Dakar rally alone is enough to break most companies coffers. KTM really doesn't do much in the way of US promotions either. Their Baja 1000 promotions have been pretty half baked from what I've heard, at best. They just didn't have the motivation to offer any support to the Long Way Round crew. Nor did they feel they would have any image control in the end. And I'm not so sure the KTM Adventure would have made the type of difference the Long Way Round crew was looking for. Perhaps the 950 SE would have been a better choice, with an additional rear fuel cell? Even then you still don't have a bike that's easy to remove out of the mud.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:26 PM   #4
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Woulda been daft.

I get jarred with the same question every time I tell anyone I ride KTM, about the same as when they find out I don't eat meat... (Sorry Zolo, it comes up in conversation all the time, not necessarily here).

LWR began early 04. The bike came out 03. It was their first with that engine, and as I am sure most will tell you here, it had teething issues, as would be expected.

It woulda been a gamble. A big gamble.

And would they (KTM) have benefitted if the bikes (and promotion) succeeded?

How about no? I recall a couple of years back that KTM were increasing production and was told they couldn't cope with it, and instead reduced production and put prices up to compensate. Maybe apocryphal, but quite likely related to truth.

Almost certainly KTM are more sensible than to risk either bad or good publicity in this case. Both could have hurt them.

And the SE wasn't out then I think.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:33 PM   #5
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I don't have a clue. But, this ^^^^^ is the explanation that has always made the most sense...to me, at least.


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Old 10-31-2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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My guess is:

the LWR-preparations were not that thorough at the moment KTM cancelled it's support for the LWR.
The only remaining option was BMW and they didn't want to get a "no" again so they increased the preparations before the trip and most probably also the support from BMW during the trip. BMW surely had a lot of demands too before supporting the LWR, and they undoubtedly complied. They had 3 support trucks (that we know of) so my guess is that at least 1 BMW-specialist was in the support crew with tons of spare parts (enough to build a complete new bike ). This way the LWR just couldn't go wrong, there would always be a solution at hand, whatever happened.

That why the received the support from BMW.

If they would heave had the same level of willingness for preparation and support for the bikes (to convince KTM this could not go wrong whatever happens) at the moment they had KTM in mind, I think KTM would have probable also supported the LWR.

Unfortunately, during the editing of the series they put in the scenes they want and leave out the scenes they want. BMW surely demanded to be able to participate in the editing of the series. A good example of this, is why Claudio's bike was fixed and transported when he had to ride a lot of km's on the Russian bike, without us knowing the details about it.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjemm View Post
Woulda been daft.

I get jarred with the same question every time I tell anyone I ride KTM, about the same as when they find out I don't eat meat... (Sorry Zolo, it comes up in conversation all the time, not necessarily here).

LWR began early 04. The bike came out 03. It was their first with that engine, and as I am sure most will tell you here, it had teething issues, as would be expected.

It woulda been a gamble. A big gamble.

And would they (KTM) have benefitted if the bikes (and promotion) succeeded?

How about no? I recall a couple of years back that KTM were increasing production and was told they couldn't cope with it, and instead reduced production and put prices up to compensate. Maybe apocryphal, but quite likely related to truth.

Almost certainly KTM are more sensible than to risk either bad or good publicity in this case. Both could have hurt them.

And the SE wasn't out then I think.
I also think these are the correct reasons. The GS's could have blown up and killed Ewan and Charlie, and BMW would still sell a ton of them. But any failure of the trip, bike related or not, could have been difficult for KTM's marketing team to overcome.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:20 PM   #8
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“Unfortunately, during the editing of the series they put in the scenes they want and leave out the scenes they want. BMW surely demanded to be able to participate in the editing of the series.”

A lot to assume, but probably true as BMW does seem to have a lot pull with the media. The broken down BMWs helped convince me to buy a KTM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tangai View Post
“Unfortunately, during the editing of the series they put in the scenes they want and leave out the scenes they want. BMW surely demanded to be able to participate in the editing of the series.”

A lot to assume, but probably true as BMW does seem to have a lot pull with the media. The broken down BMWs helped convince me to buy a KTM.

Not to completely derail this thread into a KTM vs BMW quality battle, BUT my KTM dealer was a former BMW tech. And I quote: "I've never made as much money as when I was a BMW mechanic". To be fair, I don't think he was hurting as a KTM mechanic....until the recession.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:03 PM   #10
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My understanding was that OB1 & Charlie also wanted to be given financial support as well as the bikes from KTM/BMW.
OB1 mentions this in either the book or the tv show. Something along the lines of, "All we wanted was a couple of bikes and a little bit of money...."
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakey! View Post
"All we wanted was a couple of bikes and a little bit of money...."
Isn't that what we all want?

Looking at the series I thought (*) their reaction was a little bit arrogant when they didn't get the free bikes, as they just expected. If they wanted to ride with KTM's, they could have just bought KTM's (as all of us have done, including some people here in the OC who also ride a world tour).

(*) based on only what is edited into the series
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjemm View Post
Woulda been daft.

I get jarred with the same question every time I tell anyone I ride KTM, about the same as when they find out I don't eat meat... (Sorry Zolo, it comes up in conversation all the time, not necessarily here).

LWR began early 04. The bike came out 03. It was their first with that engine, and as I am sure most will tell you here, it had teething issues, as would be expected.

It woulda been a gamble. A big gamble.

And would they (KTM) have benefitted if the bikes (and promotion) succeeded?

How about no? I recall a couple of years back that KTM were increasing production and was told they couldn't cope with it, and instead reduced production and put prices up to compensate. Maybe apocryphal, but quite likely related to truth.

Almost certainly KTM are more sensible than to risk either bad or good publicity in this case. Both could have hurt them.

And the SE wasn't out then I think.
That sounds like what the hypothetical conversation Toyota would have had, had Camel approached them,...

And the out-comes the same...

Didnt take anything away from Landcruiser, but sure didnt make them a household name either... Lucas did that

Still, woulda been cool to see both KTM and LC had they have taken that fork in the road...
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:23 PM   #13
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Ready to Race equity

Promotionally speaking the LWR ride wouldn't be consistent with KTM's brand equity - Ready to Race. Now if it would've been the Long Way Round Rally - that would work.

I personally had KTM loan me a bike for one year when I worked on behalf of the Blue Ribbon Coalition and was a Board member fighting to keep public lands open to motorized use. They are grass roots.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:55 PM   #14
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Sounds grassroots to me. Way to go Mark!
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:44 PM   #15
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Sometimes people and projects just don't connect at the right time.
Maybe their pitch wasn't to the right person on the right day?

There are endless stories in Hollywood about mega-hits being passed over by studios for unknown or innocuous reasons.
Since then, product placement has been the name of the game, and in the end it probably would not have hurt KTM sales in the US.
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