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Entry 70 // KTM Headquarters Austria

Update by: Luke | May 30th 2011

Nick briefly covered our KTM visit, but I have decided to give a detailed discription of our KTM visit as I think it was very interesting. First of all there are two KTM plants in the little Austrian town. We find the KTM bicycles factory first. We walk inside and they direct us to where the motorcycle division is. I go outside to start my bike, but it won't start. I'm not suprised because my battery warrning light has been coming on and off for the last 50 miles. I just pass it off as I overloaded the system with my heated gear, BUT it should be able to handle a 65 watt heated jacket with no headlights running just fine. I am remembering my mystery dead battery back in Bulgaria at the gas station and also the dead battery then charged battery leaving Bucharest. Strange things are happening. Nick has already left for the KTM factory so I am alone with a bike that won't start. There is a slight decline in the parking lot and I bump start my way out of there.At the motorcycle division, I park next to a new Duke 125 which looks like an awesome town bike, and look for some one to talk to. We stop first at the KTM gear store where they sell shirts and jeans and stuff like that. From there we are pointed to a building with a receptionist. Under normal circumstances I would not show up at KTM headquarters expecting anything to happen. I am a nobody who bought a 690 that has had lots of problems and I just happen to be in the area. BUT, there are some extra circumstances that bring me here. I have been talking to a guy named Ricky that I met from the internet. I knew about him long before I bought my 690. You see if you do any sort of KTM 690 research his name will come up. He is well known for having a lemon 690 on the internet. The short version of his story is his bike has gone through 9 fuel pumps, 3 engines and 3 Fuel Injection systems. He was getting tired of this so he contacted a fly-by-night law company just to ask if he had a case. He was very clear that he didn't want to sue KTM, he just wanted to know if he had a possible case. Well this law company sued on his behalf without his permission. Bogus signatures showed up and now Ricky was caught in the middle of two fighting companies. nobody knows what is going to happen, but in the midst of all of this Ricky told the KTM guys in America to look at my case. They could gain some positive publicity if they helped me out with my "unfixable" problems. KTM America thought that this was a good idea and would contanct KTM Austria. That is why I am now here.

Of course the lady at the reception desk has no idea who I am. I try to explain why I am here and about my bike problems. She recommened a local KTM dealer near by to look at my bike. I told her the last 3 dealers couldn't fix it, and I was only interested in dealing with some higher up guys in the company or I will continue on to the UK where John and I can swap the wiring harness and if that doesn't work, I can just borrow one of his bikes to finish the trip. I explain that we can't really wait around because we are already far behind schedule and I have to be back to work in Alaska by June 9th. She said I should have sent her an email earlier explaining my story and that we were coming today. She is right. That would have been a good idea. I have a feeling I am just too early. I write down my name, and our website and ride report on Advrider.com.

As a last ditch effort I borrow her phone and call Ricky, but he doesn't pick up. I do get ahold of LukasM and see if he can give me a name drop. A guy that shares the garage with LukasM is friends with one of the big wigs. Name dropping doesn't work so we are out of ideas.

We leave, but not before I get a picture in front of the main area and shoot a little interview. I hop on the bike hoping that it won't start, and I'll have to push start it. There are many workers outside watching what is going on. I am not hoping this to be mean, but hoping it because it would be funny to me. To see a guy push starting his KTM at KTM headquarters. Well it fired right up, and we take off. For some reason push starting it at the KTM bicycle headquarters wasn't as funny.

This takes us back to about 200 miles down the road when my battery starts acting funny again, but this time it won't magically work, and this time it truly is dead. We put it in Nick's bike and it won't turn over the engine. We find a girl with cables to jump it for us. Let's just hope we can make it to John's compound in England.

Side note: 3 days later, I get an email from KTM Austria. They say that they have agreeded to help me out. I have a direct phone number to call, but I am now in the UK and I only have two weeks to make it to the top of Norway and back. hmm...


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