What a piece of shit the 950 is.

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by Anthony, May 30, 2004.

  1. Anthony

    Anthony Hurry up, Stephie!

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    There I've said it. I've had this thing for 3000 miles, my wife's has about 1500 miles on it, and here is the list of issues, solved and unsolved I've had.

    -Dirt in the carburator- no fuel filter? Not rocket science. Dealer scratched head and said "I don't know how that got there?" Seems like bullshit to me, as in this should not happen, (not like he PUT it there...). Cost me about $200. Dealer graciously discounted work as this occured at 1000 miles and he felt my pain. (My bike.)

    -Faulty vacuum valve feeding from charcoal canister to rear cylinder. Dealer had to call KTM USA they called Austria. They all scratched their heads and asses and told the dealer to "temporarily" disconnect the system. Covered as warranty by dealer, not sure about KTM. Keep in mind, this takes 6 hours of driving each time for me, as there is no nearby dealer. (wife's bike)

    -Both bikes have a weird idle issue. When you let off throttle at stop, idle sits at 1800 rpms for a few seconds (10 +/-) and then falls off to 1400, but only when it is good and warmed up. Is that normal? I am new to motorcycles, but none of my vehicles, including my DRZ400s does this. Dealer scratches head and says "yeah, I don't know why it does that" (both bikes)

    -Now, my bike idles very irratically, sounds as if it isn't firing right each time, and frequently stalls at idle. Had local mechanic (fuck the 6 hour drive and warranty only covers stuff that KTM can fix, which doesn't seem like much...) sync the carbs, (which were WAY out and should have been done at the 600 mile tune up AND after I had the dirt cleaned out of the carbs), which kinda helped, but now the problem is back. Like I said...piece of SHIT! (my bike)

    -I have done the following: Checked adjustment of mixture screws (both are now set at factory 2 1/4 turns out), had the 600 mile tune up per owners manual by dealer, I just removed the EPC thinking it could be responsible for idle issues per forums here.( I vacuum capped the carb ports and sealed the airbox holes.) It seems to go better, but no effect on idle.

    HERE'S THE THING: I spent $12,000 on a new motorcycle that doesn't work right and I am sick of driving the thing in the back of my truck to get it fixed, at an expense to me, at LEAST for the gas to drive it there and back. I don't want to be a motorcycle mechanic. I just want my $12,000 PROTOTYPE (as in not ready to be sold to a retail market because the bugs aren't worked out) motorcycle to work right. AND I am writing this to this forum because KTM doesn't even have an email address. (I'll cut and paste this to a paper letter and send it later maybe...)

    There is a local myth that someone who owns one of these things (in LA?) has similar but worse issues (like the fuel is getting over heated on the way to the carb and boiling maybe..) and I've read a few things here about people with various ongoing issues ranging from blown head gaskets to just having their new bikes in the shop half the time.


    WHAT THE FUCK?

    KTM needs better customer service if they are going to get into this higher end/ more complicated bike market I think.

    My next bike will be Japanese, and I will be in the dirt bike market in the not too distant future.
    #1
  2. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    :dunno Bummer. It sounds like you have had more than your share of problems, which is compounded by the long distance between you and your nearest dealer.

    I think that the bike probably does have more mechanical problems than an average Japanese bike, but there are compensating benefits as well. The bike is as versatile as they come. It is very fun to ride. It has tons of personality and looks different than most other bikes. The suspension is excellent and there is no need to go right out and put an expensive aftermarket suspension on the bike.

    And as for reliability, I have 8500 miles on mine and have not had any significant problems of any kind. The bike has been more or less trouble free. It does have a few quirks. It dies occasionally while idling (not frequently.) It starts back up immediately. While I find this odd, it hasn't really bothered me much. The clutch doesn't absolutely completely disengage (hasn't been an issue for me to date.) The cam chain tensioner seems to kick in late when the bike is started hot, resulting in quite a bit of cam chain noise for perhaps 4 or 5 seconds after the re-start. Unless this causes excess wear on the cam chain, it is of no consequence to me. My brakes squeal, but I can blame this on Brembo rather than KTM. I can't think of any other issues that I have had.

    If you want tried and true, bulletproof technology supported by a very large base of dealers, Japanese bikes are hard to beat. Buying a European brand isn't for everyone. Even BMW has its issues. Sorry that this hasn't been a good experience for you.
    #2
  3. Renegade6

    Renegade6 Been here awhile

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    Have you tried calling KTM USA customer service? 440-985-3553.
    #3
  4. Anthony

    Anthony Hurry up, Stephie!

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    Are we talking about a date or a motorcycle? I often give my Volkswagon owning friends shit about whether their vehicles are transportation or a hobby. My hobby is adventure riding, not motorcycle maintenance. Don't get me wrong, this bike rocks WHEN IT'S WORKING.

    The one time I called KTM customer service I got I nice pat on the head from a guy who new very little if anything about the bike specifically (he did not know if the petcock(s) had built in fuel filters), that and the incident of ass and head scratching that went along with the evap canister valve issue leads me to believe that no one at KTM USA has a freekin clue. I also suspect that the people in Austria who are aware of and could fix issues are probably too busy working on the next failure prone piece of crap KTM will be releasing to help finish the last one they designed.
    #4
  5. PeeBee

    PeeBee Giant leap for me!

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    That's bad news, Anthony.

    I got myself a 950 after 12 weeks of MultiStrada. That bike was so bad, it would not start 42 times (the computers logs it all) in those three months.

    This does not help you at all, but my 950 has proved to be worth the trust I put into it. 6.000 km in 4 months with one stall in a bad cold drizzle.

    The title you put on top of this thread, however, made me shiver. I thought you'd have me reading about broken frames, twisted rear swings, leaking tanks, etc. you fill in the blanks.

    Your list is pretty long, but it is only made up of three issues.
    A faulty vacuum valve, dirt in carburetor, and strange idle behaviour. The first two issues are what they are and can be easily fixed, although they're enough to give you a bad taste in your mouth.

    The third one requires more than manuals and a willing dealer. My guess is, if KTM customer service doesn't come through for you and you still want to try to get the issue sorted, you should probably try to find a dealer that:
    - knows his CV carbs
    - has a Dyno
    - and has the ability to measure CO levels while adjusting the carbs under engine load (on the Dyno).

    I had my 1000 km service done at the famous Sommer KTM, and they told me it's rather hard to make an exact setup without these tools. So, on a bike that's not running as it should, it's sort of impossible to get things running well by manually setting the mixture screws to something in the book. About syncing the carbs: maybe they should not be exactly the same, because the rear cilinder runs hotter. The rear carb even has a different main jet. I'm no carb mechanic, but I listen well to people who are (Sommer in this case).

    I hope things will work out, even though your dealer is 6 hours away. Worst thing about this story seems to be your dealer by the way, they suck big time. With a shop like Sommer, or even halfway as good, you should not have had any of this. So maybe your topic should have been called: Are all those dealers this bad or is it my bike? I think your dealer does not deserve his '950 status'.

    My answer: it's the dealer. You have every right to be pissed, but this bike is no piece of shit.
    #5
  6. Anthony

    Anthony Hurry up, Stephie!

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    P.S. Kirkmoon, I have also had all of the other issues you describe, none of those really bug me, as my brakes only squeel when dusty, I can still roll the bike backwards with the clutch in (if you are a seasoned bicycle mechanic, you will know that the New Departure coaster brake hubs have a similar brake design to this clutch design and they always dragged a ton...) and all long term wear reports seem good on the motor, so I doubt that the cam chain thing is of any real consequence, but for $12,000 all this shit oughta work, ya know?

    Peebee- Why doesn't KTM deliver prepped carburators on the bike? Yeah maybe it is the dealer too, but KTM USA hasn't had answers ready to any questions and as far as I'm concerned, delivering a bike without a fuel filter is negligent. Especially one that might (I didn't do this, I'm just sayin...) get filled in Baja from a plastic jug full of what one can only hope is gasoline...
    #6
  7. PeeBee

    PeeBee Giant leap for me!

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    With all due respect: these are still no issues to call the bike a piece of shit over.
    My 950 is my 12th bike and I've never had a fuel filter on any of them, it's a personal thing. I've seen buddies have their engines die in heavy mud for lack of gas flow with a fuel filter.

    KTM USA should get their act together rapidly, you're very right about that.

    About the carbs: they are factory set and tested, AFAIK. Maybe your shitty dealer thought he needed to put his fresh 950 knowledge to work and turn everything inside out, who knows?
    #7
  8. Anthony

    Anthony Hurry up, Stephie!

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    Peebee- I don't think you are getting my point. I bought the bike for what it is supposed to do. It doesn't do that. Not to get too philosophical, but I think that we as a culture want new shiny things rather than proven functional things, and manufacturers of technologically innovative things would rather go to market ASAP than test their end product to make sure it ALL works, including the vacuum valve on the afterthought of an evap emmissions system.

    I have a sneaking suspicion given the fact that the bike worked fine after the carbs were cleaned out, and eventually the bike exhibited idling issues that were remedied by readjusting the carb sync, that the EPC valve(s) may be defective and threw the sync out (I am just guessing as mine is the only insight I have at the moment). Now, since I've removed them, the sync is out still (because the sync was adjusted to the bad EPC valves) even though I removed the EPC stuff and blocked the holes. On Tues. I will check my theory with my NEW mechanic (I don't disagree that the dealer may be the issue...) and probably have him re-check the sync on the carbs. If this is the case, we are back to defective afterthought emissions parts. This is not OK. This is a significant failing on KTMs part. I have some mechanical knowledge (enough to get myself into trouble) and some common sense (hopefully enough to keep me from actually attempting to apply my too-little mechanical knowledge myself) so I can appreciate the complexities and simplicities of parts that don't work. Someone like my wife sees this as it is: a $12,000 motorcycle that doesn't work right.

    One should not have to be a motorcycle mechanic to own a motorcycle. My point is that simple.

    On one other note, I have run bicycle repair shops for 12 years. This is long enough to have screwed up a thing or two and made a few bad diagnostic calls, and I care alot. (My friends and some customers would tell you too much for my own good and mental health.) That said, I am both hyper-skeptical of repair shops of all sorts as well as hyper-sympathetic. I currently have a bicycle that belongs to a good customer and friend of the shop that I run in for a shifting issue that (I hope) we finally resolved. Bear in mind, this is just a bicycle and is not nearly as complicated or as difficult to adjust as a (let alone 2) CV carburators that are buried under all sorts of body work. It took the insight of the shop owner, our head mechanic and me ( a total of about 50 years of bike shop experience) to finally troubleshoot the problem (in case you are interested, the rear triangle was out of alignment and the rear derailleur was just a little wacky, not enough to be visibly apparent).

    My point is that I am extremely reluctant to run around, shop to shop blaming the last guy who touched my bike for all of its ills.

    Consider also that if the shop is the issue, KTM should bear some of the blame for this as well in my mind. They have been a KTM (exclusive) dealer for years and are known for their ability to repair all sorts of bikes. KTM should make sure that all of their dealer network is up to speed on all potential defects and issues with these bikes and should make an effort to deal only with the best shops if they make finicky equipment.

    On I final note, I will never have BRAND loyalty. Brands are an illusion.

    Thanks for listening. I feel a little better now.

    Anthony
    #8
  9. Renazco

    Renazco Formerly AKA Boejangles

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    PeeBee is right you know, some of those complaints although frustrating can be repaired rather easily. I've come to realize that most dealers in the U.S. are clueless about this bike, being that it's a first year bike.
    I've owned a fair share of bikes including U.S, European and Japanese and all have had something that required tinkering.
    A quick search on the forum is your best bet for taking care of some of the issues you described, unfortunately we all don't have the "Sommer KTM" dealer network readily available here in the U.S.
    Hopefully you can address these issues succesfully and when in doubt you can always post a question on this forum, usually you'll get an intelligent response. I think once you get over the frustration you'll reconsider your opinion of the bike :thumb
    Keep us posted on your findings..
    #9
  10. Doug Matson

    Doug Matson Long timer Supporter

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    Just a guess but it sounds like you have an air or vac leak. If your carbs were way out of sync then the 600 mi service was not preformed very well, makes me wonder what other things they did or didn't do as well. Some people have complained about crap in the carbs from debris in the tanks, when I raised my needles I took the bowls off to check and they were clean. I have had lots of bikes and none came with a fuel filter, except for a screen in the petcock. I know you don't want to become a m/c mechanic but I would get to know the bike real good if you love adventure riding. I know this doesn't make you feel any better. Call your dealer and ask who their factory rep is, get his e-mail and send him the detailed information and complaints and ask for a reply. Good luck.
    #10
  11. AdvSkier

    AdvSkier Been here awhile

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    Very minor problems for such a title. I wonder how you would feel if you had an F650 with injection issues, a Ducati ST4 with rocker issues, an early hayabusa with a cracked subframe, a new Goldwing with a defective frame, etc etc.

    If you researched the bike before you bought it, you would know it is almost universally agreed that it needs the carbs adjusted out of the box.... how many japanese bikes came with perfect carbs out of the box?
    Is the idle staying at 1800 for a few secs before dropping really the end of the world?

    If you expect mechanical perfection you might be better off selling the 950 and shopping for something with 4 wheels.
    #11
  12. Denis Nunan

    Denis Nunan Adventurer

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    I've had pretty good luck with mine but I do my own work as there isn't a dealer that sells the 950 within 3000mi.

    One thing you should look into before you give up is your fuel source. One tank of really contaminated gas will cause problems until the entire fuel system, tanks and all, is cleaned out. Maybe you should be pissed at whoever sells you gas.
    #12
  13. KTMax

    KTMax Ninth of the Nazgul

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    Hmmm... You've not been very lucky Anthony, that's clear.

    But a lot - if not all - of these minor quirks should have been ironed out before you got the bike or at the 1st service at the latest. Your dealer seems to be friendly and willing but is lacking some expertise and experience with the 950 if you ask me.

    I've put almost 2000 mls. on my second 950 and have had no problems at all. With neither one of them. The stock setup is clearly crippled by emission & noise regs. It seems that US bikes suffer (even) more from this than Euro bikes.

    Surely you're right about spending 12K$ on the bike that should be perfect'n all. Most Jap bikes for one are pretty glitchless and trouble free. More so than Euro (i.e. non-Jap) bikes. This is about as well known as the sun coming up every morning. But like Kirk pointed out already, there are loads of 'compensating advantages'. Nobody really expects a Ducati 999 to be as wrinkle and fuss-free as a Honda Fireblade. But I don't have to think very long about the one I'd have. That's the thing really. Nothing philosophical about it. :thumb
    #13
  14. Flanny

    Flanny Flanny-it-up!

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    I don't mind a bike having minor quirks that need to be ironed-out...makes you get to know the bike better. It builds character, both for me, and for the bike.
    #14
  15. barbasma

    barbasma 100% CAROTONE

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    35.000 km in one year.... :thumb

    big problem... brocken clutch in TUNISIA :cry (resolved with modification) but no other problems...

    other problems are like any other bike.... have you ever ride a DUCATI????

    sure you don't have a lot of lucky...
    #15
  16. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

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    Pee Bee his issues sound just like yours with The MTS I had no experience anything like yours with the MTS but it has not changed your experience. When you talk about your experience with the MTS its just like Anthony's with the KTM To him it is a piece just as the MTS is to you but its not to me It sound like you both had similar experiances and you of all people should understand his
    #16
  17. ltrcman

    ltrcman Dan

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    Anthony,

    I know exactly how you feel, as delivered mine had exactly the same issues with idling that yours has, plus a few minor issues that I have had to address. On mine, a Ca. model, the carbs were set up so lean that it made me cringe to ride it, suffered from detonation, hunting idle and surging. It was so bad, and I live a little above sea level, that I actually loaded it on a trailor and hauled it up to about 7000' elevation to put some miles on it before I did the first service, some carb work and removed the cannister and the air injection system on the exhaust. What really suprised me was that when I dismantled the carbs is that they were set up exactly at the base settings as given in the service and owners manual.

    Unfortunately what I think you'll have to do is find someone that is familiar with CV carbs and have them straighten them out for you, don't waste your time looking for a vacuum leak, it's suffering from classic lean conditions. I installed a Factory jet kit and the transformation was remarkable. If you're not interested in the kit you can buy just the Y78 series 45 pilot jets from them and take care most of your problems. Factory is the only source for larger pilot jet for these carbs.

    Good luck
    #17
  18. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

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    Anthoney if you think the gas is overheating try insulating the lines etc, use some insulating foil, hot rod shops use it for keeping heat out the cockpit
    best of luck,
    #18
  19. BlownCJ

    BlownCJ dangerous rider ?

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    :evil

    Anthony if your bike is such a piece of shit ill give ya 7500 for it :thumb

    Barry
    #19
  20. Anthony

    Anthony Hurry up, Stephie!

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    HHmmm...That's a V-Strom and $1000....

    No, I will polish this turd yet, thanks for the offer though.

    I'll just have to become a CV carb expert, buy a dyno testing machine and a carb sync tool, doesn't sound too hard. Maybe KTM should send everyone who buys one of these bikes to their special school. That way they can continue to produce unfinished bikes and guys like me will have nothing to complain about...

    Anthony
    #20