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Chilly’s Blog – Drink Your Kool-aid
Well, here it is Monday morning. Let’s see how many I can offend in one column.
I am in Fairfax Virginia today, killing a few minutes waiting for a client to show. I am doing a little bit of the real work that pays for the rest of the foolishness and nonsense I get to do.
Hey motorcycle industry, I want to ride your motorcycles! It seems like a simple enough proposition. If I like them, I will tell the world about it. If I don’t like them, well I will still probably tell the world. I would vainly like to think that my work as motorcycle tester speaks for itself, but for the most part that is not how the world works.
Yes, a few of those dedicated folks in the enduro world understand, obviously KTM and a few of the small guys, but for the most part the industry treats me like a Martian. Although I did recently get one unexpected invite, but later I realized that I was sitting with a number of others who were clearly there as seat fillers. Presumably that was my role too. No matter, it all worked out for the best.
Here is part of the problem. Yes, I will ride your motorcycle and do my best to convey its’ qualities to those who care to read. But just because I like your motorcycle, that doesn’t mean I will fall in line to swallow all the associated propaganda, hook line and sinker. I am not much of a Kool-aid drinker and that leaves me as the perpetual outsider.
Have you seen the new Husky!
So Husky is going to bring the new 701 Enduro to the world. Expect it here in the states after the first of the year. It is a good looking bike. Now you and I, as rational members of the enduro world, know that this is the now familiar operating procedure for Husky, taking an existing KTM model and giving it a face lift.
The 701 is a nice rebadge of the very popular KTM 690 Enduro. It gets new colors, body work and some upgraded parts. I have long been a fan of the 690 and it is a consistently strong seller for KTM. But it is also getting a bit long in the tooth. It also sits in an odd place in the market, not quite a dirt bike, nor street bike, nor adventure bike.
A look at the Husky website reads as if they take credit for the complete reinvention of the motorcycle with this model. Here are a few snippets; “Utilising its vast knowledge of offroad competition bikes…Bred from decades of enduro world championship-winning success… it offers functional Swedish-inspired design..Reliability, durability and efficiency are guaranteed by high-tech applications…”
I used to lampoon the old BMW / Husky for taking such liberties with the “traditional” aspect of the brand name when they had no lineage to once Swedish marque. The newest incarnation of KTM / Husky takes it even a step further. Let’s face it they are just re-purposing existing product, it isn’t even all that unique. It is even more muddled how on one hand they ignore that Husaberg ever existed, but still want claim the vague Husky / Swede engineering link to the fully Austrian derived product line.
But I think we all seem to have collective sense of forgiveness to this aspect. Let’s face it, it is damn good product, even if it isn’t unique or quite the way they want to portray it. If you scratch the surface hard enough, some orange is always going to show through.
Besides, we are all adults here, we recognize the fact and people have an affinity to the brand, so no harm done right? Yet twice last week I had the same conversation.
-Have your seen the new Husky!
Sure, it is just a version of the KTM 690 Enduro
-No, didn’t you read, it has…..
No, it is basically just a 690
-but, I read that….
So maybe not everyone got the memo. The situation is exacerbated by media like ADVmoto who reposted the entire Kool-aid version of the sales propaganda under the apparent guise of editorial content, action photos and all. A casual reader would never get that this is praise of a motorcycle that has not even landed in the states yet.
I could throw a number of other examples of how my inability to just fall in line with manufacturers seems to put me on the outs with them. It really disillusions me. I just want to ride bikes. Is it so much to just want to work people who are proud of their product and will just let it stand on its own merit?