KTM Orange Assist review: A tale of total non-assistance

By | January 5, 2015

I was recently on a 7500 km trip from Mumbai to Bhutan and back. On day 2 of the trip (31st October 2014), about 25 kms from Kota, I went over a stone at high-speed, really high-speed. This bent both the rims and blew open the front tire. I shit my pants, literally.

I called KTM Orange Assist immediately to ask for a flatbed truck, which could take me to nearest KTM service center, from where I could then continue the journey after necessary repairs. A guy named Mahesh took my call. My details were captured and verified. The sequence of events after that is as follows: 

  1. I was told that a truck can be sent to my location, but it will not be able to take my bike to the service centre till 10 PM, since trucks aren’t allowed in the city before this time. What?
  1. Then I was told that a flatbed truck is simply not available in or around Kota.
  1. I was given an option of a normal truck, which I accepted, since I didn’t have any other fucking option.
  1. However even this normal truck didn’t come with ropes and harnesses to tie the bike with, which would have made the transportation very dangerous.
  1. I still accepted this arrangement, ready to use our own bungee cords and ropes, since I didn’t have any other fucking option.
  1. I was then put on call directly with the truck driver, who didn’t really seem interested or capable of helping me out. No confirmation was given if the truck will be sent or not.
  1. Finally I was told it will still take 2 hours for the truck to show up, if at all the driver and truck is arranged for.

It was then that I very calmly said screw this, and rode about 5 kms on a blown front tire and 2 bent rims, and found a miracle puncture guy who sealed my tire from the inside and took only 50 bucks from me, after which I was able to slowly ride till Kota, where KTM service centre guys helped us immensely.

Overall, I had an extremely bad experience with KTM Orange Assist. It was not like I had the issue in the middle of nowhere, I was well within the stipulated 100 kms of a service centre. Even then Orange Assist guys were spectacularly unequipped to handle my problem. Mahesh was polite and trying to help me the best he could, but if the infrastructure is not there, what can an agent with a phone do?

KTM Orange Assist needs to understand the following things:

  1. When someone pays 800 bucks for an orange assist policy, they expect some use for it when the time comes!
  1. People on long motorcycle trips are bound by schedule. Time is of great essence. Asking your customer to wait for an entire day for no plausible reason is outrageous.
  1. If you promise flat-bed trucks in 100 kms of every service centre, provide flat-bed trucks within 100 kms of every service center. Asking the customer to compromise on his bike’s safety by sending in a normal truck is stupid.
  1. For God’s sake DO NOT put your customer on direct call with a truck driver. If that’s what I had to do, I would have taken some local truck guy’s number from a friend and called him up. What’s the point of orange assist then? If you want location info, that can be taken by the agent as well.
  1. Most importantly, if you guys feel you will not be able to help the guy within a short amount of time, tell him that. I wasted 2 hours calling and waiting for the truck. 2 hours on a good day is equal to 150 kms. Be clear and concise in your communications, and be honest.

So there you have it, my little skirmish with KTM Orange Assist that didn’t go as planned, at all. I had taken the policy to find some peace of mind in what was expected to be a long and tiring battle against the universe, but as it turned out, disappointment hit me square in the crotch on just the second day. I’m still happy with my Duke 390, and honestly surprised the rims took such a huge impact without breaking apart!

If you have any experience with Orange Assist, let me know!

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  • Anand Salim

    Hi Akhil… I recently came to know about this orange assist from KTM and did a small research on it. The facility was launched in July 2014, and the parent company which provide this service is Mapfre (which provide the same service to Honda and some other manufacturers) I recently asked for the feedback of this service in an FB forum exclusively for KTM owners and I got a very good feed back. Infact the first person to avail this offer from East India is a good friend of mine. He had a trip to Ladakh on September 2014 and on his way back his bike gave up and he availed the Orange Assist service. He is pretty satisfied with the service they provided.

    Anyway, you are the first person from whom I got a negative feedback, and please tell me if you know anymore people who got a bad experience with this program. Because I am planning for a long drive soon on my KTM and felt like Orange assist is a good service. I heard a lot of pros about it, now I am searching for the cons. Hope you don’t mind.

    Ride Hard… Ride Safe…

    • Akhil Kalsh

      If you are talking about Arony Ghosh, I am sure you are aware of the fact that he works with KTM, which means that he has more knowledge of the system and better contacts to get shit done.

      I’m not aware of anybody else facing trouble with Orange Assist though, can only share my own experience!

      • Anand Salim

        Yea u got it.. He is the man… But I know few more people who are happy with the service. Anyway, thanks for the info… 🙂
        Ride hard, ride safe…

    • abhishek mohanty

      Mapfre is providing this roadside assistance service to 13 leading two-wheeler company in india starting from Honda, Suzuki, ktm to triumph, Harley Davidson, Ducati.
      May be due to unavailable of vendor towing truck ur case happened. But coming to company profile it is the world top 3 company, based on spain with present in top 500 company list on Fortune 500.

  • DeVorsey

    So what was the fix for the bent rims? Hope replacement wasn’t required.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Heated the rims and then bent them back into shape.

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  • Yesh, it seemed like total bullcrap to me when they offered. Because in India you can never promise these levels of service. But reading from your case, it looks to be even worse.

  • Hey Akhil,

    This might sound off beat from the thread you have posted, but I since you have ridden duke for 7500 kms, I wanted to ask a experienced Duke rider 2 things…

    1. How is the mono suspension, do you feel the jerk on your back real hard on the those screwed up roads?

    2. Rider posture to save your back on a long terms suggest no slouching…is that possible in Duke.

    I’m asking cause after i’m a long distant rider with avenger and bullet. But now I have lower back problem suggesting a change in my ride. Both avenger and bullet are bad for different reasons.

    Let me know…

    Ajit Paul

    • Yes you do feel the jerks on bad roads. My suspension is still on the hard setting, I’m used to it, but I’ve heard people feeling the bumps much lesser once they softened the setting.

      Riding posture is very comfortable, I haven’t felt any trouble whatsoever there.

      Duke is NOT more comfortable than either Avenger or a Bullet 🙂 It has a harder seat and less suspension travel. I’m surprised you have trouble on those machines! What problems do you face may I ask?

  • ₹800 for a ₹200,000 bike is awesome but their service was pathetic. Imagine what they would’ve done if you were stranded in Himachal or the North-east where there is only 2 showrooms of KTM in the entire state. You should send a mail to the customer care department of KTM.

    P. S. The RSA for CBR250R is available for just ₹300. I’m going to get it this week.

    • Already sent one Tarun, haven’t heard back from them 🙂

      300 bucks is awesome, hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but if you do let me know how it worked out!

  • Swadhin

    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth” – SH. Now my friend flatbed truck service within 100KM of service center across INDIA is impossible, and whatever truth remains (if any) is pointless. I think you’re among the few early adopters of this service in India so glitches are inevitable. Now as a compensation you should ask KTM to give you one Dakar rally trophy for few hours 😀

  • I am surprised you use KTM for long rides. Its racing posture, I thought, will not suit long drives.

    • Duke 390 is far from racing posture mate, it’s perfect for touring in my opinion.