October 11, 2022

Demo mode will be the death of us

Demo mode will be the death of us

The new KTM 890 Adventure comes with all the fruit. but there is a problem.

The new KTM 890 Adventure is a great bike, with quick shifter, rally mode, switchable abs and a whole lot more. But not all is as it seems. You see, KTM are offering this bike with everything installed and activated... for the first 1500km in what it is calling "Demo Mode" then once you hit the limit, the cool features are switched off electronically, and owners are expected to pay a fee to have the use of these features back. It's a smart move by KTM, and introduces a whole new revenue stream. previously some owners would buy the bike and that the last time a dealer or KTM them selves would see them. They would be off down the road doing their own servicing or sourcing accessories and arts online from the aftermarket scene. This "Demo-Mode" opens a whole new can of worms. Effectively you are buying a bike with everything on it, but you can't use it... gone are the days of buying a base model bike and then having add-ons installed. The bike comes with everything on it. and all the fancy bits are behind a pay-wall.

On one hand, you could just not pay, and not use those features, but then you're carrying dead weight. On the other hand this could open the door for a pay-to-ride system. At present this is a one off fee, but, you don't need to try very hard to imagine a world where riders/owners would be expected to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to use the features that are on their bike...

I may be thinking negatively about this, but, I can envisage a world where you will have to log-in to your bike and maintain that monthly fee, just to use rally mode, or turn off your ABS. Is this the end of motorcycling as we know it?

Login with Facebook, 2-step authentication, password not recognized, suddenly your bike is locked and you cant go anywhere till the KTM dealer opens on Monday to change your password and unlock your bike.

With the advent of video streaming services like Netflix, and music streaming like Spotify, we have ushered in the world where we don't own anything. Even computer software like Photoshop has gone to a subscription model, were you don't own the software, but you effectively rent it. This new move from KTM, at least in my view, opens the door to that sort of subscription model.

KTM are not the first in the world to do it. Tesla already include everything in their cars, but you have to pay to unlock features like self-driving. KTM are the first in my view to use this tech in motorcycles, and it doesn't sit right with me.