Never having owned an exotic before, I didn't think twice about bringing my troubled Husaberg to my nearest KTM dealer, Holeshot (KTM owns Husa, and many parts are interchangeable). The nearest Husaberg dealer is International and I had only heard bad things about them from various different sources.
My bike, when I brought it to Holeshot, was starting but unhappy about it, and making a strange sucking air type noise. Holeshot handed it back to me in a timely manner, about a day's turnaround, and explained that a crankcase vent come off, likely due to a recent crash, and they had replaced it and siliconed it on so that it would not come off again. I thanked them, and pushing my bike out to my trailer, started the bike. It was still making the same noise, and not starting well, so I asked the mechanic to come listen to it. He said this was likely a normal sound for the Husas to make. My bike was fine, he assured me.
By the time I had pushed the bike 20 feet to the trailer, it was no longer starting. (To be fair Holeshot, it was sort of starting when the mechanic last listened to it). I loaded it up and decided to deal with it later.
Two weeks later, I had decided that maybe my fuel pump had failed, as this is a known problem with this generation of Husabergs. I was getting a blink code which the manual said was related to some type of fuel pump relay issue. I called International to see if they could get the recommended aftermarket pump (by CA Cycleworks), and they said they weren't certain and would call me back. An hour later still no word from them, so I called again and spoke to a different person, who was more sure that they would be able to get it, but still wanted to call me back.
I had errands to run in that area of town anyway, so I loaded up the finicky Husa and drove through the rain and traffic to International. My phone failed to ring with their promised return call, and when I got to the shop, service told me that they couldn't work on my bike til November.
"Well can you just hold onto the bike until November then? It's really tough for me to drive to this location."
The service guy wasn't a big fan of this idea, but then the mechanic behind him spoke up. "Bring it in, I'll have a quick listen to it, could be something very small."
Ok. Wheel the bike in. Seat comes off. Mechanic starts running some checks. "Someone's been in here before," he comments, noting that there is a screw missing from a piece that fastens the fuel pump. He replaces it with one from his kit. Moments later he notices that the plug into the pump has been jostled loose. Put it back in, and like magic, the bike starts beautifully. He even shows me a choke type thing which I didn't know could exist on fuel injected bikes.
Then he sees the new vent that Holeshot replaced, and starts laughing. "They used the bolt... the missing bolt from your fuel pump!"
Why they wouldn't just use their own bolt, I have no idea.
I walk over to the cash register to pay for the small miracle that is a running husaberg. "You ordered the fuel pump from us yeah?"
"No charge then, only a five minute job."
So there it is. I did my time working at motorcycle shops in the past, so I know as much as anyone how hit-or-miss these things can be. One bad experience isn't going to turn me anti-Holeshot, esp when I've had a lot of good experiences there. The parts guys are always super nice to me, and the accessories people seem quite friendly and knowledgeable. But this time, it was a miss for Holeshot, and a hit for the seemingly ill-reputed International.