Could this be the next motorcycle to shake up the ADV market?
Kove are a company on a mission, and they seem to have done what Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, Kawasaki and others have failed at. When they made the Kove 800X Super Adventure. They built a lighter adventure bike than both the 2 middleweight market leaders, the KTM 890 Adventure and the Yamaha 700 Tenere. So it can be done. Only time will tell how good it really is, but it is a step up in design achievements when compared to what the other manufacturers seem to have developed.
The Kove 800X Super Adventure made many jaws drop at Eicma and has Adventure bike and moto travellers waiting in expectation now. It is powered by a parallel twin engine which looks very similar to the KTM 790 Adventure on the outside.
However, as well as their connection to CF Moto, as a design engineer at Loncin, the CEO Zheng Xue will have spent time working with the 800cc Rotax engine used in the BMW F800GS. This will have given him the chance to look at how each engine could bring different advantages to the final Kove built engine.
Creating around 100HP at 9000 rpm with a maximum torque of 81 Nm at 7500 rpm the Kove engine has real power. With a kerb weight of just 183 Kg wet, the bike is also significantly lighter than both the KTM 890 Adventure and Yamaha 700 Tenere. These figures give it a power to weight ratio better than any other comparable adventure bike on the market and the projected top speed of 218Km/h or 135mph will make it a serious performer.
Final specs seem to indicate that 2 models are likely. That would put the standard 800X as an entry level model with the 800X Super Adventure as a taller, higher spec model. Both have 21” front and 18” rear tubeless spoked rims with the Super Adventure getting a higher seat height, a steering damper, and a full luggage system. The increased seat height may indicate longer travel suspension but that isn’t confirmed.
Front suspension is covered by fully adjustable USD forks with 210mm travel on the standard version and possibly over 250mm on the top spec model. Both have a fully adjustable mono-shock rear suspension which gives 210mm of rear travel. Ground clearance is a creditable 245mm with the bash plate fitted on the standard model and that looks closer to 270mm on the top spec version. The brakes are twin piston caliper twin wavy discs at the front and single disc at the rear with switchable ABS.
Both bikes are equipped with a quick shifter. All lighting uses LED bulbs and it has a vertical full color TFT display with full map navigation, not just turn by turn navigation. Multiple Rider modes are easily accessed via the solid switchgear and it has switchable traction control and cornering ABS as standard.
A 23 Litre fuel tank, adjustable screen and nicely designed stepped seat with solid pillion grab rails will give it all day comfort for 2 and a range of over 400Km.
Ready mid 2023
Zhang Xue says that the Kove 800X should be ready by mid 2023. This will mark the start of the hardest task for Kove. To create a great sales and mechanical service network that will match the standard of other premium motorcycle brands. Because that is how he see’s Kove, as a premium brand.
They have recently registered the brand name in American, Australian, New Zealand, Malaysian and Philippines markets and it was already registered in Europe.
In the words of the CEO “when somebody spends 6.000/7.500 euros for a Chinese motorcycle they accept the risk of buying a mediocre Chinese bike, but while spending around 10.000 euros the risk is bigger and maybe not so many people will like to face that risk unless there is great back up and a good network of dealers for spares and servicing.”
A motorcycle that is easy to handle but fun
When discussing the 800X Zhang Xue says “We wanted to make a bike that could be easy to handle but fun. Most adventure bikes are more road oriented, but we have put a lot of effort into the off road performance of this bike. We wanted a motorcycle that would appeal to experienced riders as well as those with less experience”.
Great design touches
Personally, I see lots of little design highlights that I really like in this motorcycle. Little things like the foot of the side-stand is huge compared to most bikes and anyone who rides off road with a heavy bike knows how important that can be. Foot pegs are wide and rugged too, much better than the standard of many adventure bikes Tapered bars are also a standard fitting.
The rear subframe looks removable which is a big plus point for me and the protection bars look like they would actually protect the bodywork unlike some I won’t mention. I like the solid mounting to the front top frame rail.
It will be interesting to see if they add engine protection bars too, but they may well not be necessary with the upper protection bars and bash plate. Although the bash plate looks engine mounted, so that detail may need attention. It is one of the few design flaws I can see on this bike.
The Westwind soft pannier rack on the EICMA bike looked really rugged. Much more solid than many of the mounting systems I have seen and the rear rack also looks strong. Choosing to use the high quality Westwind luggage says something about the intentions of the company too.
Solid and well put together
The bike seems solid and well put together, just like the Japanese bikes of the 70’s and 80’s did when compared to what was already on the market then. I like the styling too. It is nice to see something that looks a little different, and I like the way the shape of the 400 SuperSport, Rally 450 and 800X have a consistent theme that clearly states I am a Kove Motorcycle.
An Adventure Bike designed by a Motocross rider
Do I want an adventure motorcycle designed and personally tested by an experienced Motocross rider? Service intervals, spares availability and overall reliability will be key to that but in principle it sounds like a great idea to me.
Not too cheap?
The projected price at the minute seems to be around the 9 to 9500 Euro mark so it is cheap for a bike in Europe, especially one with these sort of specifications, but it’s not actually cheap compared to most Chinese made motorcycles. Does that reassure you?
let me know what you think about the Kove brand.
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Are you interested in this bike or not?
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