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2023 KOVE 450R Rally First Ride Review

Author: ADV Pulse

March 10, 2023

Reprinted from ADV Pulse. Read the original article here.

For the first time ever, US customers will have access to a motorcycle many have been asking (and patiently waiting) for: a street-legal, 450cc “Dakar Rally” bike for adventure lite and dual sport riding. To be clear, we’re not talking about a “dakar-style” bike. Instead, the Kove 450R Rally is an authentic, long-range, Rally Bike at its core — nearly identical to the three that just finished the hardest rally in the world — and it’s coming to America this fall along with a low-seat version and the Dakar spec’d ‘Rally Pro’ model.

If you haven’t been following the story of Chinese manufacturer Kove Moto (pronounced: koh-vey) and its CEO’s rapid ascension into the spotlight in a few short years, we’ll bring you right up to speed. But first, we should address the 800-pound panda in the room.

Armchair analysis of internet forums and social media comments seems to reveal about 10-15% of US keyboard jockeys will take a “hard pass” on anything Chinese. For the remaining majority who are more open minded to hear the story and see what’s unique about it, there’s a lot to unpack from the Kove 450R Rally we tested. With only 5 years in business, Kove Moto, with its charismatic CEO Zhang Xue, himself a former semi-pro MX racer, have already reached some notable milestones as a company and with their racing program — including competing in the FIM World Supersport 300 Championship.

In a trial by fire, Kove entered three 450R Rally Pro machines in this year’s Dakar Rally. Impressively, all bikes finished the grueling two-week race – considered the most difficult edition in more than a decade.

Kove’s biggest milestone to date came in the way of three Chinese recruits who recently passed the hardest test in off-road motorcycling: finishing the grueling two-week Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on the new Kove Rally Bike, without any prior roadbook navigation racing experience. Critics and market pundits will attest that Kove’s success at the recent Dakar, said to be the most difficult edition in more than a decade, commands our attention and credence to Kove’s next move. They are quite correct in this assessment because the Dakar lays every team and machine bare naked and exposed. Any and all weaknesses are revealed for everyone to see and it’s almost impossible to conceal material defects, flaws and shortcomings.