Kove Motorcycles Going Global
Colove Motorcycles—which has been busy showing an increasingly interesting array of bikes in its home market of China—has taken a significant step closer to going global by applying for trademark rights for a new international brand identity.
Colove, or Tibet Summit Colove Motorcycle Sales Co. Ltd. (its full name), has previously sold bikes in China under the “Colove” and “Excelle” brand names, but its most recent models have appeared under the name “Kove.” The company has now applied for international trademark rights to the brand “Kove Hyper,” with the same font and style. The applications have simultaneously been filed with trademark offices in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Mongolia, as well as an international trademark registration with the World Intellectual Property Office. The mark is intended to be used on motorcycles as well as scooters, electric vehicles, and for various motorcycle components.
Kove has made headlines several times in the last couple of years with motorcycles that are surprisingly attractive but are often mechanically derivative of other manufacturers’ offerings. The Kove 321RR, for instance, which has just gone on sale in China to positive reviews from local journalists, looks great, but its engine is nearly identical to the twin in Yamaha’s YZF-R3 and MT-03. Its bore and stroke as well as its visual appearance are extremely close to the Yamaha design, but with just enough differences to avoid being a direct clone. Unsurprisingly, its performance is much the same as the Yamaha’s, too, but in China the bike can be offered at a lower price despite featuring elements such as a single-sided swingarm.
More recently, the company type-approved an unfaired roadster based on the same mechanicals—the 321F—but most interestingly, Kove has presented a new 400cc four-cylinder engine and drawings of the upcoming sportbike that it’s due to power.
There’s certainly nothing on the market at the moment similar to the planned Kove four-cylinder, which promises a 16,000 rpm redline and peak power of 72.4 hp at 13,500 rpm. Its wide 59mm bore and ultrashort 36.5mm stroke don’t appear related to any previous 400cc four-cylinder, either.
While the four-cylinder looks tempting, it’s likely to hit some hurdles when it comes to meeting the latest Euro 5 emissions rules in Europe, which have essentially eliminated even 600cc four-cylinders from the market. The way the rules are written and implemented stacks the cards against high-revving engines unless they can be fitted with variable valve timing systems to reduce valve overlap at lower rpm. Instead, we’re seeing a lot of European and Japanese companies focusing more on midsize parallel twins, and it appears Kove also has similar plans.
At the same time it showed the 400cc engine, Kove revealed drawings for a range of 800cc twins, all using an engine that’s extremely similar to KTM’s LC8c, as used in the 790 Duke. That engine is already manufactured in China by CFMoto on behalf of KTM, and CFMoto also uses it in its own 800MT adventure bike. Whether the Kove version is a clone or simply a very similar design remains to be seen, but the bikes it’s due to appear in look interesting, including the 800X adventure-tourer, 800R roadster, and 800RR sportbike.
The new trademark filings suggest that by the time those planned models are ready for launch, Kove’s offerings won’t be restricted only to the Chinese market. So maybe we’ll get a chance to see for ourselves whether Kove really can challenge the establishment.