The bigger a company is, the more faceless it can seem. That's arguably yet another reason why racing can make a difference in how an OEM is perceived among its fans. Companies are companies, but racers are people.

And people, well, they have stories that you can grow attached to, want to learn about, and want to follow. Friends, let me introduce you to the blistering success of Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix. I kid. But also at the same time, not.

This was one of the ways that Kove Moto seemingly set itself apart from other OEMs, particularly if you paid any attention at all to the factory team's 2024 Dakar Rally campaign. Even if you couldn't possibly care less about rally raids, I think it's really difficult to not respect founder Zhang Xue's raw passion on display as he posted videos on Kove's social media throughout the event.

But that's all changing as the CEO has formally stepped down from his position. 


When things went well, Mr. Zhang was the first one to celebrate. And when they went disastrously poorly, such as the unfortunate circumstances that led up to Kove's rally bike having components that weren't ideal for the prevailing weather conditions, Zhang did one of the most difficult, rarest things of all: He apologized.

Not in private, either. No, he apologized in the most public way of all: Via a video on social media. He did what very few people do (let alone CEOs of companies) and took full responsibility for the bike letting down Mason Klein's valiant efforts to get good results. 

That's a heck of a thing to come from anyone. It's impressive, and it's humbling. While I haven't ridden a Kove bike yet, I know it certainly made me want to. I'm also sure that I'm not alone. Maybe the bike isn't perfect, but you know what it does have? Someone who cares behind it, and who takes responsibility and tries to make things right. Life isn't perfect, but it's what we all do with those imperfections that makes the difference. Mr. Zhang certainly seemed to be a leader in that regard, and it was extremely heartening to see.

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Why Am I Writing All This In Past Tense?

This isn't an obituary, but it is somewhat shocking news of a different sort. As mentioned above, as of February 28, 2024, Mr. Zhang Xue apparently resigned as the CEO of Kove Moto, the company he founded back in 2017. We know this because Kove posted an official letter on its social media explaining the situation.


It reads, in part: "Dear Kove customers and fans, It is with regret that we inform you of Mr. Zhang Xue's resignation from the position in Kove, officially departing from Kove as of February 28th. In 2017, the Kove project was officially launched. Together with a team of six entrepreneurial individuals, including Mr. Zhang Xue, we faced challenges and made strides forward. Over these 2,500 days and nights, we collectively achieved the success that defines Kove today. He has decided to temporarily step away from the Kove management team. However, he remains a member of the Kove shareholder team."

Internet comments are internet comments, but it's clear I'm not the only one who feels this way. Several comments on the official post announcing Zhang's resignation say things such as how he was "a refreshing inspiration to the motorcycle industry" and "Zhang Xue represents the passion we feel on a motorcycle." 

In another comment, a Kove USA spokesperson clarifies that Zhang will still be involved; he just won't be CEO and will instead be able to pursue other passion projects within the motorcycle industry. 

We wish him every success, certainly, but seeing his heart and passion on display was something that set Kove apart from the competition and stoked interest in its bikes. Will that still be how he remains involved with the company? I hope so, because it seems like a significant loss for them if that isn't how things are moving forward.

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