Adventure bikes are getting smaller as the years go by. As it would turn out, one does not need upwards of 1,000cc and 100 horsepower in order to ride comfortably and confidently on both the open road and technical off-road terrain. In fact, if bikes like the Yamaha Ténéré 700 and KTM 890 Adventure are anything to go by, middleweight ADVs are considerably more capable as they strike the perfect balance between weight and performance.
That being said, recent years have brought about a good number of 500cc-ish adventure bikes, particularly in Asia and Europe. These bikes, such as the Colove 500X and Brixx Venturi 500 make use of a platform that’s easily recognizable as a Honda CB500X clone. The newest of which to join the party is the KL Raticosa 500X—a bike which is essentially these two other bikes, albeit adorned in different stickers and graphics. It does, however, set itself apart thanks to a number of key features, and of course, a very competitive price tag.
Named after Passo della Raticosa, this new bike by fledgling brand KL has hopes and dreams of playing with the big boys in this gnarly mountain pass situated at the border of Bologna and Florence. In fairness, the KL Raticosa 500X does bring some adventure-ready goodies to the table, such as long-travel suspension composed of inverted front forks, burly, dual-purpose tires, and wire-spoke wheels. Unlike the bike it’s based on, the Raticosa seems to be oriented towards the more off-road side of things.
As far as performance is concerned, the KL Raticosa 500X makes use of an extremely familiar power plant. Sporting a 471cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 180-degree, parallel-twin engine, even a glance at this bike’s crankcase makes it clear to see that it shares a similar architecture as the engine we find in the Honda CB500X. As for power output, it churns out 48 horsepower at 8,500 RPM, and 32 ft-lbs of torque at 6,500 RPM. This puts it squarely within the reach of A2 license holders in Europe looking for a legal, more affordable alternative to the likes of the Yamaha Ténéré 700.