The CFMOTO Brand
I recommend getting to know this brand. CFMOTO might be a new or completely unknown brand to some, but this Chinese producer of powersports products has been successfully selling ATVs and UTVs in the U.S. since 2002. The company is known to have a long time collaboration with Austrian brand, KTM. And now it has launched a line of motorcycles that almost 250 of its 550 established U.S. ATV/UTV dealers are ramping up to carry and many of us in the moto biz are excited about them.
In March 2022, the company invited WomenRidersNow.com (WRN) to its test track to learn about the brand and ride each of the motorcycles. I’ll admit I was skeptical about the quality and craftsmanship of the Chinese bikes, as were some of the other journalists there. But all of us came away feeling impressed with the motorcycles’ finish and performance on and off the track. One seasoned journalist reminded me that the Japanese brands also faced scrutiny when first launching in the U.S. and are now hugely popular and trusted.
Make No Assumptions
It is no secret to CFMOTO executives that some Americans are skeptical about Chinese-made products. They are eager to dispel assumptions with details about the quality of CFMOTO powersports products. Consider, instead, where many of our favorite phones, computers, and electronics are produced. And most of our motorcycles and cars already use parts and technologies developed in China. CFMOTO supplies many brands with engines, parts, and components. It also collaborates with KTM in China on technologies and supply chain.
CFMOTO motorcycles have been on the market in other countries, so new-model bugs have already been resolved in the products imported to the U.S. To address the potential skepticism, CFMOTO offers a two year warranty on all of its bikes (except the Papio) while the major Japanese brands offer one year.
No, Really. Try It!
If you still aren’t sure, I highly recommend finding a dealer and taking a test ride. The moment I swung a leg over the motorcycles, it was clear that the quality is on par with expectations of American consumers. Taking each for a spin on CFMOTO’s private test track convinced me that these are fantastically viable machines. I might even want a 700CL-X of my own someday, or sooner. Some of the simple basics were missing for me such as a clock, heated grips, or luggage. But, given the remarkably low prices across the line, the CFMOTO motorcycles provide a fun and confident ride for the price point.
Seat height was comfortable for my 5 feet 4 inches on all but the taller ADVentura models, something I’m used to. The rest of the bikes have seat heights of at least 30 inches, but as an experienced rider, the narrow seats and upright seating position enabled me to have a comfortable solid foot plant on at least one side.
There are some notable technology features added most of the models, such as a connective TFT/Ride App screen, ABS as standard, shift assist, LED lighting, and ride modes.
CFMOTO 800 ADVentura
At the track event, CFMOTO teased a new model that has now just been introduced, the brand new 800 ADVentura. The new 800 ADVentura solidly shows the collaboration with KTM, as it uses the same CFMOTO engine as KTM’s 790 Adventure. The 800 ADVentura is available in a “Street” or a “Terrain” version, differentiated by the 19 inch front/17 inch rear cast wheel vs. spoke wheel options. (Most off-road riders prefer the spoke wheels.) The 800 is the big sister to its 650 version which is also a quality machine. (More below.)
The 800 ADVentura (known in other countries as the 800MT) has some impressive premium features such as ride modes (Rain or Sport), a 7 inch TFT display, cruise control, Bosch ABS brake system with lean-angle sensing and traction control, and adjustable KYB suspension. The “Terrain” version is the first in the CFMOTO line-up to feature heated grips (a must-have for me!) and bi-directional quick shifting, meaning you can shift through the gearbox without the clutch.
All this, and wait there’s more…the 800 ADVentura also comes with handguards, skid pan, centerstand, and removable hard side cases. All for a low MSRP of $9,499 (S) or $10,499 (T). Certainly a solid contender in the middleweight ADV scene.
My favorite in the lineup is one of the last I tried: the scrambler-style 700CL-X. The ergonomics and retro look are similar to my Indian FTR 1200 S except for the lower seat height and more moderate power delivery. (The FTR has a 1203cc V-Twin engine while the 700CL-X has a 693cc inline twin.) Had I experienced the 700CL-X before purchasing my FTR I just might have ended up with one in my garage. MSRP starts at just $6,499.
Comparable to Yamaha’s MT/FZ-07, the 700CL-X pushes out slightly more power (74 vs. 73 hp), features a slipper clutch, offers two ride modes (ECO and Sport), cruise control, and self-canceling turn signals. The bike has a single brake disc up front which I found to be sufficient. I love the retro classic style and CFMOTO offers a host of accessories such as a brown leather seat, or machined protective parts, enabling the owner to customize the bike even more. I also love the confident cornering performance provided by the rigid steel frame paired with fully-adjustable top-of-the-line KYB suspension. All this makes the bike spirited on the test track twisties and sexy posing on the tarmac.
CFMOTO 700CL-X Sport
Based on the same 700CL-X platform, the Sport ($6,999) is a souped up version for those who want midweight performance paired with a beastier aggressive cafe-racer look. Most obvious is the sportier tail section with removable seat cowl paired with clip-on bars, standard bar end mirrors, and gripper sport riding tires. The Sport is 25 pounds heavier than the 700CL-X mainly due to the additional front brake caliper, but I didn’t notice the additional weight.
CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
The 650 ADVentura is the original adventure motorcycle introduced by CFMOTO and is now the little sister to its new 800 ADVentura. The 800 has more features and the bigger engine, but the 650 provides a comfortable all-day/all-week ride thanks to the upright adventure bike style seating position. The 650 features an adjustable windshield, USB charging port, and ABS. It comes with hard side cases and there is an optional engine guard and crash bars available. While the 800 comes in the Street and Terrain visions, the 650 is dedicated more to street adventuring, although you could certainly put some dual sport tires on it for some light ADV riding.
For naked bike fans, the 650NK proves to be an inspiring and confidence inspiring ride. The 650NK feels light and competent in turns thanks to the high tensile steel frame, KYB suspension, dual disc brakes, and Pirelli sport tires. But the 60 hp sport capabilities don’t dominate the ride, and the 650NK proves to be a great all-arounder offering comfortable and inspiring performance for novice and experienced riders alike.
The 650NK’s little sister, the 300NK provides the same sporty naked bike look in an even smaller package. Perfect for beginning riders with the neutral ergonomics and 29 hp performance. The 300NK provides many of the same features, such as a 6-speed transmission, slipper clutch, ABS, and TFT display.
This lightweight, fully-faired sport version of the 300NK is a dream for burgeoning sport bike riders. The seating position is fairly extreme for a bike in its category, but overall the bike is un-intimidating and easy to maneuver. The 300SS has many of the same performance features of its bigger kin such as the 6-speed transmission, TFT display, ABS, and a slipper clutch making the 364 pound, 30 hp machine feel sporty and confidence-inspiring around town or on the track.
For those looking for a pit bike or mini-bike, CFMOTO’s Papio presents a heap of fun in a very small package–and with a small price tag. Starting at just $2,999, the Papio offers 126cc with a 6-speed transmission, unheard of in the mini-bike category. While I initially gravitated to the bigger bikes, by lunchtime the Papio was the most in-demand bike of the current lineup. Everyone had fun on it, whether stunting on the open flat, winding around the tight inner track twisties, or pinning it wide open around the bigger track sweepers. If you hanker for a mini-moto in your future, the Papio should be at the top of the list.
Stay tuned for a more detailed ride report of our favorite in the line-up, the 700 CL-X.
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO 800 ADVentura
Engine Size: 799cc
Max Power: 95 hp
Seat Height: 32.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Curb Weight: 496 pounds
2022 MSRP: $9,499 (S) / $10,499 (T)
2022 Colors: Nebula Black, Twilight Blue (S) / Twilight Blue (T)
Best for: Riders seeking a robust, mid-sized street or off-road adventure bike
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO 700CL-X
Engine Size: 693cc
Max Power: 74 hp
Seat Height: 31.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gallons
Curb Weight: 432 pounds / 451 pounds (Sport)
2022 MSRP: $6,499 / $6999 (Sport)
2022 Colors: Coal Gray, Twilight Blue / Velocity Gray, Nebula White (Sport)
Best for: Riders seeking a sporty, café style with serious pep
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
Engine Size: 649cc
Max Power: 60 hp
Seat Height: 33 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.75 gallons
Curb Weight: 469 pounds
2022 MSRP: $6,799
2022 Colors: Nebula White, Athens Blue
Best for: Riders seeking a simple, street-oriented ADV bike
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO 650NK
Engine Size: 649cc
Max Power: 60 hp
Seat Height: 30.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Curb Weight: 454 pounds
2022 MSRP: $6,499
2022 Colors: Nebula White, Nebula Black
Best for: Riders seeking an all-'rounder or commuter bike, also good for beginners
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO 300SS
Engine Size: 292cc
Max Power: 29 hp
Seat Height: 30.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gallons
Curb Weight: 364 pounds
2022 MSRP: $4,299
2022 Colors: Nebula White/Turquoise Blue, Nebula Black
Best for: Beginning riders into sport bikes
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO 300NK
Engine Size: 292cc
Max Power: 29 hp
Seat Height: 31.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Curb Weight: 333 pounds
2022 MSRP: $3,999
2022 Colors: Athens Blue, Nebula Black
Best for: Beginning riders, or those looking for an easy-to maneuver all-arounder
Specs at a Glance: CFMOTO Papio
Engine Size: 126cc 6-speed
Max Power: 9 hp
Seat Height: 30.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gallons
Curb Weight: 251 pounds
2022 MSRP: $2,999
2022 Colors: Gray/Red Dragon, Yellow
Best for: Riders seeking a small, pit bike or mini-moto