Land value

CFMoto X500 Farm Spec ATV

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

The CFMoto X500 Farm Spec ATV is, as the name sug­gests, specif­i­cally de­signed for use on the land.

The elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion (EFI), 495cc quad bike fea­tures a CVTech trans­mis­sion, elec­tric power steer­ing, se­lectable 2WD/4WD modes, in­de­pen­dent front and rear sus­pen­sion, and hy­draulic disc brak­ing on both the front and rear.

spe­cialBut what are makes stan­dard this in­clu­sions stylish-look­ing­such as Farma 2500lbSpec model winch, wrap-around pro­tec­tor bars, tow pack, hand guards, al­loy A-arm pro­tec­tors, al­loy wheels and 12-inch, 6-ply tyres.

As an ex­tra bonus, the X500 in­cludes a com­plete light­ing pack­age in­clud­ing turn­ing in­di­ca­tors, a horn, mir­rors and even a 12-volt trailer plug, so for no ad­di­tional cost it’s all set up for reg­is­tra­tion and use on pub­lic roads.

WHO IS CFMOTO?

Lo­cated in Hangzhou, China, CFMoto is cur­rently the coun­try’s largest man­u­fac­turer and ex­porter of ATVs and UTVs. Lat­est records re­veal that around 50,000 units are sold an­nu­ally across the globe, with around 2000 sold each year into the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

Dis­tri­bu­tion rights for one of the fastest-grow­ing quad-bike brands in Aus­tralia have been in the hands of Aus­tralianowned mo­tor­cy­cle com­pany Mojo Mo­tor­cy­cles since 2009.

NEW LOOK

My lo­cal Honda deal­er­ship, Roe Mo­tor­cy­cle and Mower in War­rnam­bool, Vic­to­ria, took on the CFMoto brand to pro­vide a cheaper yet still good value-for-money al­ter­na­tive to its Honda range.

Sales man­ager Wayne Grayson tells me they looked around for a while be­fore de­cid­ing to stock CFMoto prod­ucts.

“A few years ago the Chi­nese bikes were pretty square, boxy and unattrac­tive look­ing things, but CFMoto has done a lot with its de­sign to pro­duce a re­ally nice-look­ing bike,” he says.

“Power steer­ing and in­de­pen­dent front and rear sus­pen­sion has made them a re­ally com­fort­able bike to ride. “The last few years have been pretty tough on farm­ers fi­nan­cially, so we’ve seen a lot more in­ter­est in this cheaper al­ter­na­tive,” Grayson adds. “Smaller op­er­a­tors are see­ing them as a much bet­ter value-for-money pur­chase as well.” Roe di­rec­tor David Rein­heimer is so con­fi­dent in the X500 Farm Spec’s abil­ity to stand up to a bit of scru­tiny that he al­most forced me to take it for a test and en­cour­aged me to do what­ever I liked with it. That tells me that he is 100 per cent sure the bike won’t let it­self down and I will be suit­ably im­pressed. We’ll see. Just load­ing it onto the trailer re­minded me how handy a winch can be.

While I was search­ing around the back of my ve­hi­cle for a tie-down strap, Wayne ran out a cou­ple of me­tres of the winch ca­ble and at­tached it to front of the trailer. With the ig­ni­tion on, he en­gaged the winch and pulled the bike firmly down onto the trailer with 2500lb of pulling force.

It wasn’t go­ing any­where, and was ready for the trip in un­der a minute.

EN­GINE

The new 495cc, 38hp, four-stroke en­gine is lighter and more pow­er­ful than its pre­de­ces­sors. It’s a liq­uid-cooled, sin­gle-over­head-cam power plant that fea­tures four valves and is fed by a Ger­man-made Bosch fuel-in­jec­tion sys­tem.

The end re­sult is a high-per­for­mance ATV with high power, good ac­cel­er­a­tion and ex­cel­lent fuel ef­fi­ciency.

In my speed trial the en­gine re­sponded ex­cep­tion­ally well to a bit of en­cour­age­ment on the throttle and re­ally leaped away from a stand­ing start. There was ab­so­lutely zero lag as it took off, and it had me grip­ping firmly to the han­dle bars as we con­tin­ued to gain mo­men­tum un­til it peaked at about 70km/h.

At the end of my speed trial, I wasn’t even tempted to ap­ply pres­sure on ei­ther the front or rear disc brakes be­cause the en­gine pro­vided all the brak­ing I needed to safely slow down to a re­spectable turn­ing speed. Good en­gine brak­ing is in­valu­able for main­tain­ing safe con­trol on hills and pre­vent­ing wheel lock up and sub­se­quent loss of con­trol.

At full speed the en­gine is no nois­ier than the op­po­si­tion, but I found it hard to sneak around qui­etly at low speed be­cause I had no al­ter­na­tive than to give the CVTech trans­mis­sion a few revs to get it mov­ing.

This is a com­mon trait I have found with this style of trans­mis­sion com­pared to a man­ual trans­mis­sion that will move along qui­etly at low revs.

Af­ter about 10 min­utes of search­ing, I re­alised the

X500 doesn’t have a pull starter as a back-up start­ing mech­a­nism. When I brought this to Grayson’s at­ten­tion, he quickly re­minded me that cars used to have crank han­dles too but did away with them once batteries and starter mo­tors were in­vented.

He has a point, and CFMoto has placed its trust in Bosch for de­pend­able ig­ni­tion at the touch of a but­ton.

The en­gine is vir­tu­ally fully en­cased in plas­tic pan­els shield­ing it from ex­ces­sive build-up of mud and grime.

The air cleaner, bat­tery and ECU are eas­ily ac­cessed by lift­ing the seat, while a small re­mov­able panel on the lower left hand side of the bike gives ac­cess for en­gine oil in­spec­tion; it comes off re­ally eas­ily but tends to be a bit tricky to get back on.

The ra­di­a­tor, on the other hand, was a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult to get at. It is lo­cated un­der a panel be­neath the front car­rier rack and, as I couldn’t work out how to get to it, I de­cided to leave it alone for fear of break­ing some­thing while try­ing. As men­tioned be­fore, this quad bike has a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion which CFMoto sourced from Canada’s CVTech.

It fea­tures low, high, neu­tral, re­verse and park modes, and the trans­mis­sion range lever slips eas­ily be­tween the five po­si­tions when you ap­ply rea­son­able pres­sure on the foot brake. For child safety and se­cu­rity, it has a unique key-op­er­ated fea­ture that locks the trans­mis­sion in the park po­si­tion.

I praised it pre­vi­ously for its quick re­sponse to revs, but the na­ture of this type of trans­mis­sion is that it needs revs to move slowly as well, so, like most au­to­matic quads, I had to con­tin­u­ally tin­ker with the throttle to main­tain slow move­ment.

The X500 has two elec­tronic but­tons mounted on the han­dle­bars; one en­gages 2WD and 4WD modes, and the sec­ond locks the diff.

A word of ad­vice: only en­gage 4WD when it’s re­quired.

The ATV is fit­ted with elec­tric power steer­ing, so it steers just as well in 4WD as it does in 2WD, and the temp­ta­tion is there to leave it per­ma­nently in 4WD. But ex­ces­sive use when not re­quired only re­sults in un­due stress and pre­ma­ture wear on the whole driv­e­line.

PRO­TEC­TION

A sneak peek un­der­neath re­vealed the in­stal­la­tion of an ex­ten­sive un­der-body pro­tec­tion pack­age to de­fend the en­gine, trans­mis­sion and sus­pen­sion equip­ment from the

“For no ad­di­tional cost, it’s all set up for reg­is­tra­tion and use on pub­lic roads”

in­evitable abuse it will re­ceive from rocks, stumps and other haz­ards it’s likely to en­counter on farms.

The main bash plate runs the full length of the bike, and each of the in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion A-arms has a stain­less steel pro­tec­tion plate to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble piece of equip­ment.

Pro­tect­ing the rider hasn’t been ne­glected, ei­ther, with hand pro­tec­tion guards in­stalled on the han­dle­bars.

ON THE JOB

A few things stood out for me when rid­ing this ATV, and are def­i­nitely worth a men­tion.

It is an ex­tremely com­fort­able bike ride for three rea­sons. The han­dle­bars and seat are set up in a way that puts the rider into a com­fort­able, up­right sit­ting po­si­tion, and the seat has just the right amount of cush­ion­ing.

The EPS is ex­cep­tional and can re­ally be ap­pre­ci­ated when mov­ing around at low speeds.

Even with 4WD en­gaged the steer­ing is still ef­fort­less, and af­ter a full day of test­ing I had none of the aches and pains in the chest and shoul­ders that I used to get when rid­ing ATVs with­out power steer­ing.

Fi­nally, the in­de­pen­dent front and rear sus­pen­sion gave a very smooth ride and kept all four wheels in con­tact with the ground for max­i­mum trac­tion and sta­bil­ity.

My old Honda 350 ATV had a rigid axle with ba­sic sin­gle­spring sus­pen­sion, and had a ten­dency of buck­ing a bit and throw­ing the rear end up if I drove through a drain with a bit of speed, but the CFMoto X500 didn’t mis­be­have at all through drains, on rough ground, or while turn­ing hard.

In ad­di­tion to the com­fort and sta­bil­ity that the sus­pen­sion de­sign pro­vides, rider pro­tec­tion is well taken care of in other ways as well.

The mud­guards are wide enough to pre­vent any wa­ter, mud, or – worst-case sce­nario – cow s**t from reach­ing the rider, while the side in­tru­sion bars help fend off un­co­op­er­a­tive stock and add to the sta­bil­ity of the frame by con­nect­ing the front and rear car­rier racks.

Speak­ing of car­rier racks, the X500 is ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing 35kg on the front rack and 70kg on the rear. To­gether with a 350kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity, this places the X500 on equal terms with other ATVs in its class.

Add the 2500lb winch and you’ve got a ve­hi­cle that can get it­self out of sticky sit­u­a­tions. Ev­ery farm ve­hi­cle should be fit­ted with a winch be­cause its uses are only lim­ited by your imag­i­na­tion. (See http://bit.ly/TradeFarmwinch)

THE BOT­TOM LINE

I found lots to like about the CFMoto X500 Farm Spec ATV, such as rider com­fort, light-as-a-feather steer­ing, en­gine brak­ing and sta­bil­ity. The winch, full un­der­body bash pro­tec­tion, and side pro­tec­tion bars com­plete what ap­pears to be a great pack­age.

I get a very good gut feel­ing about this rel­a­tive new­comer on the Aus­tralian mar­ket but only time will re­veal its true qual­ity.

Apart from a few mi­nor con­cerns, I feel that CFMoto is hav­ing a se­ri­ous crack at pro­duc­ing a great value-for­money ATV. Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion that you get the fully specced, road-reg­is­ter­able bike for only $8490 (which in­cludes GST and a two-year war­ranty) I think it is well and truly worth a look.

Read more re­views and get great deals on ATVs and UTVs at TradeFar­mMachin­ery.com.au

Pho­tos by An­drew Brit­ten

1

TRANS­MIS­SION

Main pic: The mud­guards are wide enough to pre­vent any wa­ter, mud or other muck from reach­ing the rider

1: The X500 is fully specced up and ready for reg­is­tra­tion and use on pub­lic roads

2: All four wheels are kept in con­tact with the ground for max­i­mum trac­tion and sta­bil­ity

3: The X500 has low, high, neu­tral,

re­verse and park modes

4: The new 495cc, 38hp, four-stroke en­gine is lighter and more pow­er­ful than its pre­de­ces­sors 2

4

3

The CFMoto X500 Farm Spec ATV re­sponds ex­cep­tion­ally well to a bit of en­cour­age­ment on the throttle

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