Chinese takeaway tourer delivers
Anyone of above-average height in New Zealand terms is going to have to ride this bike with their knees splayed out into the wind, and will feel equally cramped by the high positioning of the rider’s footpegs. The latter do help the CFMOTO achieve more sporty handling characteristics than most sportstourers however, and the 650TR is an enjoyable bike to chuck around with its light and neutral steering. Kayaba suspension and Cheng Shin rubber also enhance the bike’s prowess on twisty roads. The former might lack any adjustment up front and possess only the ability to tweak spring preload at the back, but it did feel well-dialled in for a rider of my 75kg fully-suited-up weight. As for the tyres, initial scepticism soon gave way to near-total trust as they handled everything that a storm-ravaged back road could chuck at them. All that’s missing here is a bit more brake performance. CFMOTO’s inhouse calipers and petal-edged discs look the business but the system could benefit from better master cylinder calibration. At $9990, you’ll never buy more bike for your money, especially if you’re willing to gamble on a newly-minted brand from a Communist country with no Consumer Guarantees Act. Me? I’d rather track down a genuine second-hand Kawasaki ER instead, preferably the superblycomfy Versys model, and find some aftermarket panniers to fit.
Chinese treat: There’s a solidity to the construction of the frame and running gear that’s unique in these days of mass-sensitive motorcycle design.