CFMoto 650MT & Shinko tyre review

CFMoto 650GT

Some 10,000km after taking possession of a CFMoto 650MT and then fitting it with Shinko 705 Adventure Touring tyres, industry veteran Dale Schmidtchen has updated his impressions of the combo. (You can also check out his initial reviews of the 650MT and Shinko tyres.)

Eleven months of ownership with this bargain-bin beauty and I can report that it continues to impress with every ride.

I still look at the Yamaha 700 Tenere and KTM 790 Adventure with envy, but for my general rides and realistic level of ability, I doubt I could justify the difference in price overt the MT at just $7490 ride away.

I commute most days on the CFMoto, and ride generally every weekend, sometimes both days. This hasn’t stopped over the COVID-19 enforced lockdown and as MBW can attest, it has been easy to do many hundreds of km even in a small radius.

Saddle timeCFMoto 650 MT

Last weekend, I did a 430km day trip and had plenty of time to reflect on this little bike as I cruised in a group that included Harleys, V4 Hondas, Triumph Speed Triples, a GSX1400 and even an MuZ 660.

The riding position is really relaxed, neutral and at the end of the day, I was tired but not sore.

I have found a happy place for the adjustable screen that nicely deflects bugs and breeze, allowing for my preferred visor up touring.

The brakes still have a lot of pad left front and rear. Braking force and control remains very consistent, despite a very basic level of ABS that is unable to be switched off.

The original chain and sprocket are doing very well.

Mirrors are still generally fuzz free and if I had to complain about anything from the cockpit’s view, the instruments can get a bit glarey if the sun is in the wrong position, but I don’t think that is anything unusual on any motorcycle.

I have left the bike standard in all areas for now, even resisting the temptation to derestrict it.

The engine power is ample for the real world and for now it’s still LAMS. I have also run a variety of fuels through it and there seems no real difference in power or the way it performs, but if I had to mention one fuel, Shell 98 seems to give it a little more range.

I originally quoted 400km from a tank. Theoretically that is possible, but because I am scared of pushing a bike home, I normally fill up at 300. It gets between 22km/l and 25km/l.

Shinko tyresShinko Tyre

The Shinko 705 tyres continue to impress after 6000+km. The front has lost 1mm of tread in the centre and the rear has worn away 4mm. In both cases, there is a lot of tread depth left and I expect the rear will be a 10,000km tyre.

I run them at 34/38 psi cold and they have plenty of predictable grip on dirt or tarmac.

IssuesCFMoto 650 MT

So what don’t I like and what issues have I had?

Generally nothing, just little niggles that haven’t stopped me in any way.

The tops of the fork adjusters have faded badly from red to a dull flesh colour.

Also, the clear plastic lower fairing on the right hand side is showing signs of cracking. The upside is that these parts are probably available at very sensible prices and I will replace them when I have to.

The only real letdown of the bike is the suspension. Sure, it works fine in 90% of cases, but over high-frequency bumps such as road corrugations, it reminds me of Stutter Rap from the Beastie Boys.

A good suspension tech could probably make it a lot better, but this could also be done at the factory. Get the suspension sorted and I have to say, it would be a giant killer.

Having said that, I am looking forward to trading up to the new CFMoto 700CL-X due later in the year.

CFMoto 700CL-X Adventure
CFMoto 700CL-X Adventure

Until then, the 650MT will do me nicely. 

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