Kiwis love a bargain, and CFMOTO’s new 800MT Touring might be the best bang for your adventure touring dollar - PERIOD.
Chinese brand CFMOTO is cementing its place in New Zealand as the market leader in bang-for-buck motorcycles. With the release of its first true adventure touring model - the 800MT - the brand now has a solid foot in the hottest segment in motorcycling.
Powered by a 799cc parallel twin producing 67kW and featuring a host of amenities, going by the numbers the 800MT Touring should be priced far higher than the $15,490 plus on roads CFMOTO is charging.
How CFMOTO’s NZ distributor Mojo Motorcycles has priced the bike so low is quite a mystery, as there isn’t anywhere on the bike that points to it being a budget-friendly motorcycle - but maybe that’s the brilliant thing about it.
The engine comes courtesy of CFMOTO’s corporate partner KTM, with the parallel twin being the same powerhouse as found in KTM's 790 badged offerings In fact, CFMOTO actually builds KTM's 790 engines rather than the other way around. With such a high-performance engine, I found myself comparing the 800MT to its European cousins rather than other bikes from Asia that it realistically competes with at this price point.
So with bikes like the BMW F850GS, Husqvarna Norden and the KTM 890 Adventure in mind, how does the 800MT stand out from these premium bikes on the road?
Lifting it off its factory-equipped centre stand and wheeling it out of the garage, you can definitely feel the bike’s 231-kilo weight which sits quite high thanks to the standard fuel tank position. However, once you’re nestled into the 825mm high seat this largely vanishes when you twist open the throttle.
The cockpit itself contains everything an adventure touring bike should. From the large 7-inch TFT dashboard, you’re given all the relevant info in a clear manner. However, I did find the small ‘indicator on’ lights a bit difficult to see as they are positioned in the lower corners of the dash unit.
Thankfully that’s a pretty small gripe on an otherwise easy-to-use system which is aided by a minimum of switches on the handlebars. Seriously, some manufacturers seem to think you need a button and menu for every function, so the minimalist approach of the CFMOTO helped me get to know the bike’s function much easier.
Included in those electronic functions are a heated seat and grips, cruise control, two riders modes, tyre pressure monitoring and BlueTooth connectivity.
Possibly one area where CFMOTO has saved some money is in its electronic aids. Unlike its Euro counterparts, the 800MT Touring does not feature traction control or switchable ABS. That means some good wrist control is called for as the LC8C engine from KTM loves to put the power down. Thankfully if you get a little too exuberant on the throttle the Spanish J.Jaun brakes are more than up to the task, offering excellent feel and span adjustment on the lever.
With a mission to pre-run the 2022 GS Rallye, I took the opportunity to saddle up and took on the full route around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. With a range of conditions over the 300+ km route, it was the perfect chance to put the touring credentials of the CFMOTO to the test.
Departing with all the heated features turned on high, the twists and turns were lapped up by the 800MT and I found that the easily adjusted windshield offered good protection from wind blast.
To call the 800MT sprightly would possibly understate the way in which this bike takes off. While rain mode notably dulls down delivery, sport mode lets you play with the full 70kW of power and it's not long before you’re winding off the throttle and tapping on cruise control to keep your licence.
While an adventure touring bike in its design, complete with crash bars, skid plate, luggage racks and even fog lights, the 800MT we grabbed on test wasn’t equipped with tyres to put the bike’s off-pavement chops to the test. However, even on the road-biased Maxxis rubber, the bike ships with the chassis does seem well-equipped to travel on rougher roads.
Suspension is adjustable with a fully adjustable 43mm KYB fork at the front and a similarly adjustable rear shock. One less-than-ideal part of the design and another clue to the CFMOTO’s affordable price is that the rear shock doesn’t have a remote preload adjuster, meaning a C-spanner is required to add preload if carrying a pillion or heavy luggage.
You could of course get your local dealer to do it for you if needed, and surprisingly, CFMOTO has established a pretty decent network that spans the length and breadth of the country.
While perhaps not as well equipped to tackle the more adventurous rides as its European counterparts, there’s no doubt the CFMOTO is the class leader in terms of value for money. How far you go with it is up to you.