CFMoto 650TR | First Ride

China Creates a Middleweight Tourer

By Alan Cathcart, Photography by Stephen Piper

They say: “Long-range comfort for less cash.”
We say: “The most affordable sport-tourer.”

The Chinese motorcycle industry’s march into the global marketplace got under way in 2012 with the debut of the CFMoto 650NK parallel-twin, an unashamed re-interpretation of Kawasaki’s ER6n. Also making its 2012 debut, at November’s Milan Show, was the second model in CFMoto’s midsized motorcycle lineup: the 650TR touring bike.

This time CFMoto made something unique—a fully faired, hard-bagged junior sport-tourer, powered by the same fuel-injected, 649cc motor found in the 650NK. This compact engine sits in a tubular-steel frame that’s identical to the 650NK’s, and comes equipped with nondetachable but lockable dual panniers, which are both spacious and waterproof. I know this because I took the 650TR on a two-day, 375-mile tour of the Victorian Goldfields northwest of Melbourne, during which I rode through eight successive downpours. This first Chinese tourer looks classy for a 650 twin, and at around $7900 it’s a lot of bike for the money.

The 650TR’s riding position seems tailor-made for riders who rack up miles. The handlebar is positioned to deliver a comfortable, upright stance, though the 31.3-inch seat height means anyone much taller than 6 feet will probably feel cramped. But the 650TR’s seat is amazingly comfortable.

The 650TR will lope along all day at 75 mph at 5000 rpm, not even halfway to redline, while the effective screen shelters you from windblast. Top speed is 120 mph, achieved at 8400 rpm—it won’t pull any higher. But with torque peaking at 7000 rpm and spread across the powerband, there’s no point in revving anywhere near the 10,800-rpm limit.

After a panic stop to avoid a wallaby in the road on a blind turn, I realized the CFMoto’s front brakes work well for a budget system, but a little help from the rear disc is needed to slow this 485-pound bike quickly. The well-designed dash, with analog dials, is easy to read, but it has no tripmeter, clock, or low-fuel light—all imperative for a bike with touring pretensions. However, CFMoto has confirmed that subsequent production bikes will include a clock and a tripmeter, and when the fuel level drops to the final bar on the dash readout, it will flash.

Paint and overall finish of the 650TR are pretty good, though the plastic switchgear looks a little low-rent. The sidestand is too short and there’s no centerstand. While there’s room to clamp a GPS to the handlebar, you’ll find no socket to power it.

The CFMoto 650TR seems to be manufactured as well as it’s engineered, which means it may be the Chinese-made motorcycle that will finally make the breakthrough in Western markets. At last, a Chinese manufacturer is seemingly more interested in product quality than rock-bottom price.

Tech Spec

Price $7900
Engine type l-c parallel-twin
Valve train DOHC, 8v
Displacement 649cc
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower 70.0 bhp @ 8500 rpm
Claimed torque 46.0 lb.-ft. @ 7000 rpm
Frame Tubular-steel perimeter
Front suspension Kayaba 41mm fork
Rear suspension Kayaba shock with adjustable spring preload
Front brake Dual CFMoto two-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake CFMoto single-piston caliper, 225mm disc
Front tire 120/70ZR-17 CST Radial
Rear tire 160/60ZR-17 CST Radial
Seat height 31.3 in.
Wheelbase 55.7 in.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Claimed curb weight 485 lbs.
Verdict 3 out of 5 stars
Another affordable and acceptably capable full-size motorcycle from China.

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