The CFMoto 1250 TR-G is finally on the Chinese market, and boy, is it interesting. First off, it’s perhaps the most ambitious collaboration between KTM and its Chinese partners that we’ve seen yet. Second, it’s a pretty massive sport tourer, continuing China’s interest in a category that everyone else has pretty much forgotten.
When Chinese motorcycles started hitting western markets, they came with low-performance engines, crappy fit-and-finish and a general low-tech vibe. The old Lifan GY-5 series is a perfect example; while they were tough enough, their suspension had a horrible design, and the bikes rusted quickly.
Back then, the naysayers slammed Chinese bikes, and said the country would only ever produce pirated copies of American, Japanese and Euro machinery. Fifteen years later, it turns out that isn’t the case. Chinese mega-manufacturers have now made deals with their counterparts in developed countries to adapt and use their tech, and this latest machine from CFMoto is the perfect example.
The CFMoto 1250 TR-G uses a liquid-cooled 72-degree V-twin engine that’s derived from KTM’s LC8 engine. It reportedly makes 140 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 88.5 pound-feet of torque at 7,000 rpm. That’s much less jam than the latest-gen LC8, but it’s a massive upgrade from the old knock-offs of Japanese engines. It does follow in the same pattern, though, of tinkering with an established design.
CFMoto loaded this bike with modern electro-tech, though, including a 12.3-inch TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity, a tire pressure monitoring system, a sound system (equipped with JBL speakers), switchable engine maps, cruise control, cornering ABS, adjustable traction control—you name it. While not as high-spec as the latest Euro machinery, it’s not far behind, and probably on-par or superior to many Japanese-built bikes on the market.
The chassis is surprisingly top-shelf, with steering damper, Marzocchi forks and Brembo brakes. The frame itself is steel, though.
Add it all up, and you’ve got a bike that’s barely a step below BMW’s latest sport tourers, at least on paper. Wild! Almost everyone has abandoned making a serious sport tourer, with the FJR1300 reportedly gone, and nothing else equivalent from Japan or Europe, with the exception of BMW’s RT and RS lines, and KTM’s Super Duke GT.
So, what about price? CFMoto’S Chinese price works out to roughly $15,000 USD, roughly 10 times the price the original China bikes fetched in the US. Will customers in North America or Europe buy at that point? Probably not, especially as CFMoto’s ATVs still have a sketchy reputation (perhaps unfairly) in the powersports community. Will the CFMoto 1250 TR-G sell in China? Most certainly, and with a billion domestic customers, who needs the west?