CFMoto continues to outpunch the made-in-China competition, with news of a new retro-styled middleweight headed for the Euro market for 2021.
For years, the Chinese motorcycle industry has been best-known for mass-producing small-capacity machines like the Lifan GY-5 or Cleveland Cyclewerks Misfit. In recent years, Europe’s seen a new crop of 400-class machines from China, many of them sold through Mash. But CFMoto has been building larger machines for a while now, including 700-class bikes with Kawasaki design influences.
Now, the CFMoto 700 CL-X is about to debut in Europe, and it looks like that Kawasaki-derived parallel twin lives on. Months back, there were rumours of a new CFMoto parallel twin derived from the KTM 790 design (remember: KTM and CFMoto have a partnership now). It looks like CFMoto is happy to stick with what it knows, though, repackaging the same engine it’s been using for years now.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. CFMoto says the 693cc liquid-cooled DOHC twin makes 73 crank horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 48 pound-feet of torque at 7,000 rpm. That’s more than enough to get out of its own way.
Curb weight for the 700 CL-X is 196 kilos; seat height is 800 millimetres, and tank capacity is 13 litres.
Moving past the rest of the bike, it looks a lot like a Yamaha XSR700 and a Ducati Scrambler had a love child. It’s hard to say whether or not the machine will actually look good in person, as you can’t tell fit-and-finish quality from promo images. It seems the designers got the basic lines of the bike right at least, though.
Images from last year’s trade show circuit show this bike outfitted with scrambler-style luggage and accessories, so it’s likely that stuff will all come on the market eventually. Would it make a substitute for a made-in-Europe scrambler/retro? Hard to say; CFMoto’s machines usually look good in-person, but suffer from one fatal flaw. They’re lower-priced than the established competition, but the price difference is so little that many customers just decide to spend a little extra and buy a better-known brand, or go with a used model with guaranteed support.
That may change, though. CFMoto has been working hard at building better bikes, and as it continues to adapt Japanese and European styling and engineering, while pushing into western markets, it might become an established player soon enough.