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TEST RIDE | CF MOTO 650 MT : FOR THE INNER ADVENTURER IN YOU

We are pretty sure that all of you must have noticed the popularity of higher capacity bikes in Nepal. Most of the newest and the fastest bikes usually make its way to Nepal one way or the other. The high tax rate and the small pot hole filled roads don’t seem to deter the people from buying such exotics. This however is a very good thing for us auto enthusiasts as we will be getting the latest and the greatest in the auto industry here in Nepal. Like other brands, CF Moto have also followed this with the introduction of their 650 series of bikes, the NK650 and the 650MT. While the NK being a naked sport bike and the MT being an adventure tourer bike. Recently the popularity of adventure touring bikes has increased, because some time back the only option available was the Ducati Multistrada and the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Now there are a lot more option for the potential buyers in the form of the newer Ducati Multistrada 1200/950, the Kawasaki Versys, Honda Africa twin and the CRF Rally, Benelli TRK 502, BMW GS 650/750/850/1200, etc. In this issue we got to swing our leg over the 650MT and put it through its paces to see how good of an adventure tourer this bike really is.

DESIGN AND FEATURES

We have gone over this fact before as well but let us over it once again, the designing of the bike is done by Kiska. Kiska is a renowned designer who does the designing for KTM as well. We must appreciate the talent of such an artist who keeps coming back with stunning designs one after the other. The 650MT is no exception, the front end is very beautiful with the LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lights). It has the conventional look of an adventure tourer bike, which is a large front and a small tail section. The height of the windscreen can be adjusted according to requirement which is a very nice feature. As the rider might be tall/short and the stock position of the windscreen might not be the best position for the rider. With the ability to adjust the height of the windscreen the wind blast faced while doing long journey trips will be mitigated making the ride more comfortable. Being a tourer bike, it is necessary for the bike to be able to carry luggage of the rider and the passenger. So, the MT has a rack to mount the side and top cases on the motorcycle to pack your stuff into. The instrument cluster was an alldigital unit. It gave the basic information’s such as the engine RPM and speed, other than that it also had a gear indicator, clock, fuel efficiency meters, trip meters, riding modes, temperature gauge, etc. all of these were displayed on the instrument cluster. Though it looks like a lot it was neatly integrated and was easy to read even under direct sunlight. There were two riding modes available to choose from, the Touring mode and the Sport mode.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

The 650MT is powered by a 650cc parallel twin engine producing 71 HP @ 8750 RPM and 62 Nm of torque @ 7000 RPM. The power delivery of the 650MT is just like any other parallel twin engines, there isn’t much grunt in the low end but as you start to climb up the RPM meter the pull gets stronger with it. While testing the two modes available, we found that there wasn’t much of a difference in the two modes apart from the fact that in sport mode the throttle response got a little sharper than that in the touring mode. The torque was punchy in the lower end so it made the MT easier to ride in stop and go traffic. The harder you accelerated the more exciting it would get and before you knew it would have reach three-digit figures. Even though this is a fairly heavy bike it had more than enough power and torque to make it an exciting bike to ride while it wasn’t an intimidating experience.

BRAKING AND SUSPENSION

The brake setup on the 650MT is two petal disc upfront and single disc at the rear. All the brakes are hydraulic. The brakes did a good job too, it had the initial bite to assure you that it has the power to stop this machine and the fact that it has ABS (Antilock Braking System) just makes it that much safer. The ABS, however, does rob some feel from the lever. The 650MT is equipped with an upsidedown suspension upfront and a side mounted mono shock at the rear.

COMFORT AND HANDLING

The seating position on the 650MT was focused towards the comfort of the rider. Since this is a bike where you spend a lot of time on the saddle, the handle bars are high and wide, with the foot pegs pretty front set, giving it a very comfortable body position. The suspension on the front was balanced as it wasn’t very soft nor too hard, so it was decent over bumps and good through the corners. The rear suspension however is a different case, it was setup too soft since made for a plush ride. However, the suspensions being on the softer side did make it bouncy at times especially with no load at the back. The 650MT being a front weight biased bike due to the fairing upfront, felt spongy at bigger bumps with less weight at the rear. The 650MT comes with Metzeler M5 Sportec tires as stock, as we have ridden on those tires before we know that they provide very good level of grips. The roundish profile of the tires meant that even if the bike weighed 213Kgs it was quick to turn in. The front suspension was ready to handle the turn but you could feel the weight of the bike through corners due to the soft sprung rear. It made the bike a bit unstable at times when we went over bumps on a corner. However this issues isn’t a deal breaking since it comes with adjustable suspensions, meaning you can just get the suspension adjusted according to your liking. Note: Tuning your suspension is a very good way of improving the handling and characteristics of the bike, however we recommend that you do it only at the authorized service center or someone you can trust. Since the suspensions are a very crucial part of a bikes handling, a wrong setup can make the bike very risky to ride.

VERDICT

The 650MT has pretty much nailed down all the features required to make it a good adventure tourer bike. It has the look, the feel, the specifications, the dimensions and the heart of a tourer bike. The only gripe that we had with this bike is the rear suspension which can be easily rectified with professional help. And as we’ve mentioned before, if you do intend to make changes in the suspension setup make sure you get it done by someone who knows what he is doing.

 

 

 

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