Some people think that Chinese motorcycles are cheap, not very well made and will never have the street cred of well established brands like Honda, Ducati or Triumph. You know what, people said the same about Japanese bikes 40 years ago. CF Moto are based in Shanghai and make this Judge Dread-a-like 250 scooter, which looks like it should come with an optional Hoverboard. Underneath the plastic body panels there’s a steel tubular chassis, a water-cooled 244cc engine and automatic gearbox. It even has a CD/Cassette/MP3 player in the dummy fuel tank.
Alastair Walker fired up his Marty McFly approved Flux Capacitor, and headed Back to The Future.
Fiona Maher took the pics.
This scooter is Marmite on wheels – a love/hate thing.
Some people will love its cute, Future-Boy looks, the way the headlamp is the size of a 1960s TV screen, the bizarre `shovel handle’ crash bars adorn the sides of the thing and the general weirdness it seems to emanate, as you glide along.
Others will openly laugh out loud as you pull into Tesco’s car park to begin your nightshift, and hardcore bikers will completely blank you if you dare to give them `the nod’ as you commute through the mean streets of this country’s capital city; London. Most bikers will probably hate the beak-like nose of the CF Moto, its girly low seat height, and the fact that it is undeniably powered by a water-cooled, mere 244cc, rev `n’ go scooter motor.
All of which is great; opinions should be strong – that is what will help put CF Moto on the map.
Like I said earlier, under the unusual body panels, this is a conventional 250cc commuter scooter, with a torquey motor that pulls the dry weight of 177 kilos fairly easily off the line. The CF Moto 250 runs out of steam around 60-65mph and I would estimate that 75mph is the realistic top speed. Unlike some 250-400 maxi scooters, you sit low upon it, gripping the pulled-back and wide handlebars, legs on the footboards, in a sort of semi-cruiser position. It feels like you’re on a motorcycle, but the hand controls are just the same as a typical `twist `n’ go’ scooter. Weird, but you get used to it.
It has a plush, soft ride, but corners adequately for something fairly heavy and set low to the ground. I was very impressed with the single disc brakes front and rear, which offered excellent stopping power on the slippy winter roads of Derbyshire where CF Moto’s UK importer, ECO Scooters is based.
I reckon the CF Moto 250 is something which could handle the cut `n’ thrust of urban commuting without too much drama, and it definitely has an edge on most 125cc four stroke scooters when it comes to handling, speed and braking.
DAN DARE, SCOOTER PILOT OF THE FUTURE
Although I was impressed with the overall build quality, the CF Moto betrays its Chinese origins with some indifferent quality fasteners here and there, and the odd gap in the plastic panels which comprise its weirdly Ford Sierra-like bodywork. It does boast a CD/radio/cassette player under the dummy fuel tank, but I wouldn’t bet on hearing much music above 20mph. I think the speakers were located under the front section of bodywork, but as I didn’t fire up the CD player, I couldn’t comment on its aural performance.
The dash has all the usual idiot lights, a speedo, temperature gauge and a fuel level indicator. It should return about 60-65mpg and the capacity is 12 litres, which means a good 120 miles or more between fill-ups. I wouldn’t expect the CF Moto to be as frugal as say a Yamaha Majesty 250, and it doesn’t offer the same underseat luggage space either – in fact the CF Moto has its fuel and an engine beneath the seat, so it carry very little.
In truth, a Majesty, or Vespa GT200 isn’t a true rival to this hybrid scooter/cruiser. Yes, the CF Moto can commute, but it’s also a leisure cruiser, a fun bike for the weekend and the steel frame under the panels also acts as the base for its sister model, the CF Moto 250 V5 – which features a conventional fuel tank, luggage rack, smaller headlamp and is £100 cheaper. For some riders, this will be a more attractive proposition than the Dan Dare styled V3 model.
I really liked the wackiness of the CF Moto V3. To me, I think it shows that some Chinese manufacturers aren’t just content to copy existing bike/scooter designs and knock out a million cheap copies. This machine has been designed to be unique, truly different – it has been someone’s dream. As every salesman knows, the power of dreams can move the world and I think that unless the Japanese and Italians start making some funky, radical designs, take some risks in terms of design and marketing, the Chinese are going to slowly but surely put them out of business.
I’ll give you one example; It is utterly baffling to me why someone still cannot buy a basic Honda, Piaggio or Peugeot branded electric scooter from Halfords, Dixons, or Argos websites and bigger stores, backed up by a TV advertising campaign. Why hasn’t Honda got a `design-your-dream’ site on My Space to figure out what might reach the mainstream, the younger commuters of the future?
Soichiro Honda would have kept one eye on the future and in Europe, the future of two-wheeled transport will be set partly by `green issue’ spouting politicians. Selling electric bikes/scooters as domestic appliances reaches a mass market and that guarantees sensible laws governing the use of two-wheelers on our roads.
Maybe the Chinese will do it with machines like the CF Moto 250 V3, which will come in petrol, electric, or even hydrogen/electric hybrid versions within five years.
I’ll just fire up that flux capacitor and go and have a look…
Get bike insurance for the CF Moto 250 2007.
Engine Liquid-cooled, four stroke, single cylinder, 244cc
Gears CVT type automatic
Chassis; Steel tubular frame, U type construction
Forks; 39mm telescopic, non-adjustable
Rear suspension; Twin shock, non-adjustable
Braking; Single front & rear disc, 2 piston caliper
Wheels/Tyres; 100/90 18 inch front,
150/80 15 inch rear
Fuel capacity; 12 litres
Dry weight; 177kgs
Estimated Fuel Consumption 60mpg average
Estimated Top Speed 75 mph
Price £1999 OTR Jan 2007