Following the recent announcement that KTM would be CFMoto’s distributor here in the UK, CFMoto kindly invited us to Almería in southern Spain to ride the Chinese brand’s 800 MT bikes.
There are two models in CFMoto’s 800 MT range, the Sport at circa £10,399, and the fully blown Touring priced at around a thousand pounds more for a few extra niceties.
Both the Sport and Touring utilise the same motor found in the previous generation of KTM’s 790 Adventure, and it didn’t disappoint in CFMoto clothing. Start the engine, and you are welcomed with a purposeful growl from the 799cc DOHC twin cylinder power plant, which produces a usable 91bhp and 75Nm of torque.
During slow speed riding, delivery was grunty but controlled and easy to use. But the engine is at its happiest higher in the rev range on faster roads, where pick up from low down is prompt and the smooth, accompanied by an attractive exhaust note as you ask for more power.
The power figures are adequate for a mid-range adventure touring machine, but the 799cc engine is slightly down compared to its rivals using newer motors. For riders looking to buy a motorcycle in this sector though, it shouldn’t make much of a difference in their decision making, but it is worth noting.
The two models are essentially the same bike using the same components, with the Touring boasting a few more premium features like gold wire-spoked rims (19” front and 17” rear, the same as the cast-wheeled Sport model), an up-down quickshifter which was lovely to use throughout the rev range, a steering damper, practical crash bars and hand guards, completing a sturdy adventure touring look.
We found it slightly strange that the Sport didn’t come with a quickshifter and blipper too, but standard level equipment across both models is impressive. Cruise control, a comprehensive 7” TFT display which includes tyre pressure monitoring, two rider modes (Sport and Rain), an adjustable screen, manually adjustable KYB suspension, adequate J.Juan brakes, LED lights all round and a 19-litre fuel tank making it suitable for decent distances.
Cornering ABS is included too, which is a nice feature to have straight out of the crate. No traction control though. Luggage mounting brackets come as standard, but the 63-litre luggage itself is an optional extra.
After a few hours in the comfy saddle, we were impressed with the plush ride and the bike’s relaxed road manners. The way the chassis and suspension is set up glides you across the Tarmac with ease, making motorway miles a doddle. It’s a fairly tall bike with a dominant riding position thanks to its high and wide ‘bars, which fills you with confidence and is overall a comfy riding position for an average height rider.
For anyone shorter in the leg, the wide seat makes the fixed 825mm seat height feel even taller than it is, which could make getting flat footed a struggle for some. And when you add the 231kg dry weight in the mix, it’s a bit of a challenge to manoeuvre on foot, especially on uneven or loose ground.
The weight was also a bit of an issue at slow speeds, causing the 800 MT Touring to feel a little lazy and a bit top heavy. This was far less of a factor at higher speeds where it felt nicely planted. Unless you buy one to use solely around town, I wouldn’t be put off by its slightly overweight nature.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time riding the CFMoto 800 MT Touring. The overall finish of the bike is very nicely done, and thoughtful features like two USB sockets, a 12V power outlet and a centre stand just add to its attractiveness as a do-it-all middleweight adventure touring bike. Put it in a test against competition in the class, and it would certainly hold its own.
That said, the middleweight adventure touring sector is incredibly competitive, so whether riders are willing to take the plunge on a relatively unknown brand compared to a Yamaha, Triumph or its sister KTM is yet to be seen. But for us, the CFMoto 800 MT Touring is well-priced at circa £11,399, and considering all CFMotos now come with a four year warranty, there’s peace of mind too.