Greg D. from Rider magazine and Ron Lieback from Cycle World had been beating me up all day around the cute little test track at CFMOTO’s coming-out party for its seven new motorcycles last month. Even when I was on my favorite 2022 CFs – the 700CL-X and ADVentura 650 – those guys were still leaving me in the dust on what should’ve been slower motorcycles, dammit. But I think I’ve written entire columns about how it’s better to never have been really good at any particular sport, as it makes it way easier to accept defeat. Serious competitors get their psyches all bruised and bent out of shape; I retreat to the food truck for more bbq and beverages… Also, the damp patches and tar snakes were things everybody had to deal with, but the older you get the more you prefer to not fall off the motorcycle.
But there was also an eighth CFMOTO motorcycle there that day we were sworn to secrecy about until August 1, which is today. And that’s the new 800 Adventura. Which really shouldn’t be so secret to serious motorheads, since it’s already on sale in lots of other places around the world. Also, Dennis Chung reported on the KTM/CF alliance nearly two years ago. What we did not know was if the new bike would be coming to the land of the Free or not, and now we do. Yes it is. Everywhere else, the bike is called 800MT, but those letters were already occupied by Yamaha.
All the other journalists and influencers at CF’s little trackday/bbq were hogging the 800 up most of the day, and I was concentrating on the 700CLs and brisket mostly anyway, though Moe Cason’s pulled pork was also to die for. But toward the end of the day, I snagged the new Adventura and rolled out on the track.
I could see Drevenstedt and Lieback in my mirrors exiting the final left onto the ⅓-mile front straight on about lap two, and they were both getting better drives onto it than I was (tar snakes). But rolling open the MT’s new 799cc KTM twin gave them a taste of their own medicine; it scooted easily away from the old Kawasaki Z650 engines (the CL’s is 693 cc) in the other CFMOTOs with ease. AhAhahahhaa, take that punks…
Not only does the 800 have a claimed 95 horsepower at 9250 rpm and 57 lb-ft torque at 8000, the Adventura also gets the latest in Bosch lean-sensitive braking software and traction control. Premium tires, too, and adjustable KYB suspension at both ends, which works well on all the CFMOTOs, but even better on the new top-o-the-line 800.
Suddenly, tar snakes and damp patches no longer registered as much, as the Adventura made its confident way around the circuit. The quickshifter, which also works fine, doesn’t do anything to hurt your lap times either. Every lap, the kids would get bigger in my left mirror in that same final corner before the ⅓-mile straight: Greg even got past me once, but even then the 800 had the power to shut off his water halfway down the straight, before registering 115 mph or so by the end of it. The 800, against CFMOTO’s reasonably steamy 700s (Lieback was on a 650NK) is cheating. I’m in. (Disclaimer: In no way was this a race, but more a real-time performance comparison.)
Visible KTM roots
I believe we went on at some length as to what a great engine the KTM 790 twin was when it came out. This is that engine. Maybe KTM is okay with that partly because its version is now bored and stroked to 889 cc. KTM says it makes 103 hp and 74 lb-ft to the CF’s claims of 95 and 57. Ninety-five and 57 still feels like a very generous helping of let’s go.
And three J Juan disc brakes, the front with four-piston radial-mount calipers and Bosch lean-sensitive ABS, make stopping hard just as confident. Using the rear to keep from running wide at the exit of that last corner, with the throttle wide(ish) open, also had the advantage of making the LED brake light flash alarmingly, according to the people trying to draft me off that last corner. Good for safety!
Say, what is this? An ADV bike or a sport one?
In fact, there are not one but two 800 Adventuras: The Adventura Street gets cast 19-/17-in wheels, LED lighting and fog lights, a 7-inch TFT display, ride-by-wire with sport and rain ride modes, cruise control(!) and a USB port.
Know the 800 Adventura Terrain (the one we got to ride) by its wire-spoke wheels, and that it adds to the Street package a bi-directional quickshifter, tire pressure monitoring, a steering damper, heated grips and rider’s seat.
How much would you expect to pay? The Street is $9,499. The Terrain is $10,499.
Both bikes look pretty adventurous, with their bolt upright comfortable ergos, big windshields, and 19-/17-inch wheel combos. But with not all that much travel in the 43mm fork and monoshock – 6.3 in. in front and 5.9 in. out back, and a not-too-tall 32.5-in. seat height – the Adventura Terrain maintains a nice flat attitude on the brakes and the gas, and scurries around on the asphalt really well. It sort of splits the difference between KTM’s 790 Adventure and 790 Duke, and the 800 Street should be just as good on the pavement if not better.
While the Kawasaki influence of the other CF motos is easy enough to see but not completely obvious, this one marks CF’s first collaboration with KTM, and it’s the same kind of deal. The bike’s steel frame is similar to the 790 Adventure’s (now 890). The CF dispenses with the KTM’s plastic fuel saddlebags up front, but is claimed to still hold 5 gallons to the KTM’s 5.3-gal capacity. The front of the bike looks like a bit of anime from the Kawasaki section of the CF factory may have crept in, but at least in a functional way, given the LED lighting and even standard fog lights. There is no beak.
Wheelbases are about the same, at just over 60 inches, and both the KTM and CFMOTO seat heights are just about 32.5 inches (the “R” KTM is 2 inches higher).
The one place where the KTM and CF depart, and it’s an important place, is in the weight department: We have the KTM Adventure and Adventure R at around 467 pounds; CFMOTO’s specs peg both its 800s at 509 lbs wet. Not exactly light. Being a bit on the chonky side seems to be a thing with most Chinese motorcycles.
Then again, we have no idea how accurate those weights are. In the pics, it looks like the Terrain also comes with a centerstand and crash protection, though 509 is the claim for both it and the Street – whose cast wheels should be a bit lighter, too. On its feet, the Terrain felt pretty light and nimble around that little 1.3-mile circuit, which included a couple of tight cone chicanes to keep speeds down.
Not only do we have no pictures of your correspondent riding the bike, we also have no pictures of its many nice features, except for a couple I snagged from CFMOTO’s global website, which is also on the tight-lipped side. At this point, it seems like marketing may be the only area where the Chinese haven’t quite caught up, since the new Adventura seems every bit as well turned-out as a new Japanese or Austrian one. (My bad for not whipping out my phone camera while I was there, but we generally get a big photo drop from a professional photographer after an event like this one.)
There’s your latest-thing seven-inch TFT display up front, complete with welcome show and bluetooth connectivity. There’s your cruise control button on the left switchgear, and your mode selector (Rain and Sport), also your heated grips and seat controls on the Terrain. All of it attached to the ends of a nice tapered aluminum handlebar in reversible risers. I can’t remember if the windshield is adjustable, but I believe it is judging from what looks like a twisty knob in the photo.
I only got to ride the 800 Adventura for 20 or 30 minutes around a mostly smooth “test track,” but the fueling and firm but supple suspension both felt perfectly first-world. So did the brakes and all of it; it’s easy to ride this one like a real sportbike. I’m generally bushed after a track session, but I pulled in giggling on the Terrain. (We were all beginning to go a bit too aggro for the riding jeans and enduro jackets we’d all packed.)
The ADV styling is definitely there, and I can see no obvious reason not to take either Adventura down a dirt road. Still, I’m going to guess that shorter-travel KYB stuff isn’t going to provide the real offroad ability of the longer-travel WP suspension KTM puts on its 890 Adventure. Maybe that matters to you, maybe it doesn’t.
Inexpensive, but not cheap
The crux of the biscuit is, at $9,499 and $10,499, these CFMOTOs are 3 or 4k less than the orange Austrian equivalent. But from where I sit (sat, for a brief while), the 800 Adventura Terrain felt every bit as capable and composed as the old 790 Adventure, while exhibiting none of the weird peccadilloes we’ve come to expect from other Chinese motorcycles over the years. In fact, in the fit and finish department – where some of Austria’s mid-priced bikes suffer a bit – I think the CF’s paint and aesthetics are actually a step above. Again, sorry for the lack of photos.
You can save all your comments about supporting our main geopolitical foe with American dollars; we went over all that in the comments after the last two CFMOTO reviews. The competing theory is, of course, that strong trade is what binds countries together and avoids conflict. All we have to do is come up with things to sell to China. How about a nice Sportster, maybe an Indian Scout?
You have a little time to think about it. Sounds like the 800 Adventuras won’t be in any of CFMOTO’s 550 US dealers before the end of the year. Something tells me they won’t linger there as long as some other Chinese brands.
|2022 CFMOTO 800 Adventura Specs|
|MSRP||$9,499 Street/ $10,499 Terrain|
|Engine Type||799cc liquid-cooled parallel twin, DOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Bore and Stroke||88 × 65.7mm|
|Rear Wheel Horsepower||95 hp @ 9000 rpm (claimed)|
|Torque||56.8 lb-ft @ 7500 rpm (claimed)|
|Transmission||6-speed w slipper clutch; up/down quickshifter on Terrain|
|Front Suspension||43mm inverted KYB fork; adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression; 6.3 inches wheel travel|
|Rear Suspension||Single shock, linkage mounted; adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping; 5.9 in. wheel travel|
|Front Brake||Dual 320mm discs; radial-mounted 4-piston J Juan calipers; lean-sensitive ABS|
|Rear Brake||260mm disc; 2-piston J Juan caliper; lean-sensitive ABS|
|Wheelbase||60.3 in. (1531mm)|
|Seat Height||32.5 in. (825mm)|
|Curb Weight||509 lbs. (claimed)|
|Fuel Capacity||5.0 gal.|
|Colors||Street: Nebula Black, Twilight Blue/ Terrain: Twilight Blue|