I’m calling it right now. Not only is this the best CFMoto offering I’ve ridden to date (comfortably), but I reckon that this bike announces the manufacturer has officially arrived as a legitimate option for the masses. This one isn’t just good for the price. It’s good. Period.
I had the pleasure of attending the Australian launch of the new LAMS legal sportsbike and came away seriously impressed. It’s well built, well styled, comfortable, the engine is a ripper and it handles intuitively well. It’s a FUN bike to ride.
Let’s start with the engine. Developed in-house by CFMoto themselves, the little 450cc parallel twin is a ripper. Super smooth, thanks to twin balance shafts, it revs out smoothly and eagerly with plenty of grunt right off the bottom. In terms of peak output, we’re talking 46 Hp and almost 40 Nm with the 270 degree crank ensuring a ‘proper’ twin exhaust note that sounds like a significantly bigger engine. One of the bikes on the launch had a saucy little Verex slip-on muffler that sounded pretty horn.
Not only does it have good power, but importantly for CFMoto, and differentiating it from some of its other recent models – the fueling is bang on at launch. This one feels finished. Solid. Sorted. Ready.
And while those peak power figures alone might not sound awesome in comparison to some bigger engines, that Torque figure is slightly up on the Ninja 400. And the fact that it’s only pushing along a bike that weighs 179 Kg dripping wet with a full tank of fuel certainly helps. They’ve done well there. It has a 14 L tank so that’s around 168 Kg without fuel by my quick math. And it feels light. Yay for light bikes 🙂
It doesn’t feel small though. Not cramped at all. And the seat was surprisingly comfortable. Way more comfy than I expected. We spent the morning at the track getting some shots while we got a feel for the bike and then did a road run to get a feel for how it felt in the real world. It proved more than capable in both duties.
The bikes we rode were almost brand new and were all a little ‘tight’ when we jumped on them, gearbox was a little reluctant for clutchless shifts and the FCC slipper clutch was both a smidgen grabby on release on hard shifts too. But over the period of an hour or two, both started to loosen up nicely. To the point where both clutchless upshifts and downshifts were becoming a pleasant thing. One interesting feature here too is that the shift lever can be quickly flipped for a reverse shift pattern. It’s almost as though they have proddy racing in mind with these jiggers….
Motorcycling Australia has been approached in regards to homologating the CFMOTO 450SR for the ASBK Supersport 300 category and we might see one on track before the end of 2023….
A bit of time is needed to really get to know the engine. I kept hitting the rev-limiter on the track early in the day, it revs out that well (peak power arriving at 10,000 rpm, limiter is past 12,000). And yet, down low it offers plenty of shove. It will happily wheelie once you get the feel for it. From as low as two thousand revs. Lower down than you think. Nice balance point too. Nice and high which makes for good fun.. And pics that make the marketing boys happy.. A bit more time and I would have been holding third I reckon. Reeeaaaally flat delivery throughout the rev range. Very user friendly. I couldn’t help but wonder what a cam might do for the mid-range in race trim though…
Handling wise it feels bang on for the brief. And that brief by the way is not an out and out racetrack weapon – but a sports bike for the road. One that’s just as happy around town, as it is fanging up your favourite backroad. While being a right giggle on the track.
Steering is light and natural. You could put this on a postage stamp mid corner lap after lap if you wanted. Changing direction quickly without being a handful to get your head around. A lovely bike to really learn the ropes on – and then push the boundaries a little.
That front screen works pretty well too, I saw 170 km/h tucked in and it was still pulling – tops out at 190 I’m told, but like most twins, it doesn’t feel stressed or rushed when doing it. The first time I bothered to look at the speedo in our dry track session I was surprised to say the least. It punts along pretty sharply without breaking a sweat.
The front 37 mm forks are non-adjustable but feel pretty damn good. The rear is adjustable for pre-load, which I would have started winding up a little to help keep the rear in line under hard braking had we had more dry track time – but the heavens opened up on us.
On the road both ends worked well and soaked up the usual surface changes, potholes, ripples and rubbish that we endure. All without much fuss. And that sharp handling on the track translates to lots of options on the road. Come across a wet patch or a pothole (or a bit of fresh road kill as I did on the day) and there’s no drama at all to nip that line up and avoid it.
Brakes are good too. A single 320 mm Brembo up front had me raise an eyebrow at first glance, but it seemed up for the task. Decent stopping power and no signs of fading on the track. Both front and rear levers had plenty of feel and like the rest of the bike just seemed to work as expected.
And I do need to talk about the styling a little. They’ve knocked it out of the park here. Euro styled at the hands of ex Ducati and MV folks, it’s well proportioned with great finish and attention to detail. Sure the front wings are probably a bit unnecessary, but they do look trick 🙂 And apparently they do add a smidgen of extra downforce, so at least they’re functional.
Spec-wise it’s fairly loaded with kit
TFT dash with two layout options (both of which look pretty good too)
CFMoto app with GPS tracker & data logging
Backlit switch blocks too which I love (why isn’t that a universal thing by now?)
Plenty of options are available, one of the bikes fitted with rear-sets, a rear seat cowl, tail tidy, slip-on, fold up levers, a tinted screen and a higher seat (which raises the seat height about the same amount as the rear-sets do so comfort is largely retained). Heated grips and a heated seat are also available. Tick the boxes, trick it up.
Negatives? I did keep accidentally nudging the high beam switch on without meaning to. Not sure if it was just me there, but I don’t think my grip is particularly weird…
And those CST tyres (who I’m told are owned by Pirelli), seem pretty grippy in the dry, but aren’t the stickiest things when stone cold, on a wet track. Don’t ask me how I know… Don’t go pushing it too hard, too soon…
All in all – as I said at the start, I think this is a bit of a watershed moment for the brand. Here’s their first bike that feels like it can genuinely go toe to toe with the Japanese competitors. Sure, it’s a new model and the engine is still unproven, but it felt solid and it has a three year warranty. Eight grand ride-away is way below what the bike feels like it would be worth. Gonna be a lot of pretty happy young riders on these things before too long I reckon.
Wayne liked the CFMOTO 450SR because…
Lovely little engine – fuelling is spot on, cracking exhaust note for a stocker (and with the slip on it was horn!)
Its nice and light with Terrific handling – it just felt ‘right’
Well specced and finished – And styling-wise it looks mint
Wayne would like the CFMOTO 450SR more if..
I’d probably throw some even softer rubber on it with a little more tread depth for all condition riding. It’s nice and light, so should be gentle on tyre wear.
Can that high beam toggle position be reconsidered? Or is that just me?
Wayne loves all things motorsport, but lives for two wheels. Mountain bikes, dirt bikes, adventure bikes, road bikes, race bikes, the lot.
An ex riding coach and road racer wannabe who simultaneously ran out of talent and money.
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