Having recently relishing the chance to throw a leg over the amazing value 650NK (review here), I had no hesitation when the opportunity arose to test the touring version – CFMOTO’s 650GT. This is essentially the full fairing version of that NK, it remains LAMS certified and very learner friendly.
We get different styling (from Kiska again), which isn’t as hard edged as the naked version and I must admit looks pretty good from some angles, while the front ¾ in particular grew on me. It’s obviously been designed for and with panniers in mind and looks good with them fitted in the pics I’ve seen – however my test bike didn’t have luggage. The pannier set-up is available for $900.95 including brackets.
The 650GT shares the 650 cc parallel-twin engine with the NK, putting out an identical 41.5 kW (55 hp) of power and 62 Nm of torque. The tune feels the same to me and to be honest there’s no reason to change it.
It shares the same user-friendly low 795 mm seat height too, but gets extra weather protection, a larger 19-litre tank and more generous seating which does add a few kilos, tipping the scales at 213 kg dry.
That weight does take the performance edge off ever so slightly compared to the NK, which CFMOTO claim weighs in at 193 kg, but I still found myself developing plenty of grins.
It’s actually a pretty bloody good thing – and the extra fuel capacity and consumption will take you comfortably past the 300 km mark, so it ticks the mile hauler box too.
Ssurprisingly, I felt the suspension (which is also shared between the two), was better suited to this version. That little bit of extra weight taking what I felt was a little too firm on the NK into a much better all around proposition. It still struggles a bit with major hits, but felt noticeably more composed than its naked sibling.
That could also have been helped by the slightly more upright riding position due to the higher bars, which translates into a particularly comfortable ride. The seat is plenty comfortable too and offers a little more room to move around, while the pillion seat is also a much more practical set-up than the NK.
On the go, it’s got some cornering ability and I was pleasantly surprised at how well balanced the 650 GT felt at full lean. The bike tips in quite well and holds a line better than it ought to. I was easily able to get it to the edge of the tyre and the GT felt perfectly composed doing so.
Sure, you have to wring the neck of the little twin to get anything like a genuinely sporty performance out of it – and one uphill section on the photo shoot reminded me that it’s no stump puller. But it’s totally fit for purpose and not pretending to be something it’s not.
Around the four to five grand rpm mark it is perfectly happy, in fact I’d say the sweet spot is somewhere between four and eight thousand revs.
There’s no need to go any higher and the gear ratios are nicely spaced to keep you well within that zone too. The fuelling is fine and it has the same good throttle feel as its NK sibling.
That same hilly section on the photo shoot proved that the stoppers were pretty faultless. Dual 300 mm discs are found up front with twin piston calipers and a single 240 mm out the back – both ends coming with ABS.
Good lever feel, good power. I must have done 40 hard stops in fairly quick succession at either end of that section of road while snapper Rob clambered around getting the shots. Down one end it was a proper hard stop, downhill from third gear to standstill. They work just fine.
I prefer this version’s wet multi-plate clutch over the NK too. While it’s not a slipper clutch, it has a noticeably better take up and overall feel. And let’s face it, you just don’t need a slipper clutch on a 650 cc twin.
The front end is completely restyled with generous wind protection and a nice tool-less height adjustable screen that works well to provide a wind protection bubble. Despite having a different headlight setup compared to the NK, I found the headlights just as underdone.
The perimeter of the low beam was very well defined but too short and high beam didn’t have all that much power. In fact the glare of the nice LCD dash was overpowering until I found the brightness adjuster button, after which it was much better. That dash – also shared with the NK, is a ripper too. Clear and bright, easy to read, job done.
So it turns out that the headlights are really my only niggle on the GT. I found I preferred pretty much everything else about it over the NK. And I quite liked the NK!
But here’s the best part – the price. $8,490 ride-away, or $8,690 ride-away in states where new vehicles need 12 months rego. It’s frankly ridiculous. LAMS friendly bikes don’t come any better for that price and I’d comfortably wager that this is the best bang for your buck in the segment. Have I ever mentioned that riders have it pretty good right now..?
So if this type of bike is on your consideration list, you should have no hesitation in checking the CFMoto 650 GT out.
Why I like the CFMoto 650 GT:
The value factor is off the charts.
Improves on the already good NK in almost every way.
Surprisingly good through the corners.
I’d like the CFMoto 650 GT even more if…
Headlights could be better, especially low beam.
2021 CFMOTO 650 GT Specifications
Two cylinder, inline four-stroke, eight-valve, DOHC with counter balance
Bore & Stroke
83 x 60 mm
Max Power Output
41.5 kW @ 9,500rpm (LAMS)
62 NM @ 7,000rpm
Tubular steel diamond frame employing engine as fully-stressed member
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. Rides about a million kilometres a year and has been known to enjoy an occasional wheelie.
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