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The CFMoto 650NK has proven a reliable and fun motorcycle...
We’ve had the little CFMoto 650NK now for over four months, with plenty of use up and down the freeway commuting to Rapid HQ, for weekend runs and with some fanging thrown in for good measure.
In that entire time the 650NK has proven itself reliable, without the slightest problem of any kind, as well as being fuel efficient and capable of turning any trip into a fun excursion. The fuel indicator does take some getting used to, as it tends to come on quite early and you’ve got plenty left in the tank when it first comes on. Even attempting to get it as low as possible, there was generally a litre or two left in the tank on each refill.
From a general commuting perspective the bike is perfectly suited to heavy traffic, the open road and anything in between, with the grab rails on the back providing a great spot to tie on a bag or pack.
The bike is also extremely comfortable regardless of how long you’re in the saddle, with the reach to the ‘bars and ‘pegs ideal for a good mix of control and comfort, although obviously being a nakedbike you cop the wind once you’re moving at highway speeds.
Both the chassis and suspension are surprisingly good for such a reasonably priced option, with plenty of feedback from the front and rear Continental ContiRoadAttack 2s and plenty of confidence inspired by the package as a whole – if you’re inclined to take the bike out for some sportier riding of a weekend. I was particularly impressed as some of the larger learner legal options really feel porky with learner restricted power being a noticeable hurdle.
On the 650NK power is generated quickly and isn’t noticeably restricted throughout the part of the rev range you’ll be using for normal road riding and once you’ve figured out how the bike likes extra weight over the front end for fanging it becomes plenty of fun to push the LAMS bike a little harder.
A few extra rides two up also proves the 650NK is well capable of handling some extra weight without suddenly feeling powerless, although my only gripe with the bike – the brakes not having great bite – was particularly noticeable with a second person on the machine. In all other respects, from pillion comfort, performance and handling however the bike remained a great little performer. Naturally with so many options now available for the learner market it is increasingly difficult to make a decision on which bike will suit you, with the bike being big enough and powerful enough to remain comfortable and rideable, even on Ls, through Ps and onto a full licence.
Luckily the CF Moto 650NK makes this choice a lot easier, with larger bike capacity, size and power but without the price tag this normally attracts and all in a package which looks great.
One caveat to this is that the bike is large, and probably won’t suit smaller riders, or those with shorter legs but this does mean you’re more accustomed to a full sized bike coming off the 650NK. For those who aren’t so sure of their riding skills this may be a little daunting, so it really comes down to the individual riders skills and confidence.
It’s certainly easy to see why CFMoto have sold over 10,000 models in Australia to date.
There’s also some standout features on the bike, such as the switchable running lights, the neat blacked out stock exhaust system and front indicators visible from the rider’s perch – ideal for new riders who often forget that they’ve left them on!
The upgraded J. Juan braking system that replaced the earlier versions still could do with some improvement in my opinion and I found myself relying on heavy engine braking for most of the stopping power, finished off with the stronger rear and heavy pressure on the front lever. Luckily the engine braking is strong without being abrupt and provides a great opportunity to boost the level of sound coming from the exhaust system.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to source some aftermarket pads and the 650NK would be a great canvas for getting started with some customisation. For a learner rider however the chance of locking up the brakes is practically non-existent and the extra input at the lever would probably barely register on their radar.
Overall I have to recommend the 650NK, as our time with the bike has been trouble free and proven that this is a great LAMS offering that can go neck to neck with the other bikes available in its category.