The Z8 makes a splash in this Cycle Torque review


CFMoto has made huge inroads into the Australian ATV market in recent years. The more cynical of us would say this is purely on the price difference between CFMoto’s products and the other mainstream manufacturers but there’s no doubt the quality of the products is one of the main reasons they are popular.

The Chinese company has recently branched out into side-by-side vehicles (SSV) to add to its regular ATV and UTV products. But is doesn’t stop there, the company is one of the largest Chinese motorcycle manufacturers, building everything from small capacity scooters to 650cc tourers. There are rumours bigger capacity motorcycles are on the horizon too, so CFMoto is a company on the move.

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Big Zed

We recently tested the Z8 sports SSV and we can tell you this thing is well built and lots of fun. It’s powered by an 800cc V-twin engine, which has all the modern bits of technology you expect in this day and age. Fuel injection and 4-valves per cylinder is a given, as is the liquid-cooling. Adjustable independent suspension fore and aft is standard, as is selectable 2WD/4WD, alloy wheels, winch, lockable differential, roof, windscreen and even indicators and a horn. It’s a sports SSV so you also get adjustable sports seats and sports steering wheel. For $14,490 you get a pretty impressive vehicle to play around on and it would be interesting to see a Z8 take on machines from Polaris and Can-Am in events like the Finke Desert race or the Australian Rally Championships. On dollar value alone you have to look at a Z8 to see for yourself how one compares with the more expensive competition. CFMoto also gives the Z8 a two-year warranty.

Through the Trees

Driving at speed through the Aussie bush really requires high quality suspension otherwise you simply get smashed about in the cabin. We found the Z8’s adjustable suspension to be very good. Overall it handled some pretty big hits without complaint; complaint from the passengers that is. We have tested better but these were fitted to much more expensive machines too. We think CFMoto’s Z8 has quite a high level of equipment considering its price.

Everything feels solid on the Z8. The controls, seats and seatbelts all look and feel built to last and take lots of punishment, as does the body itself and the mechanical underpinnings.

You would expect the performance from the 800cc twin to be good and it is. In 2WD you can have a blast sliding the rear end out and although this might not be the fastest way it sure is the most fun.

With 46 kW’s of power the Z8 isn’t slow and it has a lovely V-twin note that fixes the aural part of the equation. It isn’t too loud so an accessory muffler would make things a little ‘fruitier’ if you are that way inclined. Luckily the brakes are very good too, as we found ourselves entering tight corners faster than expected on more than one occasion. A dab of the brakes, a flick of the wheel and some opposite lock on the way out – the Z8 is built to go fast and it is plenty of fun being along for the ride. In 4WD you really notice the difference in the feel of the Z8. It now starts to drag the front around and creates less rear-end slides but getting up steeper terrain is much easier in 4WD as we all know. Downhill braking is also a strong point of the Z8. On steep downhills we were able to mostly just ease off the throttle and let the engine braking take care of things rather than having to ride the brakes too much.

There is a rear tray which is part of the overall design so you can fit a few items if you wanted to use the Z8 for a bit of work as well as the play it’s designed for.

– Chris Pickett