Many undies were twisted, bunched, and/or soiled after last week’s exciting Review First Ride of the new CFMOTO 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport, which gave us a chance to discuss not just new motorcycles but also international relations. Always a crowd favorite on MO. That’s because these are completely built in China, a country which is either our mortal enemy or best trading partner depending on who you ask. Here on MO, we provide. You decide. This time we’re going to have a look at the other five bikes CFMOTO’s importing via its Plymouth, Minnesota, US HQ – in addition to all the highly regarded ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides they’ve been dealing for decades.

2022 CFMOTO 700CL-X / 700CL-X Sport Review – First Ride

Like we pointed out last time, though these motorcycles are new to the US, they’ve been for sale for a while in other parts of the world, and each one comes with a two-year warranty.

Start small

Smallest, Papio, next to biggest, 700CL-X. Cute, no?


If you’ve seen a Honda Grom or Kawasaki Z125, then you know what this one’s all about. Powered by an air-cooled 126cc fuel-injected Single rated at 9.3 horsepower and routed through a 6-speed gearbox (the Z’s only got 4 and the Grom 5), the Papio’s really just like them for 10% off. The Papio retails for $2,999, the Z125 for $3,395, and the Grom for $3,495. 

Ten percent isn’t much at this price level, but when you start shopping for something like CFMOTO’s top-line side-by-side, the $14,999 ZForce 950 H.O. EX, it adds up.

Are you sure this is safe?

To be honest, I’ve never spent that much time on the Grom or the Z125, since I don’t know why you wouldn’t rather have a way-more useful scooter? Neither the Z nor the Grom is known for its ride quality, power, comfort, handling, or any of that. Well then, neither is the Papio, so it slots right in. These little bikes are more for riding around and annoying adults, I think, and a couple influencers at the press launch were doing some impressive stunting around on the Papios, which seemed to be enjoying it as much as they were. I only rode one around CFMOTO’s St. Cloud test track a lap or two, where everything worked perfectly acceptably okay, and where we hit an indicated top speed of 66 mph.

Good bike for a prison break. Easy to conceal.

It actually does have lots of stuff for the price: disc brakes front and rear, 4.3 inches of front wheel travel and a preload-adjustable rear shock. Rear footpegs are standard equipment so you can bring an annoying little friend. Also, LED headlight, taillight and signal lights, LCD screen with gear indicator, and 1.9-gallon fuel tank. 

Ironically, CF first tried to import scooters in the early 2000s; nobody wanted one then. Now, I think the Grom is still Honda’s biggest seller.


Post-Papio, I worked my way up to the 300NK, NK for naked bike, as in no bodywork. If you’re looking at something like, oh I dunno, a $4,949 Honda CBR300R ABS, CFMOTO would encourage you to have a look at the $3,999 NK. This one gets a 292cc liquid-cooled double-overhead cam Single-cylinder engine rated at 29 hp and 18.7 pound-feet of torque at 7,250 rpm. Bosch provides the electronic fuel injection, and an internal counterbalancer is designed to quell vibration, which it does pretty nicely even zinging all the way up toward 9000 rpm as indicated on the unexpectedly nice 5-inch TFT display.

Power delivery is perfectly okay and even good – nice and smooth. One disc brake per wheel seems like plenty, and ABS is standard equipment. On our mostly smooth test track, the bike’s inverted fork and cantilevered monoshock out back did fine work corralling those 29 horses and 333 pounds of motorcycle (including 3.3 gallons of fuel) and at least 190 lbs of me. I rode it about three laps around the 1.2-mile test track, and uncovered zero problems, not even any annoyances. Seems like a perfectly good little thumper. 

Other things you might not expect include all-LED lighting, daytime running lights and looks that don’t frighten people away. The overall fit and finish of the thing, especially at this price level, is really good.


This thing actually looks awesome in the flesh, which probably explains why it’s CF’s biggest seller. That and that the swoopy bodywork only drives the price up $300 over the naked version, to $4,299. The graceful plastic on this one gives it the appearance of a mini Yamaha R1, but you can see the same steel trellis used by the NK poking out below the hem.

You’ll also find the same 292cc DOHC single-cylinder Evolution engine under there. Again with the Bosch electronic fuel injection, four-valve head, and slipper clutch. Also, the inverted fork and preload-adjustable single shock out back. Plus standard ABS, LED lighting, and 5-inch TFT display. 

Instead of a handlebar, the SS gets a pair of clip-on handlebars that pull you down a bit more behind its baby windscreen – but not so much to make it painful as an everyday bike. In fact, the SS is just as happy a puppy as its 300NK littermate, frolicking happily up to just about an indicated 80 mph at the end of the track’s ⅓-mile straight. Given room, it’ll probably do 100.

There’s a slight resemblance to KTM’s RC390, which must have already blown the SS’ doors off, as it has none. But the KTM will set you back $5,799. 

Aesthetically, you wouldn’t be totally out of line for preferring the CFMOTO, whose plastics and other finishes and attention to detail are, dare I say, no worse than the Austrian machine. The only downside, according to the spec chart, is that the SS gained about 30 pounds over the naked version. Then again, 364 lbs wet (CF’s claim) is still pretty light, and a seat height of 30.7 inches makes the SS easy to live with too. If the SS pushes your buttons, I wouldn’t talk you out of it.


Now we’re shopping in the adult section. Any resemblance between this motorcycle and a Kawasaki Z650 is purely coincidental, as far as you know, right down to the 649cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel Twin that even has the same bore and stroke numbers: 83 x 60mm. That goes double for the steel frame and swingarm; then again, the side-mounted cantilever rear shock says Versys 650… Let’s just settle for “Kawasaki inspired.” Kawasaki wants $7,549 for a new Z650; CFMOTO will put you on an NK for $6,499.

Around the ragged racetrack, the NK also feels like a Z650, rolling controllably along on its KYB suspension and full-size Pirelli Angel GT tires. Triple disc brakes with ABS are more than enough to deal with the bike’s claimed 60 hp and 40 lb-ft of torque. Controls work predictably and with first-world control and efficiency; ergonomics are nearly upright correct – and I could highly recommend the 650NK if I hadn’t been riding CFMOTO’s 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport most of the day.

Compared to the 649cc engine, the only slightly bigger 693cc version in the 700 bikes (via 4mm longer stroke) feels much spunkier, particularly in the midrange that you ride in all the time. CF says the 700 makes 74 hp to the 650’s 60 and 50 lb-ft torque to the 650’s 45. Honestly, it feels like more.

In its favor, the NK’s got a 4.5-gallon fuel tank! But beyond that, I dunno why you’d want the NK, for the same $6,499 as the 700CL-X, which has more power, less weight, groovy styling, and electronic cruise control.

650 ADVentura

Strangely enough, the bike I most enjoyed flogging round CF’s little 1.2-mile test track was the adventure bike, nearly the least sporty looking of the bunch. The ADVentura 650 gets a beefier, inverted fork that’s adjustable for rebound damping; so is the rear shock, which hangs there on the side for easy preload adjustability (not that anybody adjusted it). Bolt upright ergonomics and the windshield boring a hole in the air may be responsible, but for some reason I bonded with this one. Nice seat, nice wide handlebar… probably it was the Pirelli Angel GT tires that made the difference; they seemed to largely ignore the tar strips and damp spots.

For only an extra 300 bucks over the naked NK650, the ADVentura throws on a couple of key adventurous accessories – a big adjustable windshield and detachable hard panniers. Its gas tank is a bit bigger, at 4.75 gallons, and CFMOTO claims a wet weight of 481 lbs. Hmmmm, look at that. Kawasaki says its uncannily similar Versys 650 weighs 483 lbs., but it holds 5.5 gallons of precious petroleum distillate. The number CF would prefer you focus on would be the price: The poor Versys has crept up to $8,899 (no saddlebags), while the ADVentura is $6,799.

What more do you need? All these bikes except the 700CL-X support the CFMOTO Ride App, which does all those connected things. Speaking of the 700s, though, they both have CFM’s latest fueling system, which means they also have electronic cruise control. I, for one, would miss that feature – even on a sub-$7,000 motorcycle.

Then again, before I became decrepit I rode a bazillion miles with no CC; young, enthusiastic people trying to stretch a buck still could I suppose.

Or they could wait til August 1, when I’ll be allowed to spill the beans about a new CFMOTO bike I destroyed my personal best lap record on, that they’ll be importing to the US for 2023 if all goes according to Plan. 

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