The stigma around Chinese manufactured motorcycles is hard to break, but the 2022 CFMOTO 700 CL-X SPORT changes that. A really well built bike, its great looks and modern take on the café racer will change the mindset of many, including this reviewer.
A mix of modern and classic styling make this bike look the part, with features like bar end mirrors, clip-on sport bars and full LED lighting, including turn signals, paired with subtle X elements across its design. The latter forms part of an overall CL-X theme.
Teal coloured accents on the front fender, air intakes, headlight and sporty rear seat cowling all complement the look. We liked the X-shaped full LED headlight too, with a cool daytime running light and tail light keeping with the styling.
Both feature an intelligent lighting system, with automatic headlight and self-cancelling turn signals. We did find that the headlight didn’t always come on during the daylight though, and occasionally required a manual change.
There’s plenty of other tech on board the 700 CL-X Sport too, including Bosch EFI and a fly-by-wire throttle, Continental ABS, ECO and SPORT riding modes and cruise control.
The CL-X SPORT is powered by a liquid cooled 693cc DOHC parallel-twin, producing a strong 54kW of power and 68Nm of torque. The engine feels a little flat in first gear but when you hit second, it pulls hard from mid-range and really gets moving.
The 6-speed gearbox gearing is short and suited to more sporty rides. At freeway speeds it revs quite a bit, which may become annoying if used as a daily commuter. The slipper clutch feels good, and works well to reduce engine braking with aggressive down shifts.
KYB suspension front and rear was a pleasant surprise for a bike in this price range, with a fully adjustable 41mm upside-down fork with 150mm of travel on the front. The rear shock also has 150mm of travel, and has preload and compression adjustment.
The braking package is not what you would expect either, with the 700 CL-X being fitted with impressively high-spec Brembo Stylema M4.30 four piston callipers and twin 320mm discs on the front, and Brembo P34 twin piston callipers with a 260mm disc on the rear.
The combination provides more than enough stopping power. Maxxis MA-ST2 tyres perform well in the wet and are a known great all-round tyre that provide excellent mileage. They’re fitted to blacked out five spoke alloy rims with pinstriping and CFMOTO decals.
The instrument cluster is a little basic, and a reminder as to why this bike has a lower price point than some rivals. The housing fits in with the café racer theme, and while the screen is LCD, it looks plain and dated. There’s no phone connectivity or integration capability.
Unfortunately, there are no handlebar mounted buttons for the instruments either, so you will need to take you hand off the bars if you want to change something on the move. The switches and buttons that are there feel good though.
The only thing we can fault here is the position of the cruise control switch, which is almost out of reach of the riders thumb. That aside, the design of the 13-litre tank into the steel tubular frame looks good and is complemented by black and grey paint.
These colours are paired with carbon fibre style plastic panels. It’s an oddly good look. More carbon fibre plastic panels finish up the sub frame. The optional single high rider diamond pressed seat is a nice touch too, despite an extra cost.
The seat height of 800mm allowed this average sized rider to have both feet flat on the ground when stopped, and the riding position is not aggressive, which makes for a very comfortable ride.
Pillion pegs come standard and the rear cowling has a small padded section you can sit on, but it would quickly become uncomfortable. CFMOTO thankfully has proper pillion seats available as an accessory, if you intend to regularly carry a passenger.
With a wet weight of 205kg, we still found it a breeze to manoeuvre and lane filter in traffic. The suspension does a good job in all conditions too, but if we had to be picky, it does dive in the front under heavy braking.
Hitting the twisty roads is really enjoyable and the punchy engine will propel you at speed into the next corner. The induction noise is throaty and will egg you on to push it even more, with the confidence that the brakes will stop you from overrunning a corner.
The bike is very stable and easy to ride as well. It’s best suited to someone looking for their first big bike, or a rider looking for a value for money café racer. We averaged 4.9-litres/100km, with plenty of 100 per cent throttle runs in sports mode. Impressive.
Sensible riding in ECO mode should see 300km out of a tank. The first service is due at 1000km and every 5000km thereafter. It’s priced from $10,490 ride away and is available in Nebula White or Velocity Grey (as tested).
The 2022 CFMOTO 700 CL-X Sport comes with a 2-year warranty, which can be extended an extra year if you have your bike serviced by an authorised CFMOTO dealer. Putting the brand’s origin aside, we recommend you check one out for yourself.
Our test bike was provided by CFMOTO Australia. To find out more about the 2022 CFMOTO 700 CL-X Sport, contact your local CFMOTO dealer.