The 2023 CFMOTO 700 CL-X Heritage is a motorcycle that effortlessly fuses classic styling with modern engineering, resulting in a captivating blend of nostalgia and performance, that’s inspired by the timelessness of motorcycling.
That’s the description on the box, in regard to the machine we’re testing here. We weren’t sure it would live up to the brochure because this writer’s only experience with CFMOTO dates back to a quad bike with issues on my dad’s farm 10 years ago.
It’s fair to say yours truly had low expectations, but boy was I wrong. To start with, the CFMOTO 700 CL-X Heritage features a retro design, with classic lines, a round headlamp, spoked wheels and nice chrome accents.
The two-tone colour options and quality finish give it a premium feel. What makes the Heritage stand out are its model-specific alloy wheels, dual seat, and riser handlebars. Traditional mirrors add a final nod to the bike’s look.
We’re on board the Twilight Blue version, and the gold colour scheme of the KYB upside-down fork and the pipes looks absolutely mint. If we can fault the design, it’s that the rear guard sits quite high and is at just the right height to take out your knee.
That aside, the spec list is pretty damn decent, with a 693cc DOHC parallel-twin engine delivering 55kW of power and 68Nm of torque. While it takes an age to get up to 100km/h (which some will find frustrating), the throttle control is super smooth.
There’s a weird powerband kick low down in the rev range which can catch you off guard, but once you know it’s there, it’s not a bother. Bosch fuel injection, a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch and Continental ABS all feature, and the bike rides on Pirelli MT60 rubber.
That fully adjustable front fork is paired, and its fully adjustable KYB rear shock sibling, the latter with pre-load and compression adjustment, make for a comfortable ride. Both have 150mm of travel.
Brembo-owned J.Juan hydraulic single disc brakes (320mm front – radial mounted calliper, 260mm rear – floating calliper) make sure the CFMOTO stops well. It tips the scales at 205kg wet, and features a seat height of 800mm.
There are two ride modes, Sport and Rain, and power is delivered via a ride-by-wire throttle. The Bosch fuel injection system works well, but feels like it struggles a little when you throw it in Sport mode and push the bike hard.
On the road, or a track, if that’s where you want to take it, the CFMOTO 700 CL-X Heritage feels composed. It’s a bike that will have you smiling to yourself as it feels almost cruisy as you get around. Sure, it won’t win a WSBK race, but it’s not what it was designed for.
It’s got a real old school feel about it that wouldn’t be out of place sitting outside a café north of Sydney. On the tech front, it sports a full-colour TFT display that serves as the instrument cluster, offering essential riding information.
You’ll find such things as speed, RPM, and the fuel level of the 13-litre tank in a layout that’s not only simple to read, but easy to navigate. The ergonomic triangle isn’t too bad but we’d like a little more seat height or slightly better positioned foot pegs.
The combination in its factory form gets a little uncomfortable over longer distances. Otherwise, there’s not much to fault on this bike. It could do with a helmet lock, and the USB charging port position isn’t awesome. That’s about it.
That round headlight we mentioned earlier is LED, and adaptive, incorporating a daytime running light. Self-cancelling indicators are a nice tech-forward touch too, and it would be remiss of us not to highlight the fact it has cruise control.
In the 2023 CFMOTO 700 CL-X Heritage, riders get the best of both worlds – a motorcycle that’s rich in classic aesthetics, paired with modern technology and performance. It’s a captivating blend of tradition and innovation. It looks good, and is easy to ride.
While some will find it underpowered, and it might not be perfect for long distance riding, it certainly makes for an ideal commuter bike that’s not only affordable, but fun to jump on board. Available in Coal Grey and Twilight Blue, it’s priced from $9,990 ride away.
To find out more about the 2023 CFMOTO 700 CL-X Heritage, you can visit their website, or talk to your local dealership.
Our test bike was provided by CFMOTO Australia for review purposes.