CCM SPITFIRE (2017 - 2018) Review

Highlights

  • Hand-built premium-quality British single
  • Limited numbers guarantee exclusivity
  • Various versions to suit all tastes

At a glance

Power: 62 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.6 in / 828 mm)
Weight: Low (313 lbs / 142 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

You used to be able to identify riders of single-cylinder British bikes by their numb fingers, over-developed kickstart leg, and the tailback caused as they whumped along.

Things have progressed a tad since the days of Panther, Matchless and BSA, however. These days British single means CCM Spitfire.

This is biking at its most minimalist. The CCM is little more than a blunt four-valve engine, slender hand-made tube frame and a pair of wheels. There’s so much space between components you can see straight through the bike – there’s nowt to it.

Minimal doesn’t mean basic, though. The classy Spitfire features machined alloy components, bespoke brakes, adjustable suspension, and a frame (in the steel used for the fuselage of the WW2 fighter of the same name) that’s available with a clear powder coating so you can appreciate the hand-welded joins. It feels like a high-end custom.

With low weight, no faffy electronics and a snappy single-cylinder engine the Spitfire delivers unfiltered motorcycling. It doesn’t just look like a custom, it rides like a perfectly executed special as well.

With a stiff set-up, barking exhaust note and lashings of feedback it’s not a machine for the shy, or those after a sedate, cosseting riding experience. But it’s certainly engaging.

Bang on trend, too. Before the Spitfire came along CCM were lucky to get orders for 30 bikes a month, but the good-looking single is perfect for a market that craves retro-style bikes, factory customs and undiluted riding sensations.

The first run of Spitfires sold out immediately and caused a huge waiting list. CCM have taken on staff, expanded the factory and created various subtly-different versions to meet demand, including a Café Racer, Flat Tracker, hopped-up Foggy Edition and Bobber. The motorcycle market has played directly into their hands.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

All variants of the Spitfire are super-slim, very light and rather stiff, dancing with flighty eagerness and ready to flick in any direction. They don’t need much of a nudge on the wide ’bars to ping off in another direction.

Suspension is sportily (and rather unexpectedly) firm. On such a light bike this means mid-corner bumps can introduce skittish antics and that potholes should be avoided; I’d prefer a plusher ride for a little more backlane absorbency, though it’s certainly exciting. And on smooth surfaces the delicate Spitfire definitely handles.

Most Spitfire models feature 19-inch wheels carrying oversize flat track-style tyres. On such a light bike they make up a large part of the overall weight, and their gyroscopic forces can cancel-out some of the bike’s natural agility. It’s not that Spitfires aren’t nimble, more that you’re aware of the large wheels.

The Bobber and RAF Benevolent Fund versions have more relaxed sat-up ergonomics but are actually crisper due to having smaller 16in spoked wheels (still with chunky tyres). The reduction in size brings reduced forces, so they have lighter and more accurate steering. The clip-on-wearing Foggy S Edition has sporty 17in wheels and pure road rubber, and it’s easily the sharpest.

Single front discs might appear lacking. However, with such low weight and a chunky caliper the Spitfire stops without fuss.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The CCM Spitfire engine is a 601cc single-cylinder motor. The same as SWM use in their dual-purpose bikes, it’s an ex-Husqvarna design that’s far from shy about its dirt bike roots. Sedate cruiser? Erm… no.

Open the throttle sharply and the CCM lobs its front wheel skywards in first gear. Brush the clutch and it does it in second as well, building revs and snapping through its close-ratio gearing with motocross-style zeal. According to the multi-function display the rev limit is a heady 8300rpm.

The CCM bangs out around 62bhp. It’s not desperately fast – straightline performance isn’t much greater than, say, Royal Enfield’s polite Interceptor. But with the crack from its loud pipe and instant responses the Spitfire feels faster, and this is what matters.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

CCM Spitfire problems? Well, they build bikes the way they always have, with methods that founder Alan Clews used for his first (the BSA-powered Clews Stroka) way back in 1971. The Spitfire’s TiG-welded trellis was created with Ted Unwin, a welder from the original CCM staff in the 70s.

The story is current employees worked on the Spitfire behind the scenes, hence the bike’s SkunkwerX label – it’s inspired by the legendary experimental department of the Lockheed aircraft company known as the Skunk Works.

The rest of the construction is equally fine, with machined aluminium components, adjustable high-quality suspension, hand-stitched seat, and the sort of neat brackets and details you’d expect on a show bike. Some versions are sprinkled with carbon, too. And the options list is expansive.

Overall reliability is good, and owners rate the mechanical dependability and build quality. The motor could be trusted when it powered Husqvarnas, and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case with the CCM. We’ve had one or two test bikes with niggling faults, like having the right-hand indicator come on when you signal left, though such things are far from common and rapidly sorted. Spitfires have a two-year warranty and the service team comes out to your house.

We don't currently have any CCM Spitfire owners' reviews, but both Cafe Racer and Bobber versions enjoy positive reliability scores. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Insurance won’t be particularly cheap. Spitfires are group 14 or 15 insurance, depending on the model; group fourteen is the same as Husqvarna’s funky single-cylinder Vitpilen 701 rival, but three groups higher than a secondhand KTM 690 Duke.

The eager single will do around 55mpg, even riding with quite a bit of gusto. The tank takes 14 litres, which means a surprisingly useful range of 169 miles (assuming you stay comfortable for that long on a busy, firm, tingly naked).

Bikes start at ten grand and climb to a significant £18,000 for the limited-edition RAF Fund model (100 numbered bikes). Sounds like a lot for a bare-bones single that struggles to top 100mph, but this is an exclusive hand-made bike with high-quality parts.

And with models made in limited batches their residual values are strong – used bikes don’t start until over £8500, and high-spec models festooned in extras can fetch more than the original asking.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

If you’re talking electronics, rider aids and colour TFT screens then the CCM is at the bottom of the pile. It has ABS, keyless ignition and a very small digital display panel, and that’s your lot.

However, the Spitfire is covered with high-spec materials and impressive components. The equipment you’re paying for is machined aluminium and hand-welded tube, not black boxes, wires and light-up switches.

Specs

Engine size 601cc
Engine type Liquid cooled, DOHC, 4v, single
Frame type Steel tube trellis
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 828mm
Bike weight 142kg
Front suspension USD forks, adj. preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension monoshock, adj. preload, rebound, compression
Front brake 320mm disc(s) with four-piston calipers. ABS
Rear brake 240mm disc with two-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size -
Rear tyre size -

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2

Top speed & performance

Max power 62 bhp
Max torque 49 ft-lb
Top speed 100 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 169 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2017: Spitfire launched. Limited run of 150 priced at £7995. Sold out immediately, leading to Scrambler, Flat Track and Café Racer versions (with increased prices after CCM realised the scale of the demand). All limited numbers. Various other versions released over the following years, of varying specification and style – these include the Cafe Racer, Bobber and Stealth Bobber, Foggy Edition and Stealth Foggy, Six and Blackout.

Other versions

Ever-changing lime up of versions, from flat-tracker and scrambler to bobber and café racer – see ‘model history’ for specific model names.

Owners' reviews for the CCM SPITFIRE (2017 - 2018)

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