CF MOTO 300SR (2021 - on) Review
- Amusing sportsbike for A2 types
- Styled by KTM’s designer, powered by a Japanese engine
- Proof that Chinese brands are closing in on established brands
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£60|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
What do you get if you cross a KTM street bike and a Japanese enduro? The new CFMOTO 300SR sports bike, obviously. Well, sort of...
- Latest news: CFMoto 300 models updated including 300SR-R
Previously badged as WK Bikes here in Blighty, Chinese outfit CFMOTO (all in shouty uppercase to grab everyone’s attention) have been churning out bikes, quads and those side-by-side things that farmers love since 1989, and so recently decided to fully embrace who they are. Models are now confidently dotted with their name and branding, and the 300SR is the latest heavily-logo’d offering. And it doesn’t quite fit blinkered preconceptions of a Chinese bike.
For a start the small-scale race replica is styled by Kiska, the Austrian firm who draw all KTM’s bikes. And the SR has a specification to support its blingy image with a Japanese-derived engine, colour TFT dash, phone connectivity, riding modes, striking daytime running lights, Bosch ECU and fuel injection, ABS, and all-round LED lamps. Sculpted alloy wheels, serious-looking radial front brake and a decent level of finish, too.
If your formative biking years involved serious tackle like the Yamaha TZR250 and Honda VFR400R, don’t expect similar levels of performance and quality from the CFMOTO. Or any of today’s small-capacity bikes for that matter. Most of them feel like toys: the days of premium parts and big bike-worrying performance are long gone as there isn’t a market to justify the investment, so performance is modest, handling sufficient, quality adequate. It’s true of most A2-legal race reps, but particularly the 300SR.
Don’t dismiss CFMOTO, though. They have the largest European market share of all Chinese firms, are Europe’s best-selling quad manufacturer, and the 300SR is closer to pricier rivals than you’d think. And while it isn’t perfect, it’s so much cheaper you’d learn to tolerate its foibles.
Personally, I’d buy a two-year-old Yamaha R3 for the same price as the SR: it’d have superior ride quality, go faster, be better made and depreciate less. But if you’re on a budget and really crave new, then definitely get a test ride.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The SR shares its chassis (and engine) with the 300NK, a sharp-looking naked with more than a hint of KTM 390 Duke. Similarities between CFMOTO and KTM are no surprise: as well as sharing the design agency, the Chinese and Austrian brands have a partnership called CFMOTO-KTM2R2 that has assembled and distributed small-capacity Dukes in China since 2014.
The bed-sharing duo have a new Chinese factory that will build all KTM’s parallel twins as well (and CFMOTO are also using them in their own bikes, as well as having rights to KTM’s old 990cc LC8 V-twin).
- Related: KTM-powered CFMOTO 800MT revealed
All this corporate hand-holding and cross-brand experience explains the steel trellis frame and swingarm shape on the 300SR. It also explains the nose-down stance and the bit-like-an-RC390 feel of its riding position and controls.
Quality of the 37mm upside-down forks and rear monoshock is adequate rather than good. The chassis can get a bit skittish and unsettled while rattling briskly down tight backlanes, though if anything this liveliness adds to the sensations and sense of speed. With thin tyres and low weight, it’s a bike that encourages the old-school pursuit of momentum and corner speed.
And on a suitably tangled road you feel like you’re extracting all the SR can give, both in terms of handling and engine performance, without really troubling the national speed limit. Or not by much. It isn’t so small that I feel ludicrous at over six foot tall, either.
Pity the Hangte front brake is lacking. Despite boasting ABS made by Continental, the radial grabber hasn’t much bite and fades worryingly with repeated hard use.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The SR is knocked out in China but pushed along by Japanese engineering. CFMOTO were the first Chinese firm with a 'big' bike, launching a 650 parallel twin almost a decade ago that was based on Kawasaki’s ER-6. And with measurements of 78 x 62.1mm giving 292cc, I’ll eat my sweaty Gaerne boots if the SR’s single-cylinder engine isn’t derived from the Kawasaki KLX300.
With 28bhp at 8750rpm the motor is ten horses down on Yamaha’s 321cc R3 and hasn’t the oomph of the benchmark twin. But this doesn’t stop the 300SR from being entertaining. It zings cheerfully to 10,000rpm and romps through its reasonably slick six-speed gearbox, and with such low mass to hurl around (just 160kg wet) and fabulous narrow-tyred agility you’re encouraged to thrash it relentlessly down flick-flacking B-roads.
It’s geared for 100mph at the 10,000rpm redline, though realistic top speed is nearer 90mph; imagine a derestricted 125 from the 1990s and you’re about there. Despite all the caning it’s efficient too, easily giving 80mpg.
Fuelling isn’t too crisp either. Nothing occurs for the first bit of twistgrip travel before a definite off-on step, and occasionally our test bike sat at 3000rpm for a few seconds when you came to stop.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Quality is good given the four-grand asking. Clearly, we’re not talking hand-milled unobtainium and MotoGP-spec components, but the overall fit and level of finish is perfectly fine. Other than the usual thing of cheap fasteners and thin plating that’ll need a layer of protective gloop for winter, there’s nothing that suggests the 300SR will disassemble itself. The engines in the firm’s other bikes are usually robust.
There’s one bloated bluebottle paddling in the ointment, though. The gear indicator and rev counter are half a second behind what’s going on. It’s not much but enough to become annoying – and once you’ve noticed you can’t then un-notice.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Keenly priced? Yes. The CFMOTO is £3999 on the road, undercutting KTM’s RC390 by £1300 and saving you £1650 over Yamaha’s R3. These more expensive rivals are faster and better quality, especially the Yamaha, but a grand-and-a-half-saving is significant if you’re a youngster of limited means – especially as the 300SR also has Bluetooth connectivity and other attention-grabbing niceties.
CFMOTO’s problem is that once you’ve accepted the Chinese bike route there are other bikes to draw your eye. Lexmoto outsell the likes of Ducati and Royal Enfield in the UK, and their LXR380 sports bike has more power and torque from its twin-cylinder 378cc engine, adjustable suspension and twin front disks, yet undercuts the 300SR by 300 quid.
Watch MCN's video verdict on the rival Yamaha R3 below:
Colour TFT display with phone connectivity, two riding modes (each with its own dash layout), look-at-me daytime running lights, ECU and fuel injection by Bosch, anti-skid brakes, LEDs for all the lights... yes, it’s an eye-catching level of equipment.
Given the attention from nippers in our village the 300 is something of a looker as well. There’s also an even tastier sparkly blue version – with Bosch, Total and NGK 'sponsor' stickers it looks like a scaled-down Suzuki MotoGP bike (if you squint, at dusk, after five pints of Basher’s Old Piddler).
|Engine type||Liquid cooled, DOHC, 4v single|
|Frame type||Steel tube trellis|
|Fuel capacity||12 litres|
|Front suspension||Non-adjustable telescopic forks|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, preload-adjustable|
|Front brake||292mm disc with two-piston caliper. ABS|
|Rear brake||220mm disc, two-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||140/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||80 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£47|
|Annual service cost||£60|
9 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||28 bhp|
|Max torque||18.7 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||211 miles|
Model history & versions
2019: CFMOTO launch an A2-legal naked called the 300NK, with trellis frame, single-cylinder engine, KTM-ish styling and TFT dash. It’s priced to undercut established rivals at £3399 on the road.
2021: Fully faired sports version launched called the 300SR (with SR standing for Sport Racing). Different bodywork, lower handlebars, new swingarm, lighter wheels.
No other versions available.
Owners' reviews for the CF MOTO 300SR (2021 - on)
1 owner has reviewed their CF MOTO 300SR (2021 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£60|
Annual servicing cost: £58
The overall view of the 300SR is a well built bike and beautiful styling, its almost perfect apart from the mirrors not giving enough reviewing, I have removed the wheel stickers because the colouring is just to much, I have replaced the windshield with a double bubble screen it looks so much better and meaner. For the money you pay for the 300SR, in my opinion it is well worth the money for what you get.
I rode the 300SR for over 300 kilometres without any back or arm pain, the braking system is very good and strong.
The engine is fine for a single cylinder engine with plenty of pull through the gears. The only dislike is sometimes you can hear a slight vibration when you accelerate. This might be down to it being new.
The bike is quite well build with a far degree of quality parts fitted, on day 2 there appeared an error code P0106 which is to do with the manifold pressure moving up and down erratically. Then there was a problem with the bike cutting out within 1 minute of starting, the problem was down to the electronic fuel system, this was a recall by Bosch , which required the electronic fuel system to be remapped. Everything is working perfectly now, this problem is on the 1st release of the 300SR's.
The 1st service cost the equivalent of 58.00, the service intervals are quite good. The main reason for purchasing the 300SR was cost and the 5 year warranty you get.
The screen is nice and clear with a multi function system. The seat is really comfortable without any bum pain, perfect.
Buying experience: I brought the bike through a dealer in europe, which cost 102999kc