2024 CFMoto 450MT review | Lightweight adventurer comes out swinging with top spec and bargain price


  • 2024’s lowest-priced adventure lightweight
  • High-spec chassis and electronics
  • Only ‘faux V-twin’ 270-degree parallel motor under 700cc

At a glance

Power: 42 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Low (386 lbs / 175 kg)


New £5,699
Used N/A

Overall rating

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

Entry-level adventure bikes like the CFMoto 450MT are quickly progressing from cheap, simple machines to more sophisticated on/off-road tools with good spec and enhanced performance.

This baby of the MT range emerges with the highest specification of any 300-500 dual-sport machine, yet it’s also the lowest-priced: clearly, the Chinese brand wants to corner this end of the market. Capacity aside, there’s nothing else under £10,000 that offers the level of kit the CFMoto has. It also benefits from a low (for a dual-purpose bike) seat and a four-year warranty, which may help alleviate fears and prejudices regarding Chinese build quality somewhat.

It’s worth noting that all of the 450MT’s competitors are made in India, China or other parts of Asia (excluding Japan). The reality of building bikes to this spec, for the target prices, demands lower production costs. That’s not happening in Japan, or Europe – though an Italian is responsible for the styling, and R&D is partly completed in Europe. It looks well built, and nicely finished – cover the branding up and it could be from any of the more established manufacturers.

CFMoto 450MT right side static

The 450MT proved itself a formidable contender in this competitive class on our first ride on the Filipino isle of Palawan, where paved roads are rare and more often than than not the only route is unpaved highways and dirt trails linking villages. It has just about everything you could want from an adventure bike, but with A2 licence-compliant power.

It’s not perfect, but it’s capable off-road, well-mannered on it, with a distinct character and feel of a ‘proper’ bike, not a bike dumbed-down for novices.

Ride quality & brakes

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

KYB suspension with all but full adjustability (only a compression dial is ‘missing’ from the rear shock) stands out in a class where simple, unadjustable parts are the norm. They also stood out in the first few miles of our test, for the wrong reasons. The settings as-supplied were inexplicably harsh, both on road (in the case of Palawan, concrete roads laid fairly crudely with uneven joins) and on the rocky, dusty unpaved sections.

On road, every join or pothole was transferred through the forks in particular, and rocky stretches had us wincing as the front wheel refused to smoothly track over rocks, holes and washed-out cracks in the trail. It’s a miracle we didn’t end up with a flat tyre – although the standard tubeless wheels may have helped avoid punctures, with no tube to fall victim to pinch-flats.

The damping adjusters have a range of 20 clicks, and we found our bike to be set to the middle of these ranges. Opening both compression and rebound on the forks, and the rebound on the shock (it’s advertised as having compression adjustment too – there wasn’t an adjuster on our test bike though), paid huge dividends – the changes we made were a quick roadside fix (the only ‘tool’ to hand that would fit the fork adjusters was the ignition key...) but ride, stability and traction benefitted hugely.

CFMoto 450MT ridden on the road from the front

Quite why the bike comes set so harshly is a mystery (the CFMoto 800NK Advanced we previously tested was also noted for hard standard settings), but it at least has the adjustment range to correct it. Our test bike only had around 100 miles on the odometer, so the suspension still has time to bed in and lose some of its harshness, so this may improve. We’d say riders of all sizes will still need to make adjustments even so.

The major limitation in the bike's performance, whatever the terrain, is the standard fitment CST tyres. The compound is hard, giving a vague feel and the bare minimum of grip. Lowering the pressures helped traction a little, but didn’t solve the vague steering and lack of confidence on the road. That is at least an easy fix, and one that’s not unique in this class, either – low-rent tyres are often necessary to make the bikes affordable. We’d be ditching them at the first service for name-brand rubber with a road/off-road bias to suit your tastes and how you’ll use it.

It's a shame, because the geometry and feel of the chassis seems to be on the money despite being hobbled by tyres, and once you’ve got the suspension dialled in and some better rubber under you, it’ll be a fun, capable tool able to satisfy competent off roaders and novices alike. Even the lack of grip didn’t get in the way of enjoying some more technical trails, where I was able to put it where I wanted in confidence, or make corrections when I got it wrong.

CFMoto 450MT front action shot off road

Braking is perfectly adequate – the first movement of the level and initial bite is very soft (arguably an asset off-road, where the gentle initial response lets you use the front without instantly triggering ABS), but a firmer grip on the J.Juan lever gets it hauled up just fine, and the rear was put to good use controlling speed and direction off-road, too.

A big switch on the bars deactivates the rear ABS in seconds, on the move if you wish. The Bosch traction control is nearly as easy to deactivate on trails, although you’ll have to dip into the menus via the switchgear. It’s still very simple, and again you can do so without stopping.

For off-road use, taller riders will find the handlebars a little low, so aftermarket risers or a new set of ’bars will be needed to feel comfortable in a standing position. There’s nothing to be done about the slightly too-wide fuel tank, though – it splays your legs just a touch if you want to get some weight forward.

It’s a big tank for a low capacity bike – at 17.5 litres, it carries 0.5l more than the Yamaha Ténéré 700, so it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise it feels big. CFMoto would be well advised to reprofile the tank for the next iteration of the bike.

CFMoto 450MT front static


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

A 270-degree crank-phasing is unique in this class and lends the CFMoto 450 family a unique feel. The 450MT makes less peak power, but more torque in the midrange, maintained over a wider rev band too, thanks to a different exhaust, cams and airbox.

There’s a pair of balancers in there to offset the possible vibrations from such a configuration, and in use it’s smooth, and strong from 4500-7000rpm in particular. It’ll let you hold a surprisingly high gear for a small engine, and never feels like it needs to be thrashed.

The trade-off is top-end power – efforts to push to 70mph and beyond revealed it’s decidedly leisurely if you want to sit at motorway speed. The claimed 40bhp felt optimistic on the launch: although we’d question whether the local fuel quality is up to scratch, and whether the engines had broken in fully. By the end of the test, the bikes still hadn’t passed 150 miles. Fully run-in engines, plus some 97-RON British fuel might do it the world of good and perk it up.

CFMoto 450MT engine

In spite of those factors possibly holding it back, the engine impressed – it’s not a bike you’d ever buy to thrash along flat-out anyway, and it’s refreshing to ride a small bike that doesn’t feel like it needs to be flogged either. Keeping it in that solid midrange is enough to get the job done, with a smile on your face too – the faux-V-twin feel will be familiar to anybody who’s ridden any of the larger parallel-twins with the same layout, and the sound gives the impression of a bigger bike too.

The biggest issue on the drive side is throttle response in the very first part of the throttle movement. The 450MT has a cable-actuated throttle body, not ride by wire, so response is entirely dictated by fuelling, whereas a digital throttle can carefully manage butterfly opening too, in order to tame the spikiness that can result from ultra-lean fuelling forced by emissions laws.

The CFMoto has a pronounced snatch picking up a closed throttle, and also when making small adjustments from a small throttle opening – for example, negotiating a technical sub-30mph trail standing on the pegs. Any intentional or accidental adjustment in throttle position has a pronounced effect.

This sensitivity isn’t an issue so often on the road or at higher speed, but it’s problematic for the kind of riding the 450MT is designed for. In time, we’d hope the aftermarket offers either the ability to adjust fuelling, or possibly a revised throttle tube with a softer profile to slow response at low rpm: such products helped no end of Honda CRF250L/CRF300L owners with similarly snatchy response. If that can be resolved, it’ll be a superb on/off-road tool.

CFMoto 450MT exhaust

Reliability & build quality

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

CFMoto have made leaps and bounds in terms of their design and finish, but even their earlier, less sophisticated models have earned a reputation for lasting as well as anything else – right down to consumables like chains and sprockets which are often the weakest link (pun not intended) on Chinese machines. Owners reviews broadly rate the firm’s models at 4.5/5 or better, with one model skewing the average slightly thanks to a minor electrical gremlin reported by the solitary owner who has reviewed their machine so far.

The more recent 450 (and 800cc) models have yet to cover big miles in the hands of owners, but they’re a step-up in the way they’re put together, getting closer to the sort of build we’d expect from the established players. Nothing about the 450 MT suggests it’ll be any different, and if you do have issues, you’re covered by the manufacturer warranty for four years.

Visually, it’s well made – the bodywork fits together well, fasteners appear good quality and there’s no nasty detailing undermining the attractive looks.

None of the bikes on the launch suffered any issues despite heat, humidity, dust, river crossings, harsh terrain and the odd crash to contend with… A promising start – we’ll have to wait and see if that remains the case as the miles and years pile on.

CFMoto 450MT spinning rear wheel off road

Value vs rivals

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

Genuine accessory hard luggage, crash bars, master cylinder, and a tall screen will be offered at launch (prices TBC), with more to follow – we’d like to see heated grips, handlebar riser blocks and maybe radiator stone guards, given the 450MT is clearly aimed at riders who’ll make use of its off-road leanings.

Running costs should be low –the dash claimed 47mpg thrashing around in the dirt on the launch with an engine still not fully broken-in, so we’d expect that to jump to 60mpg or more for road use. Even the low figure would mean 180 miles to empty – if you can hit 60mpg, it’d only run dry after 230 miles.

Service data for the MT has not yet been published, but the more highly-tuned 450SR’s data gives a good indication. Oil changes (plus a general inspection) are every 3000 miles, which is a bit short unless you’re used to dedicated off-roaders, with spark plugs and air filter due every other oil change (6000 miles).

The valve clearances aren’t due until 24,000 miles though – a surprisingly long interval for a little engine, which historically tend to need more frequent adjustment, so it’ll be interesting to see if the CFMoto engine really can last that long without getting dangerously out of adjustment. It’s a boon for owners if it can.

CFMoto 450MT body panel detail

Tyres are inexpensive (well under £200 a pair) so fitting something better than the low-rent CST tyres fitted as standard isn’t a big deal, although the 140/70 x 18 size is a little unusual and harder to find than the fractionally higher-profile 140/80 x 18s, for which there’s a massive choice of adventure and enduro fitments. We’d be tempted to try one for size…


5 out of 5 (5/5)

Specification is the one of the initial attractions to the 450MT – there’s nothing else in this price range that offers so much kit. Engine capacity aside, you’re looking at spending over £10,000 to get fully-adjustable suspension, TFT dash and all the gadgets on an adventure bike.

The dash can be paired with the CFMoto Ride app (which gives you fingertip access various info like fuel level, a tracker function as well as opportunity to meddle with settings). Fully-adjustable suspension is unique in class (the Voge 525DSX and KTM 390 Adventure have fully-adjustable forks but preload adjustment only at the rear), tubeless 21/18-inch spoked wheels are a boon for real overlanders likely to encounter punctures and a radial four-piston caliper on a big disc looks the part, too.

Seat height is the second-lowest in class at 820mm as delivered (only the Voge’s 810mm perch is lower) but you can unbolt the rear suspension linkage and refit it in a different mounting point on the swingarm to drop it to 800mm, making it even more accessible for shorter riders. There’s an optional tall seat, raising it to 870mm if you’re a big person looking for a little bike…

CFMoto 450MT kicking up dirt

The USB charging port supports both traditional A-type connection and the newer USB-C fast charge connector, handguards and an adjustable screen are standard, as is a luggage rack and large sump guard. The mirrors also have a pivot point to allow them to be folded inward easily to clear trail-side vegetation (or wing mirrors in heavy traffic…), as well as resist breakage in slower drops.

Frankly, there’s very little you could reasonably wish for at this end of the market that isn’t included: touring riders could make a noise about cruise control, but the traditional cable-actuated throttle bodies won’t support that feature in the way that ride-by-wire can. Maybe on the next generation…


Engine size 449cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel-twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 17.5 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 175kg
Front suspension 41mm, KYB forks adjustable for rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension Single KYB remote-reservoir rear shock, rebound and preload adjustment
Front brake 1 x 320mm disc with J.Juan four-piston radial caliper
Rear brake 240mm single disc with J.Juan single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 140/70 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £84
Annual service cost -
New price £5,699
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Four years

Top speed & performance

Max power 42 bhp
Max torque 30 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2024: CFMoto 450MT– All-new model, sharing basic engine architecture with the CFMoto 450SRS sportsbike and 450NK naked bike.

Other versions

CFMoto 650MT: 650 parallel twin road-biased adventure bike/all-rounder with engine architecture closely related to the Kawasaki Versys 650.

CFMoto 800MT Touring: One of the first fruits of CFMoto’s relationship with KTM, using the 790 Adventure’s engine with mild tweaks and a unique chassis.

Owners' reviews for the CF MOTO 450MT (2024 - on)

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