CF MOTO 800MT TOURING (2022 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Chinese brand CF Moto’s biggest and boldest bike yet
  • Based around old KTM 790 parallel twin
  • Impressive spec includes TFT and ally luggage set

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £290
Power: 90 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.5 in / 825 mm)
Weight: High (509 lbs / 231 kg)

Prices

New £11,099
Used £8,500 - £9,000

Overall rating

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

As sure as with electric vehicles, global warming and English world cup football disappointment, Chinese motorcycles remain the ‘coming thing’. And, backed by the popular success of lightweight brands such as Lexmoto and Sinnis along with Chinese/European retro mash-ups like Bullit (now Bluroc) and Herald, the question now is not so much a case of ‘if’ Chinese bikes are good enough – but ‘when’.

Or, more specifically: ‘When is a Chinese brand going to build, not just a budget, basic lightweight, but a truly credible mid or full-sized machine?’ Well, with the new CF Moto 800MT maybe that day has finally arrived.

Unlike most Chinese marques, CF Moto specialises in increasingly large bikes – until this year 300-650cc – with decent spec and distinctive Kiska styling (the Austrian design house which also pens KTMs).

CF Moto 800MT Touring front on the road

For 2022 it’s ramped things up further, first with the CL-X700, a ‘retro-mod’ roadster with an uprated, old Kawasaki ER-6 engine, decent cycle parts and a c.£7K price, and now with the all-new 800MT duo.

With KTM (albeit last generation) power, in the form of the old 790 Adventure parallel twin, smart styling, a decent chassis, contemporary tech’ including modes and a TFT dash, and, best of all, a level of equipment, luggage included, that belies its £11K tag, the 800 MT has an awful lot going for it.

Visually, materially and even dynamically it’s not only easily the best CF Moto so far, is on par with many more established Japanese and European rivals plus, by its very nature, an excellent and very well equipped all-rounder.

CF Moto 800MT Touring right hand bend

Sadly though, it doesn’t quite end there. The MT may be the best Chinese bike so far, but at c.£11,349 it’s also the most expensive. That price may still undercut a (more powerful) £11,449 KTM 890 Adventure, but it’s not by much. And even if you take into consideration the included luggage, which, incidentally, is fairly small and won’t take a full face, bikes like Kawasaki’s Versys 650 and Versys 1000 tourers aren’t a million miles away.

It’s also a little raw around the edges then there are questions like dealer networks (CF Moto has 17, my nearest 42 miles away compared to Kawasaki with 60 and three within 30 miles), residual values, nothing (yet) to trade up to if you do a PCP and so on…

There’s no dispute, though, that the 800MT is a great, well-equipped all-rounder and China’s best bike so far. And, for £11K, maybe that’s enough.

Ride quality & brakes

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

As you might expect considering its KTM 790 Adventure roots, the CF Moto 800 MT Touring is a decently handling machine with pleasing and versatile proportions. The riding position is natural and relaxed – but not-intimidating – mid-to-large adventure bike: it’s upright, roomy with plenty of leg room for taller riders and an easy reach to the wide-ish adventure bars, and comfortable – for two.

This is not a skinny, tall, hard core off-roader like KTM’s 890 Adventure or Yamaha’s Ténéré 700, nor hefty and crude like a Guzzi V85TT. Instead the MT’s ‘just right’ and should make not only a versatile road bike but also an adequately-competent off-roader, too, at least in this Touring guise.

The view ahead adds to the satisfaction. The switchgear may be nothing special but it is familiar and unfussy. The screen adjustment may be awkward (two knobs making it impossible on the fly) but at least it is there and gives added protection when required, and, best of all, its fork tops which feature twin adjusters, and the aforementioned slick TFT together give a sense of class rarely associated with bikes with such origins.

CF Moto 800MT Touring rear

Handling is neutral and adequate, too, although I never could quite shake the thought that the 800 MT’s suspension would benefit from some fine-tuning and that better road grip could come from a switch from the budget Maxxis tyres. But even without,  the CF Moto’s ride is plush and sufficient, with plenty of adjustment yet to be explored, its steering is light, nimble and accurate and long distance touring comfort for two (with all the luggage required already in place) is delivered on a plate.

On top of all that I couldn’t really fault the brakes, either, with the four-piston radial calipers assisted by cornering ABS – although, being supplied by the Spanish, more budget, J-Juan brand, they did somehow also seem second best to the premium Italian Brembos usually employed by more expensive European marques or even the Nissin and Tokico versions favoured by the Japanese. But this, really, is only a minor gripe and something to be expected considering the 800 MT’s price.

800MT Sport handling

Oddly, the road-focussed 800MT Sport retains a 19in front wheel, despite no appetite for off-road riding. This can make the handling feel more docile than you might expect - especially when you chuck in the circa 230kg wet weight. A more road-biased 17 would work better, but that would likely ramp up the development costs.

Cornering left on the CFMoto 800MT Sport

Engine

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

The new CF Moto 800 MT Touring and Sport’s liquid-cooled, DOHC, 799cc, 95bhp parallel twin is exactly the same as that of KTM’s old 790 Adventure (which CF Moto actually built on their behalf) which the Austrian off-road specialists have now dropped in favour of the larger, 889cc, 105bhp version currently seen in both the KT 890 Adventure and 890 Duke.

As a result, where CF Moto’s previous CL-X 700, which was based on an enlarged, older, cruder Kawasaki ER-6n parallel twin, was on the whole effective but also a little unrefined, the 800 MT’s powertrain instead naturally reminds of the slick KTM 790.

Delivery is grunty and tractable at lower revs before smoothing out and offering a pleasing turn of speed as the rpms grow and you feed it gears through the mostly slick quickshifter. There’s a pleasing bark through the exhaust. On the whole, 95bhp is ample for a ‘midi-adventure bike’ like this and my only complaints were occasionally iffy, slightly hesitant fuelling when very low down the rev range such as when pulling away plus also a sometimes hesitant or clunky ‘change through the ‘shifter.

CF Moto 800MT Touring engine

That said, by it’s very definition, the CF Moto 799cc unit is also still a generation and 10bhp behind the latest not only from KTM but also those from some other European rivals, with Triumph’s latest three-cylinder 900 Tiger and BMW’s own parallel twin F800GS both springing to mind as more competent (but also more expensive) rivals.

Arguably, with this kind of bike – which is a more ‘entry-level’, mid-range adventure-tourer where the emphasis is on value – that matters less than it might, but it’s still worth bearing in mind. On the plus side, however, reliability should largely be a ‘given’ and there’s less reason than ever before to doubt the quality, performance and durability of a Chinese power plant.

Reliability & build quality

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

CF Moto’s new 800 MT Touring and Sport duo are not only a step-up in terms of the Chinese firm’s previous size, performance and spec, they represent a noticeable improvement in build quality, too.

The overall machine has styling, build quality and proportions that are a step up from CF Moto’s preceding CL-X 700. Where the retro roadster, though good, was a little gaudy, with clunky fit and finish, the MT is understated, handsome and with a degree of class you could easily assume was Japanese. In addition, despite being KTM 790-derived, the MT Touring also seems more substantial and a genuine two-up tourer without the off-pitting massiveness of, say, a 1250GS or KTM 1290.

CF Moto 800MT Touring turning left

Value vs rivals

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

The new CF Moto 800 MT may be the Chinese brand’s largest, most ambitious, impressively performing and lavishly equipped bike so far, but it’s also still a budget machine who’s main ‘USP’ is value compared to rivals from more established and proven Japanese and European brands. And that’s really the whole point with the new 800MT.

In that respect it succeeds – although not by as much as we’re either used to or might expect from previous, more basic CF Moto models. At a true £11,349 (including OTR costs) the 800 MT Touring isn’t quite as cheap as it originally sounds (a panniered, more powerful, but lesser spec Kawasaki Versys 1000 Tourer, for example, can be bought for £11,679, while the fully-loaded, three-box but just 65bhp Kawasaki Versys 650 Grand Tourer is actually £1000 less).

On top of that, being a 95bhp machine, the 800 MT’s insurance premiums and running costs, including consumables such as tyres, brake pads, chain, fuel and servicing, will be significantly more than all previous, smaller CF Motos as well. Before buying it’s worth remembering that CF Moto can’t match the more expansive dealer network and residual values of the more established, proven Kawasakis, either.

CF Moto 800MT Touring turning right

Overall, though, the CF Moto 800 MT Touring is a well-equipped, good performing, smart looking, likeable and versatile addition to the midi-adventure category and is also good – and cheap – enough to make you think, hard – as long as you can live with the name on the tank and what it means as an ownership prospect.

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

The new CF Moto 800MT comes in two forms: the ‘base’ model is the £10,399 (as launched) Sport which comes with cast alloy wheels fitted with street-orientated tyres, and, as focussed on here and in the pictures, the £11,099 Touring version – with both prices before OTR costs, which are usually £200-250).

The latter instead has off-road style alloy-rimmed wire wheels this time with semi-knobbly tyres by budget brand Maxxis; three-box ally luggage, a quickshifter/blipper, useful crash bars, a centre stand, hand guards, steering damper and riding lights as well.

What’s more, that lavish spec comes on top of the base model’s already impressive specification which includes: TFT dash, adjustable wind screen, twin riding modes, USB charging point and so on. The 7in colour dash is decent quality and reminds of KTM’s version on the MT’s ‘sister bike’, the 790 Adventure, but is actually CF Moto’s own and is comprehensive and clear to read. Meanwhile, other electronic goodies  include cornering ABS, cruise control and a quickshifter – but, oddly, no traction control.

There are some questionable design decisions on the dash too, with the small warning lights placed at the bottom of the screen easily lost amongst the sea of numbers and letters. The LED indicators are also self-cancelling and switch off far too quickly; unable to last the length of a motorway slip road, or the queue onto a congested roundabout.

What’s more, the hazards also flash under heavy braking. This would be fine if it only occurred under really harsh grabs of the lever, but the flashes seem to spring into action with every moderate application. It could get very irritating for motorists behind and could lead to a real ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation – should you actually need the hazards to warn those riders behind you of danger.

CF Moto 800MT Touring dash

Most of all that it is good quality, too. The aluminium luggage is lined to avoid scratching your prized possessions but, proportions-wise, is slightly on the small side – particularly the right-hand pannier (due to the exhaust) and top box, which isn’t big enough to hold a full-face lid.

And although the adjustable screen is welcome, its two knob adjustment system means it can’t be altered on the move and is also a little fiddly to operate even at standstill. Overall, though, and especially for the money, the CF Moto 800 MT Touring is a decently-equipped bike.

Specs

Engine size 799cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 231kg
Front suspension KYB USD front forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension KYB monoshock
Front brake Dual four-piston radial J. Juan calipers with 320mm discs. Cornering ABS
Rear brake Rear Brake: Single disc, J.Juan. 260mm
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 R17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £290
New price £11,099
Used price £8,500 - £9,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 90 bhp
Max torque 55.4 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2022: CF Moto 800 MT Touring and Sport introduced. An 800MT Sport R concept was also shown towards the end of that year at the Eicma trade show in Milan.

Other versions

There are two production versions of the CFMoto 800 MT range; the Touring and the Sport. Both are essentially the same KTM 790 twin-powered middleweight adventurer underneath however are offered in varying levels of trim. The Sport is distinguished by its road-biased five-spoke cast rims and lacks handguards or an up/down quickshifter. It also misses out on a metal bash plate and the heated seat.

Despite being entirely road-focussed, the Sport retains a 19in front and 17in rear wheel just like the Touring. This is an odd choice, as a front 17incher would allow for a greater choice of road-only rubber and help the bike to feel lighter on its feet.

Leaning into a bend on the CFMoto 800MT Sport

As it stands, the MT Sport can feel a touch lazy when tipping into a corner but will hold a line nicely once it’s banked over. The Maxxis tyres do a perfectly adequate job too, but something like Metzeler’s Sportec M9RR would likely improve things further.

Elsewhere, the KTM-derived engine delivers a solid, predictable punch between corners, without any of the racy fizz you’d expect from the Austrian orange brand. It’s perfectly civilised and nicely fuelled, but with so much weight to carry around, it won’t leave you tingling.

A more engaging version may well be on the cards soon though, as CFMoto whet the appetite at the 2022 Eicma international trade show with a lighter, more track focussed MT Sport R concept paying tribute to the firm’s successful debut season in the Moto3 world championship.

Riding the CFMoto 800MT Sport

Gone is the 19in front wheel and in its place sits a more suitable 17 – meaning better options for grippy road and sports tyres. There’s also a racier paintjob, SC Project exhaust system and an Öhlins rear shock for a wider range of adjustment. The front J. Juan calipers are gone, though – swapped out for some blingier Brembo anchors.

Whether this will be a production bike remains to be seen, but with CFMoto now producing KTM’s 790 Adventure bike range in China and the Austrian firm going on record to confirm a new sports road-focussed SMT (Supermoto Touring) model is coming in April 2023, it could be the next model we see added to the line-up.

Owners' reviews for the CF MOTO 800MT TOURING (2022 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their CF MOTO 800MT TOURING (2022 - 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.

Review your CF MOTO 800MT TOURING (2022 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Engine: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £290
4 out of 5 Great bike
18 December 2023 by Honda xl/rs500

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £380

Updates can be done via the 4G network and they work (mapping and cruise etc.). Would like to have had an ABS switch and traction control. Later Explore models have this. I can put my full face helmet (Airoh 701) in the top box?

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Work well with the cornering ABS.

Engine 4 out of 5

Smooth whilst touring and enough grunt in the hills to be fun. Fueling hick up that was present at the start of ownership is now gone completely.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

23000 klms with no major problems, has a few quirks, a dirty quick shifter sensor causes some false shifts, easily fixed with awipe down to clean it. As a person not used to an auto blipper I had to learn to keep my boot away from the gear lever to stop surging.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

15000klms or 12 mths between services but I change oil and filter every 6000klms. I replaced the chain and sprockets at 18300klms and upgraded to MIchelin Anakee tyres for more dirt road adventures.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The screen is really good in sunlight and at night, better than any of my previous bikes with lots of functions. Love cruise control and tyre pressure monitoring. This model needs an ABS switch which can be installed from "throttle punks" and possibly traction control.

Buying experience: Bought with 1000klms on it privately. The dealer in QLD Australia is quite good but a bit expensive. $12700 Aud with panniers and 12months rego.

4 out of 5 Next Level Chinse Bike
26 September 2022 by Hondaxl

Year: 2022

Great all round bike

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes are excellent, if you need more buy some HH pads

Engine 5 out of 5

I have always thought 100hp is the sweet spot for road HP and this is close enough.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

5000klms and no problems, everything works as it should

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

15000 klms between services, averaging 4.4l/100klm, giving a 400+klm range

Equipment 5 out of 5

The bike has excellent ergonomics and is one of the most comfortable bikes out there.

Buying experience: bought second hand with 1500klms on it, however the dealer and distributer network gives great support. (e.g. at home map and software updates)

5 out of 5 Test Ride
29 July 2022 by Steve

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £199

Fantastic bike to ride, extremely comfy. The spec as standard is incredible power delivery is nice. The built in sat nav is a massive bonus meaning i didn't need to buy a new one, the built in tracker is fantastic i can see how far I've leaned over and the stopping force I've used etc. I would definitely recommend to a friend

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very comfy to ride, good in the straight lines but also a big bike you can have fun on the lanes on. I did a 200 mile round trip and didn't feel the need to take a break.

Engine 4 out of 5

fantastic power delivery, the quick shift works faultlessly

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Really well built, had 0 issues did a 200 mile run to London and back absolutely fine, extremely comfortable. The adjustable screen is a real bonus!

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Returns really good MPG

Equipment 5 out of 5

This bike comes with everything you need. Brilliant that is comes with alot of spec as standard no extra costs

Buying experience: I used a dealer's demo bike and it was an absolute pleasure to deal with.

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