MASH X-RIDE CLASSIC 650 (2020 - on) Review
- Simple air-cooled single with 70s style
- Very keenly priced for a brand new 650
- Not as rounded as alternatives
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Mash are a French concern – and yes, they’re named after the TV show of the '70s/'80s. In business for a decade, their bikes are actually built by Shineray, a huge Chinese company that makes a very comfortable living from building machines based around existing designs.
For the Mash X-Ride 650 Classic this means the single-cylinder engine that used to power Honda’s legendary NX650 Dominator. There’s more connection to old-school 'giant trailies' too, as there’s an unmistakable and completely intentional hint of Yamaha XT500 to the retro bike’s look. If you still pine for the time of dirt-based thumpers the Mash seems like just the ticket, especially with its very modest £4999 asking.
- Related: Mash X-Ride 650 Classic - the story
- Related: Best Chinese motorbikes
- Related: Honda NX650 Dominator review
Five-grand isn’t much for a well-finished 650 retro, especially one with features you don’t find on similarly priced potential rivals (radial brake, LED lights, adjustable levers, and more). The engine is willing with a decent character and pleasing exhaust note, and the X-Ride feels right during half-arsed B-road bend-swinging.
Unfortunately, while it has plenty going for it, there are just a few too many irritations – even accepting that oh-so-attractive price. Its chassis shortcomings are things you notice every ride. Sorting the issues out wouldn’t be rocket surgery but would require time and money, which defeats the object of a bargain-priced buy-and-ride bike.
If your riding is mostly on tight lanes and you’re smitten by the X-Ride’s looks, fill your boots. There’s not really anything else quite like it – you can count other five-grand retro trailies with decent-size engines on the fingers of no hands, and for cheery bobbing down back lanes it does have appeal.
But remember that while Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650 might be £700 more expensive, the best-selling 650 parallel twin is faster, smoother, and a much more rounded package. The Indian firm’s bikes hold their money far better than French ones, too. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a 650cc version of the RE Himalayan...
Bangers and gravy not shown. pic.twitter.com/DNE0DC4EGE— Mike Armitage (@MikeA_Bikes) November 26, 2020
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Running gear looks impressive. There’s a sizeable radial-mounted brake caliper on a 320mm disc, with chunky-looking forks, a neat aluminium swingarm and attractive gold rims.
However, the Mash X-Ride 650 Classic doesn’t ride as well as it looks. The biggest issue to get around is Mash’s decision to build a supermoto with broad 17in rims, but fit chunky off-road tyres. Supermoto bikes are trail machines converted for tarmac capers with smaller, wider rims and grippy tyres, but curiously the X-Ride has low-grip knobblies. I know The Dirt Look is all the rage, but they spoil the 650’s steering and low-speed handling – it feels like the front tyre is soft. They look like the Pirelli fitment on a Yamaha Ténéré 700 but are made by Kenda, and don’t have the Pirelli’s grip at decent lean on chilly or damp roads.
The riding position is nicely balanced and spacious enough despite the X-Ride being compact, and the bench seat is comfy enough to see off the contents of the 12-litre tank. No problems with the ride quality from the rear shock either, especially given this price point. But the front forks are disappointingly choppy; the ride is jiggly and unsettled at pretty much all speeds. And while the blingy-looking Hangte four-pot front brake stops the 650 well enough with a good squeeze of the span-adjustable lever, it’s desperately shy of feel.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The X-Ride’s motor is the air-cooled 644cc overhead-cam single that Honda used in the NX650 Dominator and XR650 dirt bike (Shineray acquired the rights in 2016). Back when Honda made it the unit produced 39 lb.ft of thud and around 44bhp, but modern regs mean this Mash version has 32 pound-feet and around 40 horsepower at 6000rpm.
However, the X-Ride still feels how old 'giant trailies' used to. It pulls cleanly all the way to an indicated 7000rpm and thrums contentedly at 75mph in top (fifth) gear. There are no off-the-throttle power wheelies, but the Delphi injection gives great fuelling and there’s a tad less low-speeding chugging than big singles of yore. It’s a dry-sump motor, with oil carried in the frame – the dipstick is next to the headstock.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
There are some pleasing parts on the 650. The neat rear rack, finned headlight housing and diddy ABS switch on the bright-finished 'bars are great, and the tiny clocks are in keeping with the style of bike.
Some of the welds on the frame aren’t the nicest to look at (who mentioned pigeons?), and our 1000-mile-old test bike had the first tiny suggestion of rust on the underside of the steel twin-pipe exhaust. Overall finish is certainly no worse than a Royal Enfield Interceptor though, and you have to look hard to see evidence that it’s a £5k bike, not one costing more.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There aren’t many other 650s for five thousand. Most bikes at this price point feel a tad flimsier, too. In terms of seeming like it’s worth the cash, the X-Ride succeeds. Insurance won’t break the bank either. It's a group nine, which is a group higher than a Royal Enfield Interceptor but then still only the same as a Kawasaki Ninja 300.
The ex-Honda engine is good for 50mpg, given the sort of breezy thrumming the Mash encourages. Tyres should last as well. But it’s unfortunate that the 644cc single needs frequent servicing – as in every 2500 miles. We’re not talking just oil and filter either: there’s a valve clearance check every time. Access is easy and they shouldn’t need adjusting on every occasion, but it’s still a bit much. Spark plugs and air filter are every 5000 miles.
The Mash won’t excite if you’re an electronics freak. You get switchable ABS… and that’s your lot. The very compact single digital dial has limited information (speed, revs, fuel level and odometer) and no scope for adjustment, but it feels right on a 70s-style retro.
Other bits make up for the lack of gizmos. The overall finish is good, the Monza-style filler cap is neat, and the rims and brakes give a fancier image than they’re deserving of.
|Engine type||Air-cooled, SOHC, 4v, single|
|Frame type||Steel tube cradle|
|Fuel capacity||12 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm telescopic forks|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, preload adjustable|
|Front brake||320mm disc with four-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm disc with one-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||150/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||50 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||-|
9 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||40 bhp|
|Max torque||32 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||132 miles|
Model history & versions
2020: The X-Ride 650 Classic is launched (£4999), using the Chinese-made 644cc Honda Dominator engine in a steel tube cradle frame and long-travel suspension for an enduro-style stance.
2020: Mash Dirt Track 650 launched (£4599). Simple twin-shock chassis with steel frame and upside-down forks, pushed along by the same Honda Dominator engine. Styled into a convincing flat track-style roadster, complete with tiny headlight nestling in a front numberboard.
Owners' reviews for the MASH X-RIDE CLASSIC 650 (2020 - on)
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