Subsequent up: Journey & brakes
Though not initially deliberate to reach on British shores, the £7349 CFMoto 700CL-X Journey will now land in UK showrooms in March 2023 – sitting alongside the pre-existing Sport and Heritage nakeds as a no-nonsense, easy-to-ride twin objective scrambler.
In-built China in CFMoto’s Hangzhou manufacturing unit, the bikes throughout the vary at the moment are being distributed within the UK by KTM’s guardian firm Pierer Mobility in a partnership that started in 2013. CFMoto will now additionally produce the 790 Journey vary for the Austrian model, in China.
The brand new CL-X would possibly say journey within the brochure, however it’s unlikely to be your decide for severe all-terrain using. As an alternative, it’s a cushty, mild-mannered, almost-retro-looking twin that might seemingly elevate a smile on a dusty gravel path however run out of floor clearance on something extra severe.
Examined on the difficult spaghetti-like ribbons of tarmac draped throughout the mountains of southern Spain, the CL-X showcased its expertise as being a kind of bikes you possibly can hop on with on the spot familiarity. Each management is the place you’d naturally count on it to be and there’s a straightforward attain to the bottom, because of an 830mm seat top.
The grumbly circa 70bhp DOHC 693cc parallel twin engine is sprightly however simply managed, and the extensive flat bars assist you to bully the 18in entrance Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyre into bend after bend with out protest. ABS comes as customary to assist meet Euro5, with the power to deactivate it on the rear when the bike is positioned in its Off-Street mode.
Mix this with a gentle seat and a roomy peg place and it turns into an reasonably priced different to the likes of the £9995 Ducati Scrambler Icon, with the additional benefit of a small clear display screen that retains the wind nicely away out of your shoulders and lid.
The truth is, the one factor that basically spoils the CL-X is the calibre of its competitors. The mid-size parallel twin market is presently saturated with credible fashions from virtually each mainstream producer, with the category leaders now favouring V-twin mimicking designs with 270-degree crankshafts for extra character, engagement, and punch.
The CFMoto’s Kawasaki ER6-inspired design doesn’t have this and while it makes a pleasant bark as you sling gears at it between bends, it lacks that ultimate 5% wow issue to go away you wanting extra. The spec is spectacular and it’s lifeless straightforward to journey, however that’s simply not fairly sufficient to set it aside in one of many largest segments of the trendy motorbike market.
Journey high quality & brakes
Subsequent up: Engine
Easy and simple are the 2 greatest phrases I can use to greatest describe the dealing with of the CFMoto 700CL-X Journey. Push on the extensive bars and it turns with out fuss – like if Ronseal did chassis geometry. It’s not lazy steering, or too abrupt, however a mild, predictable peel into the bend and a stable composure all through.
I weigh within the area of 10 stone and whereas the adjustable 41mm the other way up forks and single shock are on the gentle facet for me it doesn’t tie itself in knots or dive closely below braking. Heavier riders might imagine in another way, nevertheless the complete adjustability on the entrance and the preload and rebound adjustments obtainable on the rear finish ought to assist to counteract this.
As an alternative, that further squidge of the springs works in tandem with the snug seat to soak up any power from ruts and bumps within the tarmac – leaving you to get on with the essential job of getting enjoyable.
And do you have to need to let your hair down and stretch the bike’s legs, there’s loads of floor clearance on both facet from the extensive, flat pegs – that means no nasty scrapes as you discover the lean angle potential. That is helped additional by the inclusion of Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, which give the phantasm of being a blocky, off-road-centric journey choice however grip simply in addition to any road-only rubber obtainable on this section of the market. They’re critically good.
Wrapped across the gold spoked 18in and 17in rims, they permit for late braking right into a bend, with a plushness that helps take in the imperfections within the tarmac. Though we didn’t get the possibility to check this bike off-road, it’s seemingly they might have carried out simply as nicely right here – being a category main choice for a lot of seasoned journey bike riders.
Braking energy upfront is supplied by a single 300mm disc and J.Juan four-piston radial caliper, which was ample on our journey. At no level did the ABS intervene and you may comfortably management your deceleration with two fingers on the span-adjustable lever.
Different fashions within the CL-X vary include extra highly effective stoppers – most notably the £7549 Sport café racer mannequin, which will get twin from Brembo Stylemas on the entrance. Though a sexier model to have in your bike, they’re full overkill for one thing of this dimension and as a substitute spotlight flaws with the gentle entrance finish – diving like a pogo stick each time you contact the lever, with quick chattering from the ABS.
As a ultimate celebration piece for the Journey, the rear ABS might be switched off in Off-Street mode, by holding down the button till a warning mild comes on as a continuing on the sprint. This could give extra management do you have to want to enterprise off-road, and permits for a cheeky skid right here and there, when you’re feeling mischievous.
Subsequent up: Reliability
The CFMoto’s 693cc A2 licence restrictable engine is easy-going and unthreatening. Based mostly across the previous Kawasaki ER6 motor however now with an elevated bore and stroke of 83x64mm to deliver it to 693cc, it offers a warming embrace to novice riders and permits these extra superior to extract each morsel at smart speeds.
Fed by a small 13-litre gas tank nestled between your knees, it generates a gravelly bark unsurprisingly paying homage to Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 and Z650. Though free-revving, it’s happiest sitting in the midst of the RPM vary – beginning to really feel a bit wanting breath on the very prime.
Maintain it fizzing between 6000 and 9500rpm and it is golden, producing an amazing induction noise and an ample surge of energy to hold its 203kg moist weight. It’s additionally the very best fuelled of all the CL-X choices, with the Sport we additionally had entry to on this take a look at surging aggressively from the center of the revs like a sort of hidden VTEC system that made negotiating tight switchbacks unnecessarily troublesome.
Exterior of that, the clutch is mild, and the shift is crisp – that means no nonsense arising and down the field.
Elsewhere although, the very structure of the engine might be a stumbling block to its ‘Journey’ identify, with the twisting entrance header pipes protruding noticeably and with out safety from behind the entrance wheel. This might be problematic do you have to need to sort out any difficult trails, with one hefty whack on these more likely to spoil your journey and put a giant dent in your pockets.
That’s not the largest downside the CL-X has although. Sadly, the world is transferring on from engines like this and though it’s completely acceptable, the market now calls for extra efficiency and engagement, moderately than merely ease of use.
Producers like Aprilia, Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki at the moment are all adopting 270-degree crankshafts of their mid-size choices to imitate the texture of a V-twin and supply extra punch. Having just lately ridden the 91bhp, 755cc Honda CB750 Hornet, the CFMoto feels flat by comparability and would actually profit from the 799cc KTM derived two-pot motor discovered elsewhere of their 800MT vary.
Reliability & construct high quality
Subsequent up: Worth
It’s troublesome to say for sure how dependable the CL-X Journey will likely be over time, however it is going to be bought within the UK with a four-year guarantee ought to something go amiss, with all the spare elements now saved at KTM’s headquarters in Mattighofen.
There’s one house owners’ overview on our 700CL-X Heritage web page, which shares the identical chassis and engine, they usually rating the bike 5 stars out of 5 on this class, claiming no points in round 9320 miles (15,000km) of utilization.
Worth vs rivals
Subsequent up: Tools
Priced at £7349 and obtainable with a four-year seller guarantee, the 700CL-X Journey represents good worth for cash. It’s nicely constructed, has a powerful suite of electronics, and options premium touches like a set of Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres to set it aside from a few of its rivals.
Being a mid-sized parallel twin, the CL-X’s rivals might be seen as virtually by no means ending, however the closest trio contains the Moto Morini Seiemmezzo vary (additionally inbuilt China), the Yamaha XSR700 and Ducati’s lowest spec Scrambler, the Icon.
The Morinis start at round £7000 and have the additional benefit of a color TFT sprint. The dual-cylinder engine can be based mostly round Kawasaki’s ER6 however will get a claimed 9bhp much less. The Yamaha is available in at £8250 however advantages from a stronger seller community and extra energy and confirmed reliability. The Ducati £9995 is the costliest and includes a V-twin motor, alongside cornering ABS, and a TFT sprint.
You get a variety of bang on your buck on the Journey, with plenty of options to set it aside from the remainder of the 700CL-X vary. This contains the clear entrance display screen, which wraps across the round LED headlight and retains the wind off your shoulders and head properly – minimising fatigue on lengthy motorway runs. There’s additionally a chunky hand rail for the pillion passenger and racking to connect baggage while you go away.
The one disappointment is the round LCD show, which feels a bit quaint on this trendy world of TFT screens. It’s straightforward to learn the principle dial although and helps preserve the prices down, nevertheless the small warning lights across the rim of the unit might be simply misplaced in daylight.
Mannequin historical past & variations
Mannequin historical past
- 2022 CFMoto 700CL-X Journey launched on-line in mid-August. Preliminary responses from earlier importer advised it wouldn’t come to the UK. It’s now set to reach in sellers in March 2023.
Different variations of the 700CL-X are the Heritage scrambler and Sport café racer, which each arrived within the UK in 2022. All three share the identical primary engine and tubular metal chassis.