CFMoto NK long termer ' a fun, low budget hassle free commuter

13/10/2014

AMCN review on the CFMoto 650NK long termer. The 650NK continues to impress as a fun bike to ride, low cost to maintain and reliable daily commuter.


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Chinese Remedy

AMCN's Long-Termer CFMoto 650NK Gets Some TLC

We've had the CF Moto 650NK long-termer for a few months now and it's done a great job getting us around ' ranging from stop-start city commutes to the WSBK round at Phillip Island. In fact we were having so much fun that the CFMoto was well overdue for its first 1000km service. Yamaha City kindly took care of the job. Considering it's a first service, the oil and oil filter had to be changed. CF Moto have their own brand of oil filter which was fitted, and it was filled up with 10W40 Semi Synthetic oil. The wheel bearings were checked and the chain was lubed and the tension adjusted. The tyres and all the pivot points were checked. There was a little freeplay in the clutch that also needed to be adjusted.

The total cost for parts and labour was $234.50, which is not to bad considering the next service interval is at 6000km. Next on the wishlist of upgrades is and aftermarket air filter and exhaust ' which will hopefully see it drop a bit of weight and increase the output. And we've just got our hands on an automatic chain oiler, too, so that's next.

The bike has been getting lots of positive comments from friends and we reckon the finishing and detailing is up there with the Harley Davison 883 and Low Rider, which have been parked alongside it all week. Give it a bit more time, and the Chinese brand will be overtaking some of the big players. Who would have dared think this a few years ago?

Greasy Rider

Cameleon Chain Oiler for CFMoto 650NK

Chain oilers aren't a new concept, many of you will remember the gravity-fed unit we fitted to the long-term KTM 690 Duke R a couple of years back. And some may remember the varying success we had with said unit and the hairy ride Kel had from Sofala to Sydney after the oiler decided it would lubricate the entire rear-end of the bike.

Cameleon has come up with a clever alternative that not only frees you from the post-ride chore of lubing your chain, but with its electrically-controlled actuation, it means you can now decide, and set, how often oil is applied to your drive chain depending on the conditions.

The Cameleon Oiler kit comes with the main unit, power cables, reservoir tubes, mounting brackets, crimp locks and a bunch of cable ties, as well as chain oil ' which according to Chameleon will last about 5000km.

The installation is easy and if you get stuck there's a handy YouTube video to guide you through the process. Tool wise, all you need is an allen key (if you decide to use the mounting brackets), sidecutters to cut the cable ties and reservoir tube with and some tin snips to cut through the malleable metal pipe which drips oil exactly where you want it to.

Power is picked up through the taillight or number-plate light wiring and a single button on the unit allows you to program how often you want it to lube your chain, made easy via corresponding flashes of different coloured lights. Set and forget.

Keep an eye on an upcoming issue where we'll report on the long-term efficiencies and results of the Cameleon Chain Oiler on our CFMoto 650NK.

Spring Clean

A thorough wash provides the perfect opportunity to see just how well the Chinese-built do-it-all is hoding up

I've got to be honest: we haven't looked after our long-term CFMoto. But not out of neglect or mechanical disdain ' well, maybe ' but for good reason. The 650NK is the first convincing attempt at a larger-capacity roadbike by a Chinese manufacturer and the purpose of us adding this to our long-term fleet was to see just how convincing it could be.

Let's see how long it takes to kill it, we thought. How long will it be before the thing starts falling apart? Being a Chinese-built copy of a Japanese model, which is worth almost twice as much, it surely will, right?

With spring in the air, I took the opportunity to give it a thorough clean. One of those all-day cleans where you pull off everything you can to clean behind things. The type of clean which would certainly uncover the chinks in the Chinese bike's armour.

The CFMoto has just clicked over 6000km and I'm astounded at the build quality of the bike. Sure, there's the odd spot of surface rust ' on the handlebar, on only one engine bolt out of about 40, and similarly on the brake disc inners ' but it's neither here nor there. I checked the tension on each and every nut, bolt and allen screw I could get a tool to and not one ' not one! ' nut, bolt or allen screw had rattled itself even a little bit loose.

The matt-finish paintwork on the tank scrubbed up like new and the gloss-finish bodywork gleamed with a deep lustre after a tub and a polish, as glossy and mark free as the day it arrived.

It's had two services since we've had it and both of them required routine work only. I can confidently report the CFMoto hasn't put a tyre wrong, and it doesn't look to, either.

And CFMoto has as much confidence as I do. Valve clearances, for example, don't need to be checked until 42,000km. Compare that to your average Japanese bike at 40,000km or Italian bike at around 20,000km.

The 650NK has really surprised me. If it was my money on the line, I'd be as happy as Larry with my investment. If you're in the market for an affordable mid-sized nakedbike, do not write this thing off.

Breathe easy

Both Uni Filter and DNA stepped up and produced an air filter specifically for AMCN's long-term CFMoto 650NK ' so we put them to the test

One of the cheapest engine upgrades and often the easiest to install is an aftermarket air filter. Not all bikes benefit a great deal from this simple modification, but bikes which are a bit asthmatic as standard can improve dramatically with an increase in airflow. The original air filter on any bike will become less effective over time, and repeated cleaning and old age will deteriorate both paper and foam element filters.

The CFMoto has a foam element air filter which is housed in a flat plastic cage, along with wire mesh. This is fitted into a slot in the top of the airbox like a cartridge. It's a great system which makes changing or cleaning the air filter a very simple job. Once the rider's seat is removed, all that's required is a 10mm socket to remove the two side cowls and the bracket at the rear of the tank. The tank then slides back, after releasing it from the front rubber mounts. Lifting the tank reveals the single phillips-head screw which retains the air filter cartridge. After removing the screw, the cartridge can be lifted out of the airbox and the two sides of the cartridge can be pulled apart to release the foam filter element.

We sourced two aftermarket filters: a direct replacement foam filter from Uni Filter, and a complete replacement cartridge with a corrugated paper filter from DNA. The Uni Filter is made from less-restrictive density foam than the OE item, not to mention the fact it comes in a fetching shade of racing red.

The increased airflow from the Uni filter gave a corresponding boost in power, and was the first indication the CFMoto was desperate for more air. Next came the DNA paper filter cartridge, which gave an even bigger breath of fresh air to the Chinese-built 650cc twin. Taking things a step further, we tried one last run, this time with no air filter fitted at all. The boost in power right through the rev range was huge. Completely dispensing with the air filter isn't a wise move for engine longevity, but it just proved the point that the CFMoto responds favourably to derestricting its gas flow. This is also helped by the Two Brothers slip-on silencer.

The Uni Filter would be a good option if your standard foam filter is damaged or worn out. It would also be good for riders in areas which see a lot of dust, where regular washing of the foam element, and oiling before refitting, would be advisable to avoid excessive engine wear.

For maximum performance, and in areas which aren't so susceptible to dirt or sand, the DNA cartridge is the best choice. These types of filters shouldn't be cleaned with fluid, but can be blown clean with compressed air. Just make sure to direct the air in the opposite direction to which the air flows through the filter and into the engine. With all the filters, including the OE filter, air/fuel ratio readings taken from the exhaust were far from perfect. This suggests an aftermarket fuelling module would be the next step in refining the engine's performance.