FOR EVERYONE THINKING you need to spend $20K-plus to get into adventure riding, I’m about to throw something else into the mix… Enter the mighty CFMoto 650MT, a bike made for budding adventure riders on a tight budget.

The initial couple of hours in the saddle convinced me that the 650MT has plenty up its sleeve. Almost every adventure ride involves a decent stretch of sealed roads before you get to the fun stuff, and right from the beginning I had the impression CFMoto had produced a bike that punches well above its price point.

What were the main things I noticed? Decent power on the highway, easy handling at low speeds and great stability and feel from the suspension through corners, especially in the rear end. All significant pluses.

By the time we got to Stump Hill, I was feeling pretty good about my mount. I was winding through the property, crossing creeks, clearing rocky roads and fire trails, all without hesitation. And after a cracking barbie and a few beers, our three days at Stump Hill were starting to feel like the kind of trip you’d take with half a dozen mates, not a bike test.

The good ergos when standing, adjustable suspension to slow compression, together with a relatively lightweight machine … all of this helped off the blacktop. Which was handy, because our legendary host, Dick, was obsessed with making sure we saw every square inch of his property. And on the 650MT I could tackle the same roads as everyone else and have a great time doing it.

Well, up to a point! Our 650MT had Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres fitted, and that was one drawback. It really only was a problem as the conditions worsened, and they were never meant to handle wet, greasy tracks.

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