You may have already heard of CFMoto when it comes to ATVs and the side-by-side off road buggies, but maybe not so much when it comes to motorcycles. However, CFMoto are also pretty successful with their two-wheeled products, selling 127,000 of them globally last year. Unsurprisingly, the majority of those sales were outside of Europe, but that could all be about to change…
The Chinese power sports brand now has Europe, the UK included, firmly in its sights for selling its wide-ranging motorcycle line-up, which includes bikes from 125s all the way to 800cc tourers. To help the sales, KTM took over as the UK distributer in January this year.
So, with all that in mind, we were invited out to Almería in southern Spain to ride their key models on a 170km route with a range of roads thrown in for good measure.
First up was the little 300 SR, short for Sport Racing, which was the smallest capacity machine CFMoto had laid on for us, but one we were excited to ride. It looks like a proper little sports bike – sharp lines, aggressive riding position, upside down forks, underslung exhaust, the lot.
It is styled by the same firm who design KTMs, and the RC390 design cues are clear when you look at the trellis frame, its swingarm and its nose-down appearance at the front of the bike. The sporty vibes continue with clip-on ‘bars, albeit slightly raised, but not as much as some of the competition.
To match its sporty appearance, at the heart of the 300 SR is a revvy 292cc single cylinder DOHC motor which produces a respectable 29bhp and 25Nm of torque, which came alive on the snaking mountain roads. It is down on power compared to the likes of Yamaha’s R3 which sits at the top of the class, but that didn’t take anything away from the SR’s entertainment value.
As you’d expect from a 29bhp 292cc engine, to pick up any kind of speed on faster roads you need to ride high up in the rev range, consistently nearing its 10,000rpm red line. You can’t afford to be lazy with gear changes, otherwise all momentum is lost. The motor coped well and didn’t protest at any point during the day, and speaking of gear changes, the gear box was slick enough and the clutch was incredibly light to use.
The 37mm upside-down forks and the rear shock are sufficient and handled everything thrown at them with relative ease, from quick changes of direction, heavy braking and long, sweeping bends, there were no big red flags to write home about. However, the braking power left a little to be desired from the front single disk, four piston calliper setup, with a wooden feeling and no real progressiveness.
On the fast, twisty roads, the chassis got a little unsettled at times but that just added to the entertainment of the ride – it was lively and completely engrossing. Coupled with the narrow section tyres and only a 165kg to shift from side to side, you felt totally a part of the ride.
The A2 licence-friendly 300 SR has a decent finish too, considering it’s £3,999 price tag, and also comes with some nice touches like a 5” TFT dash, Bluetooth connectivity, Sport and Eco riding modes, Bosch ECU, ABS and LED lights. It’s cheaper than the KTM and Yamaha equivalents, but a few hundred pounds more than the Lexmoto LXR 380, so it’s priced about right.
Is the CFMoto 300 SR a good choice if you’re looking for a small capacity sports bike? We think so. For us, it proves that you don’t need a gazillion horsepower and all the latest rider aids to have good, honest fun on a motorcycle. It doesn’t need to break the bank, either. However, if you want a bit more power and a few more higher quality components, and probably better residual value, the KTM or Yamaha may be better bets.
But, if you want a bike that is both a fun weekend toy and a sensible run-around, and one guaranteed to put a great big smile on your face every time you ride, you won’t go far wrong with the 300 SR.
Good work, CFMoto!