Alan Cathcart | May 23, 2012

We’ve all known it would happen sooner or later, but now the inevitable has finally occurred. And I made a mental note of it: On a crystal clear Australian fall day in April 2012 in the Victorian country town of Broadford, just north of Melbourne, I came face to face with the future of global motorcycling when I spent half a day aboard a bike called the CFMoto 650NK. This is China’s long-awaited debut middleweight motorcycle (or long-feared, depending on if you’re a customer, or a competitor), the first ‘real’ bike to emanate from the world’s largest motorcycle market that is the People’s Republic.

As such, it’s a first rung on the climb up the engine displacement ladder that’s certain to fuel an increasingly irresistible attack on Western markets by Chinese manufacturers. Powered by a DOHC parallel-twin eight-valve motor with 180-degree crankshaft (so, one piston up/one down), chain camdrive and a gear-driven counter-balancer to smooth out the vibes, there’s no denying that this is a pretty direct rip-off of a Kawasaki ER-6n, even down to the overall styling. But it’s the first motorcycle to come out of China with an engine larger than 250cc and, after riding it, I’m convinced: it’s a game changer.

For the complete test on the CFMoto, click here.

Cathcart rides the Chinese middle weight street bike the CFMoto 650NK.
For more Cycle News Standard motorcycle reviews, click HERE.