CFMoto is introducing a couple of new middleweight motorcycles, the 650NK and 650TR. These could be a sign of things to come, bargain priced middleweight motorcycles with good performance and decent quality from mainland China, new competition for established companies in a sector they dominate at a pricepoint that could cause big changes in the market. Some might point to the 650NK and then the Kawasaki ER-6n and say it's easy to keep prices low when someone else did the design work and you just "borrow" it, but that seems to be the way some companies and countries do business and it isn't the first time it's happened, not the first country to do so, either.
CFMoto of Hangzhou, China, has been building smaller displacement motorcycles, scooters and 4 wheelers for years. You may be familiar with some of their motorcycles, especially the CVT equipped 250cc V3 and V5 sold in the US under both the CFMoto and Qlink name. You wouldn't mistake them for anything other than what they were, but CFMoto, like so many other Chinese companies, is moving upmarket and the 650NK and TR are their first shot at it.
One of our readers pointed me to these bikes and to an article in Cycle News from several months back, where Alan Cathcart tested the 650NK in Australia where it's evidently already available. He wrote quite a glowing review and seemed to think these are the real deal. Since I have neither seen nor ridden one, I can't say, but I have no reason to doubt his word, and if accurate, they may sell very well and be the first of a coming wave.
Both the 650NK and 650TR are powered by a 70 horsepower 650cc parallel twin with a 6 speed transmission. There's nothing exotic in the technology, but what they want is competence and quality at a bargain price and at somewhere around $6000 (based on Australian prices), they may have accomplished their goal. They will not be available in the US until November of this year and the price has not been officially announced so things may still change.
It will be interesting to see the reception these bikes receive from buyers. If they start to move, some companies in Japan may have to recalibrate their offerings. Interesting.
Big tip of the hat to CW for sending the info for this article!
Related: Japan’s Motorcycle Wars