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The year is up with our CFMoto 650NK | Gassit Garage | Long Term

For almost 12 months we used the CFMoto 650NK to commute and cover general office duties, and did some great weekend rides on our way to clocking up around 5000km. For this novice rider it’s been a steadfast steed and we built up a strong bond through summer and winter. Having the NK for an extended period also gave me the chance to practice some basic bike maintenance tasks.

Highlights included a training day organised by the Yarra Ranges Council on a warm autumn weekend, and the countless smug smiles brought about by filtering through Melbourne traffic. The lowlights were some close calls with that same traffic, and once trying to take off from the lights too quickly on a wet evening and feeling the back end of the bike squirm around until it righted itself – at which point I just wanted to pull over until all witnesses had passed and I could get over the embarrassment. Still, they’re lessons you don’t forget.

In line with our goal of creating a super commuter, we also made a few changes…

Sound advice

The Musarri exhaust was a simple mod that transformed the 650NK’s softly-spoken P-twin thrum into a music box of growls, barks and (occasionally on the overrun) pops. In second gear it feels like you’re holding the noise in your right hand, which is brilliant and addictive. The new pipe was also at least 3kg lighter than the stock unit, which means an improved power-to-weight ratio.

Musarri GP Street Series Slip-on Exhaust

$219 + $20 postage

Screaming Demon

  0410 311 236

Chop chop!

CFMoto brought KTM designers Kiska in to tweak the NK’s look, and it was really noticeable at the rear fender. So in some ways it was a shame to ‘eliminate’ it. But the change worked, giving the bike a more muscular profile. The guys at Promoto did the job for us, and installed the Oggy Knobbs at the same time. Let the record show that these were never called into action.

Fender eliminator kit $129.00

Oggy Knobbs $289.00

Kenma Australia

1800 251 145

Best thing

The NK’s 649.3cc parallel-twin is a straight copy of the one Kawasaki has used in its ER-6n, and it’s an engine that has proved its reliability over many years. The capacity and performance – 41.5kW and 62Nm, just under the LAMS limit – is also attractive. Last year I rode plenty of 300cc models, and it was always a pleasure to come back to this slightly larger bike. And the NK’s price is the same or just under some of those lower-capacity ‘big brand’ models.

Worst thing

Not many people are going to check you out and give you an appreciative nod at the lights. If you’re looking for a two-wheeled status symbol, this ain’t it. But if you’re after a competent and solid bike at
a very decent price, hop aboard.

By MARK VENDER