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We head to the Philippines to find out if CFMoto’s highly anticipated 450MT lives up to the hype.

CFMoto has evolved significantly over its 35-year history. With a global reach of 3000 dealers and a workforce of over 5500, the Chinese-based manufacturer is now a major player. Its latest model, the CFMoto 450MT, is a 449.5cc adventure bike that appeals not only to the entry-level rider in this segment but also a broader market looking for a lightweight, robust and capable on-road/off-road tourer.

With rally-inspired design, a 270-degree-crank parallel-twin engine and impressive specs, such as KYB suspension, 220mm of ground clearance and a 21-inch/18-inch wheel combination, the 450MT is built for serious off-road action. Plus it features a five-inch full-colour dash, Bosch traction control, dual-channel ABS and adjustable seat and screen – all for $9490 on the road.

Unsurprisingly, the sub-$10k 450MT is relatively simple; it employs a cable-operated throttle meaning there are no riding modes to alter the torque mapping. Quoted power and torque is 31kW (41.5hp) at 8500rpm and 42Nm at 6500rpm. This old-school simplicity means there’s relatively little technological wizardry to go wrong in the middle of nowhere but also results in a snappy throttle response, especially off the bottom of the rev range. Once the throttle is open and any slack in the cable is taken up, the power delivery is smooth and the bike feels eager to get on with the ride.

Sure, there’s only 40-odd horsepower available, but I was surprised by the liveliness of the twin – and the exhaust sounds pleasingly fruity too for a bike in this class, which is Euro 5+ compliant. Above 50km/h I found myself instinctively short-shifting into fifth and sixth gear, and letting all that well-distributed torque do the work as I sat back and enjoyed the ride in the Philippines where CFMoto chose to hold its launch event.

CFMoto 450MT

Handguards come as standard

The roads in the Philippines can turn from asphalt to gravel without warning, keeping road speeds relatively low, but the MT was totally at home chugging along in top between 60-80km/h. With the revs nestled in the engine’s sweet spot, between 4000rpm and 7000rpm, and the laid-back local traffic trundling along at an easy pace, the MT and its gurgling exhaust made for great riding companions.

Obviously away from the Philippines, a country where a 450 is considered a large bike, you’ll have to use more revs and gears to stay with the faster traffic – and you soon realise that revving the 450MT to the redline results in plenty of vibration and noise but little else. On one occasion, I saw an indicated 130km/h on the large clear dash, but not for long, and I suspect that cruising at 120 clicks or above might be a seriously vibey experience and anything above 140km/h will be hard going.

On dirt, that sharp throttle gives the 450MT’s CST Ambro rubber a hard time, but equally it’s fun having enough grunt to slide the rear.

CFMoto 450MT
The MT’s low and midrange torque gave it real purpose and drive on the dusty trails encountered on the test route and, once the traction control had been switched off, allowed the rear to break free easily and predictably. However, popping up the front wheel to clear an obstacle isn’t as easy as the press shots make it look, especially when the 17.5-litre fuel tank is full.

The chassis components are bespoke to the 450MT and feature a tubular-steel frame that has a removable underslung section and subframe. Both can be replaced relatively easily should they get damaged.

The KYB suspension has 200mm of travel at both ends with compression and rebound adjustment on the front, rebound and preload adjustment on the rear and offers an impressive 220mm of ground clearance.

Front suspension has compression and rebound adjustment along with 200mm of travel

The 450MT has a pleasing big-bike feel with the added benefit of a low and comfortable seat. You sit more in the bike than on it. The ’bar is wide, there is a manually adjustable screen on a ratchet system and, at moderate speeds, the CFMoto 450MT is not a bad spot to spend a few hours. It even looks like pillions have been taken care of with a wide rear seat and sturdy grab handles.

Despite that tall suspension, the seat height is a really accessible 820mm. For context, Honda’s CRF300 has a quoted seat height of 885mm, KTM’s 390 Adventure is 855mm and Royal Enfield’s new Himalayan is 825mm. One onboard, the seat is wide and soft and there’s noticeable sag in the suspension, making it even more of a prospect for the less tall among us. I’m 170cm tall on a good day and even riders shorter than me will have no problem with the seat eight on the standard setting. The seat height can be dropped to 800mm by changing the linkage bolt position but for most this will be unnecessary.

Claimed dry weight is 175kg, but with the solid (optional) crash protection installed and that 17.5-litre tank brimming with petrol, it felt like 200kg or more. It’s not a heavy bike but I wouldn’t describe the MT as agile or fast steering. The weight is carried relatively high in the chassis and you’re very much aware that you are turning the bike via a larger-diameter and, I suspect, relatively heavy 21-inch front wheel.

At first the CFMoto felt a little choppy and harsh on El Nido’s testing road surfaces, an area described in tourist brochures as the Philippines” last frontier. The suspension struggled to cope with the uneven roads at pace. The comfortable seat did its best to disguise the harshness of the KYB units, but at lunchtime I opened out the damping adjusters to allow more flow and travel, which proved beneficial. Now there was a little more transfer through the suspension, and more feel too, but the biggest drawback was the tyres, which lacked enough bite to make me confident in low-grip conditions.

That said, the 450MT coped really well off road. Some 90 percent of our route was on trails comprising of dusty tracks, so nothing too serious, but when we did push on a bit, the CF soaked up the terrain superbly – that long-travel suspension being quite unfazed. Presented with steep inclines, the twin’s torque pulled us fuss-free to the top. Faced with mud, sand or deep water, the bike just drove forwards, completely unflustered, and showed itself to be a solid and robust off-road bike – particularly for the price.

Push hard and those tyres struggle for grip, while the suspension lacks the control it has during normal trail riding. But this isn’t a bike for off-road experts, it’s not a 450 enduro bike, not even close. It’s aimed at everyday riders looking for a little weekend adventure – and for them the CFMoto 450MT undeniably does the job.

It’s drop-it-in-the-mud, bounce-it-off-a-rock solid as well as a doddle to ride off road. Most customers are going to appreciate that it’s built to a price and just enjoy its uncomplicated qualities as a decent trailbike. Meanwhile the few who don’t and won’t can change the rubber, tweak the adjustable suspension (admittedly more adjustment is needed for gnarly off-road use) and end up with an adventure bike with possibly more off-road potential than the competition.

CFMoto 450MT

J.Juan caliper grips a 320mm single disc at the front

Stopping power is provided by a single 320mm front disc and four-piston caliper, with two-channel ABS provided by Bosch. The ABS can be switched off when on the move but at the rear only. On the road, there’s enough stopping power to make the front tyre squeal and skip on straight-line braking but, once again, there’s a lack of bite and feel. In saying that, my testbike had almost zero kays on the odo, meaning the discs and pads were brand-spanking new, so the braking performance should improve as the pads bed in.

The ABS works to the same parameters whether off-road or on-road so kicks in predictably early when you hit the loose stuff, but for new riders this will add extra safety. Due to the route’s conditions and location, we couldn’t test high-speed braking or chassis stability.

Fuel economy averaged 5.6L/100km, which isn’t bad, but I would expect a little more in normal conditions. With a large 17.5-litre petrol tank, fuel range ran close to 320km on test, but again I’d expect more in the real world, maybe close to 400km, depending on the weight and conditions.

Excellent rally-inspired TFT display has a charging point on one side

I can’t see why the 450MT couldn’t take on some serious miles. The dash is neat and informative and is equipped with CFMoto’s T-Box system. The only question mark is the bike’s ability at higher speeds and the potential discomfort caused by vibration. I’d predict that legal highway speeds shouldn’t be a problem but anything more might be a little too much – a good way to keep your licence if you ask me. Add some luggage, maybe a pillion, and again you might be asking a little too much of this LAMS-approved bike, but I guess that ultimately depends on where and how you ride.

The excellent TFT display has a charging point on the side and contributes to an overall sense of quality you might not expect at this price. If you didn’t know the price and spec, you could easily mistake it for a larger bike with a price of $12,000-$15,000 or more. Handguards are standard, so are the grabrails, a neat rear rack, an adjustable screen, off-road ’pegs with removable rubbers and distinctive twin-stacked headlights.

It’s a handsome-looking bike but, up close, there are a few giveaways that it’s been built to a price – the dated switchgear is the most obvious.

CFMoto 450MT

We can’t wait to put the 450MT through its paces in some rugged Aussie conditions

The CFMoto 450MT certainly isn’t without its quirks – those CST Ambro tyres might not set the world on fire and the switchgear could use a modern touch. And while the engine might not scream excitement, it’s a solid performer, even if it lacks that extra punch.

But here’s where things get interesting—the price. At $9.5k ride away, this adventure bike offers exceptional bang for your buck – it’s hard to ignore the value proposition it presents.

And let’s talk about its appeal. With its authentic big-bike feel and rugged aesthetics, the 450MT exudes confidence. It’s a no-nonsense machine built to get the job done, whether you’re cruising the streets, commuting to work or bouncing off rocks.

CFMoto 450MT
Comparisons to the Royal Enfield Himalayan are inevitable and the CFMoto holds its own. In fact, with its sharper adventure styling and potentially superior off-road capabilities, it could give the Himalayan a run for its money – we plan to put them head to head shortly.

But the real test lies in its performance on the road and in the bush here in Australia. If it can handle the rigours of faster riding environments and rough terrain, CFMoto could have a winner on its hands.

The CFMoto 450MT may not be perfect, but it’s a compelling option for adventure riders looking for affordability, reliability and a healthy dose of rugged charm.


Off-road options
The crash protection, including the bash plate, is optional, not standard. There is also a taller screen and a range of luggage. The standard seat height ranges from 820mm/800mm but there is an optional 870mm seat.

Output tweaks
Deployed in the 450SR and 450NK models, the 449.5cc parallel twin features twin balance shafts and a 270-degree crankshaft, but the MT gets updates to the camshaft, intake system, fueling and exhaust.

New tune
Engine performance is quoted as 31kW (41.57hp) at 8500rpm and 42Nm at 6500rpm, which is actually less peak power than the MT’s sister 450cc machines but offers more torque across the low and midrange.

App for that
The neat large TFT full-colour dash comes with connectivity to the CFMoto Ride App.
The app shows details of your ride, including top speed, mileage, acceleration and cornering stats.

Helping hands
Rider aids comprise dual-channel switchable ABS and TC, neither are lean-sensitive. TC is either on or off. You can switch off ABS at the rear only. There isn’t a dedicated off-road ABS setting.

PROS: Exceptional bang for the buck, it’s a no-nonsense machine built to cruise, commute or go bush.
CONS: Vibey at higher revs, the throttle is snappy at very low revs and the switchgear looks a bit dated.

Rugged rivals

Honda CRF300 Rally
$9399 (plus on-road costs)

Royal Enfield Himalayan
From $8990 (ride away)

KTM 390 Adventure
$10,250 (ride away)


CFMoto 450MT

Capacity 449.5cc
Type Parallel twin, DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Bore & stroke 72mm x 55.2mm
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Cooling Liquid
Fueling Bosch EFI
Transmission Six-speed
Clutch Wet, multi-plate, slipper-type
Final drive Chain

Power 31kW (41.5hp) @ 8500rpm (claimed)
Torque 42Nm @ 6500rpm (claimed)
Top speed 160km/h (est)
Fuel consumption 5.6L/100km (measured)

Type Bosch
Rider aids ABS, traction control
Rider modes Not applicable

Frame material Tubular steel
Frame type Double cradle
Rake Not given
Trail Not given
Wheelbase 1505mm

Type KYB
Front: 41mm, USD fork, adjustable compression and rebound, 200mm travel
Rear: Monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound, 200mm travel
wheels & brakes
Wheels Wire-spoked aluminium
Front: 21 x 2.5 Rear: 18 x 3.5
Tyres CST Ambro
Front: 90/90-21
Rear: 140/70-18
Brakes J. Juan, ABS
Front: Single 320mm disc, four-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc, single-piston caliper

Weight 175kg (dry, claimed)
Seat height 800-820mm
Width 870mm
Height 1380mm
Length 2210mm
Ground clearance 220mm
Fuel capacity 17.5L

Servicing First:
Minor: 5000km
Major: 40,000km (valve clearance)
Warranty Three years, unlimited kilometres

$9490 (ride away)
Colour options Zephyr Blue or Tundra Grey