Skip to content


The CFMoto 450SR is the new LAMS-approved sportsbike in town and we’re keen to see if its bite can live up to its bark.

A new addition to AMCN’s long-term garage is always an exciting moment, and we’re particularly looking forward to our time with the CFMoto 450SR for a few reasons. Firstly, who doesn’t like an underdog? And with the undercurrent of animosity towards Chinese products, we firmly believe the 450SR can change more than a few minds – it’s an impressive package for the price.

After hearing Wattie rave about it after the Aussie launch (AMCN Vol 73 No 01), we’re also really keen to experience the performance and understand the build quality to see if this increasingly reputable Chinese brand has taken even more strides farther forward. Cos when Wattie gives a nod to a bike’s capabilities, it’s the real deal. If you remember, AMCN had a CFMoto 700CL-X Sport in the shed about 12 months back which, much like the 450SR, had really great bones as a base package. With a few strategically spent bucks I reckoned it could be a great all-rounder with some real sporting prowess up its sleeve. Unfortunately the fueling wasn’t on point and the quality of finish after a few months of ownership was a bit hit and miss.

While our 450SR has done zero kilometres as an official AMCN long-termer, our crew gave it a good break-in on last year’s MOTY ride

Many of Wattie’s observations resonated with me during last year’s Motorcycle of the Year excursion (AMCN Vol 72 No 12). I was genuinely impressed with how the SR handled, especially when winding through the picturesque landscape of New South Wales’ Kangaroo Valley. The big-bang firing order of the parallel twin emitted a satisfying growl as it tore through the twists and turns, earning more than a few approving smirks from the MOTY crew.

Let’s take a moment to recap what makes the 450SR tick. The standout feature for me is its water-cooled 450cc parallel-twin engine. Sporting a 270-degree crank, this twin produces a distinctive big-bang sound and drive, complemented by a balancer shaft that keeps the engine from vibrating itself to bits. 

The fuel-injected engine is claimed to produce 34.5kW (46.2hp) of power at 10,000rpm and 39.3Nm of torque at 7750rpm, all within a claimed weight of 179kg ready to ride, just under the LAMS power-to-weight limit.

The meaty mill is nestled within a steel trellis frame and the whole kit and caboodle is wrapped in a fine-looking suit complete with MotoGP-style winglets at the front. Suspension duties are handled by a non-adjustable USD fork and a preload-adjustable rear monoshock. 

The braking system has a four-piston radially-mounted Brembo M40 monobloc caliper gripping a 320mm floating disc at the front and a single-piston caliper with a 220mm disc at the rear. 

Sportsbikes should not be fitted with rubber brake lines and, thankfully, CFMoto agrees and the SR sports a full set of braided steel lines – bravo – while anti-skid duties are controlled by a Bosch ABS modulator. 

One of my biggest gripes with both CFMoto’s 800MT adventure model and our previous 700CL-X Sport was what I considered a below-average rear shock. The 700CL-X especially just couldn’t handle the pace on road or track. And while I’ll admit my weight and pace probably asks more of a bike than most, the suspension on on the 450SR – like so many of its components – is an order of magnitude better than any CFMoto I’ve ridden so far. So, unless you’re exceptionally fast or well proportioned, there’s little need to throw any cash at the suspension until it’s time for a service.

As is starting to become the norm for the 35-year-old brand, the CFMoto is punching well above its price point on the tech front. A bright and easy-to-read five-inch colour TFT dash greets you as you swing a leg over the 795mm-high seat and plonk your meat hooks over the low-set but comfortable ’bars. That swanky dash is equipped with the company’s T-Box system, providing phone connectivity that unlocks a range of nifty features. These include on-screen navigation, a lap timer, ride history and statistics, remote vehicle status, over-the-air software updates and security features such as a movement sensor, vehicle location and a virtual electric fence to alert against movement or theft – quite impressive for a bike with a low-$8k price tag. 

Once onboard and rolling the sporty fairing provides reasonable protection from the elements and the seating position is comfortable even for my six-foot-plus frame and generous proportions.

You’ve got to hand it to CFMoto, it really is leading the charge in fit and finish among the Chinese brands. The paintwork is superb and mechanically and electronically it is a step above the rest. For its $8290 (ride away) asking price, it’s really impressive.

The fueling problems that took the shine off some earlier CFMoto models have evaporated and, overall, there is little to complain about on the 450SR. While my garage once housed RGV250s and CBR250RRs, they were neither as affordable nor as finely finished as the 450SR, and they certainly didn’t produce the same throaty roar.

So, the plan is to ride the SR to within an inch of its life. We’ll commute on it, scratch on it, run errands on it, we’ll probably even strap some luggage on it and head bush, all in the name of assessing whether the thing is as reliable and sturdy as it looks in the flesh and on paper.

We’ll pass it around the AMCN crew to get an idea of what different riders with different styles think.