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On paper the CFMoto 800MT Touring midsized adventure bike makes some of its competitors seem overpriced. Is it as good as it looks?

I was impressed with the CFMoto 800MT Touring when I attended the model’s launch early this year. Sure, there are a few shortcomings, but there’s no denying that the 800MT represents excellent value for money, regardless of whether you’re looking at the $12,990 (ride away) Sport model or the better-equipped $14,490 (ride away) Touring as tested here for AMCNs 2022 Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY) presented by Shannons Insurance. Well, the bike pictured here is actually the 800 MT Touring Limited Edition, which for an additional $2K over the Touring comes with a unique paint scheme, aluminium panniers and topbox, and Barkbusters. But even at $16,490 ride away, it’s still a helluva lot of bike for the money.

The 800MT is powered by a KTM-designed 799cc parallel-twin that makes a respectable 70kW of power and 77Nm of torque. The first batch of bikes into Australia had messy fueling – they would stutter from closed to open throttle – but it seems as though CFMoto has rectified this issue as promised; our MOTY testbike displayed no such foibles. In fact, the engine produces a nice spread of torque across the rev range, which is ideal for an adventure bike that will likely see duty both on and off the road.

The six-speed gearbox shifts smoothly enough when the clutch is used, but rely on the standard quickshifter and sometimes it’s a bit difficult to change gears, with downshifts in particular requiring a decent prod on the gear lever. Luckily the clutch is light and progressive.

The fully adjustable KYB suspension works well on the road and offers generous 160mm/150mm travel front/rear for rough road riding or ttail work. The J.Juan brake package, which includes radial-mounted four-piston front calipers, offers plenty of power and reasonable feel, and the ABS works well on road and dirt. Overall build is good, with fabulous paint finish on the LE testbike, but a couple of things could be improved upon such as the awkward screen adjustment (via two knobs) and the flimsy-looking lower mounts for the engine protection bars. 

The 800MT is innovative in that it offers so much for so little, but it’s let down by the omission of traction control. On gravel roads it can struggle to find traction over corrugations, and that also means that it doesn’t quite nail its design brief. Sure, with a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel combination, the 800MT isn’t designed for hardcore off-road riding, but there’s little doubt many will see plenty of dirt road action. Having said that, if you’re after a comfortable long-distance tourer there’s no doubt the 800MT Touring fulfills that role well thanks to its neutral riding position, decent weather protection, ample luggage-carrying ability, cruise control, adjustable ride modes, a seven-inch colour TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity and navigation, standard fog lights, and its heated grips and seat. 

Is the 800MT fun to ride? You betcha, especially when you’re out on the open road and loaded up for an adventure… no matter the conditions.

Test: Dean Mellor

Over the next few weeks we will reveal more about the eight MOTY finalists on the AMCN website and eventually announce the winner. If you can’t wait that long to find out which motorcycle has been awarded AMCN’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year presented by Shannons Insurance, grab a copy of the AMCN Yearbook, which is on sale now at newsagents and select supermarkets.