Zane jetted off to Albury to take the all-new CFMOTO 450SR for a fang around the track and a spin on the road. Check out what he thought of this affordable machine.... Photos: FStylePhoto
There are few bikes with this level of equipment, in this category, at this price point. The new CFMOTO 450SR is a seriously impressive bike that you can buy for under eight grand on the road. Check out what we thought of it on track and street at the Australian launch.
The 2023 CFMOTO 450SR is my final launch before I take a month off from the crazy times that are mid-year new-model releases, and what a treat this one was. As a self-titled “LAMS expert” due to being limited to the class for the first four years of my career, I understand what it is that this category desperately needs. People on their provisional licence want something that looks like a big bike, has some techy gadgets, heaps of accessories and costs as little as possible.
I have some high hopes for the 450SR, I spent a lot of time on Supersport 300 bikes as a teenager and always looked for something to knock the Yamaha YZF-R3 off it’s tall throne its held since the major update in 2019. The truth is, the Yamaha is just an epic bike for the track but is a bit lack-lust in terms of luxuries for road riding.
Check out our collection of LAMS bike reviews here…
CFMOTO flew me down to Albury last-minute due to Jeff’s two week battle with COVID. After a night-out in what I can only describe as a limbo town (they don’t act like Victorians or New South Welshmen), it was time to hit the little Albury/Wodonga Training Centre circuit at the TAFE.
What a cool little track, just over 1.6km and nine turns, there’s more than enough room to have some fun out here. The surface is seriously grippy and there’s even little markers on the track showing the best line through the corner. I’d absolutely recommend heading here for a track or training day with Murray Valley Training Co, the people who run that are some seriously nice dudes that just want to see you out on track having a ball.
First peek at the bikes in person and man are they cool, this is what I mean by the LAMS market wants to see a bike that looks like a proper full-sized machine. Big winglets at the front with programmed LED DRL’s and headlights, full fairing that wraps around the gold USD forks, a proper shaped cockpit and tank, an epic colour scheme and those fat tyres.
A quick brief before we headed out on track was met with “Why are you in such a hurry Zane”? I could see the clouds rolling in and there was absolutely no way I was missing out on dry track time. As soon as Matt Reilly, CFMOTO Australia Marketing Manager, finished briefing us, I jumped on the bike and headed out quickly!
“The 450SR is an instantly confidence inspiring bike, proven by the fact that a had my knee down half a lap in on cold tyres…”
The 450SR is an instantly confidence inspiring bike, proven by the fact that a had my knee down half a lap in on cold tyres. After a stack on the track a few months ago, I thought it would take me a little longer to get my eye in, but the CFMOTO just has that aura about it that lets you know “Let’s go, I can take what you throw at me.”
Right off the bat, the 449.9cc parallel twin engine isn’t the fastest motor I’ve ever experienced. The 34.5kW@10,000rpm power level is similar to that of a Yamaha YZF-R3 and is trumped by the power of a Ninja 400 despite having an increased capacity over those two. The good thing about the power levels being similar is that there could possibly be a third manufacturer contending the Supersport 300 class in ASBK and in other club and State race series.
A 10,000rpm peak power level in this class is certainly the norm. This translates to an extremely easy bike to manage at low speeds and a smooth/flowing machine on the track at high rpm. On a flowing circuit like the Albury/Wodonga one, the 450SR can pretty much just stay in one gear as you connect the corners smoothly and really rev the machine out to redline.
The way the power comes on is actually quite linear, there’s no real noticeable jump in power across the range. Of course, you’re going to really want to rev the 450SR out, but the numbers on the speedo just seem to keep climbing and climbing until you hit the limiter.
Smooth fuel delivery attributes to this, the way you wind on the throttle see’s an attentive and playful engine with no flat-spots. CFMOTO have really seemed to work out their fuel mapping since the 800MT was released with a less than ideal map. The beauty with the CFMOTO’s are they can be updated through the app. So, if CFMOTO decide that they’ve corrected a fuel chart issue, you just download the update and load it onto the bike through your phone, no need to take it in for a tune.
The forks are nice but certainly not the best in this category. I can see them being an issue with riders looking to do track days or race. A change of fork springs and a muck around with the oil weights and maybe even emulators in the forks should be on the to-do list if you’re looking to track one of these, I’m sure it’s a very short matter of time before people start making some off the shelf race parts for them.
Keeping my weight at the front of the bike sees some dive under heavy braking which tends to upset the bike while trail braking and letting the front brakes off mid corner. That spring back/rebound caught me off-guard while I’m still learning the track.
The shock handles the track and my 85kg frame really well. The boys at CFMOTO Australia offer to up the preload but I don’t feel the need to. There’s no excessive sag at the rear but once the shock breaks in, I’m sure an upgrade wouldn’t hurt. Believe it or not there’s already a fully adjustable race rear shock available for the 450SR in the USA for $950USD.
Wow, what an epic chassis. As I said previously, you feel instantly comfortable to lean the bike over into the turns. The geometry is great. It also has a spacious cockpit with somewhat tall clip-on handlebar setup and a comfortable peg position. Everything feels correctly built.
Those winglets are actually functional, albeit I couldn’t feel the forces of them on such a slow circuit. The fairing is spectacular for tucking in, it put me in a world of my own as it suddenly got very quiet all around me, more than enough space for my 183cm frame to be jammed under the windshield for an extra few km/h. Sitting upright see’s some awesome wind direction too, of course there’s still some wind being pushed up an around my lid, but its not shooting directly up through the chin gap.
There is some international prejudice around Chinese manufacturing but you can’t think about this bike like a cheap fake, it’s more like an Apple product (which are also made in China), because when was the last time you heard complaints about Apple’s build quality?
There are zero heavy vibrations, nothing feels loose and there is certainly very little flex in the chassis. At a weight of 179kg wet, it is slightly heavier than its Japanese competitors, but removal of some of the equipment not needed for racing would bring the bikes closer in weight. With that being said, you can’t feel the increase in weight over the competitors.
Braking is sorted by a premium Brembo M40 four-piston caliper gripping a 320mm front disc. They work awesome for a single front brake setup, plenty of feel through the lever and heaps of actual braking power. There is a BOSCH 9.1 ABS system which does intervene slightly too early for my liking under hard braking, you can really feel that shutter through the ‘bars.
The clutch has a very broad bite point to it, perfect for new riders. There’s a forgiving action to it which makes it pretty damn hard to stall, on the flip side the lever feels a bit loose and sloppy. Speaking of slipping, the CF-SC Slipper Clutch does allow the rear wheel to hop under rapid downshifting, but these are pretty much fresh out of the box bikes so I don’t doubt that the clutch will loosen up over time.
The 450SR features a 5in TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity and t-box system. This is the type of equipment that P platers love, at this price-point it’s insane to think it’s included. The TFT is simple and easy to navigate, while Matt from CFMOTO kept an eye on us all day getting updates on GPS location, engine rpm and temperatures all through his phone.
The wheels are shod in what looks a hell of a lot like Pirelli Diablos, the boys at CFMOTO inform me that CST tyres that come on CFMOTO’s from the factory are actually a sub-brand of Pirelli. Yes, they’re China made but the grip levels from them are actually quite good! Pirelli and Metzeler tyres are also made in China anyway.
They get up to temperature extremely quickly and retain a lot of it. A 110/70 – 17 and 150/60 – 17 means you have plenty of lean angle at the front and rear. It’s also a super common size so you have a heap of branded tyre options.
As the rain fell and we started to take it really easy, the 450SR really showed off its stability. Keeping a bike upright in the rain is always a challenge when testing the limits but after letting the tyre pressures down to around 27psi, it handled being leant over a fair bit in the rain bar a few rear slide moments, which is a given considering the conditions on track.
We decided to take the little machines out for a road ride next and that’s where the suspension really shines. The settings started to make more sense when riding along the back roads around. Comfort is second-to-none for this category, you can really tell when a bike is struggling with harsh roads by following others on the same bike and seeing it clatter over bumps in the road. The 450SR just glides over these with confidence and ease.
Gearing is well set and it revs at only 4000rpm in sixth gear along the freeway, meaning long journeys on the little bike won’t be taxing on the engine or your accelerator hand. Not only that, but the way you sit really promotes a more upright seating position while commuting, allowing for the best of both worlds in terms of everyday riding.
The only thing that would be on my wishlist, that CMFOTO haven’t got in their genuine accessories just yet, is a quickshifter. The bike would be spectacularly smooth with a quickshifter to rattle through the gears on. I do have to give the 450SR some praise for it’s gearbox as it’s one of the only motorcycles in the past few months that hasn’t give my toes some grief after dropping a trailer ramp (and most likely fracturing one). Clicking through the gears is extremely light work and incredibly smooth.
The rear brake has plenty of feeling while riding at slow speeds and there is a serious amount of steering lock, meaning manoeuvrability is plentiful and you’ll have absolutely no issues tackling something like a Ps course on this.
I went into this test thinking “Wow that’s a lot of gear for not a lot of money” and left thinking “Wow that’s a lot of gear for not a lot of money”. $7,990 rideaway, what the heck is going on here. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bike that looks this good and has this many goodies on it for close to this price.
“I went into this test thinking ‘wow that’s a lot of gear for not a lot of money’ and left thinking ‘wow that’s a lot of gear for not a lot of money'”…
Yes, I have to admit that the Ninja 400 and YZF-R3 are more refined to ride on the track, but that’s after years and years of development. But, when it comes to actual equipment, branded parts and tech included, the 2023 CFMOTO 450SR seems to impress. I’m extremely eager to see what racers do with this model to make them a genuine contender in Supersport 300 classes, if they’re allowed to race…
As is the case with most CFMOTO’s in Australia, there is a seriously huge amount of accessories already available for the 450SR. I rode a tricked out one and not only did it look epic and sounded seriously cool, but it gave an element of personalisation that P platers want. There’s already a company in Tasmania making a slip on system for these which makes the 270 degree parallel twin sound really angry. Seriously, just check out all the parts you can get for the bike already here…
2023 CFMOTO 450SR Tech Talk
CFMOTO started the 450SR by developing a completely new 450cc parallel-twin cylinder DOHC engine. Internally, the 450cc twin features 270° crankshaft, a double balance shaft, lightweight forged pistons and split connecting rods. This translates to 34.5kW@10,000rpm and 39.3Nm@7750rpm.
An FCC slipper clutch was added and CFMOTO say they kept the clutch action in mind to offer a wide bite point. The ‘slipper’ function aids in keeping the bike steady during sharp downshifts, reducing back-torque and keeping the rear tyre from hopping/locking up.
The 450SR’s fairing got put through over 30 hours of extensive aerodynamic wind tunnel testing. The SR line’s split front face line cowling design was sculpted with enlarged grooves to minimise drag-loses. CFMOTO claim those winglets aren’t just for looks too, they offer 1.6x downforce…
The chromium-molybdenum alloy steel frame weighs less than 11kg, while the removable sub-frame weighs less than 4kg, is lighter than standard welded designs and is easily replaceable in the event of a crash. The machine also sports a lightweight swingarm and aluminium alloy wheels (front 110/70R17 and rear 150/60R17) with a unique 6-spoke design.
Up front, the 450SR is equipped with USD forks. A rising-rate multi-link system connects the rear shock instead of being bolted directly to the swing arm providing improved bump absorption and greater control. The rear shock is also adjustable for pre-load.
The 450SR has been outfitted with a four-piston radially mounted Brembo M40 monobloc caliper with 32mm pistons matched with a single 320mm floating front brake disc. Rear braking duties are taken care of by a single-piston caliper paired with a 220mm disc. The lightweight, one-piece BOSCH 9.1 Antilock Brake System (ABS) is the same unit found on the 800MT adventure tourer.
A 5-inch TFT curved display has a wealth of information available at a glance via an easy-to-read layout. It is equipped with CFMOTO’s T-Box system that enables smartphone connection via Bluetooth and the CFMOTO RIDE App. Through the CFMOTO RIDE App, the rider can access an array of features, including navigation; track lap times, ride history and statistics; remote vehicle status, including a fuel indicator; the ability to conduct over-the-air software updates; new security features, including movement sensors, vehicle location and even set up a virtual electric fence to alert you of vehicle movement or theft.
There’s a choice between two contemporary liveries – Nebula Black with Pearl White and Tosca Green accents or Zircon Black with Velocity Grey and Red accents.
2023 CFMOTO 450SR Specifications
Price: $7,990 rideaway
Warranty: Three years/unlimited kilometre
Colours: Nebula Black with Pearl White and Tosca Green accents or Zircon Black with Velocity Grey and Red accents.
Claimed power: 34.5kW@10,000rpm
Claimed torque: 39.3Nm@7750rpm
Wet weight: 179kg
Fuel capacity: 14L
Fuel Consumption Claimed: N/A
Fuel Consumption (measured): N/A
Engine: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, parallel twin, DOHC, 270° crankshaft, 449.9cc, 72 x 55.2mm bore x stroke, 11.5:1 compression, Bosch EFI. Gearbox: 6-speed with CF-SC Slipper Clutch
Chassis: Chromium-molybdenum alloy steel frame
Rake: N/A degrees Trail: N/A
Suspension: 37mm USD fork, 120mm travel (f), Multi-link central single rear shock, adjustable spring preload, 130mm travel (r)
Brakes: Brembo M40 4-piston radially mounted caliper, single 320mm floating disc, ABS (F) Single-piston caliper, 220mm disc (R)
Wheels & Tyres: 110/70 R17, CST ADRENO HS, 150/60 R17, CST ADRENO HS
Seat Height: 795mm
Ground Clearance: N/A
Overall Length: 1990mm
Overall Width: 735mm
Overall Height: 1130mm
Instruments & Electronics: 5in TFT colour display, CFMOTO T-Box, CFMOTO RIDE App, BOSCH 9.1 ABS, LED lighting.
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The Verdict | Review: 2023 CFMOTO 450SR, Track Test & Road Spin