An affordable sports tourer amid rising COE prices
When the latest results of the certificate of entitlement (COE) were announced recently, it started a flurry of angry chatter among the bike fraternity.
At $9,500 for a motorcycle COE, it has made owning even a small capacity motorbike more expensive.
The record premium is more than twice the machine price of an SYM Jet 14 scooter or a Yamaha MX King 150, both having roughly $4,000 machine prices.
It is equally painful for the Class 2 or above 401cc segment where prices spike skywards, thanks to the additional registration fee component.
But for price-conscious bikers, there is still hope for middle-weight motorbikes produced in China, Vietnam, Thai- land and India.
One of them is the CFMoto 650GT, which has a palatable on-the-road price of about $21,000 without insurance.
The 650cc, parallel-twin cylinder motorcycle is a sports tourer minus sophisticated electronics or top-shelf braking or suspension parts.
It comes with a pair of Shad panniers (side boxes) that would make long-distance rides or daily commutes convenient activities.
For a person who does not care about brand labels but expects predictable performance each day, its maximum 61bhp and 58.5Nm of torque will fit the bill without any fanfare.
Above 2,500rpm, the 650GT accelerates strongly towards 9,000rpm where its maximum power is achieved. Maximum torque is made at 7,000rpm, and the 650GT has a 13,000rpm rev ceiling.
Despite the humble performance figures, the China-made 650GT can sprint from zero to 100kmh in seven seconds and has a top speed of roughly 180kmh.
To keep costs low, some electronic riding aids are not included.
Its rectangular, full-colour digital dashboard displays sufficient information on fuel, battery charge voltage, riding mode and gear indicator.
It has two riding modes, Touring and Sport, which can be selected via a button on its clean, left handlebar control. Sport mode sees a faster throttle response and acceleration between 3,000rpm and 7,500rpm.
While it turns a tad slower than a sports bike, you would hardly notice its 226kg kerb weight when on the move.
Things are kept simple on the liquid-cooled 650GT, which may not be a bad thing after all.
To adjust the height of the windscreen, you would have to unwind two knobs before the higher setting can be chosen and then locked.
Its telescopic front forks and diagonally-mounted rear shock provide enough cushioning but maybe a little soft for heavier riders.
Anti-lock brakes, along with steel-braided brake lines, give the rider additional confidence. On open roads like expressways, the 650GT’s large rider seat offers comfort. The higher road speed requires the windscreen to be set at a higher position for better wind protection.
When you need to reset the trip meter, you do so via two buttons on the dashboard – like how it used to be on analogue speedometers.
Its satin blue colour stands out in traffic while the angular styling lines add a futuristic element to the fuel-injected 650GT.
However, its two-into-one exhaust system produces a “thumper” sound that is synonymous with single-cylinder motorcycles.
What gives it an advantage is its fuel economy of about 18km per litre of fuel. With a 19-litre fuel tank, in theory, it can venture up to 342km before the next fill-up.
The 650GT may not be the fastest or most powerful in its class, but it will appeal to riders looking for more “go” without burning a large hole in your wallet.