Excited would be an understatement when we found out we would be heading to a racetrack to test the new 2023 CFMOTO 450SR. It’s been a bit more than six years since this writer’s last track day and let’s just say, that one didn’t end too well for yours truly.
And so, we gathered up our gear, packed our bags, and headed for Albury. Dinner and sleep later, we woke for some breakfast before heading to Murray Valley Training Centre (that aforementioned track).
Upon arrival, we found a fine example of the new 450SR being photographed on the tarmac. First impressions of the new 450SR were very good. We absolutely love the look of it; the CFMOTO has a real wow factor.
The mid-sized sports bike has wind tunnel tested and functional front wings, and both its colour schemes look the goods. After an information session, it was time to suit up and get riding, before the rain arrived.
Starting up the parallel twin, which sports a 270-degree crank, delivers that familiar grumpy sound. Heading out, we take the first couple of laps pretty easy. Straight away it feels comfortable – a little surprising as they aren’t made for a 6-foot 2-inch 120kg man.
With the tyres warm, we pushed harder and much to our surprise, even with stock suspension, we were having an absolute blast. The bike feels solid up front, and we even had a few twitches from the rear when flip flopping and accelerating hard out of corners.
It wasn’t too long before the rain came. After a short rest, heading back out on a wet track was a little nerve racking as no one wants to be the first to chuck an brand new model “down the road”, and thankfully it wasn’t me who did.
It feels pretty solid in the wet, and we found we were able to push a little harder than expected on the CST Adreno HS5 tyres. Power from the LAMS approved 450cc is a modest 34kW (46HP), with 39Nm of torque, but it’s delivered in a very usable way.
The 450SR is also fitted with an FCC slipper clutch which is very handy, both on track and road. It also has the ability to change between normal gear shifting and GP/reverse shift, with a simple position change on the linkage rod.
If we were using the bike for consistent track use, we would definitely flick over to GP shift. Out on some actual roads, the mid-sized sports bike pulled nicely from around 7000rpm, right through to redline, allowing for easy overtaking when needed.
It’s quite the mild mannered machine and would make a great commuter, but also has the ability to step up to the next level when you’re wanting to attack the “twisties” harder.
Braking from the single floating 320mm disc with 4-piston Brembo M40 callipers and Bosch ABS is sufficient, without being mind blowing. Out on the track, we didn’t use the single 220mm disc back brakes at all, but did find them useful on the road in traffic.
The 37mm inverted fork offers good feel and stability, even for a heavy rider like yours truly, and there is some available preload adjustment from the multi-link central single rear shock. Long stints in the saddle at the track are likely to translate into cramping though.
This is probably more of an issue with this rider, rather than the bike, which would likely be relieved to some extent by adding the taller 815mm seat. In real world, road riding conditions, the cramping disappeared and the bike is a little easier to ride.
The bike itself features LED headlights that look great, and even go through a little “dance” when starting up, which is a nice touch. There’s also a 5.0-inch TFT display that’s bright and easy to read. It’s here you’ll find a shift indicator for perfectly timed gear changes.
The CFMOTO TBOX system and Ride app also work on the 2023 450SR, providing smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth and navigation. You’ll also find track timing, ride stats, remote vehicle status, and a fuel indicator.
The ability to conduct over-the-air software updates and even set up a virtual electric fence to alert you of vehicle movement or theft of your bike, is excellent. There’s also a convenient USB port for charging devices on the move.
There’s a bunch of aftermarket components available too, including an alternative seat cowling, an SR seat, foldable billet brake and clutch levers, a tinted and taller front screen, tail tidy, and an angry sounding Tasmanian-made Verex slip on exhaust.
All-in-all, the 2023 CFMOTO 450SR represents a great package and one we would definitely consider if we were riding on smaller tracks like Murray Valley Training Centre. It provides a perfect package for a LAMS rider looking for a sports bike that doubles as a commuter.
It would also suit a mature rider entering the sports bike market after some time out. Available in Zircon Black (with red highlights) or Nebula Black (with white and turquoise highlights), it’s priced from $7990 ride away and backed by a 3-year factory warranty.
Our test bikes were provided by CFMOTO Motorcycles Australia as part of the Australian media launch. To find out more about the 2023 CFMOTO 450SR, contact your local CFMOTO Motorcycle dealer. Pictures courtesy of Fstyle photography.