As they dip into the scrambler motorcycle craze, CFMOTO unveiled the neo-retro 700CL-X Heritage well ahead of the 2019 EICMA.
Then, about a year later, CFMOTO Philippines announced the 700CL-X Heritage’s availability with an SRP of PHP 369,800. Pitted against Yamaha’s XSR700 – which is a good PHP 109,200 more expensive than the 700CL-X Heritage – is the latter a real bang-for-the-buck choice versus its Japanese counterpart?
Design and features
In my book, CFMOTO did an excellent job in creating its own version of a neo-retro bike. The 700CL-X Heritage successfully fuses elements of a scrambler/flat tracker with a roadster bike. Very prominent is the 700CL-X Heritage’s old-school round headlight complimented with an X-shaped LED daytime running light (DRL) and cowl.
That LED DRL can also be automatically turned on or off, depending on the surrounding ambient light with the use of light sensors. The turn signals, too, automatically turn themselves off when the direction of the bike has changed.
At the center is a simple and easy-to-read 3-inch fully-digital console that displays the speed, RPM, as well as the trip meter, odometer, and other warning lights.
At the heart of the 700CL-X Heritage is a liquid-cooled parallel-twin 693cc engine that churns out about 75 Ps of power at 8,500 rpm and 86 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. Power is then transferred to a six-speed transmission with a CF-SC slipper clutch. A Bosch EFI (Germany) manages fuel while the electronic throttle control ensures crisp engine response throughout the rev range.
There are two engine maps available: Eco and Sport. Another notable electronic feature of the 700CL-X Heritage is the cruise control, with its switch directly inspired by BMW’s very own cruise control toggle.
Bumps are handled by a pair of 41 mm KYB (Japan) inverted forks on the front and a link-mounted mono shock absorber on the rear, also from KYB. The KYB suspension system installed on the 700CL-X Heritage is both preload, rebound, and damping adjustable.
Stopping power is handled by a J.Juan 4-piston caliper biting a single floating disc on the front, while the rear has a single-piston caliper and disc. Both the front and rear brakes are governed by an ABS from Continental (Germany).
Riding the 700CL-X Heritage
Being in the 700cc category and with neo-retro styling cues, I can’t help but compare the 700CL-X Heritage with Yamaha’s XSR700 – which is, again, a good PHP 109,200 more expensive than CFMOTO’s offering.
Since I live in the south of Manila, the first order of business after picking up the 700CL-X Heritage from Motostrada’s Caloocan showroom is to ride the bike along Skyway Stage 3. For those who are familiar, Skyway Stage 3 strictly imposes a 60 kph speed limit. Luckily, the 700CL-X Heritage is equipped with a cruise control feature that allowed me to effortlessly stay within the speed limit and ride home without incurring any overspeeding ticket – a feature NOT present on the XSR700.
After reaching the end of Skyway Stage 3 in Makati, the maximum speed is raised to 80 kph up to Alabang. From there, I switched the ride mode from Eco to Sport, which allowed the engine to provide more grunt from low to mid on the rev range. A similar riding mode/engine mapping feature is NOT present on the XSR700.
The 700CL-X Heritage’s slipper clutch also made downshifting and deceleration safer by partially disengaging (slipping) the clutch when the rear wheel is faster than the engine’s revolution. This feature is especially helpful and not intimidating to beginners who want to ride big bikes. Again, this slipper clutch feature is NOT present on the XSR700.
Easily enough in just the first ride, the CFMOTO 700CL-X Heritage has proved itself to be more technologically advanced than Yamaha’s XSR700.
Another thing that we liked about the 700CL-X Heritage is its comfortable and upright riding ergonomics, which is heaven-sent, especially during long hours on the saddle. Being in an upright riding position takes a lot of stress away from the rider’s back muscles as opposed to a motorcycle designed with more aggressive riding ergonomics.
Though we were not able to take the 700CL-X Heritage at the fine mountain roads of Marilaque, we are confident that the suspension system from KYB would live to its reputation as one of the best in the industry. Complimenting the KYB system is a pair of Pirelli MT60 tires – which are the same tires installed on the Ducati Scrambler.
While we were unable to take the 700CL-X Heritage to the usual long hauls we do here at MotoPinas.com due to the complexities brought about by the ongoing pandemic, its short but sweet stint with us proved that CFMOTO has really come a long way and is now creating motorcycles that can be packed with far greater features vs its Japanese-made counterpart – at a much affordable price.
Remember, CFMOTO is a strategic partner of KTM and has been manufacturing the latter's LC8 engines for quite some time now. So, technology-wise, CFMOTO is on the world stage now.
We’ve enjoyed riding the 700CL-X Heritage with its newbie-friendly, butt-hugging seat (800 mm seat height) so much that we totally forgot to take note of the fuel consumption. But who cares about fuel consumption? With a bike like the 700CL-X Heritage, the “smiles per liter” it will give its rider will have you forget everything about the world and just enjoy the ride.