LONG TERM REVIEW : CFMOTO CFORCE 600 single seat and touring (2up)November 28, 2020
BY: M-A Quessy
It’s about time! Time for a good-looking entry-level ATV from CFMOTO Canada.
Why do entry level have to go hand in hand with plain or dated looks? For the life of me I just cannot understand why most budget conscious machines look so unattractive.
Take CFMOTO’s Cforce 400 / 500HO line for example. Great little machines that are reliable (I’ve proven that many times over with the 500 ho) but already looked dated when they launched back in 2016. Why? Seriously I don’t know. Is it to entice buyers towards the higher end machines? Probably.
Step forward to 2020 with the all new CFORCE 600 series and you’re going to be visually rewarded with a drop-dead gorgeous machine. I kid you not, look at this bad boy!
Finally! They got it right this time. Well, in my opinion.
Check out Marc’s first impressions video below!
I usually start out with engines in my reviews because well, humm, I’m a mechanic but… I cannot get my eyes off the gorgeous bodywork. What the??? This is a CFMOTO? Where’s the hidden camera show crew? Are they going to jump out anytime now and say “Gotcha!”. What? It’s not a joke? This is the real deal?
Yup, no joke, this ATV is the second ground up design in the CFORCE line that was created through CFMOTO’s partnership with the European motorcycle manufacturer KTM and it’s design studio Kiska (www.kiska.com). Take the CFMOTO badging off and slap any other manufacturer’s name and no one would be the wiser. It looks that good in my opinion and I’m a picky guy.
All I can say is: It’s about time!
You can look at it from any angle and it’s a win in my book. From the gorgeous front grill with integrated headlights with led accents to the rear panel’s taillight with a wrap around design that reminds me of a late model Dodge Durango or Charger, this ATV is a class act in design. Fit and finish is at Japanese level of quality and the paint work is nice and deep with a thick clearcoat. They also thankfully did away with the cheezy graphics of old for something discreet and tasteful.
LOVE IT! Good job CFMOTO!
The 580cc mill is all new for this model, it produces a tad over 42hp and 36 ft lbs of torque. It’s almost vibration free. The only thing that erks me is the throttle mapping. It’s lazy and slow to react at low accelation. This makes the unfamiliar rider feel like it’s underpowered but if you pin the throttle, the engine wakes up instantly and delivers those 42 horses with authority. I think the low rpm mapping was intentional for smoother operation especially on the two up version. It’s still a little disconcerting if you get on and off switching ATVs. The mapping in very, very slow getting on the throttle at low speed.
The power is there, it’s just delivered in a different fashion that the rider has to get used to. It is deceptively fast… Can I say that? Oh well, that’s how I feel about it. We had a 700cc ATV around for the camera guy and the CFORCE 600 was faster reaching speed and had better midrange acceleration. Weird throttle mapping, but it works.
TRANSMISSION / CVT / 4X4
This unit has a dry clutch CVT drive that is tuned for comfort to match the engine’s funky throttling. The CVTech Trailbloc primary is matched to an Invance secondary drive from the same manufacturer. I love this clutch setup. It’s easy to tune for larger tires or performance enhancements with minimal internal parts that requires almost no maintenance. I am definitely a fan of this setup. Easy peazy no nonsense setup that does not require an engineering degree to tune or maintain properly.
The transmission is of usual fare for CFMOTO ATVs. A little notchy but a better positive feel than the 400/500ho series at the lever. The foot brake lockout system is better than before, but I really wish they would get rid of it completely. Use of an electric solenoid for this would solve the issue definitively.
Overall, it’s a fairly quiet gearbox with no fanfare that does the job.
The 4X4 system is one thing I like about this unit. No nonsense, no gimmicky awd or automatic locking diffs here. Just a revised switch pod for 2×4. 4X4 and a full lock mode that stays locked until you decide to unlock it. I like that.
SUSPENSION AND STEERING
The suspension setup is considerably basic with 6.7 inches of travel up front and 8.6 inches out back. For once, the adjustable spring rate is exactly right for the basic nonadjustable shocks. Damping is good and the handling is confidence inspiring especially for new riders. Stability and precision are very good for this type of entry / midrange level ATV. Just don’t expect the same level of ride quality as it’s larger 800 and 1000cc siblings.
Steering has always been a little fuzzy with CFMoto ATVs in the past. Either under assisted like the Gen1 CForce 800 or over assisted on the gen 2s. The 600’s EPS is spot on, just the way I like it and makes the CF6’s steering feel more planted at speeds over 80 kph (I’ll get to that later). Turn radius is much improved here with the full turn circle being a little over 1 metre shorter. That makes it just so much easier to make a three-point turn in a trail.
WHEELS TIRES AND BRAKES
The 600 is equipped with 12 inch stylised cast aluminum alloy wheels that are nicely matched to the machine, not too funky and not too plain. Just right in my opinion.
Tires are, hum, lets say less than what I deem acceptable for such a great handling entry level package. On both of the machines I tested, the 25 inch generic bias ply tires by Innova were an absolute letdown. Riding on groomed winter trails with ice and snow that was churned by a couple of dozen ATVs before was not fun at all. Absolutely zero traction in snow. On dirt trails they are decent until you hit close to 80 kph. After that my friends, hold on and be brave to the 110 kph indicated top speed.
Why did CFMoto still choses these awfull tires is a mystery to me. Well, we all know it’s a money thing eh? Slap an extra 250$ on the sticker price CFMOTO and get us some good quality rubber under this little monster! Get your dealer to install some radial tires in 26 inches like a CST Stag or Maxxis Bighorn 2.0s if you will be riding trails. You will discover all of what the 600 is capable of.
Braking is solid though. Right from the get-go at barely 2 km on the odometer to the 500ish kilometers I reached during this testing with both models brake application is easy to modulate. All new master cylinders front and back gives the rider more feel that can produce top scores in braking performance. The system is linked front to back so grabbing a handful or lever or stomping the rear brake pedal in a panic stop will prevent the ATV from easily locking up the wheels and lose control. Best braking performance I’ve sampled on a CFMOTO yet.
Getting on and off the 600 is very easy with the controls falling naturally within reach. Big, tall or short and skinny, the seating position is very comfortable. Even my 5’5” wife can reach the controls without too much upper body movement with the bars turned to the max.
I like the way my feet fall naturally in the footwells combined with the handlebar reach, it makes my upper body straighter. This position minimizes stress on my back in the bumpy stuff which keeps me going longer. I think that the designers finally thought about the average north Americans height difference compared to Asians in the latest models because this was an issue in the past. Now, if they could only do that with their UTVs, I’d be really happy. My almost 6’3” 220 lbs frame is happy sitting on the 600 and that’s what’s important for me.
Frame / body
The CFORCE 600’s frame is an evolution from the 400 / 500 series. Cross bred with the 800 / 1000, it’s much stiffer and delivers a good ride quality. You don’t feel it flex but it does. It’s on the porky side of the weight game though and this is where I think CFMOTO could improve. If you get stuck with it, you’ll love the fact that its factory equipped with a winch. Tipping the scales at nearly 900 lbs (870 for the single seater and 915 for the 2up version) is on the high end of all things weight compared to competitor’s models in the same category.
Well, I’ve said it many times in the past and I’m still going to say it here: I’m quite surprised at how good CFMOTO is getting in the offroad game. The CFORCE 600 is the first entry level ATV they have built that can compete on a level playing field with other single cylinder single and two seaters in the market.
Just by looking at the CFORCE 600, the design inspires confidence, a perception of quality and craftmanship. That, in my opinion, is a major step up for them. The mechanical side still needs a little fine tuning like the weird throttle mapping, but the rest is good enough for me to give it more than a passing grade like before.
The CFORCE 600 is proof of what I’m saying here. It’s a great unit that can now rival with anything in its class. IT WILL even open a can of whoopass on certain models. It’s great looking, has a decent engine, great CVT, good handling, comfortable for all day riding, got a bunch of accessories included and has the best warranty package in the business: 1 year full / 5 year powertrain (Canada).
Try one, I dare ya! We did and we bought one!
Louis’s son Martin (Louis is our senior editor at our french media quadiste.net) was looking to buy his first brand new ATV and tried one on a demo ride. Week after that ride, he brought his 2021 Cforce 600 home to the Saguenay where he resides. Happy camper.
Arctic Cat Alterra 570 / 700
Polaris Sportsman 570 / touring
Can-Am Outlander / max 450
Yamaha Grizzly 700
Suzuki Kingquad 750
Retail MSRP CAD$:
Single seat: 8 999$
Touring 2 up: 10 499$
ATVGUYS SCORE: 4.7 / 5.0
WOW, if I buy another ATV it WILL be a CFMoto!