Review and Photos by Marc-André Quessy
CFMoto has come a long way since their humble beginning in 1989. Based in Hangzhou, China where they own a huge
1.6 million sq. ft. factory they are taking the global ATV and SSV market by storm.
With my many years in the powersports business, I’ve seen Chinese ATV brands come and go with the same low quality issues that were responsible for their demise in the .rst place. With that in mind, my .rst contact with CFMoto back in 2011 was an eye opener.
Meeting with CFMoto Canada president Mr. Carl Patoine face to face and discussing reliability issues of the first generation Snyper SSVs, with him promising that the issues will be taken care of and that my customers would not be left to fend for themselves, has greatly improved my view of CFMoto. Being the guy behind the counter as service manager of a large multibrand dealership is not fun when you have to deal with angry customers who were left stranded because of a series of failures. You know what? Carl Patoine’s promises came through
in some specific cases, even when the warranty was expired. So, in my book, CFMoto Canada became the first Chinese manufacturer I trusted.
Four years later, I’m pleasantly impressed by the progress achieved by CFMoto. Since 2013, in my honest opinion, they have been making machines that can now compare to the more popular Japanese, Canadian and US manufacturers.
When CFMoto offered us a long term review of the CForce 800 EPS we told them that there would be no holds barred with it.
And here we are now with their flagship big bore ATV, the CForce 800 EPS: a two up 800cc machine with power steering. It’s fully equipped and trail ready with bumpers, a winch, mirrors, 14 inch aluminium wheels, horn and flashers.
Start the engine and you can hear the low rumble of the 800cc VTwin engine. The Cforce is wet clutch driven to the CVT which will protect the belt from slipping. The system is very similar to Yamaha’s drive system and has proven as reliable in the two years this model has been available. Press the linked brake pedal; shift into high gear and go.
First things first, this thing makes power close to the CanAm Outlander Max 800 and the Polaris Sportsman touring 850, the current kings of the hill of the two seaters. Impressive. The CVT is a little sluggish because of the wet clutch, but on the trails against the Polaris and CanAm machines it’s barely noticeable.
The liquid cooled 800cc VTwin with overhead cams makes a claimed 62.6 hp and 53 ft. pound of torque. Equipped with a sequential fuel injection system by DELPHI, it works perfectly. The response to throttle inputs is clean and crisp and it revs up to the 6000 rpm limiter with ease.
I love to have power on tap when I go out riding hard with a bunch of friends and in the three months CFMoto has given me with this machine, I’ve never been left behind or felt like it was underpowered. I’ve ridden this thing so hard trying to see if it would hold up to abuse that it actually wore me out. Very impressive.
For some reason this engine just loves super unleaded. It runs fine on the regular stuff but on super it wakes up a few horses and runs a little smoother. With an indicated top speed of 117kph on a hard packed closed course it just plain scoots.
Fuel consumption is normal for the engine size except when you really push it hard. In high rev under high load it will guzzle gas faster than the competition but not at an alarming rate.
The wet clutch system mates to a CVTech CVT system. CVTech makes some of the best CVTs in the world and all CFMoto machines are CVTech equipped. All good on that. The sluggishness on hard acceleration from a stop can be dialed out with an optional performance upgrade soon to be released by CFMoto Canada (around $150.00) but it’s liveable for the average rider who unlike me uses the quad to ride touring with a passenger. Overall it’s a CVTech. It’s quiet enough, and gets the job done. It had solid performance without a glitch throughout the 3 months we had the machine.
The gearbox is a little hard to shift and you have to remember to press the brake pedal to shift out of Park. With a high and low gear ratio it can take on some serious off roading, steep terrain and hauling. It was a little notchy at .rst, but after breakin service it was much better.
The lack of locked four wheel drive is my gripe with the domestic two up machines. I’m really not a fan of part time four wheel drive The CForce is the only imported two up machine that is equipped with true lockable four wheel drive. From the simple .ick of a switch it can tackle some serious rock climbing that leaves its competitors down the slope. Been there, done that, and the faces of the guys that did not make it up the hill were priceless! +1 CFMoto!
Last thing about the drivetrain, it’s silky smooth and silent. You can barely hear the differentials and driveshafts while cruising down the trails. Can’t say that about some much pricier machines.
Do these shocks look familiar? Well they should as they look a lot like the excellent Elka racing Stage 3 legacy piggybacks. The YIT coil overs are fully adjustable threaded preload with compression and rebound adjustments. They are the key to the excellent handling of the CForce 800. If you like a sporty ride a tad on the .rm side you’re in luck! We’ve pushed this ATV hard for extended periods and we are still amazed by the way the suspension could take all we dished out without a single problem. The shocks keep their compression and rebound setting without fade all day long.
The Cforce will impress any seasoned ATV rider with its exemplary handling. It rides the curves like it’s on rails, a feat rarely seen in this segment. Only the Outlander max XTP performance package can out handle the Cforce 800. This ATV is made for riding long hauls. I’m still impressed at the kind of performance and handling it can dish out.
This is an area where the CForce falls short. With such a great motor and suspension there’s no excuse for a subpar EPS system. The power assist is ok but not great. The neutral position between where the EPS system engages is too large. A good 1.5 inches of movement is required to engage the assistance both ways. I thought there was a loose component in the steering linkage, but everything was ok down there. You might be able to dial it out with a calibration. This condition made the steering feel sluggish while it really is not. You get used to it and then don’t feel it until you jump off and ride another machine.
The brakes are on par and bring the nearly 800 pound beast to a stop in a reasonable distance. They are linked, meaning if you use the front lever or the brake pedal, braking force will be applied to all wheels for better stability. With two disc brakes up front and a single central disc mounted on the driveshaft in back, the brakes do their job ok. There’s nothing exceptional here except one detail: they are quiet, no squeals or rattles, just brakes.
The Cforce 800 EPS is a good looking machine. What you see here is really what you get off the showroom floor. A lot of details are included: mirrors, handguards, 3000lbs winch, front aluminium bash plate and 14 inch aluminium alloy wheel with a black semigloss finish. Flashers and horn too!
The bodywork is painted with an automotive finish which makes it look more upscale. I like the blue (Burnt Orange and Camo available) with the matte black plastic trim. The racks are sturdy and powdercoated for better resistance to wear and scratches. The fascia has a nice aggressive stance with halogen headlights that actually do a pretty good job at night. The rear end looks good too with the chromed bumper. It looks the part.
The bodywork held up nicely to all the abuse we put it through and it still looks like new when washed. The instrument panel is quite pleasing to look at and has all the information you need right there without toggling through endless menus nice! This is an area where the typical Chinese ATV usually falls short. All fasteners were still firmly in place when we took our tester back to CFMoto Canada headquarters.
Comfort is good and the firm saddle is not tiresome after a long day’s riding. The seating position is natural and the switches and buttons are easy to find and operate. Passenger accommodation is good with firm handholds that naturally fall in place for an average sized person. The floorboards are raised and comfortable for all day riding.
The only thing that ruins the look in my view are those cheesy looking stickers on the air box cover looks vintage 80’s.
The wheels they look good don’t they? Surprise! They’re included! 14 inch alloy wheels with 26 inch CST Abuzz tires. The CSTs are virtually unknown in Canada and are built on a bias ply carcass. What? No radial tires? I don’t know what CST did to these tires because they feel like radials. Sharp response, good grip in most conditions, in short they do the job. Tires and wheel size are details often overlooked, but they should not be. Having a 14 inch wheel with a 26 inch tire is another asset that makes the Cforce handle so well. The sidewall of the tire is shorter, thus it induces less lateral carcass movement for sharper steering, stability and speed.
Ok I admit it, I thought the Cforce 800 was probably going to fail somewhere along the trails. I told CFMoto I was not going to play nice with it and that we would ride the wheels off it like there’s no tomorrow and you know what? I was dead wrong! The little smile that company president Carl Patoine was wearing at the time I told him what we would subject his ATV to was not bravado or disbelief, it was confidence. He made no excuses nor did he try to get us to tone down. Nope! He just told us to have fun!
For an $11 895.00 (MSRP) machine, the Cforce 800 EPS is now a worthy competitor to much pricier offerings on the market and CFMoto has earned the rights to playing in the big leagues. Bang for the buck value is sky high; reliability is good. What else is there to say, but go out there and try one! •
This article was originally published in the October 2015 issue of Go Riding Magazine. Be sure to get all the latest ATV & Off Road news in your hands by subscribing today. If you missed an issue on the stands, or would like a copy of the issue this article was featured in, back issues are also available. Go Riding Magazine gift subscriptions are also available.