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Old 02-15-2016, 10:50 AM   #1
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WKBikes readying Versys rival

Chinese parallel twin to spawn 650cc adventure model

Chinese firm CFMoto – marketed as WKBikes in the UK – is to launch a high-rise version of its 650cc parallel twin to take on the Kawasaki Versys.

The firm has long been making a range of 650cc twins that are mechanically virtually clones of the Kawasaki ER-6 range. While its naked 650i is clearly a rival to the ER-6n, the touring-oriented 650TR is more like a mini Pan European, and now it’s set to rival the Versys with a version dubbed the 650MT.

Both the 650i and 650TR are on the verge of major updates. The new, restyled TR has already been shown – then next-gen version is more mini BMW than mini Pan – and the 650i redesign has been seen in CAD/CAM form in design patents.

Now another design patent reveals that the 650MT is also nearly ready. The firm trademarked the name a couple of years ago and has made no bones about the fact it’s been working on an ‘adventure’ style 650 – using the loosest sense of the term. It’s clearly a road-only sports tourer rather than a big trailie, but since the adventure bike class has become a catch-all for anything with a taller-than-normal stance and high, wide bars, we’ll settle with calling it an adventure bike for now.

The wheels and upside down forks mirror those on the redesigned 650TR and the tubular steel frame looks the same as the other bikes in the firm’s 650 range. A new swingarm is evident, though, and the riding position is quite different to the other models.

Performance will presumably be identical to the other parallel twin 650s in the range, with 70bhp at 8500rpm and 46lb-ft of torque at 7000rpm.

Price will be key to its success. At the moment, WKBikes is offering the old model 650i for just £3299 (down from £4199), so it’s really a rival to a second-hand ER-6n. This new bike will similarly be a brand new alternative to a used Versys.

As usual with Chinese bikes, there’s going to be pressure to prove it’s got the longevity and reliability to rival more established brands, and depreciation is likely to freefall like Felix Baumgartner. But having said that, these designs don’t fit typical Chinese bike expectations of ugly proportions and mismatched lines; this looks like a neatly-styled bike, with perhaps a hint of KTM to the nose.

Perhaps that’s no coincidence, since KTM has a tie-in with CFMoto. The Chinese firm builds KTM 200 and 390 Dukes for its home market. KTM itself also has a parallel twin under development at the moment with a very similar mechanical layout to the CFMoto engine.
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