Tested: CF Moto X5 ATV

By: Barry Ashenhurst

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The Australian ATV market seems to grow every month, and it can be difficult picking the difference between brands that on the face of it look identical.

Presented with, say, a TGB, a CFMoto and a Kymco, most prospective buyers will have bugger-all chance of telling the difference. But differ they do. Put your glasses on and you’ll find that small things make a big difference, like the quality of the welding and the fittings, the standard of finish, the general robustness of the components, and how easy or fiddly it will be to service each machine.

With this in mind we found testing the Chinese-made CFMoto X5 interesting because we climbed on the X5 a short time after flogging the Taiwanese-made TGB 550. These two differed in several meaningful ways, but what they proved beyond doubt is that Chinese and Taiwanese ATVs are no longer suitable targets for derision.

There are two versions of the X5 model, a long wheelbase two-seater, and the short wheelbase model with a ‘farm pack’ comprising a full-length skid plate and a brush and rail kit, which we tested.

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The X5 is built for anyone needing a 4x4 machine that can carry a load at relatively low speed around largely flat terrain. It lacks many of the niceties of a Can-Am, such as adjustable power-steering. Nor is it fast and it certainly doesn’t corner like the proverbial rat on rails. On the other hand, it’s nearly $4,000 cheaper than the Can-Am 500 DPS.

A 493cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled carburetted 4-stroke drives through a conventional CVT (constantly variable transmission) with high and low range and switchable four-wheel drive.

The X5 running gear is also conventional, though not highly developed. The shocks have limited pre-load adjustment and cannot be rebuilt. Suspension front and rear uses dual A-arms with the top member made from aluminium.

To its credit the X5 steers nicely. The hydraulic brakes are good as well, with one lever for the front discs and another, plus a pedal, for the rear brake.

Engine braking is comparable to the TGB 550 we tested a few weeks earlier. Both weren’t V-twin tough and needed occasional application of the brakes to control descent speed.

Discounting any need for power steering in an ATV such as this, we believe the ergonomics are pretty good and the machine easy to operate. It comes with indicators, which you won’t need, but also with a lot of stuff you will need, like sturdy Bark Buster-type hand protectors, full instrumentation, brake lights, head lights, a 19-litre fuel tank, a tough steel bull bar and brush-rail that circumnavigates the machine, a horn and a 12-volt socket. Surprisingly, though, there is no provision for dry storage on this machine.

Still, we liked the control layout. Conventional switch-blocks house all the buttons and switches. On the right of the bars you have the throttle and transmission controls, and on the left the switches for pretty much everything else.

We were also impressed with the effort CFMoto has expended on the full-length alloy skid-plate, a feature you once had to pay extra for.

Overall, we have a positive attitude to this hard-working little 500. It might not be fast, but the 35hp (25.7kW) engine produces plenty of useable torque, along with top speed of around 75km/h. The ATV handles deep water, it’s capable in mud, and it suffered no drive-belt or overheating problems and had very good ground clearance. That’s a lot of good stuff for just over $8,000.

For the full test report see the October edition of NewFarmMachinery magazine, on sale October 28. To subscribe visit www.magshop.com.au/NewFarmMachinery, email tbm@magshop.com.au or call 1300 461 528.

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