Ever since the Honda Hornet 750 and Suzuki GSX-8S were released within days of each other last year it’s been looking like a deadly duel has been brewing for supremacy in affordable, mid-sized, naked bike market. Now China’s CFMoto is about to throw a wildcard into the battle in the form of the 800NK – a KTM-engined twin with more performance than either of the Japanese alternatives.
The 800NK doesn’t come as a surprise, as we’ve been following the project since last year, but these are the first official pictures and details from CFMoto showing the finished bike.
Our first look at the 800NK came with the unveiling of the NK-C22 concept last September, previewing the new bike’s design but with lashings of carbon fibre, an SC Project exhaust and a single-sided swingarm to add an extra layer of exoticism. By October the first glimpse of the production version emerged via CFMoto’s own design registrations, and in December we scooped real photos from type-approval documents.
The first official pics, seen here, show details that weren’t previously visible and are accompanied by some initial specifications that confirm the bike’s 100hp potential and a slender 186kg curb weight including fuel.
The important numbers are 100.8hp, arriving at 9,000rpm (although CFMoto appears to be using metric horses, as the firm also quotes 74kW, equating to 99 imperial horsepower), with a peak torque of 81Nm (59.74 lb-ft) a 8,000rpm. Those numbers compare favourably against both the Honda Hornet, which offers 90.5hp at 9,500rpm and 55.3 lb-ft at 7,250rpm, and the new Suzuki GSX-8S, offering 81.8hp at 8,500rpm and 57.5 lb-ft at 6,800rpm. Both the Japanese bikes are heavier, too, with the Hornet coming in at 190kg and the Suzuki at 202kg.
In fact, the closest rival is KTM’s recently reintroduced 790 Duke, which shares essentially the same engine as the CFMoto and is built alongside it in CFMoto’s Chinese factories. The KTM makes 95hp and 64 lb-ft.
While the CFMoto’s UK price isn’t known yet, the KTM’s £7,999 is a good indicator of where it could be positioned. That compares to £6,999 for the Hornet and an identical £7,999 for the Suzuki GSX-8S. Yamaha’s MT-07 – the bike that’s popularity brought all these new competitors forward – is £7,500 in 2023, but substantially down on power compared to the larger-capacity rivals.
CFMoto’s official release is light on details when it comes to the suspension specs of the 800NK, but the images show adjustable USD forks with J.Juan radial brakes. The engine is KTM’s LC8c twin in 799cc form, and CFMoto says it has three riding modes – Rain, Street and Sport. The images also confirm that the bike uses a vast, TFT instrument panel mounted in portrait orientation, like an iPad clamped to the bars.
The styling, as expected, is a development of the original concept, with a distinctive V-shaped headlight and winglet-style wind deflector above it, mimicked by a similar shape moulded into the front mudguard’s upper surface. Faux carbon fibre on the side panels is little tacky, perhaps, as is the ‘Riding Machine’ slogan on the tank, but overall it’s a sharp-looking bike. The road-legal exhaust, mounted high on the right hand side, isn’t even a big downgrade on the concept’s SC-Project pipes.
At the moment, we’ve been left hanging on when to expect the 800NK in Europe and the UK, but it’s sure to be on its way to this market. CFMoto’s motorcycle distribution in this country is in the midst of being taken over by KTM at the moment, which should make the bike’s more widely available than in the past, but it means there’s something of an information blackout in the meantime, with the motorcycle range having disappeared from the CFMoto.co.uk website, run by former importers Quadzilla, who remain responsible for CFMoto ATVs and side-by-sides in this market. Watch this space for more info as it emerges.