Extra man points

by Andy Bryenton

Halfway between Ireland and Britain, the Isle of Man has always done things differently. Home to what was once the world’s largest water wheel, the world’s oldest parliament, and famously a place without speed limits, the picturesque little island is also home to a race, which makes and breaks motorcycle racing royalty. The Isle of Man TT.

This 60 kilometre loop of closed public roads flies over bridges, courses over hillsides and zips through picture postcard towns as it tests the mettle of riders and their machines. Many have crashed. Many, indeed, have died in pursuit of the trophy. However, bikes forged in this crucible become big names. Just having that ‘TT’ badge can tell you a lot about a machine and the company committed to jumping in to what has been called ‘motorcycling’s Nurburgring’. 

CFMoto may be a new name compared to Ducati or Honda on the hallowed circuit, but their factory racing team have competed five times, providing a memorable upset in 2016 as rider, Gary Johnson, nabbed 4th position in the Bennetts Lightweight TT class. One step off the podium means a lot of big players left in the dust of CFMoto’s lightweight 650cc bike, and that’s a good reason to create a commemorative road-going edition.

Which they have, in style. Powered by a willing twin cylinder water cooled four-stroke, this aggressively styled machine stacks up against the likes of Suzuki’s Gladius as a learner approved street bike with racing attitude. There’s no mistaking the intent of CFMoto’s designers, with all that carbon texture and bright neon yellow stitching on black leather. However at commuting speeds the 650NK is mild-mannered enough for the novice rider, and even boasts antilock brakes for safety.

Then there’s the price. While other bikes in this category — and, we might add, ones which are not inspired directly by a Manx TT contender — top the $10k mark, the 650NK offers formidable value for money. It is, however, a limited edition, so book a test ride soon. Just like all the other competitors in the Isle of Man’s great race, they’ll be going fast.