CPI’s little 50cc Super Motard and Enduro models grow up both receiving 250cc powerplants, these bikes may prove to be real contenders with high tech materials for the engines and Italian design they are both powerful and beautiful with easy modifications turning them into real track winners in their class.
I first saw this bike in a motorcycle catalogue last year and got very excited I have owned Motocross, Enduro and Superbikes and had recently become interested in Super Motard, this bike stood out in a book filled with scooters and assorted other weakly endowed conventional street bikes and enduro models. With its lovely design in black and wavy discs it could be forgiven for toting conventional forks. I nagged the manufacturers regarding release dates, and, although the motorcycle catalogue for 2007 said it was available it had in fact not passed regulatory requirements yet.
One year later and it is due for release very soon with demo models appearing on the dealers floors so I blagged one from the dealer and took it for a ride, then another ride, then another….I put 830km’s on the bike, testing it hard on 3 local circuits, riding through city and freeway traffic to get to the circuits. I was not disappointed, this machine meets the expectations instilled by its looks.
The differences between the SM and SX models are very small, the SM comes with street tires110-80-17 front and 130-70-17 rear with a 39 tooth rear sprocket while the SX has off-road 90-90-21 front and 110-80-18 rear with 41 teeth on the back.
Acceleration is great, with generous low-rev torque, the power comes right on through delivering immediately with the sweetest power between 6000 and 8000 RPM, I have been told by the engineers at CPI that the redline is at 10 000 RPM but there is no point passing 8000 since there is nothing there as the power curve starts to decline.
It will not stand on the back wheel without help from the clutch but the little bit of clutch will get her up pretty quick and the wheelie is balanced. Taiwan is a very mountainous country particularly in the north where I live and the road to the track takes me up to mountain routes, there is feeling that the bike is struggling at all as it easily consumes the steep inclines and comfortably handles the sharp corners as well as the unkempt asphalt surfaces.
Overtaking manouvres are handled very efficiently with the low power torque, a couple times I made the mistake of thinking I needed a lower gear to overtake finding that there was nothing there at high revs (too much time spent on 4 cylinder bikes) and all that was needed in fact was a blip of the throttle to catapult me past the traffic ahead.
The speed is good enough to get you in trouble quickly in busy city traffic and certainly brisk enough for longer distances. I have been up to 136km/h indicated when the front starts to get light because the bike only weighs 107kg and has no fairing to manage the wind. I took it to for a dyno test (a very antiquated machine but enough to get some idea) and got 19hp with a top speed of 131.5 km/h
Braking is achieved through two pot calipers which are quite sufficient both for road use and track days with the combination of standard braided aluminum hoses and the good looking wavy discs working well enough that you will not need to upgrade unless you want to compete. When I made it slide it felt perfectly poised. Stoppie/Endo difficult to do with the two piston front calipers, did it on a converted race bike with 6 piston calipers though and it handles very well.
I had a typical situation when the car in front of me went for a left turn at a traffic light then changed his mind and stopped right in front of me, with no space to stop or just ride past him I hit the back brake and geared down twice while turning the bike into a slide, the back instantly complied to my command by breaking out to the left allowing me to point my front clear of the car and I powered around the right hand side of the car, it was very easy to do with this light and nimble bike.
Corner braking is absolutely great even with the standard equipment I was setting good times on the track trail braking toward the apex. The bike remains stable and controllable with no fade over a 40 minute non-stop session on a very tight, asphalt go-kart circuit.
The bike is very well balanced and the riding position makes control very easy whether on back, front or both wheels. It is a pleasure to ride through rush hour traffic with the height giving great visibility. Incidentally, one of my friends is also in the market for a SM and he said the bike was too short and then he came up with his ideal 250cc SM which is the Yamaha WR250X which I found rather entertaining since, although it has 6 more HP with fuel injection, 5 valves and forks, the WR is 10cm shorter than the CPI SM and around $1700 more expensive.
Leans angle is stable and comfortable all the way till the footpegs are scraping the track and you have reached the limit of the standard 130 tires and then it starts to break out sending the rear out in a way that is very easy to recover, I have in fact worn out my left footpeg completely, recommend footpeg sliders for the track. Accelerating out of high speed turns (the last exit of one of the circuits is brutal with patchwork repairs of different types of asphalt and concrete right on the full power exit point) you need to be careful of bounce and flex it does not have race suspension and only has adjustable compression n the rear spring and no adjustment on the front but otherwise, at moderate speeds even under full throttle it is very forgiving if you get the line wrong and need to correct by letting off throttle on the corner and then putting the power back on.