Review CFMOTO 450SS 2023

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

We test the 2023 CFMOTO 450SS sportbike in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. (Photos by Killboy)

In the previous year, we had the opportunity to evaluate the 2023 CFMOTO 300SS, an impressive sports motorcycle that has consistently topped the charts for our company on a global scale. Continuing our exploration through CFMOTO’s range, we now introduce the CFMOTO 450SS, the newest addition to their extensive lineup featuring ten exceptional models.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The CFMOTO 450SS provides upgraded components and more power over CFMOTO’s top-selling 300SS.

The CFMOTO 450SS rings in at $5,499, which is $1,000 more than the 300SS. For the extra grand, the 450 delivers 158cc more displacement and one more cylinder than the smaller bike’s 292cc Single. It also features a Brembo front brake caliper, adjustable levers, a more informative and brighter TFT display, and other upgrades. Color options for 2023 are Nebula Black with blue accents or Zircon Black with red accents.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

LED lights and the windshield add to the 450SS’s ride experience.

Level Up

The CFMOTO 450SS is priced at $5,499, which represents a $1,000 increase compared to the 300SS model. However, this price difference is justified by the additional features and improvements that the 450SS offers. Notably, it boasts a larger engine displacement of 158cc and an extra cylinder, surpassing the 292cc Single engine of the smaller bike. Furthermore, the 450SS is equipped with a Brembo front brake caliper, adjustable levers, a clearer and more informative TFT display, and various other upgrades. For the 2023 lineup, customers can choose between two distinct color options: Nebula Black with blue accents or Zircon Black with red accents.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The 450SS’s 449cc parallel-Twin provides ample fun and immediate power.

The engine of the 450SS is equipped with Bosch fuel injection, dual overhead cams with 4 valves per cylinder, and a 270-degree crankshaft, resulting in a distinctive rumbling sound and feel. It is paired with a 6-speed gearbox and a slip/assist clutch. Despite its impressive features, the bike’s wet weight is only 370 lb, a mere 6 lb heavier than the 300SS. Additionally, it boasts a generous 3.7-gal. fuel capacity, a comfortable 31-inch seat height, and a stable 53.5-inch wheelbase.

In terms of suspension, the 450SS is equipped with a 37mm inverted fork and a multi-link rear shock with adjustable preload, conveniently accessed through the small toolkit located under the seat. For unmatched stopping power, the bike features a radially mounted Brembo M40 4-piston front caliper gripping a 320mm disc, along with a single-piston floating caliper and a 270mm disc in the rear.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

Some riders might prefer higher-spec tires, but I found the stock CST Adreno HS AS5 tires sufficient for my needs.

First Date

Upon pulling up at my local CFMOTO dealer and parking the 300SS beside the 450SS, I noticed that the 450SS has a similar overall appearance to the 300SS but with features that make it look sportier and a bit sexier. From the streamlined windshield and larger exhaust to the sliders on the bodywork and race-inspired winglets, the 450SS looks like it means business. Upon turning the key, the LED headlight performs a sort of welcome dance in which light flows from top to bottom and flashes to catch the eye of passersby.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The sporty looks of the 450SS attracts eyes wherever it goes.

When the 450SS is started, it emits a pleasant growl from its 449cc parallel-Twin engine. The seating position is quite comfortable for me, allowing for extended periods of riding compared to the 300SS before requiring breaks for stretching. Despite my height of 5-foot-1, there was ample leg room and a spacious seat. The reach to the clip-ons was slightly long but still manageable without causing discomfort.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

A view from the seat shows buttons within easy reach and a windshield that helps with buffeting.

Rolling on the throttle, the 450SS delivers immediate power. Initial throttle response is a little jumpy, but that smooths out in higher gears. Once it gets going, the bike has enough power and grunt on tap for me to do everything I want to do whenever I want to do it. To see how the 450SS stood up against longer hours in the saddle and more aggressive corners, I spent three days putting about 700 miles on the bike in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

A trip to the mountains is always welcome, especially aboard a fun and capable machine like CFMOTO’s 450SS.

Wanting to make progress on my way to Robbinsville, North Carolina, from my home in Middle Tennessee, I ripped the 450SS up the interstate for about 130 miles, and the bike was happy to play along. (See sidebar below about 129 Cabins, a motorcycle-friendly inn where I stayed on this trip.) Whenever I needed to push past slower-moving traffic or change speeds, it was eager to comply.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

With a claimed 50 hp and 28.8 lb-ft, along with a Brembo front brake caliper, the 450SS makes for an enjoyable experience on twisty mountain roads.

When I got off the interstate and started winding my way through the mountains, the 450SS felt right at home. One upgrade over the 300SS that I appreciated was the front brake. Where the 300SS’s front brake felt weak and needed some encouragement to apply the right amount of pinch, the 450SS’s Brembo M40 front brake was responsive and shed speed quickly. It was a welcome upgrade when I hit the twisty roads through the mountains, including my first foray on the Tail of the Dragon.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The seating position on the 450SS is comfortable for me, although taller riders might desire more leg room.

The suspension provided confidence as I dipped and climbed. I adjusted the front brake and clutch levers with the dial adjustments on both, and I was glad to be able to shorten my reach and put the levers in easy grabbing distance. As a rider with smaller hands, needing to stretch my wrist to reach the front brake lever affects my grip on the throttle, and having a shorter reach allowed me to experience the 450 without such hinderances.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The Brembo M40 4-piston front caliper biting a 320mm disc provides excellent stopping power, an improvement over the CFMOTO 300SS’s weaker-feeling front brake.

On my return trip to Middle Tennessee, I rode on wet roads and dodged storms for several hours. Although I didn’t push the bike too hard in the rain, the CST Adreno HS AS5 tires never misbehaved. They held onto the pavement and provided adequate grip in the turns. When the roads were dry, the tires felt even better. Some riders who are more willing to push the 450SS to its limits might desire a higher-performing tire, but I found the stock tires were plenty for my needs.

From the Cockpit

The 5-inch TFT display is also an upgrade over the TFT on the 300SS. I found the display on the 300SS a little hard to see in direct sunlight, but the display on the 450SS is always bright and visible. It also provides more information than the display on the 300SS. You’ll find speed, a tachometer, a clock, gear position, and fuel level, as expected. With up and down arrows on the left switch, you can also toggle between a variety of information, including an odometer, two tripmeters, range, average speed, fuel consumption, and average mph per trip.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The 5-inch TFT display’s Concision mode allows for easy navigation through options and settings. (Photo by the author)

The 450SS will also connect to a phone via Bluetooth, and from the CFMOTO app, the rider can pull up navigation and music on the display. The navigation worked the same as on the 300SS, which means there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. For example, when choosing a route on the app, I’m given two options. If I choose the longer option that avoids interstates and highways, the navigation will hold that route for a mile or two before trying to direct me to the faster route. I also still don’t like that the distance to the next turn is given in inches after coming within 0.1 mile of the turn, which was an annoyance with the 300SS as well. However, these are minor nuisances for which I expect CFMOTO will find a solution before long.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

The Classics display mode makes revs and speed easy to see with less extra information to distract from the ride. (Photo by the author)

The 300SS comes with two ride modes. In contrast, the 450SS has no ride modes, but it does have two display modes. Concision mode provides more information and easier access to all the options, and Classics mode is simplified and puts revs and speed front and center.

One More Round

For a moto trip to and through the Appalachian Mountains, the CFMOTO 450SS proved a trustworthy steed that allowed me to work on my cornering skills with a confidence-inspiring ride. I enjoyed the 300SS as well, but if I were deciding between the two, I’d opt for the higher-powered and more refined 450SS for $1,000 extra. The parallel-Twin is impressively responsive, the Brembo front brake provides much better braking, and the dimensions are more comfortable for longer stints in the saddle. I’d be happy to keep this one in the garage and on the road for a while longer.

2023 CFMOTO 450SS First Ride Review

2023 CFMOTO 450SS Specifications

  • Base Price: $5,499
  • Website: CFMOTOUSA.com
  • Warranty: 2 yr., unltd. miles
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
  • Displacement: 449cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 55.2mm
  • Horsepower: 50 hp @ 9,500 rpm (factory claim)
  • Torque: 28.8 lb-ft @ 7,600 rpm (factory claim)
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Wheelbase: 53.5 in.
  • Seat Height: 31 in.
  • Wet Weight: 370 lb
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal.
  • Fuel Consumption: 63 mpg
  • Estimated Range: 233 miles

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