Caofen F80: electric dual sport, made in China
Along with all the major motorcycle manufacturers’ releases at EICMA this week, there are also plenty of smaller, niche manufacturers showcasing their products. One such manufacturer is China-based Caofen with the new electric dual-sport F80, offering an emissions-free alternative for off-road fun.
Details on the new F80 (or is it the F8? Marketers have it both ways) are still a bit thin. Currently, Caofen is trying to recruit distributors and resellers worldwide, and its main presence on the Internet seems to be this facebook page. Looking through the advertisements on this page, here is what we can deduce:
- Caofen claims you can ride all day on a two-hour charging session. Just guessing, that means there’s a fast charger involved. The range is said to be 150 kilometers (just under 100 miles), so an “all-day ride” doesn’t mean cruising the motorway.
- It looks like the one-piece frame has no welds: “To ensure that each place can be perfectly presented, the body is seamlessly designed. Body stiffness has increased by 30%, as has the addition of another layer of protection. The body of the motorcycle will remain intact even falling parallel to the height of 3 meters with a speed of 50KM/h.“
- The 8,000 watt electric motor is said to push this bike to 85 km/h (just over 50 mph).
- There doesn’t appear to be a linkage setup on this rear monoshock, and there’s no mention of progressive damping…
- It looks like F80B and F80L sub-models are coming soon.
Overall the information is a bit confusing, which is almost always the case when you get details from these Chinese manufacturers. However, there seems to be a bit of real effort put into the design and marketing of this bike, unlike some of the more embarrassing knockoffs out of China. It certainly follows the same basic mechanical layout of other electric dual sports we’ve seen, but there’s nothing wrong with that; you may have noticed that all internal combustion motorcycles also follow the same mechanical layout.
There’s still some work to do, though, if that rear shock doesn’t have some sort of progressive damping setup. Simple details really ruined the reputation of Chinese motorcycles on their first spin in North America (anyone remember those horrible Lifan shock linkages, which ran in reverse to reduce shock travel?) . If this bike and other Chinese-made counterparts don’t have the basics down, no one will want it.
It seems unlikely that Caofen will become a motorcycling powerhouse based on this EICMA visit, but it is an important first step for this brand and others, and could possibly pave the way for a disruption in the motorcycling scene. the electric motorcycle. For a long time, electric motorcycles have been prohibitively expensive for many buyers. If Chinese factories can make a safe, reliable and affordable battery-powered bicycle, they will find customers. If their products turn out to be crap, then these new electric motorcycles will be dismal failures in Western markets, like the Honda counterfeits they produced a decade ago.