On the sunny beaches of El Nido City in Palawan, in the southern tip of Luzon island in the Philippines, a new motorcycle that’s poised to shake up the entry-level adventure bike segment was unveiled to the world: the CFMoto 450MT (Ibex 450 for you folks in the US).

It’s a bike I’ve been lusting after for quite some time now, and it’s finally here.

Being a big fan of small displacement and middleweight adventure bikes myself, it’s obvious that I’d be hyped up for a bike like this. In fact, I’ve long been eyeing a Yamaha Tenere 700 as my next bike—a bike which the CFMoto Ibex 450 has been likened to on multiple occasions.

So would the Ibex live up to my expectations? Well, with just a couple of hours with the bike, I did my best to swallow my excitement and make the most of the time I had with this machine.

What I came away believing is that it’s a baby Tenere in the best way possible.

What makes the CFMoto Ibex 450 so special?

The CFMoto Ibex 450 in Tundra Grey and Zephyr Blue

The CFMoto Ibex 450 in Tundra Grey and Zephyr Blue

Up until recently, entry-level adventure bikes were equipped only with the bare essentials, sometimes even skimping on off-road-focused features. CFMoto is adamant on changing this with the Ibex, as it comes standard with features we’d more commonly find on bikes that cost twice the price.

The specs follow the formula of other off-road-oriented ADVs in the market, with the motorcycle rocking a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel. It’s also clear that CFMoto wanted it to punch above its price bracket, tossing the Ibex flashy tubeless wheels with the spokes offset to the sides of the rim (think BMW GS or Aprilia Tuareg 660). It also sports adjustable 41mm KYB front suspension and a linkage-equipped mono-shock.

A close up of the Ibex 450's fancy tubeless wire-spoke wheels

A close up of the Ibex 450's fancy tubeless wire-spoke wheels

The 449cc parallel-twin sits at the heart of the CFMoto Ibex 450

The 449cc parallel-twin sits at the heart of the CFMoto Ibex 450

On the performance end, the Ibex 450 sets itself apart from other 400 to 500 class motorcycles thanks to its engine. Powered by the same 449cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin in the 450NK and 450SS, it features a crossplane design with a 270-degree crank, mimicking the feel and sound of a 90-degree V-twin.

In the Ibex 450, however, it’s tuned to pump out 44 horsepower and 32.5 pound-feet of torque—more than enough for a hoot off-road, and adequate to maintain a brisk pace on the open road.

It's easy to lift and reposition the bike's rear wheel

It's easy to lift and reposition the bike's rear wheel

Get the RideApart Newsletter
Sign Up Today

Accessibility is at its core

Apart from being light on the wallet—something we’ll get into a bit more later—the CFMoto Ibex 450 is also designed to be pretty approachable. Tipping the scales at 175 kilograms (385 pounds), though it’s not exactly lightweight—I mean, bikes like the Honda CRF300 Rally and KTM 450 Rally put this thing to shame—it carries its weight pretty well compared to other ADVs. I can even lift the rear wheel off the ground with relative ease.

And for folks like me who aren’t exactly blessed with long legs, the bike’s relatively low seat height of 800mm to 820mm (31 to 32 inches) means that I can confidently maneuver the bike in technical off-road terrain, all while having confident footing in stop and go traffic.

So, what’s it like to ride?

The CFMoto Ibex 450 boasts its maneuverability off-road

The CFMoto Ibex 450 boasts its maneuverability off-road

As I teased in the beginning, my expectations were exceeded.

Having quite a lot of experience with CFMoto’s bikes—I owned a 650NK for a couple of years—gone are the flimsy, plasticky switches found in the brand’s older bikes, and in their place is a solid switchgear with a pleasing tactile response.

As you turn the key, you’re welcomed with a sleek animation on the full-color TFT display. Everything on this bike feels well put together, and it’s clear that CFMoto’s been taking build quality much more seriously. And with the push of the starter, the crossplane twin roars to life with the exhaust note surprisingly loud for a stock bike compliant with the latest emissions standards.

On the road, the Ibex 450 makes for a friendly touring companion. It does, of course, have a rather high center of gravity due to its 21-inch front wheel and tall stance, but it’s tractable, compliant, and even engaging at moderate speeds. When navigating twisty roads and city traffic, the Ibex 450 is nimble and light on its feet, easily leaning into corners and picking itself up when accelerating out of the bends. Meanwhile, its low seat height let me to confidently plant my feet on the ground in stop-and-go traffic.

The Ibex 450's exhaust is susprisingly guttural for a stock system

The Ibex 450's exhaust is susprisingly guttural for a stock system

Power-wise, the engine makes enough grunt to easily cruise on the freeway at 70 miles per hour. And if you’re feeling frisky, you can even do clutch-up wheelies on second gear.

Off-road, its ride can best be described as very T7-like, except much easier because of the low weight and off-road goodies—there’s a good chance that this bike will garner itself a “cheater bike” reputation. In loose sand, it boasts a lot of control thanks to its peppy engine and light clutch, and its 41mm inverted forks soak up bumps with ease, while the rear wheel relents to break loose, making it very forgiving for folks just learning how to break traction.

There’s also something about the Ibex 450 that makes you want to push it off-road and try daring things you otherwise wouldn’t on a bigger ADV. Wheelies and slides come easy, and in the likely event that you find yourself laying the bike down, it’s good to know that it’s fairly easy to pick up thanks to its 385 pound curb weight. That may be heavy for a dirtbike, it’s fairly light for an adventure bike.

Does it live up to the hype?

In a vacuum, the CFMoto Ibex 450 is a perfect entry-level adventure bike. Launched in the Philippines with a starting price tag of P328,900 and in the US priced at $6,499, it presents itself with remarkable value for money.

2024 KTM 390 Adventure - Riding 3

The CFMoto Ibex 450 will go up against the KTM 390 Adventure.

2024 Royal Enfield Himalayan - Riding 81

The new Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 is also a formidable rival to the Ibex 450.

Up to now, there hasn’t been an off-road-capable, parallel-twin-powered adventure bike in the 400cc to 500cc segment. And CFMoto dared to be among the first to bring such a simple yet effective concept to life.

Quite frankly, after my trip to Palawan for the launch of the new CFMoto Ibex 450, I was aching to ride the bike more. I’ll, hopefully, be able to get my hands on one for a longer period soon so I could really run it through its paces.

But until then, all I can say is, “Well done, CFMoto.”

CFMoto’s Ibex 450 Is Here To Turn The Entry-Level ADV Segment On Its Head

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@rideapart.com