It was a warm Saturday morning and I didn’t exactly wake up on the right side of the bed. “I’d rather stay home and watch Netflix,” I thought to myself as I hopped in my pickup truck and drove off.

Despite not really being in the mood to soak up the heat, I was on my way to the CDS Off-Road Playground, a newly developed trail complex for two- and four-wheeled off-roaders about an hour’s drive south from Metro Manila. It’s one of the only powersports and mountain bike parks of its kind in the area, so I let a little excitement creep in.

It was by no means a serious event or launch, just a small gathering of off-road enthusiasts looking to take their toys out for a good time on the trails. The lineup consisted of a healthy mix of dual-sports, enduros, and adventure bikes.

But today, I was wearing a different hat. My focus was to get up close and personal with CFMoto’s CForce 625 Touring, the brand’s mid-tier ATV marketed as both utilitarian and sporty. And that’s quite a new hat for me.

CFMoto CForce 625 Touring - Parked

This thing has quite a beefy and aggressive stance. 

Now, I’ve been a moto journalist for several years and I’ve ridden all sorts of motorcycles. But ATVs? I’d only ever ridden a tiny 125cc kids’ quad before, how could I be expected to come up with a decent first-ride review of a real quad? I don’t know enough to offer those perspectives. At least not yet.

So I decided I’m not gonna talk about the nitty gritty. I’m not going to dive into the 580cc single-cylinder engine housed beneath the saddle, nor am I going to go into detail about the ATV’s electronic throttle and dual riding modes. Besides, all those specs and features—such as its dual A-arm suspension system—can be found on CFMoto’s website.

What I will talk about is how this thing made me feel. In particular, as someone with a deep background in motorcycles only now developing an appreciation for other powersports vehicles, what it felt with me behind the ATV’s bars. And so I hopped aboard the CForce 625 and looked at everything from a beginner’s perspective, subconsciously drawing parallels between it and the motorcycles I’m so familiar with.

And there are a lot.

CFMoto CForce 625 Touring - Riding
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As I turned the key and pushed the starter, I suddenly felt at home driving off. It was just like riding a motorcycle, except you didn’t have to balance; it just did it for you. The thought that I was piloting a fairly powerful quad (45 horsepower) never scared me once. Sure, the thumb throttle took some getting used to, but after a few minutes on the flat-track and MX course, I found myself sliding the tail out through corners and getting some air on the whoops.

Through the day, I found myself blending in techniques from my experiences riding and driving all sorts of vehicles. Getting the tail out and turning the bars in the opposite direction reminded me of my days out on track back when I casually took up drifting. Tackling rugged sections of trail had me standing up on the footboards as if I was piloting a dirtbike.

Toward the end, I even tried to pop a wheelie. I failed miserably, of course, instead throwing out a massive cloud of dust behind me.

Was I good at ATV-ing? I doubt it. But was it fun? You bet your ass it was.

CFMoto CForce 625 Touring - Left Side
CFMoto CForce 625 Touring - Front
CFMoto CForce 625 Touring - Parked

On paper, the CFMoto CForce 625 Touring is plenty capable—far more capable than I am as an ATV rider. I got to test it mostly on dry, loose terrain, tackling tight forest trails in the complex’s mountain bike park and wide sweeping turns in the flat-track and MX course. And so I left it on its 2H setting for most of the ride. I only switched to its 4H and 4L modes for the sake of getting a feel for what they were like.

Now it’s important to note that in the context of the Philippines—Manila, in particular—an ATV like the CForce 625 Touring is nothing more than a fancy toy for rich landowners to patrol their properties with. And it’s more than likely that the same is true for any highly urbanized city in the world.

The CForce, like most other ATVs in the market, isn’t street-legal, and there aren’t many off-road parks and trails here like those you’d find in the States or in Europe. Out in the boondocks, however, where rules are merely suggestions, it’s tons of fun and gives you an all new feeling of freedom, of unlimited exploration.

And so despite being an ATV newbie, the CForce 625 Touring’s ease of use made me feel right at home aboard a four-wheeled off-roader. I just wish there was enough space for me to play with it to justify actually owning one.

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