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  1. #1 Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
    C-Moto Not-so-Noob GSR's Avatar
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    After owning the CoLove ZF-GY 500x for over a month Iím finally getting around to prepare an initial review.

    As a frame of reference my motorcycles in the US currently include a 2012 Ducati Multistrada and a 2009 KTM 530exc. The motorcycles I considered when buying a motorcycle here in China included the CF Moto 650MT and the Benelli TKR502x. Other motorcycles I looked at and ruled out included the Zontes 310 and the Zongshen RX3.

    As pointed out by members of The MyChinaMoto community, both the CF Moto and the Benelli come from more established manufacturers and have more dealerships. Given the fickly nature of my stay in China those otherwise important factors weighed less in this decision. What I liked about the CoLover ZF-GY 500x (ď500xĒ) was the lower weight (178Kg verses 213Kg verses 235Kg) more desired 19-17 spoked wheels (not available on the CF Moto) and the lower price 37800 for the 500x; 43700 for the CF Moto and a quoted out the door price of 48800 (with luggage cases?) for the Benelli.

    As for build quality my limited impression would put the CF Moto at that top. The materials and quality of the welds as well as fit and finish was top of the group. In terms of more rugged looks, still with good fit and finish I would put the Benelli second. The fit and finish of the 500x is on par with the Benelli but just lacked the more rugged look. But, given the Benelli makes less power and carries considerable extra weight those looks come a cost.

    The additional factors in favor of the 500x, in addition to the spoked tubeless wheels, included a KBY adjustable suspension and Nissin brakes.
    My impression of the 500x after riding it for around 800Km remains favorable. I have yet to really test the engine due to still being in the break in period. The 472cc engine is a copy of the Honda CB500 motor right down to ccís and horsepower. After the first service, and most importantly the first oil change Iíll start pushing the engine harder. For now I can say it has decent low end torque with a smooth even power delivery. It starts easily every time and I have noticed no flat spots or hick ups from the Bosch fuel injection. The power is adequate, particularly for slower speed Chinese roads.

    Like the motor I have no real complaint with the 6 speed transmission. While not the smoothest shifting transmission Iíve ever owned with some break in I expect it may get better. Given the shifts are solid and Iíve yet to miss a shift, have the bike pop out of a gear or find a false neutral I would rate the transmission on par with the better Japanese bikes Iíve owned and better than the Ducati Multistrada.

    As for the KYB suspension Iíve yet to have the time, tools and opportunity to make any adjustments. Not having found the time, etc. is due in good part to the set up from the dealer being fairly good. Doing only a quick parking lot test of sag, dampening and compression I can say the settings are close if not perhaps spot on. On the road the best I can say about the suspension is the lack of any noticeable issues. The bike handles rough roads with ease and remains solid while cornering, even with uneven surfaces. The real test will be at higher speeds and off-road.

    The Nissin brakes remain a question mark. While it could be they need break in time or perhaps they could be bled better they just donít feel that solid. It may be that compared to my two U.S. bikes, both having excellent Brembo brakes, the Nissin brakes are just not going to be at that level. Without a comparison to the standard brakes of the Colove non-x model, or to other Chinese bikes itís difficult to say where the Nissin brakes actually rank. My last issue with braking is more suspension related, and that is excessive dive. I expect that is the one area of suspension adjustment that does need attention and hopefully the dive can be reduced at least a little with some adjustments.

    Thankfully I have no major negative issues so far with the 500x. There are some minor issues but nothing that can be cured or lived with. The biggest issue is simply ergonomics, which is a personal issue. In an apparent compromise on seat height the manufacturer has kept the seat seemingly as low as possible. While that may please a shorter rider for me the seat feels too low for the overall height of the bike and makes the pegs feel too close. In addition the split seat feels and looks cheap. The material used is not up to the level of newer materials available today. The seat pan is a cheap plastic and the foam padding is just marginal. Trying to upgrade the seat may be where the less common CoLove brand becomes a liability. The next issue with the ergonomics is the handlebars. For my tastes they are too wide, tall and have too much sweep. Replacing the bars is on the top of my to do list.

    Other minor issues would include the adjustable windscreen. The adjustability is limited to two positions and requires a complete removal to adjust. Iíve yet to find a windscreen on an ADV bike that I thought was even decent so as a comparison I donít downgrade the 500x for this issue. Little nitpicks I have include the lack of any tool kit, or any place on the motorcycle to put even minimal tools. Iíd also prefer a bigger chain.

    Overall the build quality is good. The welds are considerably better than I have seen on most Chinese motorcycles while not as good as on Japanese or European brands, or the CF Moto. The quality of the plastics and fasteners is good. The only two exceptions I would note so far are the latch for the rear seat, which is crap, and the rear brake pedal, which looks rather flimsy.

    In short, while itís still early Iím happy with the CoLove 500x, particularly for 39,000Y out the door, including: tax, license, insurance and the aluminum top case. DSCN4673 (2).jpgDSCN4878.jpgDSCN4673 (2).jpgDSCN4878.jpgDSCN4681.jpgDSCN4678.jpgDSCN4873.jpg
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  2. #2 Re: Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
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    Thanks for the initial review.
    It is a very interesting bike, very ugly but very interesting

    Its good to see that the manufacturers here have started to pay attention and actually want to make a decent "domestic" bike.
    I applaud colove and wait for more from them


    Safe riding mate!
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  3. #3  
    motor maniac ShuBen's Avatar
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    Thanks for the informative report. I saw in the shop the seat and also thought it needs to reshape 5cm higher to improve the knee angle.

    @modron: I have to say the bike looks better in reality :-)

    Now I am interested in the off road parts of the story....

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
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  4. #4 Re: Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
    C-Moto Not-so-Noob GSR's Avatar
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    After writing my initial review I found the time to take a longer ride on the Colove. Following that ride I would add a few thing to the initial review. Either the brakes have worn in or I've gotten us to them and they did not feel as soft as my initial impression. I pushed the bike considerably harder and the suspension and overall handling continue to impress me. The steering is a little light and I might try to find a stabilizer. It's not such an issue on pavement but I'm a little concerned it may be an issue off-road (assuming I find anything off-road).

    The only new issue was with the tires. The bike has Metzeler Tourance front and rear. While those tires are rated 85/15 for street I was able to slide the rear around corners way to easily in my opinion. THe first time it happened it was on fairly decent asphalt and without a whole lot of throttle. It broke loose so easily I stopped to check the tire pressure and expected it to be very low. It was not. Thankfully the rear slides predictably without snapping back, and more importantly the front doesn't break loose before the rear. I'm now open to suggestions on tires for mid-range ADV bikes. I do want some off-road capability so it may be a matter of having to learn to live with the compromise.

    Shuben, I like your thought of raising the seat. Any thoughts or suggestions on how that could be done? In the U.S. I know there is an aftermarket for seats and modifications. I have not seen that in China. If anyone has any ideas I'd like to hear them.

    Greg
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  5. #5  
    motor maniac ShuBen's Avatar
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    Reg. the tires: I think its not the tires. I assume it was the road condition. We have these situations here in BJ mountains too. The roads are like race tracks, but the repair tar stripes are even in dry condition slippery like soap and the while bike sometimes slip sidewards. Also we know after winter a lot of dust is driven into the surface and it needs several rain days to clear it up.
    A definetely good tire for ADV is the Tourance Next. I love them on the GS. Also very good is the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR.
    For cheaper options look at the Kenda 761. I use them on my Speedy and before on the X5. But they have slight wet deficits.

    For the seat: in China i'd buy a second one and find a capable leather shop to make a new higher seat foam and a related cover.
    That is a suitable and cheap solution.
    Then you can get even your favourite seat color ;-)

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
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  6. #6 Re: Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
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    I dont want to hijack the review but ive just visited the colove english website. Apparently in May we will have a scrambler from them. Now, this is interesting for me :)

    Looks great

    Last edited by modron; 03-20-2019 at 10:33 AM.
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  7. #7 Re: Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
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    After 4 months of owning, and riding over 9000 Km I can say I remain happy with this motorcycle. In May I completed a 16 day 5,800 + Km ride to Beijing on small roads and back through Inner Mongolia. The 9 days riding from Chongqing to Beijing was with fellow MyChinaMoto member Shuben and 3 of his friends. The return was solo. Shuben has posted some videos from the ride on YouTube.
    I think I can fairly say I did not baby the ZF500 and put it to a fairly decent test. While there were a few minor issues there were no major issues, covered below. On the paved roads the Colove does well. It is sufficiently comfortable to easily handle multiple 8-10 hour a day rides. While no match for larger cc foreign bikes the power is decent. The pavement handling is as good or better than I expected, even with significant luggage. The suspension handles rough pavement and off-road tracks. Lowering tire pressure and shutting off the anti-lock brakes makes off-road riding very doable. The weight (true of any ADV bike) the loose feeling front end and the ergonomics are my biggest complaints off-road. That said it does a decent job off-road and nothing broke, shook loose, fell off or failed when ridden fairly hard over rough terrain for several hours.
    . The minor issues: the anti-lock brakes do not handle dirt or dust well. On more than one occasion when I grabbed a handful of front brake I got a lot of anti and not much brake. Turning off the anti-lock resolved the issue but it is not particularly easy and it resets each time the bike is turned off. Otherwise the brake worked well. One questionable issue was I wore out the front pads completely in 6600 Km. Thankfully the pads are a common part and I was able to find replacements in Inner Mongolia. The pads wearing out in 6600 Km seems early, but it could be an indication of how hard I was riding/braking and the conditions I rode in.
    As I noted in my first review the ergonomics were not great. Right away I replaced the bars with a motocross bend. That improved the bike considerably. Sadly the cheap bars did not handle the first minor fall on a rocky path. The replacements I was able to find at a shop without ordering are a compromise between stock and the MX bars. They are not bad but I will replace those if I can find some stronger MX bars that will fit. Finding bars with sufficient space to mount street bike controls is the problem. When I drop the bike a footpeg also bent. Rather than put the cheap stock pegs back on I installed a set of heavier aluminum pegs. They set lower and now there is an issue with getting the brake lever lower. I'm still working on that.
    As to the seat height it was suggested to me that I buy a new seat and have additional foam and a new cover made for it. While I had previously talked to the manager of CoLove (a very helpful, responsive and good guy) about a higher seat, and was informed there was no such option at that time when I contacted him last week hoping to get the name of the company who makes their seats in hopes of having them make me a custom seat I was told that CoLove had just come out with a 3 Cm taller seat. I received that seat today and after a 10 minute ride can say it is a big improvement over stock. Might have gone a little higher myself but I think the 3 Cm is going to be sufficient.
    As to the motor. Not so much as a hick-up. As long as you don't switch bikes with a BMW GS800 or GS1250 the power seems adequate. It easily pulls to 150 KPH (or so I hear because I would never do that on a public road) and it handles 100+ into a strong wind for multiple hours (again just something I hear and would never do). There is fairly significant vibration at 4000 RPM +. Given the never a constant speed and rarely fast Chinese roads it hardly occurred to me until a certain BMW rider pointed it out. I did hear that it really becomes noticeable when riding multiple hours at 100+, again, not that I would do that.
    As for the suspension. I have done some minor adjustments and generally it is good. When off-road in rougher parts the front end is not confidence inspiring. I'm continuing to play with settings so maybe that will improve. I'm leaning toward it needing a steering damper. The rear shock has not been bad. On higher speed paved roads it does tend to wallow. I would like to add pre-load but after several attempts I think it's going to have to go to the shop to get that done. Unless there is a trick to it there does not appear to be room to get a spanner on the pre-load nuts. I'd also like to find someone knowledgeable to help with the suspension. My next move maybe to beg for assistance from the factor. They have at least one racer there and they support racing the 500's so they hopefully have the expertise to do suspension set up.
    On the tires. With some knowledge passed to me I learned that the Metzler Tourance tire on the bike, made in China, is the prior generation Tourance, with the molds likely transplanted to China. That said, the tires have been adequate. With over 9000 Km on the bike the tires remain in good condition and no where needing replacement. My initial concern with being able to easily slide them has born out to be more related to slick dust-impregnated Chinese roads. I've gotten use to sliding the tires, front included though less so. On better pavement near Beijing the tires gripped sufficient to grind pegs on more than one occasion. Off-road the tires are merely okay. Grip on slick rock and in dust is fair at best. The one time we hit mud they were much better then the street tires on one of the other bikes, but none of the tires on the bikes I was riding with were even adequate for those conditions. Replacements will be a more off-road bias. I should note that I played around with tire pressure and found that lower pressure was better off-road and on slick roads. There is some compromise on better faster roads but for the riding I've done the lower pressure works better. (I'm talking 26-27 psi instead of recommended 30-32.)
    Other parts tested included the 'bumper' / crash guards. Though they are now bent to one side a little they have impressed me. the bike has been down 4 times, once falling off the side stand and 2 low/no speed tip overs and one biting off more that I/the bike could handle loss of traction fall over on a steep rocky uphill. Other than from the steep rocky fall (mirror, handlebars, footpeg) the only damage is scrapes and slight bend of the crash guards. Given My lack of expectations that they were of any value I have been somewhat amazed.
    On fuel economy the 17 liter tank will take me over 450 Km when ridden mostly mildly. That drops to 350 maybe less when ridden hard. As for the oil, no issues no noticeable use, that given my less than stellar adherence to maintaining schedule. (Which I blame a little on lack of shops prepared and able to deal with 500cc bides.)
    Other little issues that have popped up, then self resolved, included the horn being a dry weather unit. It tends to work sporadically in the rain. The gear indicator took an afternoon off but aside from that one time works fine. The fuel gauge and distance left indicators are wonky but once I got use to them they are fine. There is a phone light on the dash which the manual says indicates an incoming call. There is nothing about setting that up and other than occasionally randomly flashing seems to be of no purpose.
    Overall my biggest issue remains the ergonomics. The handlebar and seat change have improved that. If I can get the brake pedal issue resolved and get a better fitting handle bar I think that will be as much as i can expect there. The front end feel is another issue. Between a better set up and a steering damper I hope to improve that.
    Overall the Colove 500x is no match for the BMW 800 (or likely the other mid-sized ADVs just out or coming soon -KTM & Yamaha) but at 1/4 the price the Colove is a hell of a deal. I'd like to find a Benelli 502x owner such that we could do a head to head comparison. In the same price range, at least in China, I'm unaware of anything that compares to those two bikes.IMG_4166.jpgIMG_4157.jpgDSCN6055 copy.jpgDSCN5797v.jpgDSCN5860.jpg
    Last edited by GSR; 06-14-2019 at 05:01 PM. Reason: delete duplicate photos
    ZF-KY 500x , KTM 530, Ducati 1200s
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  8. #8  
    motor maniac ShuBen's Avatar
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    I think we did quite a rough testing for that bike. I assume 90+% of riders here in China will not get even close to the torture we exposed the bikes.
    The ergonomics are set up for the Chinese average rider of 160 to 165, or 170cm max.

    But all in all a suitable travel machine for China in a favorable price range. For tall guys it needs some adaptation.



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  9. #9 Re: Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
    foreign China moto dude bikerdoc's Avatar
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    OP fantastic RR / review of the bike. Interesting to read of some of the shortcomings which actually says a lot of how things are improving since your laundry list is quite short... that to me speaks volumes.
    Great that the manufacture is friendly and open to review e.g.took note of hos ataller seat option might be needed and useful etc
    Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist
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  10. #10 Re: Initial review of the CoLove ZF500GYx 
    foreign China moto dude bikerdoc's Avatar
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    On the question concerning tyres, I have a favourable subjective view of the Metzeler Karoo 3 which I have found really well suited to highway, high speed riding and some fairly ok double to single (not knarly) track off-road riding...
    YMMV
    Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist
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