Review of the CFMoto JetMax 250i
To a lot of people who are into powered two-wheeled conveyances
the combination of the words "scooter" and "mainland China" bring a flood of
negative experiences. It's certainly true that many really low quality scooters
have come out of mainland China and been dumped on the US market. Horror stories of
scooters that never run correctly, lack of support, little-to-no parts
availability and the like are all over the place. With the scooter boom in 2008
it seemed like everyone was importing container-loads of cheap Chinese scooters,
giving them European sounding names and trying to make a quick buck. Does this
mean that all mainland Chinese scooters are junk? No, it doesn't. Companies like
Honda and Yamaha have contract manufacturing facilities in mainland China and
have proven that high quality products can come out of those factories. One of
the mainland Chinese companies that has shown a lot of growth in quality in
recent years is CFMoto of Hangzhou (near Shanghai). Back in July of 2009
we reviewed a CFMoto Glory and were impressed with
the mechanical components of that machine. The Glory came to our attention
through the recommendations of CFMoto dealer Marty Mataya of
GoMoto. We've learned to trust Marty's opinions and
when he said the new CFMoto JetMax was worth a look we jumped at the
The new CFMoto JetMax (model number CF250T-6A) has been
in development for some time. The scooter we received from GoMoto was a final
production version. The JetMax is a true in-house CFMoto scooter as opposed to a
clone of an existing model. CFMoto's previous 250cc machine (the Fashion)
was a clone of the Honda Helix. Other mainland Chinese 250s have been clones of
scooters like the Honda Reflex. The JetMax is CFMoto's own design.
was very easy to mount my GPS holder on the CFMoto JetMax as it comes equipped
with conventional mirrors as opposed to proprietary integrated ones too often
found on Chinese machines. I topped off the fuel tank and started riding. The
speedometer was optimistic by 10% to 11%. That is to say it indicated faster
than the actual speed. At an actual 27 MPH, the indicated speed was 30MPH. At
actual 53MPH, the indicated speed was 60 MPH. This is not unusual, most scooters
we test are around 10% optimistic and some are as far off as 20%. The odometer
was more accurate showing 10.3 miles for an actual 10 miles traveled. The top
speed we achieved was 77 MPH which was indicated as 87 MPH. The scooter was not
broken in and it wouldn't be surprising to get a few more MPH out of it after
break-in and with a lighter rider (I'm 220 pounds). In over 100 miles of
testing, the JetMax averaged 59 MPG which I consider to be quite good. A lot of
our riding was at highway speeds and I would expect that a person riding mostly
around town (and after the engine is broken in) could expect to see
mileage in the 62 - 70 MPG range.
CFMoto JetMax is powered by an in-house designed and manufactured 4-stroke,
249cc, SOHC, liquid-cooled and fuel-injected motor that produces 22 HP and 15
Ft-Lb of torque. It rides on a 15 inch tire up front with a 14 inch in the back.
Triple disks (two in front, one in back) handle the braking duty. I
elected to NOT make a comparison between the JetMax and other scooters in the
specification table because I don't have any direct experience with Chinese 250s
other than the CFMoto Fashion. There are others in the marketplace (the
Linhai Main Street comes to mind) but based on the in-house development I
consider the JetMax a "stand-alone" as of now.
Getting exact specifications for the JetMax was bit challenging as different
CFMoto sources had different information. For example published dry weight for
the scooter varies from 260 pounds to 440 pounds. I ran the scooter across a
freight scale to get the 347 pounds shown. I also measured the seat height and
wheelbase myself. The MSRP of $3,995 that is shown also seems to bear little
relationship to the selling price. I always try to get "out-the-door" prices
from a couple of sources to see what freight, taxes, fees, title, prep and the
like do to the MSRP. In this case it would appear that one can get a JetMax
out-the-door for less than MSRP. This is NOT the case with most other scooters.
For example a $5,999 MSRP Vespa is going to be nearly $7,000 out-the-door (in
JetMax has some nice features, one of the best being on-board storage. There is
a wide but shallow glove box and a HUGE amount of space under the seat. I was
able to get my 3/4 helmet AND my messenger bag in the underseat storage. I have
also heard (though not actually seen) that a rear luggage rack will be
available for this scooter. Having that sweet underseat space in combination
with a rack-mounted trunk would make the JetMax one of the best scooters out
there for luggage capacity. Just in front of the underseat storage is an engine
access area that is nicely covered by a panel.
Those somewhat odd-looking "wings" by the back of the seat are passenger grab
rails. They are kind of thick and made it challenging to utilize bungee cords to
hold objects on the passenger seat. I'd like to see a channel in the bottom of
the rail for bungee hooks.
The dash is wide and offers up a lot of info, though not everything one might
expect. The analog speedometer is in the center and is biased to kilometers.
Miles are indicated in smaller number on the inner ring. There are three
indicator lights on each side of the speedometer and include an engine "code"
light that will flash if a fault is detected by the monitoring system. There are
digital temperature and fuel gauges to the left and a digital clock and odometer
to the right. The clock is set by a control inside the glove box. Sort of under
the handlebars and to the left is a four-way hazard light switch. In the middle
of the bars is a controller for the music system.
There are four speakers built into the front area of the scooter and a USB port
inside the glove box for MP3 music. There is a small round air vent on each side
of the front bodywork and the JetMax is equipped with a multi-function ignition
switch that utilizes an anti-theft cover. One part of this that is different
from most scooters is how the seat opens. From the "off" position, one turns the
key clockwise past the "run" position to open the seat. When one releases the
key, it falls back to the "run" position. Kind of odd as most people open the
seat when they are stopped and off the scooter. I did try out the music system.
It includes an FM radio but no display. No way to tell
what station one is tuned to, one just runs up or down the tuner. I did plug in
to the USB port with some music, but it sounded like garbled junk. Then I
realized I was listening to my daughter's music which always sounds like garbled
junk. Finding a thumb drive with a couple of George Benson tunes on it was MUCH
better. OK, seriously, the sound from the MP3 player wasn't bad up to about 30
MPH, but the built-in FM radio was pretty much worthless. So far as I am
concerned, the music system could be completely left off this machine and I
wouldn't miss it. If you want a useful electronic toy, add a programmable garage
door opener instead. The fuel door is located on central tunnel and is easy to
access and fill.
The JetMax has good lighting. The headlight is bright and both low beam and high
beam did their jobs. On the right hand control is a light switch. In most US
market scooters this switch does nothing as the headlights must be "on" whenever
the scooter is running. On the JetMax this switch turned the dash lights on and
JetMax started easily hot or cold. The throttle is responsive and the engine is
MUCH freer revving than the 250cc powerplant in CFMoto's Fashion scooter.
Acceleration is brisk and smooth. Gotta love fuel injection. The brakes are
strong and easy to modulate as long as one has a fairly firm hand. I wouldn't
say "high effort" for the brake levers, but they aren't "one-finger" brakes by
any means. The suspension is adequate if not precise. There is a sharp
right-hander onto a highway that I take pretty much every day and the JetMax
scraped the center stand on the turn. The rider will feel a rough road, but not
in an overly jarring manner. Overall I was very impressed with the engine and
transmission and found the brakes and suspension to be decent. The JetMax goes
where you point it and stops when you tell it to.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of my riding for this review was on highways. As
it happened, I had to do a fair amount of running around the Twin Cities area on
the days that I had the JetMax. It accelerated into faster (55MPH - 65MPH)
traffic just fine and was also comfortable with rush-hour speed changes. Holding
highway speeds was also not an issue for this scooter. It's light and responsive
enough for be easy to ride at city speeds as well.
The ergonomics of the JetMax favor those of shorter leg. I have a 30 inch inseam
and had no trouble flat-footing the scooter at stops. The floorboards allow for
both straight-under and forward foot positions. The driver's seat has a large
back-pad that limits the range of fore and aft movement, but it looks as though
this pad would be removed completely from the seat for the longer-legged amongst
us. The padding is just right for me. I would say that riders with inseams of 28
inches to 32 inches should be comfortable on the JetMax in dead stock
configuration. Passenger accommodations are nice as long as one likes to sit
higher than the driver (my wife doesn't). The windshield is low enough to
see over and wind buffeting was minimal. Say what you will about the look of the
body on the JetMax, but it does a good job of creating an nice environment for
Fit and Finish
far I've been pretty happy (and sometimes impressed) with the CFMoto
JetMax. Fit and finish is one area that this scooter doesn't score very well. A
lot of the individual components are of much better quality than I have seen on
other scooters out of China. The control switches, for example, looked and
worked very well and I expect they will prove to be robust. The body panels are
another story. The plastic used is hard and thin and the color-coat uneven and
sometimes incomplete. The shaping and edging is rough and panel alignment is
only adequate. The gaps between panels that butted up to each other was uneven.
The glove box door isn't even close to aligning with the rest of the inside
front legshield. That's not to say that the glove box didn't close securely, it
did. It just doesn't look very good. The shielding on the speed sensor wiring
was in two pieces that didn't overlap. The plastic "chrome" finish on a lot of
parts was wavy and didn't look like it would stand up very well to the elements.
As nice as the powertrain on the JetMax is, the fit and finish make it clear
that this scooter is not up to the same standards as machines from Japan and
Don't let my comments on the fit and finish make you think I didn't like this
scooter. I did. It was mechanically impressive. At under $4,000, one can't
really expect this scooter to compare directly to a Honda or Kymco. As far as
I'm concerned, CFMoto made the right choice to put their resources into the
mechanicals. If I were buying a JetMax, I'd replace the tires with something
better and upgrade the rear shock absorbers. I know there are quite a few people
out there who would prefer to get a new scooter as opposed to something used.
The CFMoto JetMax gives that buyer a good choice in the sub-$4,000 area. As with
ANY scooter, having a good local dealer is critical. Here in the Minneapolis/St.
Paul area we are lucky to have places like GoMoto and people like Marty who are
serious about customer support.
THANKS to GoMoto in
Minneapolis Minnesota for providing the scooter used in this review.