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CCM 404e review (long)

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G
The Voice of Reason



Joined: 02 Feb 2002
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PostPosted: 18:44 - 20 Sep 2007    Post subject: CCM 404e review (long) Reply with quote

A long and rambling review as usual from me. If you can't be arsed to read it, a) I can't blame you, b) it can be summarised with "he likes it".

First off, to set the scene some background info....

I'd recently broken my leg; got my self an automoatic car, but really wanted a bike to get around on as well, so I could be cheeky and park right outside shops, and the like.
Unfortunately my bikes were either out of MOT, or kickstart; which wouldn't be so great with a broken leg.

I first started thinking TL1000s; they can be got from about 1500 and I'd always had a hankering for one, despite the fact I doubt it will live up to expectations.
But then I got thinking 'why compromise'; another 1500 on top of that and I've got an early GSXR1000, which is going to be better than the TL in pretty much all ways.

Luckily, I saw sense and realised that a broken leg wasn't going to stop me turning the throttle as I do tend to; which usually results in going very silly speeds on a decent litre bike.

Back to the drawing board; I remembered I always liked the DR600s I owned, which made excellent commuters and town bikes. Just under 40hp and a bit under 140kg claimed weight would have enough go to get around, but not enough end up going silly-fast everwhere and wouldn't be too hard to move about with one leg.
Unfortunately the very heavy kickstart would likely see the metal rod in my leg, the only bit holding my foot to the rest of my leg, fold up or snap.

The only bike I could really find that comes close was it's smaller and newer brother, the DRZ400 coming in at a claimed 39hp with a weight listed as 132kg it seemed an ideal modern equivelent with similar stats, but the all important electric start. Also, importantly; service intervals listed at 4000 miles. Compared to my Husaberg supermoto for which you can be talking a minor service after 3 hours use, that's pretty good!
While I was looking, I also considered other bikes such as the heavier electric start DR650, KLX300 (not electric start, so off the list) and KTM LC4 based bikes which do have the electric start but are listed as a fair bit heavier.

As far as the KTM weight goes, I may have been slightly misled by the fact they apparently list weights fairly honestly as opposed to most manufacturers that would weigh the bike in a moisture-free atmosphere if it would save them an extra gram.

As the DRZ400 seemed to be the best compromise for my needs, it seemed obvious to look for the 'Supermoto' version; I didn't expect to be riding off road any time soon, so might as well go for something that offers that bit more grip on the road with better brakes and suspension.
I liked the idea of a 'production' street based bike, rather than a converted trail bike which would likely have all sorts of random bespoke parts added.

The Supermoto version uses the DRZ400S model engine configuration, giving the claimed 39hp which translates into around 32hp at the rear wheel. The more powerful DRZ400E version comes with about 5hp more and 8kg less, but isn't available in the supermoto configuration as standard.

Asking people for possible alternatives, the CCM 404 was mentioned. This has the same specs as the DRZ400E, using the engine from that bike, but has full WP suspension and more importantly comes as standard in a supermoto option.
I also considered the CCM644, which uses the more chunkier air cooled DR650 engine. Weight of this is listed as 137kg, so not far off the DRZ400SM but with more go.
A definite consideration for me was whether or not these bikes could take 160 width tyres on the rear as there's plenty of opportunity to get cheap grippy tyres in these sizes. The supermoto versions of the DRZ and CCMs can all just fit a 160 width tyre in, though there might be a bit more space with a 150.

As all these bikes were from at the earliest 2004 for the CCMs or 2005 for the Suzuki supermoto, prices weren't amazingly cheap.
Keeping an eye out for the DRZs, CCMs and anything else that might be interesting I saw that generally the DRZ400SMs went from 2300 - 3000 at the lower end. The 404s were also a similar kind of price range, but generally you got a bike with less miles and more extras (such as trail wheels as well as supermoto wheels) for the same money.
The CCM 644 was usually a bit more, with prices generally starting around 2500.

When I found a 404e with 1900 miles on the clocks, a fresh MOT and the enduro as well as supermoto wheels for 2000 on ebay I was definitely interested.
I asked some questions about the mechanics first, to cover myself if I got there and found the bike to be a dog.
Umming and ahing I joked about having my hand hovering over the button on IRC so when Swaffs electronically nudged me, I clicked; turns out I was lucky I did then, as someone else had clicked "buy it now" at exactly the same time as me. When they saw the "auction finished with But it Now" they thought they'd won and were hassling the seller about when they could collect the bike!


http://www.giffould.com/r/pics/20070915/CCMmods3-sma.jpg
The crutches holder and top box I added after.
For some reason, as often happens all the pics I have seem to be with the bike on one wheel.

CCM 404e Review...
The 404e model which I had bought was even lighter than the 'Dual Sport' version, forgoing things like pillion pegs to see a claimed weight of 119kg. That's 7kgs heavier than my Husaberg's listed weight, which is designed as a proper competition bike.

Real power should be around 37hp at the rear wheels, possibly even up to around 40hp as the e model seems to have a few performance enhancements as standard, such as an open airbox and a titanium not-for-road-use scorpion exhaust.
My bike isn't running quite right, but it had been sat for a year previous to my purchase, so I suspect it needs the carb cleaning out; not something I can really blame on the bike!

Although the height makes the bike a bit harder to move about, it's definitely noticable that it's far from a heavy bike moving it around on the drive way.

The electric start works well, starting up first time on choke or if you give a couple of blips of the throttle before starting, without choke.
If you really want, you can get a kickstart option for the DRZ engine. While it's probably not the bike to choose if you want ultra-light weight, for those trail riding or adventure riding it's worth considering for when you've just dug your bike out from being upside down in a bog!

Climbing on the bike isn't too bad with the supermoto wheels on, but I suspect would be just that, climbing, once the bigger trail wheels are on. However the manual does come with recommended suspension settings for hard, moderate and easy supermoto use as well as enduro use; so you can easily set it to be a bit squidyier for the muddy stuff. The DualSport / Supermoto versions come with an inch lower seat height as standard, they also come with an 11 litre petrol tank rather than the 8 litre one on the enduro version.

Pulling away in first will see the front wheel jumping up if you try a bit too hard, however it's no where near the ferocity of a competition supermoto. Second you have to try a bit if you want the front to go all floaty, but it will come up with a bit of a blip and a bounce.
While it's happy to paw the sky if you try, the relatively low power means you can accelerate hard without having to put too much attention in keeping the front down for the next corner.
The enduro engine only has five gears, but doesn't suffer too badly from that. While it would be nice to have a higher sixth gear for cruising at speed, you probably don't want to be sitting around the bike's 100mph top speed for too long.
While it does seem to hit a rev-limiter in fifth, a longer gear isn't going to offer you much more speed as the engine is really struggling by this point.

The gear ratios do seem to suit the engine, which is punchy in the right gear and still pulls ok if you're a gear or even two out in some cases. Try and accelerate hard from 30mph in top and it won't be so great however, but will pull fairly smoothly, if slowly, from 40mph.
The engine does pull quite smoothly for a single, presumably thanks to it's slightly revvy nature. No tacho as standard however, but you soon get used to when you need to change gear.
Around town or on tight country roads, if you keep the engine in the right gear it works wonderfully, giving you plenty of useable go, holding on to the power for just long enough to complete most manoeuvres.
If you're not one for hopping up and down the gearbox when wanting to go fast, one of the larger engined bikes might offer you the same speeds with less left foot action. Of course as with any bike, it's going to perform best at peak power which is near the top of the rev range.

As you might guess, still having a leg held together only with a thin bit of metal I haven't been striving to find the limits of the bike's handling. However at the speeds I have been riding, the WP suspension has been very plush; handling road undulations and bumps smoothly. Only once have I had a decent knock through the bike as I hit a bump mid corner.
Turning in is smooth and as progressive as you desire. As you would expect for a light trail bike with a 17" front wheel it can turn in very easily and quickly if you try; far quicker than most riders will actually use.
This quick steering however does not lead to instability mid corner, where it will track a line easily.
At high speed in a straight line it can sometimes start to develop a gentle weave, but nothing near as severe as other trail bikes I have ridden.

Going into a corner under light braking is handled well and the plush long travel suspension even allows you to be a bit cheeky with mid-corner front wheel braking for those panic moments.

The front Brembo brake works excellently, putting you on your nose at any speed you may desire. Again, the suspension keeps the front wheel gripping under hard braking, regardless of the road imperfections.
The rear brake on my bike isn't so efficient, I'm not sure if it just needs bleeding (the colour of the fluid definitely suggests this is the case) or if it's more set up for enduro use where you don't have quite so much grip in the mud. However, not a big problem as the only time I've found myself using it is to control the rear wheel speed in a slide.


So far, as I would expect for a British bike, I've had a problem already. The speedo has failed. It's definitely the speedo, so I took it to Acumen who make them. Despite it being out of warranty they were very helpful, so a big Thumbs Up to them. Unfortunately they couldn't solve the problem and had never seen anything like it before. It stopped working after Luke decided to mash all the buttons on the dash, so may be best to keep kids away!

As far as other reliability goes, the Japanese engine should be very good compared to other bikes in this kind of area. As mentioned, minor services are listed at 4000 miles, which should put this into commuter territory when compared to the 500 - 1500 mile intervals of some of the more powerful bikes. Personally, I'm going to do them a bit more often than that, but then I would for most bikes that get decent use.

Comfort was definitely not a design consideration. The position is fine, but any extended period on the hard and thin seats leaves you feeling like a .... actually I'll leave the rude metaphors, but suffice to say it's not very comfortable.
An hour's ride to box hill with some sitting in traffic etc saw me relieved when I got there.
Being one that moves about a bit on a bike, when I'm actually trying I don't notice the hard seat so much, so that after an hour's ride around some quite tight lanes on the way back from Acumen's HQ I was still wanting more.

http://www.giffould.com/r/pics/20070915/CCMmods2sma.jpg



To conclude...

I'm finding myself enjoying this bike more than I expected. The low power means you can really thrash the bike and not be going ridiculously fast as I would on that GSXR1000 I was tempted by. The low power also means you do need to try if you want to get a reasonable pace on, which I find gives a more rewarding riding experience.
It can be ridden slowly, but doesn't have masses of mid-range torque to up the pace but not put any more effort in.
The handling is well beyond what I need on English roads; the limit being how fast I am prepared to ride around a bend due to visibility, rather than the bike's or my limits.

I do find that I do occasionally want a bit more go, but past experience has shown me that I enjoy the ride less when I get it. It would be interesting to have a play on a CCM 644 at some point and see what it's like in comparison to my lighter and higher strung Husaberg 501e.

Around town the bike handles excellently; providing you keep it around about the right gear, it provides all the punch you need to stay ahead of the traffic at the lights or jump for a space when you see one. As with other supermotos, the thin and light frame means you can easily slip in-between and around traffic.

On twisty country lanes it performs similarly well, with the light chassis moving you about as quickly as you need. As mentioned the engine provides good enough power to get a decent pace on, but low enough power to ensure the ride is still involving.
On twisty back lanes is the place on the road where it feels most at home, where other bikes' extra power doesn't offer them any advantage over the DRZ lump used well.

As twisty lanes open in to A roads however, it starts to feel a bit out of depth. Yes, you can overtake a car going doing 70, but it takes a bit of time and planning compared to a more powerful bike on which you can just open the throttle and be where you want in a couple of seconds.
The involving ride around the 'twisties' isn't quite so exciting now as you're stuck in top gear. The engine still gets you up to 90 fairly promptly, but takes a while after that.
The suspension still handles fast sweeping corners, but the high position doesn't feel as controlled as when at slower speeds.

Moveing onto longer straight and dual carriageways riding becomes more of a chore than a pleasure. Fine up to the speed limit, as you get any more than 10mph above you've not got the acceleration that's nice to jump into a gap, never mind filtering at speeds, which isn't so pleasant when done at only a few miles per hour faster than the traffic.

The 404 should also perform very well off road and would be fine as it is in hare and hounds enduros, never mind green laning. The fairly light weight will see you less knackered when you drop it and the not too excessive power may well see many riders going faster in the direction they intended rather than sideways in a completely different direction!
I wouldn't be surprised if the decent suspension means you could have a play on a motocross track too, though I suspect the weight and lack of power would start to show.

For stunting the front brake will see you on your nose whenever and wherever you want.
The engine doesn't have quite the midrange kick to be a serious wheelie-anywhere monster, however if you get it up in second or third and keep it at a moderate height it will click into fourth and keep floating nicely enough.
You definitely do need to try a bit harder at the wheelies, but that might encourage some to progress more.
Backing it in I've only tried very lightly thanks to my injury, but it will do it fairly happily. With the quite grippy diablo corsa on the rear it won't go sideways quite as easily as something like the SV650 I had previously which had more engine braking thanks to higher power.

All in all a good bike for those that want something with an engine they can really push with out working out the cost of running in penalty-points per ride.
It doesn't offer the feeling of madness that more powerful supermoto and streetfighter bikes do. But for me this gives it it's sparkle - that it can offer a satisfying and fun ride at a decent pace, yet still offer me a lot more handling if I want or need it. Suppose you could call it 'character', though it's a bit too refined for that.
I suspect that most people could get through a series of twisty lanes just as quickly on a sports bike with wide bars and reasonable suspension; so what really differentiates this is the lack of power, rather than an attribute it has in abundance.
If you like the idea, but want something a bit easier to ride, a higher top speed or more of a general 'insane' feel, there's plenty of options including highly tuned competition spec bikes and heavier more powerful street bikes which may suit your needs better.

Of course, if you want to do off-roading, then this will be a good compromise of weight and power between on and off-roading and conveniently was designed to do both from the off.

At the prices they are available for, the CCM is definitely worth a look if you want an on and off road bike, but won't suit all.

http://www.giffould.com/r/pics/20070915/CCMmods1sma.jpg
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mrtEE
World Chat Champion



Joined: 12 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: 21:46 - 20 Sep 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what you doing about the speedo?
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G
The Voice of Reason



Joined: 02 Feb 2002
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PostPosted: 21:58 - 20 Sep 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a push bike speedo on at the moment using the original sensor.

Acumen had a couple of used speedos they said they'd do me for a very reasonable price, I'll probably get one.

However could be tempted by the cheap acewell one at around 76 (ebay for it), which has a tacho as well, or could just stick my veypor on there.
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McGee
O RLY?



Joined: 24 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: 22:23 - 20 Sep 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome read.

Can I have a go ? Wink
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lilredmachine
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PostPosted: 08:35 - 21 Sep 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want one. or the rotax motored 604 R30.
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garth
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PostPosted: 09:36 - 21 Sep 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you're the bastard that got the CCM I was watching on eBay.
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G
The Voice of Reason



Joined: 02 Feb 2002
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PostPosted: 09:39 - 21 Sep 2007    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're looking at the 604, think it's also worth considering the LC4 KTMs - similar specs and possibly even a bit more reliable; both I think have a bit harsher service intervals than the slower Suzuki engined CCMs.

And yes, McGee Smile.
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G
The Voice of Reason



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PostPosted: 23:09 - 03 Mar 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick update now I've owned it for a while:

When I got it, it seems someone had messed up the jetting a bit:
Sorted that and it'll now power wheelie in second and clutch up in third.

Top speed is unchanged, with an indicated 100mph coming out as 90mph on the GPS as the rev limiter kicks in.
I don't know if it has the correct sprocket for the supermoto wheel. It could certainly take a bit smaller sprocket to give a higher top speed, though it is starting to struggle at these speeds, so this'd be more of an advantage for cruising at lower revs, than top speed runs.

Furtherest I've managed on it is around 200 miles in a day so far. That was fairly twisty back roads mostly. As they straightened out and I stopped moving around on the seat, it became a bit more noticeable that I might as well have been sitting on a plank of wood.

The mirror mount easily takes out the brake and clutch brackets if you crash. Not a good idea. It is possible to get folding mirrors for trail bikes, but I may just leave the cheap push bike ones I got on there for the moment.

The speedo has stopped working, however Acumen who make them were incredibly helpful looking into it, so a big Thumbs Up to them.

Off Road:
I've had the bike off road a few times now.
With the same sprocket that I've used on the road, the engine is even higher geared than with the supermoto kit on. The engine would have a bit more 'sparkle' with lower gearing I suspect, however even with this gearing has enough go to roost on loose surfaces, with gentle enough power to find grip when you need it.

It's noticeably heavier than 'proper' enduro bikes, both when riding and when picking it up from the floor.

For green lanes this seems to be a good choice, offering the flexibility to take on some pretty technical stuff, along with decent road manners.
With the high gearing, technical stuff generally needs to be done in first gear; with a bit of confidence the bike offers plenty of ability to match.

Here is a couple of rather long and boring vids of gentle greenlaning aboard the CCM:
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-6024468928064220715
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-167881284644611274
From about 23:45 in the second video is what was actually quite a technical section. It does look slower on the video that it felt I was taking it (you also don't get the idea that it's pretty steep and the ruts are quite deep Smile), however the bike responded well and did what I told it to - the point where I slipped into the rut was my fault, not the bikes Smile.
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AAAthreat
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PostPosted: 19:47 - 25 Apr 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome review man thanx for taking the time to right it up. Now that you've had the bike a bit longer have you come across any problems? I am looking at buying either the CCM or a DRZ after i do my restricted test. Just watched most of the fist greenlaning vid why did the chain come off?

I am looking for a bike that i can use as a commuter and double up as a greenlaner or maybe even a H&H bike and the CCM looks like its the bike for the job. How many miles do you get out of the tank? Last question do you know if you can buy different plastics or GFX for the bike i like the plastics i just don't like the grey CCM colors?
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G
The Voice of Reason



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PostPosted: 22:28 - 25 Apr 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chain came off because I hadn't adjusted it - it was a not very good 17 one; not the bike's fault I chose a dodgy chain.

No further problems since the last post.

You can stick what graphics you like on the bike, I'm sure Smile... they do come in different colours, I think. I think the (rear) plastics come from a RM250, so should be able to get stuff for that.

CCM does sound like a good choice for you, presuming you don't have sustained motorway/dual carriageway commutes anyway.

Not sure on miles out of a tank - maybe to reserve (8 litres) in around 100 miles? Might be a bit less than that, not really sure. Don't massively need to know, so haven't paid any attention.
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AAAthreat
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PostPosted: 22:38 - 25 Apr 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right cheers mate, i don't think ill be traveling on motorways much or only maybe now and again. Sounds like your CCM does about the same mileage as my DT so thats cool. Well will be a while before i can afford one or even do the restricted test but ill definitely be thinking about getting in the future, again thanx. Oh in the vids is that the bike fitted with your scorpion can or the stock pipe and could you get away with the after-market can on the road?
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G
The Voice of Reason



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PostPosted: 22:47 - 25 Apr 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a scoprion can, however I think it may actually be road-legal, listening to it next to my husaberg that has a definitely-not-road-legal can on at the mo. It is the standard can for the 404e model, while the DS/SM models get a bit heavier roadier can.

Incidentally, seems the open airbox isn't standard - after talking to other 404e model owners.

Also, reading back, I'd say it weighs a fair bit more than the 7kgs extra listed over my hussy (which is probably quite accurate claimed weight), but would still be fine for some hare and hounds or similar, I'm sure.
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AAAthreat
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PostPosted: 23:08 - 25 Apr 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you get a scorpion can as standard with the 404e? The open airbox wouldn't be great if you ride in wet weather i guess.
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G
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PostPosted: 23:31 - 25 Apr 2008    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, the scorpion is standard with the E model, you also get longer travel suspension (very tall with trail wheels on), no pillion pegs and a smaller rack.
Airbox is under the seat. Still got an airfilter. The standard has a cover and a 'snorkel'. If you're that deep in water, the water's going to be getting in regardless of the snorkel cover or not, I suspect Smile.
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Old Thread Alert!

There is a gap of 2 years, 102 days between these two posts...

Fazermike
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PostPosted: 18:37 - 06 Aug 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read your review of your CCM!

Very comprehensive and informative! Smile
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CHR15
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PostPosted: 18:53 - 06 Aug 2010    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/attachments/world-affairs-board-pub/17114d1257963711-necropost-warning-pinhead-necro2.jpg
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