CFMoto has come a long way over the last few years, really solidifying themselves as a major player in the powersports and off-roading industry.
And now CFMoto has its sights set on the sport side-by-side sector, with one of their newest models becoming one of the most talked-about for 2024 and making the list of best cheap side-by-sides.
This guide will offer an in-depth CFMoto ZForce 950 review, including:
- Biggest changes for 2023
- Four ZForce 950 models and prices
- Key features
- What owners love
- What owners don’t love
ZForce 950 Models & Prices
There are four different ZForce 950 models to choose from in 2023, each offering minor differences in their specs, dimensions, and the features and accessories they come equipped with.
|ZForce 950 Trail
|ZForce 950 Sport
|ZForce 950 HO Sport
|ZForce 950 HO EX
The two HO models, which stands for High Output, feature slightly more powerful engines with an added 5 HP.
Big Changes For 2023:
CFMoto clearly listens to owner feedback, and each new year sees changes made to their vehicles with that feedback in mind.
The ZForce 950’s are the biggest example of this in 2023, with multiple changes made throughout to shore up some areas of weakness identified by owners.
- Horsepower boosted from 79 HP to 85 or 90 HP.
- New exhaust system looks very similar but sounds even better.
- Throttle response is much better, especially throughout upper RPM ranges.
- Minimized some of the initial jerkiness upon acceleration.
- Completely revised the suspension system adding dual springs for a much smoother ride.
- Tires get a major upgrade to CST Stag Radials.
- New seats throughout, which are much more comfortable for a variety of body types.
- Now include a wireless remote for the winch.
- A bottom door panel has been added to improve splash protection on some models.
- New circular tube alloy frame increases strength by 10% while decreasing weight by 15%.
Specs, Key Features & Performance
Each ZForce 950 is powered by a 963cc V-Twin engine, which gets a nice boost in power from previous versions.
The horsepower in these engines has been increased from 79 HP to 90 HP in the HO models and 85 HP in the Sport and Trail models.
This increase in HP can really be felt through the upper RPM ranges, giving these models even more of a jolt at higher speeds.
The throttle response in these higher ranges is excellent, and at 90 HP these machines can now definitely compete with their sportiest competitors like the Polaris RZR 1000 and the Can Am Mavericks.
And throttle response in all ranges seems better, with these machines offering a good bit more snap.
Much of the delayed throttle response that these models suffer from has been corrected, making for a less jerky ride upon initial acceleration and throughout the gears.
|Four-Stroke, SOHC, 8-valve
|85/90 HP @ 7,750 rpm
|60 lb.-ft. @ 6,200 rpm
The ZForce 950 models offer selectable 4WD with front differential lock for added traction when needed.
The CVTech automatic transmission in these models is flawless, with the CVTech clutches making smooth shifts throughout the gear ranges.
CFMoto’s line of UTVs, ATVs, and ZForce side by sides have always suffered from some jerkiness upon initial acceleration due to the way the clutches are tuned.
There’s still a hint of that in the ZForce models, but it’s nowhere near as noticeable as it once was.
The ZForce 950’s come with two drive modes – Sport and Normal.
Normal mode smooths out the throttle response and essentially eliminates any of that jerkiness, even in the lower RPM ranges.
The throttle response in Sport mode is aggressive, and is especially abrupt when just starting to throttle, which can make for a jerky ride up through 15 mph or so.
|2WD/4WD w/ front differential lock
|CVTech Automatic w/ High and Low gears
|Gear Shift Pattern
The suspension systems in the ZForces see some of the biggest upgrades for 2023.
The ZForce 950 HO and Sport models feature an independent suspension system with a Dual A-Arm front suspension and a quadlink trailing arm rear suspension.
The Trail does feature a different rear suspension set up in a TTA suspension, or Double A-Arm and connection rod.
Shocks & Springs
Previous suspension systems were one of the main drawbacks of these models, known for being on the stiff side. Not anymore.
CFMoto completely revised the suspension and made big changes to the shocks and springs.
The ZForce 950 models now have a dual spring, which consists of both an impact spring and a comfort spring.
This upgraded spring combination makes a big difference, giving these models a much smoother ride and offering better control of the front-end.
Rear Trailing Arm
The rear trailing arm suspension is meant to enhance off-road capabilities, and it does.
But something to note with the rear trailing arm on the ZForce 950 is these are not as heavy-duty as what you’ll find in some more aggressive models.
These smaller rear trailing arms are not meant to take the same abuse and will potentially get beat up if you’re an aggressive rider/jumper.
That makes these vehicles more suited to standard trail riding, so keep that in mind if your driving style is more hardcore.
|12 or 13 inches
|Independent Double A Arm
|Independent Quadlink Trailing Arm
|11 in (13 in for HO EX)
|11.8 in (15.5 in for HO EX)
Brakes & Tires
The ZForce 950 models make use of a few different tire sizes.
The Sport and HO Sport are equipped with 27-inch tires in front and rear, the Trail with 26-inch tires in front and rear, and the HO EX with 29-inch tires in front and rear.
These tires are all CST Stag Radial tires, which are some of the best trail tires you’ll find. These are a major upgrade to the tires on older ZForce 950 models.
Mud, sand, snow…these tires will offer plenty of traction and stability at all speeds.
These models also now offer beadlock wheels, which is another big upgrade.
The hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels are not overly sensitive, but you don’t have to apply too much pressure when braking to get the performance you need.
There’s also a parking brake for added safety.
|27 x 9-14 / 29 x 9-14 (HO EX) / 26 x 9-14 (Trail)
|27 x 11-14 / 29 x 11-14 (HO EX) / 26 x 11-14 (Trail)
|Front Brake Type
|Rear Brake Type
The ZForce 950 models are all almost identical when it comes to their dimensions, though the HO EX is a little bigger at 64 inches in width.
Most of the competition is all right around the same when it comes to dimensions, making the ZForce 950’s about industry average in terms of overall size.
|60 – 64 in
|1,499 – 1,510 lbs
What Owners Love
- Some of the best values in the industry, offering a nice discount in price compared to bigger name competitors.
- Now have the horsepower to compete with the RZRs and Mavericks.
- New exhaust system looks and sounds awesome.
- Throttle response is now excellent, giving these vehicles enough zip to hang with their sportier competition.
- Very comfortable seats so your rear end and back won’t be sore from trail riding.
- New suspension system offers an incredibly smooth ride and makes the impact of bumps and chop almost nonexistent.
- New CST Stag Radial tires are some of the best trail tires you’ll find.
- Offer great splash protection with a new bottom door panel and mud deflector, which many bigger-name models don’t even have at this point.
- The LCD display behind the steering wheel is very bright and easy to read.
- The passenger grab handle will not rattle like it does in so many other models.
- Electric Power Steering included in all models.
- Doors open well beyond 90 degrees, making entering and exiting easy.
- Number of accessories included that may be considered extras on other models.
What Owners Don’t Love
- The rear area is a simple rack area on some models, no box or bed included.
- The air intake and CV inlet for cooling the clutches are both located about waist-high making them more susceptible to being splashed when riding water crossings.
- Tail lights are in a position where they get sprayed and covered with mud right away.
- Rubber steering wheel is completely smooth with no texture, making it hard to grip when riding with wet gloves.
- Taller riders will find the leg-room a little minimal and cramped.
- Brakes are known to be stiff in new units and will need to be broken in.
- Still a hint of jerkiness upon initial acceleration due to the clutch tuning.
- The trailing arm suspension is not heavy duty, making these models more suited to regular trail riding than more aggressive riding.
If you’re looking for a sport side-by-side that can compete with some of the biggest name competitors out there all while not burning quite as big a hole in your wallet, the ZForce 950 models make for excellent choices.
But it’s important to keep in mind that while the ZForce 950’s can hang with these bigger models, they’re also more suited to standard trail riding.
If you’re more of an aggressive rider who enjoys sending it with full throttle power slides, jumps, rock crawling and the like, you’re probably better suited looking at something like the Polaris RZR 1000 or Can Am Maverick.