The CFMOTO ZForce 950 has earned its place as a contender in the world of side-by-side ATVs. With a powerful engine, impressive suspension, and a range of features, it has become a popular choice for off-road enthusiasts. However, like any vehicle, it comes with its own set of challenges.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the common problems faced by CFMOTO ZForce 950 owners and provide practical solutions to enhance your riding experience. From addressing throttle response issues to tackling shifting troubles, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the FAQs and solutions for a smoother ride.
Table of Contents
CFMOTO ZForce 950 Problems
Before we dive into the review and specifications, let’s address some of the common issues reported by CFMOTO ZForce 950 owners:
1. Jerky Ride Due to Poor Throttle Response
Many CFMOTO ZForce 950 riders have encountered a vexing issue—a jerky ride. This unwelcome sensation becomes apparent when operating the vehicle at lower RPMs and slower speeds. The primary culprit behind this frustrating problem is poor throttle response. You might experience this jerky ride when starting from a standstill or when moving slowly, up to about 10 mph.
Fix for Clutch System
The jerky ride stemming from poor throttle response can often be mitigated by upgrading the clutch system. The stock clutch system in the ZForce 950 can be a major contributor to this problem. Here’s how you can fix it:
Upgrade the Primary Clutch: The primary clutch is a critical component that plays a significant role in the vehicle’s performance, especially during acceleration. By replacing the stock primary clutch with new weights and a spring, you can significantly enhance the vehicle’s overall performance and reduce the jerkiness.
Many aftermarket clutch kits are available, which include these upgraded components, making the upgrade process more accessible. If you prefer a DIY approach, you can also purchase and install individual components. An optimal upgrade typically includes 18g weights and a 200-1600 spring. These specifications are well-recommended for achieving smoother takeoffs and better overall performance.
Fix for Secondary Clutch
The secondary clutch in your ZForce 950 also contributes to the ride’s jerkiness, especially when not properly configured. The secondary clutch features an adjustable spring with multiple settings, typically labeled A, B, C, and 1, 2, 3, 4. The factory setting, often B1, prioritizes top-end speed but exacerbates the jerkiness issue.
Reclock the Secondary Clutch: To address this problem, consider reclocking the secondary clutch to alternative settings like A1, B3, or C1. These settings are better suited to alleviate the jerkiness while still maintaining the vehicle’s power and speed.
Fix for Electronic Control Unit (ECU)
The stock Electronic Control Unit (ECU) in the ZForce 950 can also contribute to poor throttle response. To further improve the riding experience and resolve jerkiness, consider the following fix:
ECU Tuning: Aftermarket companies, such as Main Street Cycle, offer ECU tuning services specifically designed to optimize your ZForce 950’s performance. During this process, the stock ECU is reprogrammed with ideal settings, resulting in a more controlled throttle response and a noticeably smoother ride. Additionally, ECU tuning can increase both horsepower and torque, providing better overall performance.
While ECU tuning offers significant advantages, it is important to note that this service typically costs around $400 and may take one to two weeks to complete. However, the investment is well worth it for riders seeking to eliminate the jerkiness and enjoy a more refined riding experience.
Addressing these aspects of the clutch system and the ECU can greatly enhance your ZForce 950’s performance, leading to a smoother, more enjoyable ride.
2. Shifting Trouble
Problem: Shifting trouble can be a frustrating experience for CFMOTO ZForce 950 owners. These issues often manifest as gear shifts sticking, the occurrence of grinding noises during gear changes, and non-functional gear indicator lights. Such problems can disrupt your riding experience and need prompt attention.
Fix for Shifting Issues
To address shifting problems in your ZForce 950, follow these steps:
Shift Linkage Adjustment: One of the most common causes of shifting trouble is improperly adjusted shift linkages. This issue may arise due to loose lock nuts or assembly errors. Fortunately, it can be resolved relatively easily:
- Loosen the Rear Nut: Begin by loosening the rear nut on the shift linkage. Typically, loosening it by approximately 1.5 to 2 turns should be sufficient.
- Shift to the Right: Shift the linkage to the right to adjust its position.
- Tighten the Front Nut: After adjusting the linkage, tighten the front nut in the same direction to lock it in the newly adjusted position.
- Test the Gears: While making this adjustment, it’s advisable to shift through the gears to ensure they engage correctly and smoothly.
By carefully adjusting the shift linkage, you can effectively address the shifting problems you might encounter with your ZForce 950. This adjustment should result in smoother gear changes and a more enjoyable riding experience.
3. Seat Belt Issues
Seat belt issues have been a common complaint among ZForce 950 owners. The stock seat belts may leave some riders feeling insecure and uncomfortable. Additionally, these seat belts are prone to wear and may retract and lock up frequently, especially in adverse weather conditions.
Fix for Seat Belt Issues
To ensure your safety and comfort during rides, consider the following fixes for seat belt issues:
Seat Belt Maintenance: Regular maintenance of your seat belts can go a long way in preventing issues and ensuring your safety. Here’s what you can do:
- Clean the Latching Areas: Over time, debris and dust can accumulate in the seat belt latching areas. To keep them functioning smoothly, use compressed air to clean these areas.
- Apply Dry Lube: After cleaning, apply a dry lube to the latching areas. This helps reduce friction and ensures the seat belts retract and release properly. Periodically repeating this maintenance can help prolong the life of your seat belts and maintain their performance.
Upgrade to Four-Point Harnesses: For added security and comfort, you may opt to replace the stock seat belts with four-point harnesses. Four-point harnesses offer a more secure and snug fit, providing both increased safety and enhanced comfort during off-road adventures. This upgrade is particularly popular among riders who seek a more confident and stable ride.
By implementing these maintenance practices and considering an upgrade to four-point harnesses, you can address seat belt issues and enjoy a safer and more comfortable ride in your ZForce 950.
4. Squealing Brakes
Annoying brake squealing has been reported by ZForce 950 owners. What makes this issue particularly frustrating is that the squealing can occur even when the brakes are not in use. Dry and dusty conditions often exacerbate this problem.
Fix for Squealing Brakes
To address the issue of squealing brakes, consider the following fixes:
Brake Pad Cleaning: Brake noise, including squealing, is frequently associated with the accumulation of dust or dirt on the brake pads. To mitigate this problem:
- Hose Down the Brake Pads: Regularly hose down the brake pads to remove accumulated dust and dirt. This simple cleaning process can significantly reduce or eliminate brake noise caused by dust buildup.
- Use Soapy Water or Brake Cleaner: In cases where dust and dirt are particularly stubborn, you can use soapy water or a brake cleaner to clean the brake pads more thoroughly. Ensure that the brake pads are completely dry before using the vehicle.
By keeping your brake pads clean and free from debris, you can enjoy quieter and more efficient braking in your ZForce 950.
5. Starting Problems
Problem: Some ZForce 950 owners have encountered issues with starting the engine. These starting problems can be frustrating and disrupt your riding plans. Potential causes include problems with terminals/wiring, the battery, valves, and spark plugs.
Fix for Starting Problems
To troubleshoot and address starting problems, follow these steps:
- Clean and Inspect Battery Terminals: Begin by inspecting the battery terminals. Ensure they are clean and free of debris, corrosion, or oxidation. To prevent future corrosion, consider applying dielectric grease or petroleum jelly to the terminals.
- Check Grounding Wires: Verify that all grounding wires are properly connected and secure. Loose or corroded grounding wires can impede electrical flow and lead to starting issues.
- Test Battery Voltage: Use a multimeter to test the battery’s voltage. A fully charged battery should maintain 12 volts or more. If the battery voltage drops below this threshold, it can negatively affect the fuel injection system’s operation. Consider using a battery tender to maintain the battery’s charge when the vehicle is not in use.
- Tighten Battery Cables: Ensure that all battery cables are tightly secured to prevent loose connections, which can disrupt the electrical system.
Valve Inspection and Adjustment:
- Inspect and Adjust Valves: Valve clearance issues can occasionally lead to starting problems. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct valve clearance specifications. Adjust the intake and exhaust valves as needed to maintain the proper clearance.
Spark Plug Inspection:
- Examine Spark Plugs: Regularly inspect the spark plugs for any signs of fouling, such as the presence of foreign substances or excessive wear. If fouling is detected, replace the spark plugs with high-quality iridium spark plugs for improved engine performance and starting reliability.
By systematically addressing these potential causes of starting problems, you can ensure that your ZForce 950 starts reliably and consistently, allowing you to enjoy your riding adventures without interruption.
CFMOTO ZForce 950 Review
Biggest Changes for 2023
The CFMOTO ZForce 950 has undergone significant improvements in 2023, addressing various areas of concern based on owner feedback:
- Horsepower: The engine’s horsepower has been boosted from 79 HP to 85 or 90 HP, resulting in enhanced performance.
- Exhaust System: The new exhaust system not only looks impressive but also provides a better sound.
- Throttle Response: Throttle response has been greatly improved, especially in the upper RPM ranges, reducing jerkiness during acceleration.
- Suspension: The suspension system has been completely revised, incorporating dual springs for a smoother ride.
- Tires: CST Stag Radial tires have been introduced, offering better traction and stability.
- Seats: New, more comfortable seats have been installed, catering to a variety of body types.
- Winch Remote: A wireless remote for the winch is now included for added convenience.
- Frame: The circular tube alloy frame has been redesigned to increase strength by 10% while reducing weight by 15%.
What Owners Like
Engine Power and Performance
At the heart of the CFMOTO ZForce 950 lies a robust four-stroke, SOHC, 8-valve V-Twin engine with a displacement of 963 cc. The recent horsepower boost from 79 HP to 85 or even 90 HP in the HO models has catapulted this machine into a higher echelon of power and performance.
This enhanced output is particularly noticeable in the upper RPM ranges, giving the ZForce 950 the ability to compete head-to-head with industry heavyweights like the Polaris RZR 1000 and the Can-Am Mavericks. The improved throttle response in all RPM ranges results in a smoother ride and better acceleration, minimizing the jerky feeling that some owners previously experienced.
|Engine Type||Four-Stroke, SOHC, 8-valve V-Twin|
|Max Horsepower||85/90 HP @ 7,750 rpm (model-dependent)|
|Max Torque||60 lb.-ft. @ 6,200 rpm|
|Fuel System||Bosch EFI|
|Fuel Capacity||9.6 Gallons|
Advanced Drivetrain and Transmission
The ZForce 950 is equipped with a versatile drivetrain that allows users to switch between 2WD and 4WD as needed. For challenging terrain, a front differential lock provides additional traction. The CVTech automatic transmission is a standout feature, offering smooth gear changes in both high and low gears.
This transmission system is a significant improvement over earlier models and contributes to a more enjoyable and controlled riding experience. The gear shift pattern (L-H-N-R-P) ensures ease of use and adaptability to various riding conditions.
|Drivetrain||2WD/4WD w/ front differential lock|
|Transmission Type||CVTech Automatic w/ High and Low gears|
|Gear Shift Pattern||L-H-N-R-P|
Cutting-Edge Suspension System
For 2023, CFMOTO has overhauled the ZForce 950’s suspension system, resulting in a substantial upgrade. The front suspension employs an Independent Double A-Arm design, while the rear suspension features an Independent Quadlink Trailing Arm setup. The introduction of a dual spring system, consisting of an impact spring and a comfort spring, has transformed the ZForce 950’s ride quality.
This upgraded suspension setup significantly reduces stiffness and provides better control over the front end, making it ideal for tackling uneven terrain. It’s important to note that while the trailing arm suspension enhances off-road capabilities, it may not withstand extremely aggressive riding styles.
|Front Suspension||Independent Double A Arm|
|Rear Suspension||Independent Quadlink Trailing Arm|
|Front Travel||11 in (13 in for HO EX)|
|Rear Travel||11.8 in (15.5 in for HO EX)|
Tire Performance and Braking System
Tires play a crucial role in the off-road performance of any ATV, and CFMOTO has made noteworthy improvements in this department. The ZForce 950 lineup features CST Stag Radial tires, a notable upgrade over previous tire options. These tires excel in providing traction and stability across various terrains, whether it’s mud, sand, or snow. Their performance at all speeds enhances the overall riding experience, instilling confidence in the rider.
The ZForce 950 models boast a hydraulic disc braking system on all four wheels. These brakes strike a balance between responsiveness and sensitivity. Riders will find that they do not need to exert excessive pressure on the brake levers to achieve the desired braking performance. Additionally, the inclusion of a parking brake adds an extra layer of safety, particularly when parking on uneven surfaces or inclines.
|Brakes||Hydraulic Disc (Front and Rear)|
|Tires||CST Stag Radial (Model-dependent)|
Dimensions and Ergonomics
The CFMOTO ZForce 950 is well-proportioned, with dimensions that align with industry standards. Its length of 118 inches, width ranging from 60 to 64 inches (depending on the model), and height of 71 inches provide a comfortable and spacious cabin for both the driver and passenger. While taller riders may find legroom slightly limited, the overall design ensures a secure and enjoyable riding experience.
|Width||60 – 64 inches (model-dependent)|
|Curb Weight||1,499 – 1,510 lbs (model-dependent)|
CFMOTO has incorporated several user-friendly features into the ZForce 950 lineup. One such feature is the bright and easily readable LCD display located behind the steering wheel. This display provides essential information to the rider, enhancing convenience and safety during rides.
Another standout aspect is the passenger grab handle, designed to eliminate rattling, a common issue in many other models. The addition of Electric Power Steering (EPS) across all models enhances maneuverability and reduces the effort required to steer, making it a valuable inclusion.
|LCD Display||Bright and Easy to Read|
|Electric Power Steering||Included in All Models|
|Door Opening Angle||Extended Beyond 90 Degrees|
Door Design and Accessories
The ZForce 950’s door design is worth noting, as it opens well beyond 90 degrees. This feature simplifies the process of entering and exiting the vehicle, especially when wearing gear or equipment. Moreover, the ZForce 950 comes with a range of accessories that are often considered add-ons in other models. These accessories contribute to the overall value proposition of the ZForce 950 and cater to a wide array of rider preferences and needs.
|Range of Accessories||Available for Customization|
What Owners Don’t Love
While the CFMOTO ZForce 950 offers an impressive package, there are some aspects that have garnered criticism from owners. These points of concern, while not deal-breakers, should be considered:
Limited Cargo Space
Some owners have noted that the rear area of the ZForce 950 lacks a built-in box or bed, offering only a simple rack. This limitation can affect the vehicle’s utility, particularly for those who require substantial cargo space for off-road adventures or work-related tasks.
Susceptibility to Water Splashes
The location of the air intake and CV inlet for cooling the clutches, which is about waist-high, makes them susceptible to splashes during water crossings. While this may not be a significant issue for recreational riders, it’s essential to exercise caution in such situations to prevent potential damage.
Tail Light Placement
The placement of the tail lights has been a point of contention among some owners. Positioned in a way that exposes them to mud and water, the tail lights may require frequent cleaning and maintenance, which can be an inconvenience.
Smooth Steering Wheel Grip
The steering wheel in the ZForce 950 is made of smooth rubber with no textural grip. This design can make it challenging to maintain a secure hold, particularly when riding with wet gloves. Some riders may prefer a more textured and ergonomic steering wheel design for improved control.
Initial Brake Stiffness
New units of the ZForce 950 are known to have slightly stiff brakes that require a break-in period. While this is a temporary concern, it’s worth noting that some riders may find the initial braking experience less smooth than expected.
What are the common issues with the CFMOTO ZForce 950?
The most commonly reported problems include poor throttle response leading to a jerky ride, shifting difficulties, seat belt concerns, brake squealing, and occasional starting problems.
How can I improve the throttle response and eliminate jerky riding?
To address poor throttle response, consider upgrading the clutch system with new weights and a spring. Additionally, adjusting the secondary clutch settings and tuning the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) can lead to a smoother ride.
What should I do if I encounter shifting problems?
If you experience issues with shifting, such as sticking gears or grinding noises, you can adjust the shift linkage. Tightening the rear nut and shifting it to the right while securing the front nut can resolve this problem.
Are there any concerns with the stock seat belts?
Some users find the stock seat belts to be insecure and prone to wear. Regular maintenance and lubrication of the latching areas can help. Many owners opt for the added security of four-point harnesses.
How can I address brake squealing issues?
Brake squealing, especially in dry and dusty conditions, can be mitigated by cleaning the brake pads. Hosing them down, and using soapy water, or a brake cleaner can help reduce brake noise.
What can I do if I encounter starting problems with my ZForce 950?
Starting problems may result from issues with terminals/wiring, the battery, valves, or spark plugs. Cleaning and maintaining terminals, testing the battery, adjusting valves, and inspecting spark plugs can help resolve these issues.
The CFMOTO ZForce 950 is a formidable off-road machine that offers both power and versatility. While it may encounter common problems, addressing these issues can significantly improve your riding experience.
Whether you’re seeking a smoother throttle response, resolving shifting troubles, enhancing seat belt safety, silencing brake squeals, or troubleshooting starting problems, the solutions provided in this guide will help you make the most of your ZForce 950. By understanding these challenges and their fixes, you can enjoy your off-road adventures with confidence and comfort, knowing that you’re equipped to handle any obstacle that comes your way.