Chinese Motorcycles


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A Look at Motorcycles that are Made in China

The Chinese motorcycle industry has exploded in recent years.  Manufacturers of these machines are producing an astounding number of motorcycles!  The numbers are mind boggling.  A recent report shows that Chinese factories are producing MILLIONS and MILLIONS of machines annually.  In fact, reports indicate that the numbers far EXCEED 10 million per year and is growing quickly.  What does all this mean??  Well, part of what it means is that Chinese motorcycles are beginning to flood worldwide markets.  These days, it's possible to find these machines for sale at places that might surprise you.  Have you headed down to your local auto parts store lately?  Some of them are now selling these Chinese motorcycles.  If you check eBay, you'll find that it seems that "everyone and his brother" are selling inexpensive Chinese motorcycles online!  When buying a Chinese motorcycle, you need to be very careful what you buy.  The quality coming out of motorcycles coming out of China can vary widely from factory to factory.  If you are not absolutely sure that the specific motorcycle you are considering is a good choice, then you would probably just be better off buying a brand name motorcycle.  If you can not afford a brand new Japanese motorcycle (which might be the reason why you are considering a Chinese motorcycle), then you can also find a lower cost used Japanese motorcycle.    

200cc Enduro Chinese Bike

200cc Enduro Style Motorcycle

One of the most confusing things about these motorcycles is the question about where are they from.  It's not like the big Japanese manufacturers where there are a few big names and you know which company made your motorcycle.  On the contrary, with these Chinese machines, sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly who made it and to get useful information on it's origin.  There are so MANY different manufacturers producing these!  Why does that matter?  Well, it matters because not all these machines are made exactly the same way.  The Chinese are masters at copying and so many of these bikes look basically the same.  Even so, depending on the company that actually manufactured the bike, there can be some significant differenced in terms of quality and long term reliability.  Needless to say, "cheaper is not always better"!  The old saying, "you get what you pay for" also has some relevance in terms of Chinese motorcycles, but the fact is that one of the biggest advantages of these machines is that they offer a lot of bike for a little bit of money.  You can buy a Chinese bike for a fraction of the cost of a name brand Japanese bike.  For someone on a limited budget, this can be a big deciding factor.  It is possible to buy a nice, brand new Chinese motorcycle for much less than an old, used Japanese bike!  Just be careful to try to do some research on the Chinese manufacturer that makes the machine you are considering to make sure that they have good quality standards.

250cc Strret Motorcycle

250cc Street Cruiser Motorcycle

The Chinese have come a long way in terms of improving the quality of their products. Many big, reputable factories are now ISO certified for quality in their manufacturing processes.  How can you know if a Chinese motorcycle that you are looking at is a good choice?  Well, it's hard to say for sure, but if you can find out the name of the manufacturer and try to do some research on the internet, then that can be helpful.  Look to see if the factory is ISO certified.  Also, try to find out how many units are produced.  That can give you an idea of how big they are.  In many cases, the larger factories probably have tighter systems in place for quality control in their manufacturing processes.  Also, if you are able to check out the chinese motorcycle in person, then check out obvious things like weld quality.  See if all the welds look neat and well formed.  Also, check for basic fit and finish of the different components.   How is the paint job?  How well do parts fit together?  How does the quality of chromed parts look?  Details like that can help give you a general idea of the overall quality and attention to detail put in by the manufacturer. 

Another big question you should ask yourself while shopping for a Chinese bike (whether it be online or in person), is regarding parts supply.  This is a big one!  You need to make sure that whatever you buy will have parts accessible in the future so that you can repair & maintain your motorcycle and keep it going.  It doesn't matter how cheap the initial purchase was if later your motorcycle becomes inoperable because you can not get a simple $5 repair part!  Don't just take the word of the seller.  Try to get proof that parts will be available for any Chinese motorcycles that you are considering to purchase.  Do your homework and research the manufacturer.  Fortunately, many of these motorcycles are copied heavily from Japanese designs, so it may be possible to get engine parts and others from one of the big Japanese dealers, but just be sure to question the sources of parts so you can be better assured that your motorcycle will be able to serve you for many years to come.

Some people may be a bit apprehensive regarding these low cost machines.  In some ways, it is similar to the early years of Japanese vehicles in the US.  Initially, some people were skeptical and critical of those machines - with good reason.  Some of the products were a bit questionable early on and with no track record, how could anyone know for sure what to expect.  Well, as it turned out, the Japanese motorcycle industry exploded and has proven itself well over decades of producing great products.  The Chinese motorcycle manufacturers seem to be in the early stages of a similar business model.  Time will tell for sure, but the writing on the wall is clear...  the Chinese are a formidable worldwide force in the production of motorcycles!  So, the next time you see one of these machines, take a closer look.  You might be surprised at the quality (or lack of it) and low price that you see.  If you do decide to buy one, then just be very careful when you make your decision! 

You will find that in many cases these machines will not have engines that exceed 250cc.  That is pretty typical of the practices of the Chinese motorcycle manufacturers.  This may change in the future, but for now most of these bikes have smaller engines.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, with the cost of fuel the way it is, a more fuel efficient motorcycle with smaller engine may be a very welcome thing!  See the experience of a young man with a Chinese motorcycle in the video below.