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Seems Chinese motorcycles are finally here

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by jd, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Noticed in the last MT mag that Piston Broke in Melbourne is supposedly importing and compliancing the Zongshen Z250GS. Looking at the specifications on the official site it doesn't look too exciting at first glance - a 230cc single producing just 13kw. However it's priced about a grand cheaper than Honda's single cylinder CBF, which itself is only putting out 15kw. Build quality may be an issue, but then it's worth remembering that the CBF is manufactured in Brazil, not Japan. The styling of the Chinese bike doesn't look too bad IMO, kinda reminds me of the GPZ900. May not be fast but at 4.5k new it is cheap so might be a good choice for some newbies (hopefully someone here can take one for a test spin and give a review).

    More info on where to buy here
    (Note I have absolutely nothing to do with Piston Broke or Zongshen).
  2. Two things, lets see if it meets ADR's, and judging by the Chinese ATV's and motorbikes I've seen in this country recently, I'd NEVER buy one.
    Serious engineering defects, and basic safety/longevity details overlooked. I'll mention a few, brand new farm ATV with cracks around many welds on chassis, rod ends instead of balljoints on end of rack and pinion steering, and rod ends binding at full lock and at certain suspension heights, rod ends also unprotected fron dirt ingress, wheel bearings with no dust covers, hyudraulic hoses unsupported and rubbing on sharp chassis components etc etc etc.
    One importer I talked to got out of them due to the warranty claims taking more of his time than the sales and servicing, ie, he was losing money on each unit.
    Now, if they'd bring in that copy of the russian copy of the BMW copy, I'd think about it. At least that was sorted out years ago.

    Regards, Andrew.
  3. I think its a hit and miss. I all depends on which factory it came from. Some of them are really good. One brand (I forget which) is actually produced along side the Yamaha PW50 in the same factory in china. Give the Chinese a several more years and they will be a real force in the market.
  4. Dunno about that! They've had 50 years already.
    The problem is, they are pitching at the cheap/volume end of teh markets, and a few bad apples are compensated by the huge volume.
    I agree they can make some good components if watched carefully, but unlike South Korea, they are not smart enough to admit they are not smart enough and hire in engineers (like South Korean firms do). Sorry, but I've seen far, far too many examples of Chinese bodgery in many different items to trust my life with something as complex as a motorcycle. I'll buy a cast alloy water pump off them, with four parts, but never a bike with a thousand parts.
    Teh Chinese are very, very good at buying old tooling and continuing to make old models though, they just can't seem to put together new ideas and technology.
    Maybe if they offer a two year warranty AND get ADR approval I'll take notice. Until then, forget about it. I suspect the importer will not get ADR approval, and will try a limited production loophole get around or similar.

    Regards, Andrew.
  5. From what I can find on the 'net Zongshen does seem to be considered the peak of Chinese engineering. The company has a partnership with Aprillia (building scooters under licence in China) and even competes in the 250cc class of MotoGP (although they run Aprillias). Keep in mind there's a huge number of motorcycle manufacturers in China - so it's a bit hard to judge the entire industry on just a few locally delivered examples. And as I pointed out it's not a question of whether the build quality is up to Japanese standards - but whether it's up to Brazilian standards (ie is a Zongshen a better buy than a CBF250). And Chinese engineering isn't that primitive - after all they do design and build much of their own military hardware (including some fairly advanced aircraft and guided missile systems).
  6. My dad said they are like the Japanese in the 70's when they first came to Australia. Cheap and nasty with questionable build quality but look at them now.
  7. China is the emerging superpower, and is likely to economically dominate world markets in the foreseeable future. So like it or not, we'll probably end up with a lot of Chinese made stuff here. Manufacturing and quality control is progressing rapidly, and in the end I expect it will become on par with Japanese manufacturing. To keep competitive, the Chinese are going to have to focus on more market segments than the bottom end alone, which will mean higher quality and higher priced offerings. I have no idea how long it will take them to start producing quality export motorcycles, but it's on the cards.
  8. If anyone wants to observe Chinese motorcycles first hand, Paul Aitken in Moorebank in Sydney is selling the Daelim (?) brand and has at least one of each model.....
  9. Daelim is actually Korean.
    But your not far off the point when it comes to quality. The learner school I attended had Daelims. Not pretty.

    As for Chinese motorcycles. I can only think of one analogy (tho technically wrong, because the example is Russian) - Lada Niki. *shudder*
  10. Generally I'm a "give it a go sort of guy". I don't accept that the leaders in any particular market are that far ahead of the entry level.

    I would buy a Hyosung for example.

    It does, however, seem to me that the Chinese bikes are not cheap enough for what they are. To save $1000-1500 you wouldn't bother.
  11. I reckon the price would be a reflection of the small scale of the imports - if/when they start bringing in larger numbers (ie they set up there own official nationwide network of dealers) then the price may come down a bit. Zongshen already has an official network in the US and rumour is that they're working on bikes larger than 250cc - including possibly a 1000cc supersports (presumably with help from Aprillia).
    Edit: And I'm thinking something like an RSV 1000 made in China and selling for say half the price would tempt a LOT of Aussie buyers irregardless of build quality.
  12. +1 mate, I have even bought 2 x Kia and 1 x Ssangyong over the years but Chinese manufacture worries me. No real reason so no point having a go at me.
  13. Boy you have not seen anything yet

    You now that mob called HD and S&S watch out boys the china boys are coming

    Thats all I can Say at the moment but i have seen them on the DYNO running very impressive numbers
  14. Spot on.
  15. Hmm, I've still to see an Australian compliance plate (or photo of one)on one of these bikes, despite numerous emails being sent to various sellers.........

    Regards, Andrew.
  16. Some of the Chinese road trail bikes are recreational registrable. Someone said the Lifan motors are pretty strong?
  17. Zongshen

    Zongshen is successfully manufacturing Piaggio Zip scooters for the Italians in one of its Chinese factories and has major ambitions to become a world exporter of all classes of bikes. I think they will be a company to watch in the next few years.

    And since they seem to want to sell road bikes here, they would have to have ADR compliance surely? According to the April Cycle Torque, they have Australian complianced five models out of their absurdly large range of models (mostly 125 and mostly ugly).
  18. As I said before, it all depends on what factory they come from. Yamaha has their mini bikes built in China now (so someone told me) along side another chinese brand in the same factory.

    A friend of mine bought a 125cc chinese dirt bike. I do not recall the name or brand but he said him and his mates really gave it to the bikes around a track for many weeks and they were still going strong. He did say however that everything needed to be tightened after coming out of the crate.

    It really depends on the brand, I know some are good but I'm sure some are very bad too.