Popular misconceptions about Chinese bikes debunked.

It’s fair to say that Chinese goods don’t always get the best praise. There are literally millions of products coming from China that of poor quality and are leaving buyers with a bad taste in their mouth for making the regrettable purchase. The motorcycle industry is no different. For every one good company producing quality units there are ten more making pieces of junk destined for the scrap heap.
With a little research it’s not difficult to find out a little about the product in question and make an informed decision yet so many people are willing to gamble on a bike without really putting much effort into understanding the product or the company that is producing it. It’s highly unlikely that the majority of car buyers will just walk into a dealership and say “Hey, that red one looks good, I’ll take it!” without first having sat down with a sales rep and gone through the details of the vehicle.
It‘s amazing that so many end users will take a chance that the brand new $600 bike on Ebay is going to be reliable and of fair quality without bothering to look into who made it and what the quality is like. Below are some common statements regarding Chinese bikes that were found in the most dreaded place on the entire web; the YouTube comments section. For the purpose of easy reading the quotes below have been edited to make them acceptable English with added punctuation but the body of the text has been left verbatim. Here goes…
“Just another heap of crap from China.”
This one particular comment is common around the web, this one specifically aimed at Chinese bikes; it insinuates that the majority of the products from China are poor quality. Admittedly there are low quality manufacturers that let the side down but how does that apply to everything from China? Surely this poor soul doesn’t realize that a good number of BMW Motorrad engines come from factories in China alongside a good number of other reputable brands. Well, perhaps this commenter is referring to products designed by the Chinese that are crap? Erm…let’s take a look at Chinese cycle company Giant [based in Taiwan] which has more world class road racing titles from its racing branch Giant-Alpecin than you can shake a stick at. I know they aren’t technically motorcycles but I wouldn’t consider anything that takes 1st place spots at the Tour de France, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, to be “just another heap of crap from China”.
Moving on to the next comment we can clearly see how confusion over Chinese domestic road laws are causing people assume there aren’t any bikes over 250cc in China, or perhaps even coming out of China. It’s kind of hard to tell exactly what’s being said when the poor level of English involved makes it this ambiguous. Here we have two comments; the latter is a response to the former…
“125/150 is just not enough….”
“Over 250 cc not allowed at China.”
The first comment is a fair reply from somebody needing more than 150cc, maybe he’s a fat guy, who knows? The reply that follows clearly shows a lack of understanding of the motorcycle market in China from both domestic and export points of view. While it is uncommon for bikes in Chine to be over 250cc it certainly isn’t “not allowed”. Jialing produce and sell the JH600 within the country and it can be legally registered and I personally know many club members who ride ‘real’ bikes well above this supposed 250cc limit. So no, China doesn’t limit bikes to 250cc for domestic use or export, the evidence is all there for anyone who would bother to type a few words into Google.
“You just get what you pay for. Want a cheap bike? You get a cheap bike.”
A very fair comment. How long will it take before buyers realize that spending a fraction of the cost of a new Honda on a new Chinese bike will land you with something that is a fraction of the quality? Again, let’s go to other industries to see where this logic also applies – buy a backpack from some shoddy, low cost brand for $10 and watch the stitching come loose, the zips jam up and the straps break. Now spend $100 on a well manufactured backpack from a well-known brand and enjoy that thing for the next 20 years.
It’s easy to put the blame of crappy quality on the Chinese, but who is really to blame for buying something that is dirt cheap and then whining like a child about it being poor quality when it inevitably breaks down?
Because it’s probably best to end on a positive note the last comment pasted here is one that shows some common sense and probably close to the truth.
“In 10, 20 years from now Chinese bikes will be up to scratch when it comes to build quality and reliability. It wasn’t that long ago when we took the piss out of Kia drivers, now Kia cars are considered decent cars.”
From observable evidence we know this statement is fairly accurate. It is true that a Kia car 20 years ago had the same reputation that some Chinese bikes have now. Kia progressed and improved, much in the same way that the Chinese manufacturers are doing, and it’s now not at all embarrassing to say you drive a Kia. I certainly believe that this is the way that the Chinese motorcycle industry is heading; there are good companies who are already up to reputable standards but global acceptance will come when the lower quality makers disappear from the markets and the overall quality of all Chinese bikes is at a higher standard and has displaced the poor quality units.

February 11, 2016