View Full Version : A change in the wind?

02-18-2005, 12:28 PM
The following Chinese manufacturers of motorcycles have booths this year at the Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis: Guangdong, Guangzhow, Jialing, Jiangmen, Kasea, Lifan, Linhai, Loncin, Ningbo, Qingqi, Zhejiang and Zongshen.

Most don't build a product an American dealer could sell - today. You gotta figure, though, that they didn't go to Indiana in February for the weather or the casinos. They're probably there to pass out business cards and company capability brochures, introduce themselves, and build up their "rolodex" files for the future.

Now that I think about it, I suppose that a motorcycle with "Guangzhow" or "Zhejiang" on the tank would have to have a pretty generous fuel capacity. :)


02-18-2005, 01:12 PM
damn, that's a lot of manufacturers

02-18-2005, 02:22 PM
damn, that's a lot of manufacturers
Ah, mainland China, very inscrutable. There are aledgedly ~100 motorcycle factories in China: private ventures, state run, and joint developments. The market is so big (how big is it?) that each of those factories averages as many units a year as each of Harley Davison's three factories, collectively building well over 10,000,000 new motorbikes and scooters this year. Woof.


02-18-2005, 02:28 PM
If there any good they might upset the motorcycle industry like Honda did in the sixty's and seventy's . They will probably be cheaper than the other imports.

02-18-2005, 03:10 PM
don't do it...control yourself...back off....oh dammit....

I'll have an order of Ningbo Rolls, some Shrimp Fried Lifan, and Sweet and Sour Guangzhow for two.

To go.

sorry....couldn't help it...sound too much like menu items :) :)

02-18-2005, 03:12 PM
It would have to be on price as the major factor.

When Honda and others first came to the states, they had price and quality over existing marques.

It would be awesome to see some new manufacturers have the same impact as the Honda Dream and Yamaha DT250 had. It's about time for another shakeup in the industry.

02-18-2005, 08:12 PM
Unfortunatelly we won't see a new honda very soon. The quality of most of the Chinese bikes is very low and even a low price won't bring a lot of buyers in their stores.

02-22-2005, 09:24 AM
That is intresting, Tom. I think a lot depends on the Koreans, though. There are a few good quality bikes, trying to get their foot in the door right now. Hyosung's cruiser did really well in an American magazine comparo last year. I'm very sad that I never did get to see a Comet vs EX250 comparo. And with all the buzz about their 650s right now, I probably never will. Based on my limited exposure to Chineses bikes, I think their best shot is to let the Koreans crack the door open, then sneak in behind them, and under sell them. Then both do what the Japanese auto makers did. Continue to raise quality while still underselling the competition, until twenty years later, voila, you can charge what ever you want, because to a new generation, you are the quality standard. The big hurtle the Chinese have in my opinion, is that producing a superior product, that not everyone can afford, is sort of against their political beliefs.

02-22-2005, 04:54 PM
There is a small scooter shop here in Conway, Arkansas that has a few 250's by Lifan. Price is around $2500 brand new and they offer like a one year warranty. I looked into it a bit b/c the price interested me, but I just couldn't trust it at this point. Plus - if I can ever convince my wife to get on board about the m/c idea, the LTC at my ROTC department has a 2002 Honda Shadow 600 VLX he'd sell for $3000. MAN do I want that m/c.


02-22-2005, 09:57 PM
don't do it...control yourself...back off....oh dammit....

I'll have an order of Ningbo Rolls, some Shrimp Fried Lifan, and Sweet and Sour Guangzhow for two.

To go.

sorry....couldn't help it...sound too much like menu items :) :)

Oh sure, but you'll want to ride again in an hour. Oh! I just crack me UP! :wiggleit:

Missy B
02-22-2005, 11:24 PM
Oh sure, but you'll want to ride again in an hour. Oh! I just crack me UP! :wiggleit:


(ok, I am adding this line only because a response has to be at least 10 characters.) ??

02-22-2005, 11:44 PM

(ok, I am adding this line only because a response has to be at least 10 characters.) ??

Hmm... I'll try to remember to talk to dB about this.... cause sometimes all you want to say is:


02-23-2005, 02:57 AM
Was talkin' to a local Rec Dealership (Mt. Pearl, Nfld.) who will be carrying the Hyosung line of motorcycles this Spring ... he expects that the GV650/1000 Aquila (a V-Rod look-alike, powered by Suzuki's SV650/1000cc engines) to be a good seller. I remarked that they might be if they were priced better than their Japanese built equivalent and if the build quality is good. The dealer didn't have a price list when I spoke to him, so couldn't give me an idea of what they'd be goin' for. The 'Zuki SV mills are both powerful and reliable though.
Hyosung will probably be to the North American motorcycle market what Hyundai is to the automobile market ... a lower priced alternative to the Japanese marques, but still offering good quality/reliability ... but Hyundai's rise in the North Am. marketplace didn't happen overnight ...
AND ... despite the fact that I've owned several Hyundai's over the years (as well as Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi), they still aren't at the same level as Honda or Toyota ... thay've gotten MUCH better, but they're still not quite there ... but, I guess that's why they're less expensive ...

02-23-2005, 08:00 AM
Ah, mainland China, very inscrutable. There are aledgedly ~100 motorcycle factories in China: private ventures, state run, and joint developments. The market is so big (how big is it?) that each of those factories averages as many units a year as each of Harley Davison's three factories, collectively building well over 10,000,000 new motorbikes and scooters this year...

China has 1.4 billion people, 80% are rural. While they can't afford a car, they buy small bikes like the Honda C90 stepthru, CB100s and CB125 clones. I didn't see many bikes over 250s except military sidecar bikes of large size. With almost 5 times the population of the U.S. their huge domestic market is the breeding ground for scores of Chinese bike manufacturers. The dozen or so bike manufacturers we hear about is but a fraction of the actual number in China.

I think China will eventually create great bikes. With such a huge domestic market to sell to they can use those profits for R&D and build a better bike. As for building great bikes that sell well in the North American/European market, that's a difficult question. If they can make CRT tubes for Japanese TVs, computer hard disks and 80% of the world's microwaves, I think they can make inexpensive, reliable MCs for the world.

02-23-2005, 08:40 PM
To be competitive to the Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, & Kawasaki line of bikes while the price might be low there are a LOT of things that will make them a BAD BUY.

First of all they will have to establish dealers all over North America & that means Cdn as well. Which is not going to be easy. It took the Jpn makers some yrs to learn how to deal with buyers.

One is that if there is a flaw in the final production line of the bike they cannot try to hide it under something like something rare & to be corrected. NOW there are factory recalls of many of the major makers bikes once out & being used buy the normal JOE. So that means there has to be a shop close by that has trained mechanics & with said replacement parts to do the job properly & not take many hours or failing again.

Besides the four big names from Jpn we had others & they are no longer around as they failed for various reasons & the same will be with these from China or Korea. You could end up forking out good money for a Bridgestone, Lilac (just two of some 6 other Jpn makers at the start in mid-60s) or whatever & trying to trade it in or sell it when all know the firm went belly-up several yrs ago.

All the big four in Jpn climbed up sensibly what with 50cc to 90, to 125 to 250 to 350, to 500 & finally up to 650, 750 & finally on to 1000 bar those V-twin cruisers of even larger CC size.

I would say 10 yrs from now you might still be wondering if you should buy a Chink or Korean bike or possibly have one & wondering why you bought it since you have waited over 9 months for some crucial part to allow the bike to be rolling.

02-24-2005, 07:12 AM
While there is now considerable market momentum for the big Jap 4 and HD, this was not always the case. The clear market leader of the past, HD, for example, almost went bust before being reborn and reengineered. British bikes were big, then they were pushed out by the competition. I'm sure the Brit MC companies thought they were the bollocks at the time.

I wouldn't discount any competitor from any country. Japan came from obscurity to dominate cars and bikes. There was a time when Jap products were considered knockoff trash, and they were. Now look were we are? Germany rose from being bombed to hell to being an engineering giant, their cars now sought after worldwide.

Don't dismiss the little guy, especially when he's 5 times your size (If you're American), or 44 times your size (If you're Canadian). There are some pretty smart and educated people in other parts of the world.

02-24-2005, 04:49 PM
Note that with money from the Allied countries that fought Japan during WWII, said money was to help them get back onto their feet. The same to Germany & it only took 4 yrs while Japanan being so different it was seven yrs

That tells you that by 1955-56 Jpn had the very latest of engineering eqjuipment WHILE the UK was still running their small m/c shops with old pre-war equipment like belt drivers overhead & each piece of equipment man-handled while Jpn was with all the computerized equipment.

If you had seen 16mm films of the Jpn makers churning out machiners without hardly a man touching said products & REALIZED how it was done in the UK, THEN you would have seen the writing on the wall & why some m/c makers knew they were finished & could NOT obtain loans to upgrade their plants-----------the end of Brit m/cs was there.

02-24-2005, 05:04 PM
I do not think most of you are machinests & so would NOT know about how one worked on metal cutting lathes, mill cutters & such. You would not know how to set up a certarin piece of metal, the the chuck & how many cuts you had to make along with measuring it with your calipers to know it was done to profection & then possibly turning it again to do the same & all of this takes the work of one to many men.

WHILE in Jpn it was the computers & the specialized equipment we allies help to pay for & only those around to inspect or possibly guide something to some yrs ago the introduction of CNC machinery of where there error cannot be more then half the thickness of one hair from your head & that would be stopped automatically & replaced by a new cutting tool or bit.

If you ponder about my words above take a look at a local machine shop that is still using lathes & even some of the older equipment & then you will SEE how things have change due to the computer world & CNC machinery. In fact if someone has a hobby machine shop they take a look & you will see what the UK was still using Vs the Jpn m/c makers.

So if China or Korea is competiting with Japan then they are all on the same playground & all with the best. Not like the days of the poor Brits doing it all the hard way along with a much, much slower line of production.

Phil Vincent of Vincent HRD m/cs could see the writing on the wall & was offered a deal of producing his 1000cc V-twin motors for "drone" aircraft & sensibly took the jump even though Vincent m/cs was the dream of so many riders back in late 40s & early 50s.

He was NOT competiting against the Japanese makers with their computer equipment as the contract went out to him & him alone. He just had to make so many a year & no competition.

02-25-2005, 12:30 PM
First of all, lets give the Brits the credit they deserve. It was they that showed us that lighter and more agile is better. (I don't know my Italian bike history. Maybe they were in there with the Brits.) The Japanese took that concept and ran with it.

On the one hand, Hyosung, et al, have a tougher row to hoe than the Japanese did back then. In the US, small bikes are a tougher sell now, than the were back in the day when a hot 350 could win at Daytona against bigger, clumsier bikes. Also, Honda marketed the things. Some of you remember when you met the nicest people on a Honda. I have yet to see even a magazine ad for an Alpha/Hyosung.

On the other hand, the Japanese did have to first convince us that products from the orient didn't always suck. So they've pioneered that for Korea and China. Hyundai will have been a huge help to them in that regard, too. So it should be easier for Hyosung than it was for Honda. Much easier.

I'm really rooting for Hyosung. The quality is there, comparing 250s to 250s, and factoring in that you can get them for less than MSRP, (less than the Japanese equivalent). We'll see about the 650s. Based on my limited experience with them, the Chinese bikes have got a way to go quality wise, even if they plan to under sell Hyosung. But I AM prejudiced..because I want a couple of Hyosungs.....for my wife, a GV250, a decent quality 250, gorgeous, fat fendered classic look, will run at 80mph all day, for the price of a Rebel/GZ. For me, a Comet 250, decent quality, full sized (slightly taller than an EX250), same weight as an EX250, 17" tires, similar power to an EX250, same price as an EX250, still available in yellow, and IT"S NAKED! I WANT them to succeed, so they need to get on the stick, and advertise a little. If there were people out there saying "where do I get one of these" it might be easier to line up new dealers.

Sorry, I've taken my pill, and I'm better now. We were talking about the Chinese. I think in the long run, flooding the US with bikes of questionable quality would do them more harm than good. IMHO they'd be better off learning what we expect as far as quality, and letting the Koreans lead interference for them as far as getting a new generation used to the idea of buying a bike they've never heard of, then come in behind that.

02-25-2005, 01:01 PM
Asia moto brands already sold in USA//who say they're coming

From Korea: Hyosung//Daelim

From Taiwan: CPI, Kymco//SYM, TGB

From India: Bajaj, LML, Royal Enfield//Kinetic

From China: Baron, TN'G, United Motors, Vento//see 1st post in thread!

From Russia: IMZ-Ural//

Kymco would probably have the largest American set-up so far, with an over 400 member dealer network and a line of scooters, on and off road motorbikes and quads backed by a two year warranty.


02-25-2005, 01:18 PM
hey java - i don't know if you read the AlphaRidersClub yahoo group forum, but over there many of us have been spouting off the same complaints to AlphaSports regarding their apparant lack of interest in marketing the Hyosung line. Some reps from Alpha also read that forum, and i'm sure some of my own posts gave them fits.

one rumor has it that hyosung might have decided to rebrand its bikes as "Hyosung" in the US and take more of a hands-on approach to getting the message out. there just HAS to be a reason why AlphaSports hasn't stepped up to the plate yet, and maybe it's because Hyosung is still revamping its US business plan. participating in a couple of bikes shows isn't going to do AlphaSports much good.

who knows. it's all word of mouth that's selling the Hyosung brand in the US. AlphaSports should pay the people who, having enjoyed the bikes so much, are doing all their marketing for them!

02-27-2005, 08:49 AM
I get the impression that Alphasport is "underfunded".


02-27-2005, 08:58 AM
Those fun loving guys over at webBikeWorld.com (http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-accessories/) have posted five pages on the Indy dealer show, and mentioned the Chinese "invasion". Here's the Zongshen ZS200GS (http://www.zongshenmotor.com/zongshen/www/en/top2/top2-1detail.jsp?cid=4802&cc=ZS200GS) single with F/R discs:

http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-accessories/images/zongshen.jpg http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-accessories/images/zongshen-instruments.jpg

The webBikeWorld wags noted that the majors have by-in-large abandoned the entry level, which gives the new boys their shot, but it will take more than some ISO containers full of cheap bikes to make a motorcycle brand.


02-27-2005, 05:15 PM
The webBikeWorld wags noted that the majors have by-in-large abandoned the entry level, which gives the new boys their shot...

The North American entry level market is exactly where the Chinese/Korean MC manufacturers will be strong, as in their domestic markets these same bikes are mainstay entry and mid level MCs. They'll be fighting tooth and nail against their domestic competitors, and through domestic evolution their bikes will improve. Their star models, the ones with best reliability and highest profit margins, will be exported to North America, where hopefully we can buy them for half the price of a Jap bike. That'd be about $1,500 US or so. I've also read that the old licenses for 1980s UJMs were sold to Chinese MC manufacturers, who can take these plans and use them as the base for their launch. They can then improve on the Japanese design and come up with something new.

I'd welcome a $1,000 Chinese 250cc bike. The 125cc road MC market has one model available. The 250cc road MC market has, what 3 models available? The next step up is the 500cc market? There's nothing between 250cc and 500cc sizes on the market right now, or can someone please correct me? More competition and cheaper prices for entry level MCs might get more people riding. While this opportunity is available in North America, Europe is quite different with their large assortment of small bikes. As we always like to say "It's not what you ride but that you ride".

03-13-2005, 11:03 AM
Lifan is already beginning to make an appearance with Dallas based American Lifan. www.americanlifan.com I 've heard mixed reports on quality.

Linhai has been sold by a handful of scooter shops here for a few years. I understand that Yamaha has part ownership in Linhai, but could be mistaken.? Tom?

At least some of the United Motors bikes are built by Zongshen.

I've seen Jialing scooters offered by some online scooter shops operating out of Florida.

They're not only coming they're already here. Whether or not they'll stand the test of time remains to be seen. Some may and some will probably never get very much off the ground before folding.

I'm taking a wait and see attitude about quality and reliability. Time will tell.

03-14-2005, 03:09 PM
i jusy hope the current bike makers dont contract those companies to make bikes for them, like GM does for those korean car manufacturers.