Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Chinese-made motorcycles have made personal mobility extremely accessible, especially for those on a tight budget. These motorcycles often cost a fraction of their European and Japanese counterparts, while offering similar specifications on paper. However, the reputation of products which are made in China has always been seen in a negative light, perhaps due to the perceived lack of quality control and the use of substandard materials.
However, these days, nearly all products are made in China. Smartphones, televisions, home appliances, and even many cars see production in China. In fact, major global manufacturers like KTM and Harley-Davidson have partnered up with Chinese companies to outsource production for the Asian market. Granted, of course, not all Chinese-made motorcycles are equal, and the quality control and manufacturing techniques vary from brand to brand. That said, are Chinese-made motorcycles worth owning?
When it comes to value for money, Chinese-made motorcycles are at the top of the food chain. Costing nearly 30 to 50 percent less than their European and Japanese competitors, bikes like the CFMOTO 400 NK offer incredible value for money while remaining on par with other motorcycles in the market. This results in a significantly lower barrier to entry when it comes to big bikes. Before the entry of the likes of Benelli, CFMOTO, and Bristol, an entry-level big bike would set you back more than P300,000.
These days, Chinese-made motorcycles are beginning to feature more premium components and tech. Previously dominated by small-displacement scooters and mopeds, more and more big bikes chock full of performance features commonly found on high-end models from European and Japanese manufacturers are making their way to markets across the globe. As a result, these bikes are becoming more expensive, with the likes of the Benelli TRK 502 X sitting at nearly the same price point as the Honda CB500X.
The overall build quality of Chinese-made motorcycles has, for the most part, greatly improved over the years. Back then, these motorcycles were known for breaking down, falling apart, and being generally unreliable. Modern-day manufacturing techniques, as well as the use of more high-quality materials has changed this notion. Additionally, a lot of these Chinese manufacturers have partnered up with well-known component manufacturers to ensure the reliability of their machines. It isn’t uncommon to find KYB suspension components, J.Juan brakes, and BOSCH electronic fuel injection systems on Chinese-made motorcycles.
When put side-by-side with their international counterparts, it’s clear to see that Chinese-made bikes are fast approaching the same levels of build quality. Granted, you will still see some parts which have been made to fit the bike’s price point, however, chances are that all the major components have been engineered to provide reliability and longevity.
When it comes to buying a new motorcycle, it’s important to look beyond the prejudice which the hands of time has bestowed upon the industry. Gone are the days of rinky-dinky bikes from Chinese manufacturers that would break down in the middle of the road, fall apart, or simply stop working. The integration of advanced manufacturing techniques and the partnership with reputable components manufacturers has indeed elevated the overall quality of Chinese-made bikes by a huge margin, while keeping their prices extremely attractive.