Chinese motorcycles and scooters look like bargains with prices as low as 23,000 Baht. Compare that to some of the big names in the scooters and motorcycles industry. The cheapest Thai/Japanese motorcycle is the Tiger Retro 110, which costs 29,800 Baht, which costs easily 6,000 Baht more than the average Chinese 125cc and the Tiger Retro 110 comes with a smaller engine and less creature comforts.
It's a similar story among the bigger motorcycles. There seems to be a plethora of cheap Chinese scooters and motorcycles on the market now-a-day – until you look a little closer and find that many of them popped out of the same factory, just with different importers and badges.
Are these scooters or motorcycles really the bargain they seem? What happens when you want new brake pads, or the head gasket blows? Not to speak if you're in need of serious engine maintenance. And if there is a warranty, is it worth the paper it's written on? With a domestic made Tiger Retro 110 motorcycle you know exactly what warranty you have, Tiger motorcycles come with an 3-years, or 30,000km guarantee and the manufacturer is in Thailand.
According to some brochures - from several Chinese manufacturers, 'each engine is bench tested for two hours before assembly.' Would a Chinese two-wheel manufacturer churning out 400,000 units (data from the same brochure) a year bench test every engine for two hours? Call me a cynical guy, but it sounds a little unlikely.
On the other hand I also know a few Chinese motorcycle manufacturers who produce serious products, Lifan, Sachs, Zongshen and a few more. But the scooters or motorcycles produced by this firms are surely not the bargains we thinking about.