You do know that China produces more than 24 million motorcycles every year, and exports 34 percent of them, yes? There are more than 200 motorcycle manufacturers in China and their output accounts for a touch over 50 percent of all the motorcycles made in the world.
And they are coming here. It is inevitable, even though our domestic ‘import’ motorcycles market is relatively small in comparison to other countries. It’s still a market and some of them are already here. Brands like Lifan, Keeway and Zongshen are being sold to people after a dirt-cheap, almost disposable little dirt or road going motorcycle.
Yes, they appear to be made of recycled noodle cans, good wishes and bamboo, but people are buying them. Actually the motorcycles from Lifan, Keeway and Zongshen currently on the market in Thailand are of decent quality.
And some people are buying them without maybe knowing that they’re made in China.
The big motorcycle manufacturers in China are Loncin, which makes the GS650 engine for BMW, Qinqui, which partners with Suzuki, Mecury Marine and Peugeot, Jialing, which is China’s oldest brand churning out a million units a year and partnering with Honda, Lifan, which is partnered up with MV Agusta and Zongshen, which shares a bed with Piaggio and makes engine parts for Harley-Davidson and has just signed a distribution deal with Harley-Davidson for Asia.
It’s fair to say that at the moment the build quality of these cheerfully cheap motorcycles is what we can expect for the cost. But that will change – much sooner rather than later.