By: Necron99 (offline)  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 11:07 AM ICT (Read 5499 times)  

Living with a Lifan 200GY-5

What is a Lifan 200? Maybe we had best start with what it is not.
With no storage, it's not a bike to do the local shopping on, not at least without the addition of aftermarket panniers. So if shopping and the versatility of a scooter in carrying heavy or oversized loads is a requirement, this bike is not for you.

It's also not a motorcross bike, despite you're wanting to let its looks fool you into thinking it is, or at least that it could be one. The welded and bolted lightweight frame will, I believe, quickly instruct you otherwize should you attempt to push it into service as a track bike or for full offroad adverture riding.

It's also not an enduro or touring bike as set up, as much as you want to think it would be a great cheap alternative to a Transalp or somesuch for your Great Asian Adventure. it lacks the sort of power, gearing and seating that such a trip would normally require, unless you are both built like shorter than average and very skinny Ewoks, this bike won't do two up plus luggage with anything near the comfort and speed required for long distance trips. Having said that, with a new seat and a smaller back sprocket it could do for a single rider, both of which are easily and cheaply obtained in Thailand.

What it really is is a cheap, reliable trail bike perfect for village riding or brief rural or offroad trips. It can also double as a city commuter if you prefer the better visibility riding position of a bike as opposed to a scooter. A version is sold with motard wheels and tires.

So, what do you get for your THB 47,500 onroad? Lets just stop and look at that number for a second. It's not much is it? About the same as a the entry level mainstream 125 cc scooters.
The nearest mainstream analogue would be the Kawasaki D Tracker 250, retailing at THB 160k.

What you get for that trifling amount is a road legal 200 cc normally aspirated, aircooled trailbike with an ignition and electric start. Instrumentation is limited to a speedo,odometer and a neutral indicator. The engine peaks at 16/8000 rpm, not that you can really tell as it has no tacho, but it's got plenty of grunt for a bike this size. Think early 1990's Honda XL and you will not be far off. In fact, in styling, setup and technology level the two bikes share much. While form follows function in bike design, I would not be suprised to see a set of XL blueprints in the Lifan engineering shop.

What you will see in a typical Lifan dealer is a range of colors and setps on offer. There seems to be alot of whimsical additions and ommisions at the Lifan factory, so what exactly is on offer will differ from shop to shop. Color, all Lifans are black, the illusion that you have bought a bike with a different colour is given by the bolt on plastics. Setups revolve mostly around wheels and tires, mine came with a 21 inch enduro tire on the front and 18 inch knobby on the back. I have seen a motard with twin 18" road tires and a rear pannier for the commuter set. Mine came without a stone guard or centrestand though the fitting points are present, others I have seen have these.

My choice of the Lifan was dictated by price and purpose. I wanted a cheap bike for getting around the village and the interconnecting roads which are often tractor torn dirt. I'm also on the bigger side at 190cm and 100kg's, in my mind a scooter just wasn't going to cut it. I do about 50% sealed road riding so I went with the model that had the front enduro tire, which happened to be black. If I get tired of the colour a new set of platics cost only arounf THB 2000.

Click on image to download

So after 5 mths and 3000km on the clock what are my impressions?
Out of the box the ride and handling is just what you would expect, the shocks and suspension are fine for handling potholed tracks at speed and it behaves well on the road. The seat could be a little more substantial, but that could just be me. The 200cc engine produces plenty of power and with me on board a comfortable top speed of 90 or so. I push the button and it starts (usually), I turn the twisty thing it goes. It sounds like an honest hardworking bike. It's had two oil changes with no unpleasant surprises in the old oil. The dealer network is expanding and parts are both cheap and plentiful, not that I've had much call for ordering thus far. Likely future requirements such as sprockets or bearings are standard types that have been used on many past bikes and both (japanese) stock or aftermarket alternatives abound. An entire Lifan engine with electric start can be had for THB 10,000.

What I hate about this bike.
It's cheap, the cheapness of some parts just oozes, particularly the plastic switches and the factory assembly. While the engine, main structural and running gear is fine, anything not related to making it go was constructed of substandard material,left out entirely or put together poorly.

A post delivery inspection showed many fittings to be loose,no loctite used in assembly and only minimal grease packing of the bearings. Even the dealer only put enough petrol in to get me to the end of the road.
The small nuts holding the valves onto the rims are rusted, as it the swiveling kickstarter and many other small screws.

The large phillips head bolts that hold the plastic panels on are made of what appears to be the same metal used in the manufacture of Dinky cars, and annoyingly, are bolted on in the shop with an impact wrench ensuring that you strip them the first time you attempt to take them off. I've had lawnmowers with sturdier sparkplug connectors.

The electrics are not properly sealed and getting the bike drenched may have it's consequences. The indicators are not sealed and fill with condensation. The main wiring bundle under the headlight cover is only half wrapped (the bottom half) in plastic and resembles an funnel with the open end up, guaranteeing that errant water from rain or washing will make it's way to the connectors. Whether my horn or indicators work depends largely on the weather or how dirty the bike is.

While some now seem to come with conventionally arranged gearboxes, some scooter riding clown at Lifan put a 5 down gearbox on the batch mine was in. At times, neutral (at the top) can be difficult to get to.
The mixture scew on the carb turns too easily, I seem to be always making small corrections to it.
The back brake,unless you are standing or wearing boots with 2 inch soles is almost impossible to apply any meaningful pressure to.
The front brake has no rubber or spring backing to the pads, so squeaky brakes are inevitable.
For my mind, the bike is geared like a moto x, first gear is very short and for my use a smaller back sprocket is preferred. Going down 10 teeth on the back has immensely improved the ride.
Overall, I would have much rathered paying 50k for this bike with the extra money being spent on a few better screws, some nicer switches and assembly quality control. That small amount of care, attention and money would have taken away most of my reasons for disliking this bike.

So, I like it because it's cheap and hate it cause it's cheap, I am a man of contradictions.
The good news is that all of my complaints were cheap and easy to rectify.
A the end of the day the bike is cheap to buy, runs well and is fit for purpose (mine).
Great value for an ok bike that only costs the equivelant of the first years depreciation on it's mainstream rivals.

   

Necron99


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By: news (offline)  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 11:46 AM ICT  

Nice and honest review of the Lifan LF200GY-5, and sure the Lifan Cross 200 (we hate to call it the Lifan Cross 200 as it suggest something what it's not) is absolutely not a motocross bike. Sure you can ride rural unpaved roads and it will be fine to do so, but a motocross motorcycle is something completely different.

And I also agree that a motorcycle is not ideal for shopping, but, then not many other motorcycles are good as shopping bike.

For the touring part I agree and disagree a little bit, as for some people touring is also an adventure – and what is an adventure without some risk and discomfited – if I take a BMW R1200GS to ride to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I can very accurate tell you when I will arrive, how much gasoline I going to burn, and when I arrive, it will feel like getting of a touring-bus... Personally I'm for some time thinking to actually do that trip on a Lifan LF200GY-5a (maybe on another model), and I'm sure that it will not be a bus ride, it will be a real adventure (and if things get out of hand the bike is cheap enough to ditch it).

   

news



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By: Necron99 (offline)  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 12:17 PM ICT  

Quote by: news

Nice and honest review of the Lifan LF200GY-5, and sure the Lifan Cross 200 (we hate to call it the Lifan Cross 200 as it suggest something what it's not) is absolutely not a motocross bike. Sure you can ride rural unpaved roads and it will be fine to do so, but a motocross motorcycle is something completely different.

And I also agree that a motorcycle is not ideal for shopping, but, then not many other motorcycles are good as shopping bike.

For the touring part I agree and disagree a little bit, as for some people touring is also an adventure – and what is an adventure without some risk and discomfited – if I take a BMW R1200GS to ride to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I can very accurate tell you when I will arrive, how much gasoline I going to burn, and when I arrive, it will feel like getting of a touring-bus... Personally I'm for some time thinking to actually do that trip on a Lifan LF200GY-5a (maybe on another model), and I'm sure that it will not be a bus ride, it will be a real adventure (and if things get out of hand the bike is cheap enough to ditch it).




I have no doubt that the bike would make it there and back, and being low tech, any village mechanic would have no trouble working on it should the need arise.
Would definitely need to mod the seat to suit my more ample ass proportions though!

   

Necron99


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By: Anonymous: KLX ()  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 12:19 PM ICT  

Quote by: news

Nice and honest review of the Lifan LF200GY-5, and sure the Lifan Cross 200 (we hate to call it the Lifan Cross 200 as it suggest something what it's not) is absolutely not a motocross bike. Sure you can ride rural unpaved roads and it will be fine to do so, but a motocross motorcycle is something completely different.

And I also agree that a motorcycle is not ideal for shopping, but, then not many other motorcycles are good as shopping bike.

For the touring part I agree and disagree a little bit, as for some people touring is also an adventure – and what is an adventure without some risk and discomfited – if I take a BMW R1200GS to ride to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I can very accurate tell you when I will arrive, how much gasoline I going to burn, and when I arrive, it will feel like getting of a touring-bus... Personally I'm for some time thinking to actually do that trip on a Lifan LF200GY-5a (maybe on another model), and I'm sure that it will not be a bus ride, it will be a real adventure (and if things get out of hand the bike is cheap enough to ditch it).



Your Chinese bike will fall apart before you hit the border

By: Necron99 (offline)  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 01:22 PM ICT  

Quote by: KLX

Quote by: news

Nice and honest review of the Lifan LF200GY-5, and sure the Lifan Cross 200 (we hate to call it the Lifan Cross 200 as it suggest something what it's not) is absolutely not a motocross bike. Sure you can ride rural unpaved roads and it will be fine to do so, but a motocross motorcycle is something completely different.

And I also agree that a motorcycle is not ideal for shopping, but, then not many other motorcycles are good as shopping bike.

For the touring part I agree and disagree a little bit, as for some people touring is also an adventure – and what is an adventure without some risk and discomfited – if I take a BMW R1200GS to ride to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I can very accurate tell you when I will arrive, how much gasoline I going to burn, and when I arrive, it will feel like getting of a touring-bus... Personally I'm for some time thinking to actually do that trip on a Lifan LF200GY-5a (maybe on another model), and I'm sure that it will not be a bus ride, it will be a real adventure (and if things get out of hand the bike is cheap enough to ditch it).



Your Chinese bike will fall apart before you hit the border





^ Well it's done 3000 km now, mostly over rough roads and the only thing that has actually fallen off or out is the little plastic widget that holds the trip meter winder steady.
Luckily, I noticed and managed to push it back in, thus averting some kind of horrible fuel calculation disaster for the time being.
I'm pretty sure that 3k would get me to PP and back.

Have you ever owned a Lifan?

   

Necron99


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By: news (offline)  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 01:49 PM ICT  

Quote by: KLX

Quote by: news

Nice and honest review of the Lifan LF200GY-5, and sure the Lifan Cross 200 (we hate to call it the Lifan Cross 200 as it suggest something what it's not) is absolutely not a motocross bike. Sure you can ride rural unpaved roads and it will be fine to do so, but a motocross motorcycle is something completely different.

And I also agree that a motorcycle is not ideal for shopping, but, then not many other motorcycles are good as shopping bike.

For the touring part I agree and disagree a little bit, as for some people touring is also an adventure – and what is an adventure without some risk and discomfited – if I take a BMW R1200GS to ride to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I can very accurate tell you when I will arrive, how much gasoline I going to burn, and when I arrive, it will feel like getting of a touring-bus... Personally I'm for some time thinking to actually do that trip on a Lifan LF200GY-5a (maybe on another model), and I'm sure that it will not be a bus ride, it will be a real adventure (and if things get out of hand the bike is cheap enough to ditch it).



Your Chinese bike will fall apart before you hit the border



The Lifan LF200GY-5a, as sold in Thailand, is a 100% Made in Thailand product. Made from the same raw materials available to other manufacturers. Sure some plastics are probably made from a lower quality combination of polymers and sure the suspension will not be as good a Kawasaki Uni-Track or a Honda ProLink... but do you really need that to ride some unpaved roads?

   

news


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By: Anonymous: Jim ()  Friday, 07 September 2012 @ 08:20 PM ICT  

Quote by: Necron99

Living with a Lifan 200GY-5

What is a Lifan 200? Maybe we had best start with what it is not.
With no storage, it's not a bike to do the local shopping on, not at least without the addition of aftermarket panniers. So if shopping and the versatility of a scooter in carrying heavy or oversized loads is a requirement, this bike is not for you. Click on image to download



Nice bike, where did you get those stickers/decals?

By: Necron99 (offline)  Saturday, 08 September 2012 @ 07:44 AM ICT  

Quote by: Jim

Quote by: Necron99

Living with a Lifan 200GY-5




Nice bike, where did you get those stickers/decals?



Some came with the helmet (o'neil monster).
The others from the sticker guy at the market, 20 baht a sheet.

   

Necron99


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Registered:: 30/08/12

Posts: 5
By: Anonymous: Andy Bush ()  Sunday, 13 September 2015 @ 12:35 PM ICT  

After reading this review and others plus lots of sitting on different cross type bikes I bought a Lifan 200 cross. I love it, and have to say how accurate and valuable the review is. I use the bike to follow my wife on her small Honda to the farms, it is ideal for that. I'm really impressed with the geometry and handling. We have a lot of wet soft sand to go through, I almost leave the bike to sort itself out when it gets cross rutted or slides it rides so well. I don't go fast though. The best part is being able to reach the ground with my feet, which I can't do on any other cross type bike. Biggest surprise was becoming the motor bike cool king of the village, after years of entertaining the folks when I got bogged down (aka being too heavy at near 100 kg) in the sand on the typical local small bikes.

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