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Motorcycling - Current Chinese Shite v. Older Japanese Shite


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#1 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:48 PM

I'm currently pondering buying myself a small capacity Trail or Enduro bike for a bit of pottering around over here in the USA.

The likely candidate at the moment is a Suzuki DR 200 SE.

Posted Image

As far as I'm concerned it's basically an over-bored 125cc motorcycle and this got me looking at other bikes on offer from China which are also based on the same 200cc Suzuki engine.

Now what I'm wondering about it how do the modern Chinese bike compares to say the (then) current offering from the Japanese back in the early 1980's?

Case(s) in point.

Back in 1983 I bought this motorcycle, a Suzuki GP100 (example image below):

http://t2.gstatic.co...W2_R5CXoiwljbCQ

Vehicle enquiryThe enquiry is complete.
The vehicle details for YKS 25W are:
Date of Liability 01 09 1985
Date of First Registration 01 08 1980
Year of Manufacture 1980
Cylinder Capacity (cc) 98cc
CO2 Emissions Not Available
Fuel Type PETROL
Export Marker N
Vehicle Status Unlicensed
Vehicle Colour BLUE
Vehicle Type Approval Not Available

It didn''t last very long at all - a mere 5 years on the roads...


My previous bike - a Yamaha FS1E (example image below):

http://t3.gstatic.co...tz5Zuhnj9JT_TRH

Date of Liability 01 12 1982
Date of First Registration 24 11 1975
Year of Manufacture 1975
Cylinder Capacity (cc) 49cc
CO2 Emissions Not Available
Fuel Type PETROL
Export Marker N
Vehicle Status Unlicensed
Vehicle Colour BROWN
Vehicle Type Approval Not Available

Only managed 7 years on the road.

You see a fair number of cheap Chinese bikes for sale for not a lot of money and I do understand that they are not the best built bikes by a reasonable margin.

Going back to my early years on two wheels the Japanese bikes were really not that wonderful either. My FS1E had to have the entire rear mudguard replaced to to rust at only 6 years of age. The GP100 had constant rust issues due to the low grade paintwork to the mudguards and frame. Engine mounts also required to be welded due to some sort of stress fracturing.

I'm probably starting to haver on a bit but are the Chinese bikes of today worse or better built than the Japanese fare of the 1970's or early 1980's?
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#2 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:03 PM

This Qlink Xf200 supposedly used the same Suzuki engine:

Posted Image

I'm not sure if that means it's a pattern copy of a Suzuki engine built to different standards or an engine that's identical to the Suzuki?

At the end of the day I don't mind paying more money for better quality - but are all of these Chinese motorcycles essentially cheap shit as opposed to shite?
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#3 OFFLINE   oman5

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

Everything I've read/been told suggests that chinese built bikes are poorly built, but mainly its silly stuff like exposed wiring that hasn't been shrouded properly. you pay for what you get, I guess.
They make a copy of the old honda c90 cub which I was looking at (with a big block 110cc!) everyone laughs at these but they go forever and do over 100 mpg.
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#4 ONLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:10 PM

/\
That.
Note how carefully worded adverts for them (new or second hand) often say 'based on the reliable Honda/Suzuki/whatever' engine. The similarity is purely in the looks department as the vast majority of them are just absolute fucking rubbish.
They're cheap new, worthless second hand and pretty much mostly just a waste of money. I'll quote the exact words of a mate of mine who once sold Lifan bikes new: 'Haha, you kidding? They spend more time here getting mended than they do on the road and good luck getting parts, even we struggle'.

You only have to do a little homework, plenty of bikes as well as scooters are generic, they must have just sold shit loads of them to whoever wanted them hence the different names for the same bike. What you need to find is the code for them such at QT50 etc as you can then Google that and find out just how shit they are for yourself, no matter what badge they have!
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#5 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

I'd agree completely with Cav above- I spent a lot of time working on bikes in my last job and used to let the kids bring in their own bikes to work on. Most of them were 16 and 17, so moving up from mopeds to 125's. We also got a few bikes donated as projects to fix up. Without fail all the Chinese ones got broken up for parts, they really were terrible quality and the message I kept repeating was "Buy an old DT or NSR 125 for 800 quid instead of a brand new Chinese bike. None of them listened... :evil:
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#6 OFFLINE   Spiny Norman

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:25 PM

I'm no biker but a couple of mates are, and what they have to say on the subject of these YingTong things is strong language even for here! :lol:

I think the difference between these bikes and the early Jap ones is that the Japs were at least made of half decent parts, OK they occasionally broke, but being ragged by an enthusiastic 17 year old will test the integrity of any machine.
Also as I recall the spares situation for the Jap bikes was a lot better than for the semi-grey import businesses that flood the market with these Chinese heaps. The Japs were trying to build up a lasting industry and were keen to set up all the spares & servicing infrastructure and dealerships, the importers of these cheapo bikes are just trying to make a fast buck.
I remember as a kid there were a couple of bike shops near me where they sold most brands of Jap bike, try finding an actual Yingtong dealership on your high street and see how long it takes you.

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#7 OFFLINE   CreepingJesus

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:30 PM

I'd a colleague a few years back, bought one of those Chinese Honda Shadow clones - a 125. Total and utter shite. It wasn't just - as Billy pointed out - the amount of time it spent being fixed, it was the stuff that was going wrong. It ended up with a 2nd hand engine, which was better than the 'new'* one.
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#8 OFFLINE   michael1703

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

They are ok to buy new,run for 9 months and sell on

They are terribly made, you get a 6mm allen key to undo the caphead and the thing rounds out because its soft, then the m6 bolt with a 10mm head snaps off clean in the frame because its rusted solid after a year, the exhausts are the thinnest sheet steel, its like getting a quality street tin and rolling it into a tube, the batterys are very low quality and dont last long, the horn stops working, the brake discs wear before the pads do,the rear brakes seize on, I could go on...

Anyway, get a DT and look forward to reliabilty and a decent resale price
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#9 OFFLINE   phil_lihp

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:55 PM

Funny, I was considering starting a similar thread as I might be in the market for a cheap 125 myself soon. Given how popular they are, prices stay quite strong, making the chinese knockoffs seem temptingly cheap. However, as has already been said, a quick Google of any of the main brands soon highlights why. They really do seem to be terrible quality. At my old house, a neighbour had a brand new moped of unknown chinese origins and it was a rare morning he managed to start it on the first try and then successfully travel 50 yards without it cutting out again.

The Honda NSRs seem to be a good bet, thanks for the suggestion tiff. I did my CBT on a modern Yamaha 125, not sure of the model but I liked it a lot and the instructor was full of praise for them.

#10 ONLINE   Cavcraft

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:14 PM

Buy cheap, buy twice is probably the best motto.
After a 125 road bike? Try and find a CG125 Honda, they're just superb and whilst exhausts rot and chrome quickly turns to crap, they're exceptionally well made, last for eons and are mega on fuel.

One thing I will say about the Chinese, and I'm talking bikes AND cars here, that while we sit scoffing at how shit they are, we (as a nation) pretty much did the same in the late 1960s and the 1970s about Japanese stuff, and look where they are now.
China WILL get it right before long and we will see cheap, well made cars and bikes and they won't all be Maestro vans with Montego front ends and a Yim Yam Flim Flam Spick N Span engine, either.
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#11 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

Everything I've read/been told suggests that chinese built bikes are poorly built, but mainly its silly stuff like exposed wiring that hasn't been shrouded properly. you pay for what you get, I guess.
They make a copy of the old honda c90 cub which I was looking at (with a big block 110cc!) everyone laughs at these but they go forever and do over 100 mpg.


So this suggests that they can make a decent running and durable/reliable bike?

This isn't the one made by Sym in Taiwan is it by any chance?

Posted Image

A friend of mine owned a Sym Wolf Classic with the intention of passing here test - the quality appeared to be pretty decent for a small capacity bike:

Posted Image

I think the Taiwanese made bikes are generally better quality than the mainland Chinese products?
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#12 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:37 PM

Buy cheap, buy twice is probably the best motto.
After a 125 road bike? Try and find a CG125 Honda, they're just superb and whilst exhausts rot and chrome quickly turns to crap, they're exceptionally well made, last for eons and are mega on fuel.

One thing I will say about the Chinese, and I'm talking bikes AND cars here, that while we sit scoffing at how shit they are, we (as a nation) pretty much did the same in the late 1960s and the 1970s about Japanese stuff, and look where they are now.
China WILL get it right before long and we will see cheap, well made cars and bikes and they won't all be Maestro vans with Montego front ends and a Yim Yam Flim Flam Spick N Span engine, either.


I did a fair bit of reading last night on tinternet and there was one forum where one of the contributors said the current day Honda CG 125 is actually made in China and worse quality than a Chinese built clone:

Winner- 2005 X-Stream BT 125-5 made in China: Top speed (dyno tested) 72mph (the bike is resitricted although from the graph without restriction should be able to reach around 90mph although I wouldn't recommend it). Engine does not struggle to reach 60mph. Very stable heavier bike on dual carriageways and motorways, great handling for a 125, engine is positioned quite low so good centre of gravity around corners. Although several parts are not the best chrome (like the mud guards) no rust trouble, good seating for myself and passanger. 15000 miles on clock starts first time cold, handles well in bad weather. Negatives: Parts hard to come by but a very underrated bike. Not on the DSA list.

2nd place- 1980s Honda CG 125: Don't be fooled by this being in 2nd place, it really wasn' t that great and rust prone. Plus points were the engine was still in fairly good nick for its age, good seating position, easy for passanger or luggage. Handling was good as these models had lower engines. Struggled to get to 60mph. On the DSA A2 list.

3rd place- 2006 Chituma CTM125 made in China: Probably the shoddiest of all the bikes I've owned, literally fell to bits (and yes it had wire spokes). So why is it in 3rd place? Well despite it rusting fast and falling apart (mainly due to the previous owners lack of mechanical savvy) it was a stable and sound ride although it could not go faster than 50mph resistricted (it is A1 on the DSA list). It is practically exactly the same as a old Honda CG and I'm sure if I wanted and could have been bothered to I could have upgraded it so that it had the same speed and reliability.

4th place 2008- Honda CG 125 and Wuyang WY125-16C made in China: Last and least these two bikes are ranked the same as they are in fact exactly the same bike + or - some fairing here and there and are made by the same producer. Although mechanically sound, with disc brakes more plastic fairings and brand new these are terrible rides let me tell you why. They have high engine positions and their rear wheel is closer to the rear of the rider and the engine, these combined with being just over 115kg result in a less than favourable ride. For starters as soon as you go faster than 40mph the bike becomes extremely light at the front, the reason is simple the rear driving wheel has less opposing force as it is right next to the opposing weight the rider and the engine (imagine a rear wheel that is further to the rear of the rider and engine, it has more opposing weight to lift the front end of a motorcyle), what is the result? At higher speeds the front becomes very light and if you are not travelling directly straight out of control, these bikes are not safe above 50mph. Cornering is terrible again a higher engine position makes the bike literally top heavy and for a light 116 kg motorcycle this is bad news, try to lean over just slightly in bad weather or winds on these bikes and feel the skid instantly develop -this does not happen on my BT125-5. The new seating arrangement is terrible and I can only say designed for chinese/japanese men with small endowements, the pillion rider has it even worse and no where to strap luggage. Only pluses are they are brand new and on the A2 DSA list.


Source: http://www.bikechatf...ic.php?t=204297
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#13 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

There are certain Chinese bikes which seem far better than others, but it's a gamble finding one- they all seem to be generic then badged up as whatever, so the same bike can be 10 different bikes, just like BL/Austin Morris etc.. One of the lads bought a Sanya, and it did seem a class above most of the others, but still shite compared to a Jap bike. If you buy an old stroker Jap bike like a KMX/NS/NSR/AR/MBX/RG/TS/TSR/TZR/DT/DTR/RD, you'll find you can sell it again for what you paid, so no depriciation. Buy a Chinese bike and its worthless after 6 months, if it lasts that long. Plus with a stroker you can derestrict it a be a chip shop hero :D 8)

Some CG's were built in Brazil, and were better than the Chinese one's, but worse than the japanese ones. Same with Honda's built in Italy, not quite as good as Jap. The Yamaha would have been a YBR125- bike schools make their money from their bikes, and they tend to favour these, worth the extra price to them as they last far better and can take the abuse the learners give them.

Here's Jap build quality for you... I forgot I was in Germany last year and went head on with a Polo. The Polo door wouldn't open and the occupants had whiplash. I ripped the pocket in my jeans and broke a clutch lever. The Polo got towed away and I rode home to Scotland...

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#14 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

Funny, I was considering starting a similar thread as I might be in the market for a cheap 125 myself soon. Given how popular they are, prices stay quite strong, making the chinese knockoffs seem temptingly cheap. However, as has already been said, a quick Google of any of the main brands soon highlights why. They really do seem to be terrible quality. At my old house, a neighbour had a brand new moped of unknown chinese origins and it was a rare morning he managed to start it on the first try and then successfully travel 50 yards without it cutting out again.

The Honda NSRs seem to be a good bet, thanks for the suggestion tiff. I did my CBT on a modern Yamaha 125, not sure of the model but I liked it a lot and the instructor was full of praise for them.


I'm still reserving judgement on whether or not they are actually less terrible than a small capacity Japanese bike of the late 70's or early 80's.

My two examples appeared to be on the road for a time similar to the current Chinese crop before problems started to appear.

Even during that short lifespan I managed to shatter the piston on my FS1E and blow a hole in the piston of the GP100. The FS1E would have problems in rain due to the ridiculous position of the spark plug immediately behind the front wheel low to the road... :roll:
On several occasions the GP100 refused to start - the worst timing being on the day of my test..up and down the college car park we pushed and swore at the fucking thing until some 30 minutes later it finally started! To be fair, it was normally OK and pretty reliable.

When I was a youngster, if a small capacity motorcycle had done 10,000 miles it was expected to be well and truly fucked :twisted:
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#15 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:01 PM

Of course, Im sure the way a lot of smaller capacity bikes are treated, has some bearing on the outcome of reliability... as this 1984 shot will show :mrgreen:

Posted Image
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#16 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:31 PM

A friend of mine owned a Sym Wolf Classic with the intention of passing here test - the quality appeared to be pretty decent for a small capacity bike:

http://www.motorstown.com/images/sym-wol...

Now see I like that. I'd be quite happy to putter to work and back on that in the summer.

I had a few Chinese bikes a few years back when they first started importing them - I'm ashamed to say I was attracted by the idea of a shiny new bike for an almost laughably low price.

The first was a Xinling XL50QTB, which was one of those generic 50s with the headlight on the bars and a separate sidelight lower down that you used to see millions of. It was truly dreadful - completely gutless and with 80 miles on the clock there was so much play in the headstock that I was getting a good inch of free movement at the bars - GR0.0002 for filtering through traffic.

The next was something called a Morana JX125T, and it was a big "super scooter" type affair. To be fair to it, it was a lot better screwed together than the Xinling, and it went well enough, but the carb was shit and I could never get it to idle right, and then it got harder and harder to start from cold. It was well equipped though, with remote starting and all that shizzle.

I had a couple more - a 200cc "sports bike" which was basically a copy of an old CB200 with a cheap plastic fairing, and a 125cc trail type bike which had been so badly put together that it needed the frame re-welding before it was safe to use, and the generator failed after about three months.

So yeah, they're crap.

#17 OFFLINE   oman5

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:37 PM

Everything I've read/been told suggests that chinese built bikes are poorly built, but mainly its silly stuff like exposed wiring that hasn't been shrouded properly. you pay for what you get, I guess.
They make a copy of the old honda c90 cub which I was looking at (with a big block 110cc!) everyone laughs at these but they go forever and do over 100 mpg.


So this suggests that they can make a decent running and durable/reliable bike?

This isn't the one made by Sym in Taiwan is it by any chance?

http://www.thescooterreview.com/images/n...

A friend of mine owned a Sym Wolf Classic with the intention of passing here test - the quality appeared to be pretty decent for a small capacity bike:

http://www.motorstown.com/images/sym-wol...

I think the Taiwanese made bikes are generally better quality than the mainland Chinese products?

no, I meant the original Honda cub is reliable and economical. The chinese version is different again from the Sym, which is actually quite well regarded. I think the chinese cub is sold on ebay under the name "riders" from a dealer in yeovil for about 1200 quid OTR, which should tell you everything you need to know- you'll pay not far short of that for a decent 20 yr old original honda 90 still suitable for use.
I have got a chinese no-name quad bike which uses the 110 honda copy engine. the engine itself is fine, but everything else is cack. carb is impossible to keep in tune and a shite design, the switches for stuff like lights have contacts made from what looks like foil from inside a fag packet and about as durable, it's on its 3rd starter solenoid, it uses bulbs you can't get over here and the gearbox is jammed in forward gear. so based on that, if the bikes are made in a similar way, I wouldn't bother if it was for use as everyday transport. it WILL need constant fettling.

#18 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:16 AM

Now see I like that. I'd be quite happy to putter to work and back on that in the summer.

I had a few Chinese bikes a few years back when they first started importing them - I'm ashamed to say I was attracted by the idea of a shiny new bike for an almost laughably low price.

So yeah, they're crap.


I liked the little Sym Wolf Classic, from what I understand it even returned well over 100MPG.

They were originally a Taiwanese company making Honda cars under license (late 1960's on) so presumably their quality control was better than the mainland companies throwing together machines as fast as possible? That said - Sym also have factories in China as well as Thailand.

I've read some articles where (mainland) Chinese bikes have been very reliable and durable products but that's very much in the minority.

Any feedback on Korean motorcycles?

This Hyosung GT looks like a nice enough little machine but is is just another piece of cheap tat dressed up in nice looking clothes?

Posted Image

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#19 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:21 AM

no, I meant the original Honda cub is reliable and economical. The chinese version is different again from the Sym, which is actually quite well regarded. I think the chinese cub is sold on ebay under the name "riders" from a dealer in yeovil for about 1200 quid OTR, which should tell you everything you need to know- you'll pay not far short of that for a decent 20 yr old original honda 90 still suitable for use.
I have got a chinese no-name quad bike which uses the 110 honda copy engine. the engine itself is fine, but everything else is cack. carb is impossible to keep in tune and a shite design, the switches for stuff like lights have contacts made from what looks like foil from inside a fag packet and about as durable, it's on its 3rd starter solenoid, it uses bulbs you can't get over here and the gearbox is jammed in forward gear. so based on that, if the bikes are made in a similar way, I wouldn't bother if it was for use as everyday transport. it WILL need constant fettling.


Had to google that one and found this image:

Posted Image

Being quite frank I wouldn't pay more than £500 for something like that...I suppose the sensible thing might be to find a shagged out cub and then put in a Chinese 110cc engine?
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#20 OFFLINE   bub2006

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

The Chinese 110 lumps are no better in anyway than the c90 engine except a little bit more flexible up hill. I had c90 an chucked a brand new 110 in. Was slower on top end an on takeoff. 1000 miles later third gear went. Absolute waste of money. Regarding the 125 Chinese copies,when I was younger I owned a m plate suzi gs125 with 45k+ on clock. Was a care worker at the time so miles went up rapidly. It came off road for a new cam chain so while I was doing repairs i bought a cheap Chinese bike. A 6 year old hongdou 125. Basically a cg replica but no where near as good. I paid 200 quid for it with 9k on clock. Chrome rusted,rattley engine no matter what I did and wonky wheel on back. As for sym I quiet like them. In the same job I used a 50 cc sym jet. I got it at 2 month old with 900 mile on,got stolen 8 month later with 16k on. Bar routine maintainence and a set of rollers I had no issues

#21 ONLINE   Shite Knight

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

We had a 2 stroke Kawasaki KH125 with a broken kickstart and no electric start, It was fairly reliable and quick but having to bumpstart it all the time was a chore. Was quoted over double the bikes value to have the kickstart sorted so we swapped it for a 4 stroke Hyosung rx 125. It had an electric and kickstart. Only after trying to get insured we realised we had got the shit end of the stick, it was a Q plate and went from £100 a year on the kh to £500 a year on the hyosung.
It was imported but then not registered for a few years and had a hard life, it eventually stopped working, think the cam chain jumped a tooth and we gave up on it.

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Posted Image


Wish we had kept the KH, it was also small enough to fit in my car...













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#22 OFFLINE   Alanism

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:09 PM

Ive got a hyosung 650 comet and its a pretty pleasant bike for little money. Ive had it about a year, kept it out side and its pretty clean still. Getting service parts are not really a problem for it and interchangeability with Japanese bikes is pretty common.

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#23 OFFLINE   warren t claim

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:32 PM

Ive got a hyosung 650 comet and its a pretty pleasant bike for little money. Ive had it about a year, kept it out side and its pretty clean still. Getting service parts are not really a problem for it and interchangeability with Japanese bikes is pretty common.


Wouldn't a lightly used SV650 of been a better choice?

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#24 OFFLINE   Alanism

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

An SV may have been a better option but this was not a planned purchase (I wasn't looking for another bike at the time but was too cheap to refuse). I Didn't plan on keeping this long but its done everything I could ask of it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend somebody buys one for top money but definitely worth considering for cheap bike thrills.

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#25 OFFLINE   AeroNautiCal

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:04 AM

I wouldn't ride or own a Chinese built motorcycle even if it were free.
  • mercrocker, saucedoctor and Peter Patina like this

#26 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:14 AM

An SV may have been a better option but this was not a planned purchase (I wasn't looking for another bike at the time but was too cheap to refuse). I Didn't plan on keeping this long but its done everything I could ask of it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend somebody buys one for top money but definitely worth considering for cheap bike thrills.


You've got me reviewing and pricing the buggers all over the internet now :twisted:
Tell it like it is...NOT how it should be ;)

#27 OFFLINE   catsinthewelder

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:24 AM

I bought a brand new Jailing JH125L trailbike, reading this thread makes me wonder if I should have thanked the scrotes who nicked it a thousand miles later :wink:

It did put me off buying new and saw me gradually slide down to buying shite rather than shit :twisted:

https://encrypted-tb...ndFD__g4SgeFRBg

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#28 OFFLINE   gtd2000

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

I bought a brand new Jailing JH125L trailbike, reading this thread makes me wonder if I should have thanked the scrotes who nicked it a thousand miles later :wink:

It did put me off buying new and saw me gradually slide down to buying shite rather than shit :twisted:

https://encrypted-tb...ndFD__g4SgeFRBg


So how good or awful was it really?
Tell it like it is...NOT how it should be ;)

#29 ONLINE   garbaldy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

I have a mikilon 250 on a 58 plate which has only done 300 miles and i cant sell it :shock: its been sitting in a freinds garage for a year or so now unused.
its a nice looking bike but thats all, its dog slow and not very well put together.

its a good job it only cost me £400 or i would be pissed at it :lol

#30 OFFLINE   warren t claim

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

Jesus Christ!

http://www.gumtree.c... ... 1008331817

Warren T Claim said, "I'd rather find blood on my toilet paper than a hybrid on my driveway".





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