Anyone know anything about Italika?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by stickfigure, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Looks like I'm moving to Mexico for a while (maybe as long as a year) at the end of my current trip. I'd like to buy a 2nd bike to be used as a trainer for my girlfriend.

    Anyone know anything about Italika bikes? They're ridiculously cheap down here - brand new, the 200cc <a href="http://www.italika.com.mx/prod_dm200.aspx">dualsport model</a> is less than $1500 USD.

    How long is one of these things realistically going to last? Are they so bad that I shouldn't consider it?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
    #1
  2. RoMo

    RoMo n00b

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    I moved from New York to the Mexican mountains north of Mexico City about 2 yrs ago. Needing transportation and money being a bit short, I bought an Italika TC250 from Elektra. I have not gone on many long trips but, I ride nearly everyday. Italika is ok for cruising, but a little under powered for long highway (autopista) riding. So if you're planning short rides (less than 100 miles a day), it's a nice bike. Made in China, made with alot of plastic (look up Italika's website or Elektras) most of the chrome is over plastic. The the chrome "filter covers" are primarily for looks, giving the vague appearance of a V twin. Very few stock accessories for the bike and little capacity for carrying anything. All in all it's a nice looking pueblo cruiser, handles pretty good on roads and trails. By what I know of is a gringo can't legally license a vehicle in Mexico, but don't let that discourage you too much, I rode mine for nearly 3 months before registering it and that's includes rides in Pachuca. Helmets are the law here too, but I've never seen it enforced, I wear a helmet only when on the autopista, because of the horrible drivers here. When you buy the bike from Elektra, you get a liter of gas, the keys, and the paperwork, you're on your own after that, except for a couple of semi free services.
    The TC250 or Tornado would make a good entry bike, the seat is low, the dual sport has a high seat and more difficult for training unless your girlfriend has long legs.
    Hope this contains some useful information. Good Luck, in Mexico, and if you're around Pachuca, Sahagun maybe we can hook up for a ride to the piramides.
    #2
  3. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Thanks for the good info. I sat on a DM200 and gave it a close examination and wasn't terribly pleased with the construction. I think a Yammie or Honda 125 might be a better choice for my purposes; if I sell it after a year for half what I pay for it new, it's still only $15,000 pesos lost.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
    #3
  4. Ramata

    Ramata Wind

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    I asked that same question to members in a mexican forum. Someone told me those bikes were used by the police in his city, and from an initial group of like 20 bikes only 2 or 3 were still rideable. Of course you have to consider oficial vehicles here are generally neglected in usage and maintenance. According to Elektra (the distributor of Italika) they are trying to improve their parts stock so you don't have to wait weeks for parts to arrive in case something breaks (this could be true now that they are starting to distribute chinese cars)
    My girlfriend wants to start riding, buit I rather chose a small honda or yamaha (google honda bros or yamaha xtz125)
    But if you decide to take a try with chinese bikes, there are other brands like Vento or Dinamo.
    #4
  5. RoMo

    RoMo n00b

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    Dinamo has a much better style selection than Elektra but sill the bikes are built pretty much the same, quality-wise. If you are planning on a used bike, check online for "mercado libre".
    The Police here in Hidalgo mainly use Honda Cargo, though I lived in Pachuca for about a year and the police there ride anything, bicycles, 4 wheelers, cars, trucks jeeps ... and of course with an M16 slung over thier shoulder (I don´t know if they carry bullets though, maybe 1 for a warning shot?)
    #5
  6. LS650

    LS650 Adventurer

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    Sorry to stumble into these thread a few years too late...

    but I lived in the state of Oaxaca while teaching at a university, and had the 200cc "sport model" for a couple of years. The engine was essentially a knock-off of a Honda XR200.

    I found it to be adequate transport for getting to work and riding around the local area. When I left Mexico 2 years after buying the Italika, it had only cost me normal maintenance (oil changes, plugs, a rear tire, etc.). I bought it for 18,000 pesos and sold it for 10,000 so I think I got my money's worth out of it.
    #6
  7. fujian

    fujian Been here awhile

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    Sounds like you can't go wrong with the Italika DM200

    [​IMG]

    I'll be trying to buy one on the 19th of September in Mexico City, If anyone is bored and wants to help a soon to be confused Canadian out that would be awesome.

    Only thing is on the Italika website they don't list having a DM200

    Just having the one dual purpose bike, the DM150 below.

    http://www.italika.com.mx/producto.aspx?id=DM150&gr=DOBLE%20PROPOSITO
    #7
  8. Kiko

    Kiko Long timer

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    Italika, Good luck.

    You can buy a new Honda CGL125 for 14900 MXN,
    #8
  9. italika1

    italika1 n00b

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    For what it's worth, I'm living in San Miguel de Allende and just bought an Italika DM200. $20,999 Pesos including a DOT approved helmet and 18 months of warranty (3 mos. on electrical and 15 mos. on all mechanical). At today's exchange rate of 0.077 Pesos per dollar that comes out to $1,606 US. I did look at the Honda 125cc dirt bike but it was a lot more money, and Japanese or not, way too small a frame and engine for me and my amiga. This is my 9th bike -2 Triumphs, a BSA, 2 Harleys, a Honda 900, a KLR 650 and a BMW R100RT that I rode for 13 years. I have no pretenses about how this money was spent, but it's what I can afford and there are a million of these on the road all over Mexico and South America. Not that I plan to do a lot of long distance touring like on my BMW or clawing my way around the mountains of N. California on my KLR, but once broken-in I will be going places near and far in this part of Mexico -once I get the bike kitted-out with a small list of items for daylong riding. Around here the streets are either dirt and rock or cobblestone, and aside from the paved highways (which are excellent) I think the DM200 will be perfect. If anyone out there is considering one don't forget to throw a leg over before buying. I'm 6'0" and the DM is a tall bike like the KLR. Getting a leg over the seat and keeping good footing at a stop might be worth thinking about for a shorter person.

    If anyone out there is reading this and wants an occasional update on my experiences with the bike, please post here and I'll make time to give some info.

    Cheers,

    Mark
    #9
  10. Freewilley

    Freewilley n00b

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    I spend lots of time just north of Nogales, and some time in Sonora so I have thought about a cheapy dual sport for occasional careful play.

    Please let me know how it works for you.

    Gracias!
    #10
  11. italika1

    italika1 n00b

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    Holy Cow! My apologies for missing your request. Here is the report to date:
    500km warranty Service. Cost $22USD for spark plug and fresh oil and filter. I had thought this stuff would be free, but it wasn't. Ok, $22 bucks is acceptable. Also, the fellow who owns the franchise here in San Miguel is a very good man, and has given me a new DOT helmet and said I could pay anytime I have the money. Cost for a new jet-pilot helmet: $40USD.

    Good news: The bike starts and runs perfectly and rarely requires more than a minute of 1/2 full choke even on cold mornings here at 6,200 ft above sea level. Oil consumption is Zero. Fuel consumption is very, very little. I have traveled nearly 350km on a full tank and still not need Reserve supply.

    I have had no problems with the bike other than below.

    Problem: Front disk brake, (single rotor) rubber hose (not braided stainless steel) was somehow installed incorrectly at factory. In this case, the incorrect hose was flexing against the left side tank fairing and at some point in the future would have abraded through and then leaked. It was hard for me to miss, but a new rider might have assumed all to be OK until a failure occurred. A new mounting/routing/hose and fluid and labor was around $10USD and after around 600km of riding since then all is ok.

    Warning: single-rotor front disk brake can be a liability in a panic stop due to it not being dual rotors and a non-flexing brake line. I am not certain if better, "sticky" pads can be purchased for this bike. Question: will the franchise owner find a braided steel front line for the bike AND keep the 18 month warranty intact? I will ask and report if requested to do so. Applying rear drum brake is necessary to come to a fast stop. Rear drum brake by itself not to be relied upon at any time, it goes without saying.

    Negative: Torque on this 200cc engine is minimal at best. When riding two-up around town at low speeds things get problematic as a result of this. 1st gear is Very low and at around 20km p/h, must be shifted to 2nd. 2nd has no torque to speak of and on very steep inclines 1st gear will be needed with speed kept to a minimum so as not to over-rev the engine.

    Good: Single riding on highway is fine between 60 to 80kph on flat ground in 5th (top) gear. Steep inclines will need one downshift and lower speed to crest of hill.

    Two-up riding on highway will not always allow running in 5th gear and steep inclines may require 3rd at much lower speed. No doubt that this engine is designed for getting around town and low to moderate highway speeds.

    The bike currently has 740km on it and is not fully broken in. Today, a solo highway ride of ~90km. Speeds up to 80km for short bursts but generally ridden between 60 and 70kph with no problem except for very long upgrade that needed a shift to 4th gear.

    Seat is fine for me, weighing 185lbs, but seems to be getting softer with more time in saddle. This may or may not be a good thing; you decide. I am thinking to add a piece of sheepskin or the like to compensate. No mechanical or electrical problems except brake line above. A bolt on the chain guard spun loose; easily tightened. Idle was set too high, it too easily adjusted at side of carb.

    RE: "Play". I assume you mean off road scrambling/jumps/generally kicking ass out in the desert on this bike. I'm not certain of recommending this because I don't think the bike is really built for such stresses. However, I have no personal experience as you know. Also, I do not speak enough Spanish to talk about this with other Italika riders. Sorry.

    If you would like continuing updates, please let me know.

    MF
    #11
  12. Fiberspar

    Fiberspar GT-860Foreva

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    I too am in Mexico and am thinking of buying one.
    #12
  13. italika1

    italika1 n00b

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    I don't ride it for any distances greater than about 50km from here to Celaya or Dolores Hidalgo because the seat moves me too far forward and it gets uncomfortable to feel like I'm on top of the tank. I'm 6'0", so if you are tall you too may be annoyed by this.

    200cc is not a lot of engine and the bike has very little torque, but if you keep your speed up to around 75kph on the highway you will be ok for most hills and longer grades without downshifting. You will not be able to keep up with a lot of the traffic, so it will be important to be mindful of this. Around town the bike is great except for Absolutely Crappy Brakes. Also, the front end is so light that on a steep uphill grade in town the front tire will slide even with the brake fully locked and at times I need to stay put by using the rear (drum) brake.

    Two-up around town is fine, but again if you are tall and so is your passenger it will be very cramped. On the highway two-up means you will need to downshift for larger hills. No big deal though. Clutch and 5 speed transmission have both been fine, however in very hot weather with extended around town shifting I find the the tranny gets a little notchy. This goes away in cooler weather or less shifting. Perhaps needs a little heavier oil, I'm not sure. Speaking of oil, it has burned none so far. I haven't bothered to calculate mileage but the bike goes forever on a fill up. The lockable gas cap that it came with leaked all over the place but it was replaced on the spot by my dealer.

    I have around 1900 k's on the bike and have had no mechanical or electrical problems aside from the plastic chain guard breaking from vibration. Not worth replacing, and I'll probably just trash it.

    Headlamp, turn signals, brake light, etc all are fine. Starts instantly with electric starter unless temp is well below 50 degrees, but choke is fine and it starts instantly then. Bike does not idle by itself unless the engine is warm. If the hrottle adjustment on the carb is set low enough that the bike is not over-revving at stop sign or at idle when engine is hot then the engine will not idle at cold start. Takes around 2 minutes for engine to heat up.

    My bike came with knobby tires. If I could have gotten it with dual sport tread that would be a better choice for all but true off-road, which I have not done. This due to no buddy to ride with in case of breakdown or flat, etc. Not sure the frame is strong enough for any prolonged hard use like jumps and I don't want to find out any further away from help than I can walk.

    So...you are buying a lightweight bike for general transportation only, in my opinion. My KLR650 was the real deal, the Italika is not. But for $1600- USD brand new with warranty it's a hell of a deal. My guess is that if treated well it's a good deal and aside from being forced to sit too close to the tank I enjoy getting around on it. I have ridden in the rain on wet streets and did not have any problems, maybe because of knobby's since our streets here are paved with rough stone not smooth asphalt or concrete (it's a UN Historic site and in Centro all surfaces are hand laid field rocks).

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you want more info.

    Mark
    #13
  14. Fiberspar

    Fiberspar GT-860Foreva

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    Hey thanks for the update. Still on the fence here, but may just do it. If I do, I'm going to actually put some major miles on this thing, Mexico and half of the US.

    I've never toured on bike smaller than a 550, but the price is right, the MPG is right (like 60 I think?), it's easy to find parts (here, will be a major problem in the US I know) and want to take it on moderate dirt roads in Baja so we'll see, and I hate highways anyway.
    #14
  15. MarkMexico

    MarkMexico MarkMexico

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    [FONT="Arial Narrow”]DO NOT CONSIDER TOURING THE US ON THIS BIKE[/FONT]. Back roads in Baja probably fine, but I’ve not done it, so look for other opinions as to Italika in Baja.

    Unless you are on two lane farm to market roads in the US you will be sorry you didn’t buy a better/bigger displacement bike. Get yourself an in-shape KLR 650 or similar. Stretch or borrow to buy it knowing it will have a decent resale value and you can repay your loans. And know that you cannot sell a US plated bike in Mexico.

    I did sell the DM200 and went back to a much loved KLR 650. Not because I thought the Italika was particularly flawed for getting around town and short scoots to nearby towns when not two-up; I did not. For the money, here in Mexico, it is a terrific, everyday ride. Can be repaired on almost every street corner for a handful of pesos. But, although the same CC in a new Honda or Yamaha is at least another $6-700USD, they both remain a better idea if you are looking for something to hang on to for some years or want good resale. True, the Italika warranty beats the crap out of Honda or Yamaha, but the components on the Italika are junk with no hope of lasting, hence the cheap price as new.

    Whatever your finances, you will be better off with a more durable bike, like KLR or similar, such as Yamaha Tenere, Honda TransAlp. Many choices, as you probably know, but all at least 2x the price of an Italika. Such is life!

    Bottom line: staying in MX, you’d be fine with a crummy bike like Italika, because parts are everywhere and repairs are cheap. For all other ideas: stick with KLR, Honda or Yamaha.

    Hope this helps!

    Mark.
    (nine bikes, three countries)
    #15
  16. Fiberspar

    Fiberspar GT-860Foreva

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    Um. No it doesn't. Does anyone that actually owns one have input?

    Telling someone to buy a bike that is literally 4x the price is simply not helpful at all.

    I'd like to hear some specific complaints about these bikes if someone has any, because the ppl I know here that have them like them.
    #16
  17. Xcoool

    Xcoool n00b

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    Actually i have italika dm 150, construction is fine no issue so far.Of course u cannot expect same quality of details as 4x more expense bikes have.All italiaka bikes are built with 20 years old technology,no injection,no electronics that is why repairs are so cheap,as for the parts they re avaliable online mercadolibre or italika website.I bought new one with 2 years warranty or 20 000 km for 18 500 pesos.(normal price 20999).Italika started with Chinese bikes which were re-branded and built in Mexico but over recent years they start to design they own bikes.I saw dm models with 60 000km,old 7 years working without any problems.As for one person riding in city is fine,never tried country side.Also never tried to ride with someone else.Complains if we re considering the price are none,expect probably engine output could be higher 14-15 hp isnt a lot.Breaks are adequate,not great.If u re looking for an inexpensive bike to city or country side i would recommend italika dm series i have no experience with any others model they manufacturing.But i doubt that i would ever take it to highway :D.
    #17
  18. Fiberspar

    Fiberspar GT-860Foreva

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    Thanks Xcoool, that's very useful.

    See, I like simple bikes with no water cooling, fuel injection, etc etc, because they are far more fixable when you're stuck some where weird than high tech bikes- just read these forums for proof. (my last bike was a 1975 Ducati GT 860, which is pretty low tech by modern standards).

    I kinda feel like the anti China bike thing may be from 3 things--one there are some real lemons out there because there really is some crap, two it feels like the anti Japanese bike thing of decades ago, three, a lot of these small bikes are owned by really inexperienced first time owners who trash them. But, that's just a guess.

    In price a DM 200 is currently $1350 US. (15.5HP) An air cooled Honda 250 (23 HP) is around $4060, a 150 is $2000 (12.2 HP).
    #18
  19. Xcoool

    Xcoool n00b

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    Yeah these bikes are classic,like harley davidson you just dont have to pay 10 000€ +.It i really funny,my air cooled italika dm 150 has more HP than honda (13.3>12.2) and cost half around 1100 usd.And Fiberspar when someone dont know how to ride they will trash any bike.Not to mention that buying expensive bike in mexico isnt a good idea,if someone wont steal it,service center will trash it for sure ;).
    #19