Chinese Bikes?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Tony T, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Tony T

    Tony T Long timer

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    I can't believe I'm even considering this, but can anyone tell me if Chinese bikes (specifically the Skyteam V Retro 250) are really as bad as I hear?
    I'd prefer to only hear for those with first-hand experience and I'm keen to hear both good and bad experiences.
    I really enjoy building and working on bikes, but I'd also like to have something that won't leave me stranded every second ride.
    With serious time and preparation is it possible to make one reliable for a 3 or 4 day trip at a time?

    :ear
    #1
  2. gordonmichaellee

    gordonmichaellee Been here awhile

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    You can be sure that a chineese bike won't leave you stranded once every second ride?!?!?!

    On a posetive note if your kids ride a chineese bike and they go missing, at least you can find them by following the trail with a metal detector.

    On a serious note, please do yourself a favour and DO NOT buy one, they are terrible, there is no way anyone would buy a second one after their first experience with one.

    If you are serious about buying one I will make you a bet for $50 dollars that within six months you will regret the purchase, if after six months it has been a posetive experience then I owe you $50 if not then you owe me $50.

    I am not a gambling man and I only bet on things where the odds are in my favour.

    Shake hands on the bet, yes or no???

    Cheers Gordo'
    #2
  3. Tony T

    Tony T Long timer

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    Thanks Gordo.
    Deep down, I was sure that was what I would hear, but I couldn't help thinking about it cos I keep reading about people that have been happy with them.
    I really do love the preparation side of riding but I guess no amount of time in the shed can make up for poor quality metal, eh?
    If that's their main issue?
    #3
  4. Lupine128

    Lupine128 That's MR Band Aid!

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    We've had mixed results with the Chinese bikes.
    Some have been pretty good (mostly the Lifan motors) and some have been REALLY bad.
    The good ones based on the Lifan motors are a reasonable piece of kit for the price. The motors themselves aren't bad, it's mostly the electrics that let them down. The frames have welds that look like old toothpaste squirted from a tube and the plastics are really plastic, but generally not as awful as

    The bad ones. Oh god, the bad ones. We had a Chinese road trail thing in the shop that was a farm bike. He'd had it for about 6 months and according to him it hadn't worked right for more than a day at a time. When we started on it it had wiring that was just dry twisted together and wrapped in tape. That was from the factory. It had swing arm bearings that were just drilled nylon. And not drilled square. The fuel line was a length non fuel rated rubber hose that was deteriorating and shedding rubber into the line. The forks had rusted inside and out. Every thing we found was rooted beyond easy fixes. It was going to cost more to get the thing running right than he'd paid for it. Eventually he gave it to his son and bought a second hand ctx200 instead.

    So, if it's a reasonable motor, and you're happy to spend some of your time and a few bucks in solder and tape to check the harness, you could be doing ok for the price. You know what you're looking for, treat it like buying a second hand bike and see what you get for your money.
    #4
  5. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome... tEAM iDIOT.

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  6. Tony T

    Tony T Long timer

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    #6
  7. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome... tEAM iDIOT.

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    Yeah... Sorry about that.
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  8. farqhuar

    farqhuar Human guinea pig

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    Bought a brand new Haobon 125 in Qinzhou China (close to Vietnam border) in 2008 and rode it 8,000km all around China, including up to Mongolia, before selling it a month later in Shanghai. Apart from punctures (frequent) and a snapped rear rack (due to overloading and the very poor roads) the bike never failed me.

    On the days I rode I averaged 500km so overall reliability was not an issue.

    The only other weaknesses were minor - poor quality plastics and rear cush rubbers, seat padding which was insufficient for my weight - and yes, I'd most definitely by another Chinese bike.

    It cost me $500 and I sold it for half that as I had to leave China (for Korea) quickly - best value motorcycling I've ever had. :wink:
    #8
  9. Tex_Aus

    Tex_Aus Been here awhile

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    Does it have to be a Skyteam TT? There are quite a few other Chinese brands out there, is there something in particular about that model?

    Tex
    #9
  10. Tony T

    Tony T Long timer

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    No, I just liked the look of it and read some reasonable reports but I'm not really fussed about a particular brand.
    Because of limited chances to get away, I'm getting my motorcycle 'fix' from time in the shed these days and although I do enjoy rebuilding old bikes, I'm getting a little tired of all the rust and dirt.
    So I thought one of these might be a bit of fun that I can work on and develop quite cheaply.
    #10
  11. scrobs

    scrobs Armchair Drifter

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    If you are a bit handy with the spanners do it.
    I bought my 3 boys a pit bike with a Ducar motor. It has done 10years good service. 1 of the boys fell off and punched a hole in the alternator casing but we found one in Melb $8. The usual nuts and bolts come loose (loctite) The boys have not been easy on it and its still gone ok.
    Its not the quality of the Suzuki DS80 we also have but it was less than half the price. The motor vibrates more than a Jap 125 I have ridden but has not exploded yet. I am talking about a 10year old m/c I would think even China has progressed with quality control.
    I remember when people would not by Japanese , now held in high esteem
    Maybe I have been lucky? but I would buy another if it fit my purpose.
    #11
  12. th00r

    th00r Adventurer

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    my first 3 bikes before going big were chinese

    started with harley clones 150cc and 300cc, good for learning cheap to fix and maintain. Complain: nuts getting loose, solution lactate

    Never going back that way.


    third bike a 125cc scooter, super cheap to maintain good for city riding with good cargo capacity, I may get another one in the future

    Look for engine life span, I have read a lot of opinions but with proper maintenance should give good 50k miles
    #12
  13. Neonasty

    Neonasty Been here awhile

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    I purchased a 250cc chinese dirt bike about 7 years ago, when they first started coming into the country. 250cc Lifan engine, 5 speed manual, small frame, 16 inch front wheel and 12? inch rear. It would do wheel stands in first gear and second. Awesome fun.

    $1000 delivered to my door from QLD.

    I was rough on it, and always had problems, forks leaking, battery snapped off on the 2nd day, kick starter made nasty noises, broke the fuel tank, ripped off all the knobs on the tyres (that was my fault), used to stall randomly when it would get too hot.

    Top speed of about 80Kms, it was equal to a 90s XR100, with more acceleration.

    Its been sitting in my shed for years now, and Ive given it to a mate. Now its filled with electrical problems.

    Would I get another? Nope. Id get a second hand decent bike instead.
    #13
  14. gordonmichaellee

    gordonmichaellee Been here awhile

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    Exactly so it devalued by $1000 in seven years and caused no end of problems, You can by a Yamaha XT250 or Honda XL 250 for around a thousand bucks ride it for seven years with minimul problems and after seven years it's still worth $1000.

    The real problem is not fixing them but the lack of something to ride whilst it needs fixing, disappointed kids with no ride today even though dad promised, getting it home when it's broken down etc. etc.

    Cheers Gordo'

    Cheers Gordo'
    #14
  15. kipo

    kipo South Australian Tiger Resistance Group

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    Not quite the same but I could just imagine this same conversation, albeit not on the internet between all the BSA, Norton, Triumph etc., etc., riders when these 'rice burners' from Japan started to hit the market :lol3
    #15
  16. Tenerrod

    Tenerrod Slowing down

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    I'm have been planning on sneaking one of the Skyteam Ace 125 into the back of the garage for a while now.
    It can sit next to my rc yacht and rc plane and surfboard and spare fish tank.
    Im' thinking small 2 stroke engine transplant. Now that will give it some get up and go.:deal :evil

    edit. And from all the searching l have done from owners who have had them for more than 12 months is that they are surprisingly reliable and damn slow. Definitely have to do a complete spanner check and plan to do a suspension upgrade if you get the thing going ok.
    #16
  17. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Some are good quality ~ some are cheap shite of course, made for a price.

    Own a Jialing JH600 (600cc / solo) and a Jialing JH600 (600cc / sidecar) for a few years and happy with them, no complaints from my side. Of course owning and operating them here in China makes them cheap daily runners and spares are readily available.
    #17
  18. OFB

    OFB Been here awhile

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    I haven't owned one, but rode a lifan 150cc cruiser around Vietnam for 8 days two up with a bag strapped to the back. An indicator fell off on one really rough road, but apart from that was actually quite impressed. The brakes worked, it handled quite well, I actually thoroughly enjoyed riding it. Yes I had to go right back down through the gears on a couple of really steep hills, but seeing as I weigh 150kg and had a pillion and some luggage and the motor was only 150cc. I wasn't exactly surprised by the need to use first and second a few times
    #18
  19. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    About 8 years ago, I spent $1800 and bought my daughter a second-hand Yamaha TTR90; about a month later, my b-i-l bought his son an Atomic 125 Chinese pitbike and bought the boy and the bike here to get some riding in. B-i-l was big on the fact that he'd paid less than half for a brand new 125, than I'd paid for a used 90.
    After freeing off the shock mounts so the Atomic's swingarm could actually move, the kids started riding around a track we'd cleared around the house. There were some spills, but thanks to ATGATT, no tears.
    After about 20 mins, the nephew bails his 125 and pushes it back to the house: broken footpeg.
    But not just broken: peeled out the frame like a long thin strip out of a beer-can.
    End of his ride for the day.
    About a year later, I asked him when he was coming riding again? He wasn't. The frame was of some wierd metal than couldn't be welded - besides being paper-thin, it fizzed and smoked and bubbled away when heated. A new frame was exactly the same price as a whole new bike, so the thing lay in the car-port for a few months - and eventually went out with a Hard Rubbish collection.
    $875 for 20 mins riding.
    In contrast, my daughter rode the wheels off her TTR90 for 5 years and we sold it for $200 less than we'd paid for it: $1600.
    Chinese bikes? No thanks!
    #19
  20. Neonasty

    Neonasty Been here awhile

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    Actually it devalued at a rate of $1000 per hour.

    Absolutely I would buy an xr200 instead. Everytime.
    #20