More motorcycles are made in China than any other country in the world, and the industrial powerhouse also exports over 28% off all exported motorcycles (second place Germany exports less than 10%, third place Japan less than 7%). As with automobiles, several motorcycle manufacturing partnerships exist between Chinese and Western companies, done in an effort to gain a foothold in each other’s markets. Recently, both Zongshen and Lynk & Co revealed new bikes to the public, branded as their own but relying heavily on their Western partners for componenetry.
Based in Chongqing, China, Zongshen is one of the five largest motorcycle manufacturers in China, and holds a partnership with Italian manufacturer Piaggio Group. Their recently revealed Cyclone RA9 concept is a 987cc V-twin naked sport bike with the engine and frame from Piaggio’s Aprila brand. According to Cycleworld.com, Zongshen rates the engine at 112 horsepower, and the total wet weight at 215 kilograms (474 pounds), hinting at near-production status for the concept.
The chassis is tubular steel up front with a cast swingarm pivot area, virtually identical to that found on the Aprilia Shiver and Dorsoduro. The engine also appears to be a development of the one found in those two models, albiet with an altered displacement. The single-sided swingarm and bodywork are unique to the concept.
Lynk & Co is a subsidiary of Geely Holdings, who in turn owns Volvo, and is better known for their automobiles based on Volvo architectures. Their foray into motorcycles is basically a re-branded Benelli TNT 600, and, like Lynk & Co’s automobiles, looks to dispense with the traditional dealer network in the marketing of their new two-wheeler. Benelli, by the way, is owned by Qianjiang Motor Group, another subsidiary of Geely.
Unlike the Zongshen RA9’s parts bin approach, Lynk & Co’s offering is lifted more or less straight from the Benelli catalogue. Interestingly, the TNT 600 that Lynk & Co lifted also uses a tubular steel frame with cast aluminum lower section around the swingarm pivot, but instead of V-twin power, the TNT uses a 600cc inline four.
As with automobiles, Chinese brands have not yet taken North America and Europe by storm, but by taking advantage of partnerships with Western manufacturers, will it be long before Zongshen tank badges become ubiquitous at The Tail of the Dragon or Lynk & Co at Nurburgring track days?
Sources: CycleWorld.com, worldstopexports.com, lynkco.com