This really isn't news to anyone, we've written about Chinese motorcycles many times but it just seems like things are moving faster now. Here at The Kneeslider, email arrives almost every day from one Chinese company or another announcing their new motorcycles or motorcycle engines. If you follow their link you'll find one of thousands of similar products being offered by some new company, which may have been formed a few months before and now "in production" with their all new small displacement bike.
A few companies are establishing themselves in this country with a U.S. based importer / assembler and some even have a design team here helping create products specifically for the American market. A friend of mine recently added Qlink to his dealership which are CF Moto motorcycles imported from China and supported with a presence over here. His take is they seem to be of decent quality and their automatic transmissions are winning some sales. Vento has been over here for a while and Zongshen is growing fast.
I just picked up the April issue of Motorcyclist and they have a pretty decent overview of many of the major new Asian companies, both Chinese and Korean, and if you read any of the industry trade magazines you know these companies are on everyone's mind.
In previous stories we've mentioned the issues of quality and counterfeiting, hopefully these are being addressed and one commenter who was looking to import motorcycles stressed the added problem of financial stability with many of these brand new manufacturers.
One issue I haven't heard addressed is product liability. U.S. manufacturers and the established majors from Japan and Europe have to contend with laws that hold them liable for defects in their products. Has anyone had to deal with this issue on a Chinese motorcycle? The local dealer certainly can't accept the liability and what are your chances with a company from China responding to your claims or concerns, especially if it's one of the smaller ones? With the rapidly increasing Chinese presence, someone ought to think about this because if you hold everyone else liable, you can't give them a pass. I think it may be a while before the laws catch up to the reality of the market and in the meantime, be very careful with your purchase.
Chinese motorcycles are here to stay and they'll be far more common each year. In these early years, we'll hear of numerous horror stories or dissatisfied customers but as time goes on, they'll diminish. Satisfied customers will report their experience, too. The bigger long term story will be how the established companies respond to this competition, and in some cases, things may not end well.