Motorcycle invasion from China: between skepticism and real opportunities

Although it has always been a selective market, the motorcycle market is also experiencing the change that new productions have been bringing for some time to other sectors. China, from being a major lender of labor for brands from all over the world, is increasingly a new one competing exporter of the largest companies out there. If in the world of technology it has made enormous strides, becoming from one year to the next a competitor of the United States, Japan, South Korea and Europe across the board, in motorcycling, even more than in cars, it is gradually, but always more solid and convincing at every step.

For the average motorcyclist, who tends to be a passionate lover of his own vehicle, as well as of a style, just hearing about China or chinese motorcycles, large numbers and cheap manufacturing that easily translates into poor quality come to mind. But motorcyclists are demanding, difficult to conquer, sometimes skeptical and the Chinese are well aware of this. While boasting a vast production of models dedicated to mobility from all over the East, in particular South-East Asia where you can do everything with a small motorcycle, such as running errands or traveling with the family, Chinese companies have become interested in the our market a little at a time, trying to imitate everything that falls within the tastes of the western motorcyclist or providing an alternative, at least economically viable.

Therefore, there is not only Benelli which, after the acquisition by the Chinese capital Qianjiang, maintains its status as a historic Italian brand that designs and develops motorcycles in Italy, and assembles them in China, but in the nOur price lists appear more and more proposals and complete ranges capable of satisfying the most diverse motorcyclists. We took a short trip to the motorbike china, excluding the scooter fleet, but going into the discovery of alternatives that can really work alongside Japanese or Italian manufacturers with a competitiveness that should not be underestimated, at least in the long term.


Produced in the Zejiang region, south of Shanghai, on the East China Sea, Benda is present on our markets with a well-designed small custom that is a candidate as the “sporster” for everyone. Starting from the price (5,490 euros including VAT), the BD-300 Sporty has a 298 cc V-twin, perfect for urban traffic, but also for trips out of town. It develops 31 HP for a declared speed of 150 km/h and allows ease of driving and high usability that touches the neophyte closely. Convincing the biker population with this bike seems like a difficult task, but time and the company’s attention to Western customers will tell us if it can compete with the massive custom bikes that have always identified a certain range of motorcyclists, or if it will remain an exotic suggestion.


Probably the most popular Chinese brand in Italy, it offers eight models that cover the main segments of the sector. With a structured commercial network and important corporate objectives, in over thirty years it has shown itself up to the demands so as to apply for a premium brand. With reliability and quality as the cornerstones of the production philosophy, CF MOTO does not deviate much from the prices of Japanese or European manufacturers. Aesthetically cared for or more simply “beautiful”, these models draw on the design of the most requested brands today. The 450SR is a sports car that takes its cue from Ducati and Aprilia in its forms and mounts a 50 HP twin-cylinder, while the 300CL-X and 700CL-X have so much of the Borgo Panigale scrambler, almost as to be confused from a distance. The 650GT and 650MT are the bikes with which CF aims at touring, offering a touring bike for less than seven thousand euros. However, the Chinese giant’s best shot is the 800MT, a crossover that goes from 9,990 to 11,990 and with a 91 HP twin-cylinder it can really fit where not all historic brands have a strong model.


“Our strength is the price” recited an old slogan and with Keeway Motor the same theory can be proposed again, given that the current price list offers four 125cc models to half of the western competition. Born in 2003 to be a stable force in Europe, the headquarters in the old continent are in Budapest, but the production is entrusted to the 14,000 workers of the factory-city of Wenling, 500 km from Shanghai. The products circulating in Italy are all conceived and designed in our country and, coincidentally, in Pesaro where Benelli has been operating in the same way since it became part of the same Qianjiang group, owner of Keeway. RKF is the naked, K-LIGHT, the classic road bike type and then there are the two custom RK V125C and SUPERLIGHT, all 125 that do not exceed the measly 14 HP of maximum power and the declared 100 Km/h. Relying on an enviable financial and productive strength, these bikes don’t have the same ambitions as other Chinese brands, but basically focus on novice drivers with few pretensions.


The DUEL 125 model is clearly the declaration of war on the same engine capacity KTM and convinces above all for the design that denotes a certain personality and does not fear particularly disadvantageous aesthetic comparisons. With the same single-cylinder engine, KL has in the KXE the most economical proposal for those who want an enduro or motard with brilliant performance, also with a view to racing. Easy to handle, with excellent chassis and perfect road holding, it is the excellent alternative for those who want to have fun spending between 3,950 and 4,090 euros. Tibet Everest Colove Motorcycle Ltd also produces the KL Raticosa 500 X. Adventure or crossover, this motorcycle is powered by a 48 HP Loncin parallel twin cylinder to these Kawasaki-derived motorcycles of which the same family belongs. Despite the close resemblance to the BMW R1250GS, it is the first alternative to the Benelli TRK 502 which is currently the reference for this displacement, but a good fight could arise.


Seven uncompromising models make ZONTES the most ambitious of Chinese brands, with a great price/proposition ratio. There really is something for all tastes, all budgets and starting with the ZT 125-U the pieces are modern and refined in the lines that communicate in today’s world everything that is sought in a motorcycle today. ZT 310/350-R1, ZT 310/350-X1, ZT 310/350-V and ZT 310/350-T are, in order, the naked, sports, custom and crossover that immediately make the leap forward for those who want a more performing and always very manageable vehicle, which use the same engine. Aware of the great appeal that the latest generation scramblers have on the average clientele, with the ZT 125-G and the ZT 350-GK, ZONTES aims to satisfy the most discerning palates. Guangdong Tayo Motorcycle Technology Co., owner of the brand, invests in Italy and Europe to raise awareness of the quality of its products and ZONTES spare parts. All single-cylinder motorcycles in the various outfits can be had at a price that varies between 3,190 euros for the ZT 125-U and 5,490 for the ZT 350-V1.

If we were new to the passion for motorcycles and we didn’t have a cultural heritage capable of making us firmly critical of the innovations that come from a country notoriously full of contradictions, but one that has always been exploited for its large production capacity, we would probably these motorcycles would break through much easier in the mind of those who approach a dealership to make their purchase.

We must not forget that technologies in all fields have arrived from China and that the first to exploit the advantages of Chinese production were the Westerners. Without ending up talking about the global economy, it must be said that time will tell how much it is worth buying a motorcycle of this origin and manufacture. What is certain is that, in unsuspecting times, the country in question had already hinted at a certain interest in motorcycles worldwide. In the early 2000s, the Zongshen Team participated, with the Suzuki GSX-R 1000, in the world endurance championship, when the Endurance FIM World Championship was much more important than today and the riders were the major specialists in the discipline, while in 2010 the Italo -Chinese of Moto2 JiR, had none other than Jan Witteveen as general manager. In short, China is close.

Source: Virgilio Motori by

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