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Are Chinese Adventure Bikes Any Good?

Have you seen those Chinese Adventure Bikes on the market attempting to break their way into the ADV market recently?

We recently came across these at a tradeshow in China and were stunned. Do they really understand the market and what we need as adventure riders?

This leads us to do some research to see what Chinese dirt bikes and adventure motorcycles are on the market. We’ll give you an analysis of our thoughts and ideas.

Chinese Adventure Dual Sport Motorcycles

The Chinese aren’t new to bringing dirt bikes to the market and they have been selling the cheap dirt bikes and pit bikes for 15 years, while the bigger adventure bikes have only started to come to the market now.

Will they revolutionze the industry? We don’t believe so. They have only made a small inroad or dent into the dirt riding scene due to their lack of trust in Chinese dirt bikes, and we can only imagine this will be the case with adventure bikes too.

One thing to consider is the average age of an adventure bike rider is around 50 years old who is probably holding a reasonably high net worth. They aren’t like to go down the cheap isle and prefer quality and craftsmanship as opposed to factory print offs.

So if Chinese manufacturers like Zongshen are simply attempting to win on price, then this isn’t a war they are likely to win. When we consider right now, as the world is in a Pandemic, the anti-China sentiment, it’s going to be hard to really make ground in this market and especially the older generation.

The ‘Knockoff’ lack of trust

Given the nature of Chinese products to be knocked off, this only creates more brand loyalty with the giants such as BMW, Yamaha and Honda. More and more people see the value in spending their money with companies which are revolutionary in this marketplace.

There are several adventure motorcycles that have been copied by the Chinese, but the flaws are evident. These bikes would only serve a small segment of the market who either can’t afford or won’t spend up on the more beefier adventure-spec bikes on offer.

It’s for this reason that we don’t see commercial viability with Chinese adventure motorcycles for at least the next 10 years. The market is already well served and the pricing isn’t too outrageously high. In fact, you can buy a KTM 450 and spec it up as an adventure touring for under $10,000 quite easily with fairings and the like.

What China Has

The thing to keep in mind here is that many motorcycle parts and accessories do actually come from China and are used in assembly plants. This actually keeps the costs down and fancy-sounding brand names are simply overlayed for the consumer.

It’s for this reason that China believes they themselves can ‘cut out the middleman’ to reduce their prices and offer a complete unit to the market. They have been mildly successful in the dirt bike arena, though many westerners do prefer the trusted brand names from Japan and Germany.

What China lacks is experience and indeed this is true with Zongshen and GPX. This isn’t a culture where dirt bikes are in their blood, though hard work is certainly there. They aren’t in touch with the consumer and aren’t likely to be for a long time.

For now, we can:

  1. Purchase an adventure motorcycle that is of high quality, though has Chinese parts and accessories.
  2. Purchase a cheaper dirt bike and spec it up as an adventure tourer.

Both options are excellent and will lead to many enjoyable years of riding. Choose price last and you’ll simply enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

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