We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again–you can’t deny the Chinese motorcycle market is an interesting place. Yes, it’s full of mind-bending doppelgangers you’d find nowhere else in the world. But there’s also an actually likable assortment of two-wheelers that goes unnoticed while cringing over the copies.
Ranging from small scramblers to V4 cruisers, there are several motorcycles that not only deserve your attention but will also make you want them here. That too, from a variety of global brands, including celebrated names like Honda. So without further ado, here are five such motorcycles you ought to see.
With the entry-level cruiser segment hotter than ever, it’s only fair we start off with one of the most impressive examples – the Benda BD500. Alternatively called Dark Flag, the cruiser motorcycle has plenty to excite you, most notably its powerhouse. It employs a 496cc, V4 engine (China’s first) that pumps out 56 horsepower and 33 pound-feet. This is not only more than the popular-in-America Honda Rebel 500, but also the now-discontinued Harley-Davidson Iron 883.
But that’s not all. Benda has also equipped the BD500 with class-leading features. You get traction control, an immobilizer, backlit switchgear, and all-LED lights, all topped by a digi-analog instrument cluster. The party trick, though, is the air suspension outback. It works via a dedicated switchgear, so you can drop or increase the ride height with a simple press. Having seen it in action, we can safely say it is just as cool in action as it sounds.
Benda BD500 Specs
|Standout bits||Air suspension, V4 engine|
Another cruiser sold in China that deserves your attention is the CFMoto 450CL-C. It is a fresh addition to the company’s lineup for 2024 and marks CF’s foray into the hot cruiser segment. The target? To beat the Kawasaki Eliminator and Honda Rebel 500 at their own game. To do that, the 450CL-C comes loaded with quality componentry.
We’re talking a TFT instrument cluster, traction control, smartphone connectivity, and a USB port–all as standard. This is topped by 16-inch wheels (with H-D Forty Eight-like thick rubber), upside-down forks, and a grunty twin-cylinder engine. The latter displaces 449 cubic centimeters to produce 40 horsepower and 31 pound-feet, all of which reach the wheel via a belt drive (a rarity in the segment). Also worth noting is the CL-C’s handsome neo-retro design, which is ripe with special touches. Some of these are an indented fuel tank, contrast stitched saddle, bar end mirrors, and a two-into-two dual barrel exhaust.
CFMoto 450CL-C Specs
|Standout bits||Traction control, premium design, TFT|
Let’s face it, modern-day Japanese middleweight sport bikes lack the pizazz of true-blue supersports from the yore. And if you feel the same, it’s time you look at the Chinese market. Case in context is the Jedi K750–a top-tier middleweight sport bike from China that matches up to Japan’s finest.
What makes it special, you ask? Well, for starters, the K750 has looks to die for. There’s an intricate multi-element LED headlight up top, bejeweled inside sleek bodywork all around. Same treatment follows for the tail end, which rounds off the futuristic and unique aesthetic. Next, the K750 comes with a massive TFT instrument cluster, keyless ignition, ride modes, and a USB port. There’s also a single-sided swingarm to make it considerably premium than the simple Japanese bikes.
Finally, at its heart lies a 730cc, twin-cylinder engine with 80.5 horsepower (60kW) and 70Nm (51 pound-feet) to entertain you. That’s eight and 13 ponies more than the Yamaha R7 and Kawasaki Ninja 650. Adjustable USD forks, monoshock, Brembo monobloc brakes, and a perimeter chassis round off the underpinnings. Safe to say Americans could use such a weapon.
Jedi K750 Specs
|Standout bits||Single-sided swingarm|
Given how important small motorcycles are in China, Honda has a long lineup of sub-200cc bikes, especially to exploit the segment. One of the most impressive ones is the CB190SS, which would be perfect for youngsters in America. It serves duty as a premium entry-level scrambler for you to commute in style.
Credit here goes upmarket aesthetic, complete with a unique LED headlight, round turn signals, brushed metal parts, and a brown ribbed single-piece saddle. This is topped by a dual-pod digi-analog instrument cluster, dual-channel ABS, slipper clutch, and a USB port. What about the engine? Well, there’s a 184cc, single-cylinder thumper in there, good enough for 17 horsepower and 12 pound-feet. Though the numbers aren’t exciting, couple it with the sub-320-pound heft, and we’re sure you’d have some fun while carving through the city. Other notable bits include spoke wheels, upside-down forks, and petal disc brakes.
Honda CB190SS Specs
|Standout bits||Premium looks for a sub-200cc motorcycle|
CFMoto Papio XO
Yes, we know the CFMoto Papio is on sale in America. But in China, the Papio lineup is simply on a different level. It comprises two new mini bikes, the Papio XO Racer and a Papio XO Adventurer. The former flaunts a cafe racer aesthetic, complete with semi-fairing, dual headlights, and a sexy under-tail exhaust. Whereas, the latter is a mini scrambler that has dual-purpose rubber, a high front fender, and a thicker seat than its racier sibling. Considering the popularity of Honda’s mini bikes in ‘Murica, these CFMotos could very well sell like hotcakes here.
And it’s not like they lack luster in terms of mechanicals either. You get a 125cc, single-cylinder engine with 9.4 horsepower, housed inside a steel pipe chassis. The latter suspends on upside-down forks, monoshock, and 12-inch aluminum alloy wheels. So all in all, definitely something mini bike fans would crave.
CFMoto Papio XO Specs
|Standout bits||Cafe racer and scrambler aesthetic|