MOST British riders still see Chinese bikes as unreliable, cheaply-made, ugly and poorly supported. And not without reason; there have been plenty of terrible Chinese-made imports to justify that position. But it’s slowly changing as ever more Chinese brands begin to build bikes with greater quality, larger engines and better styling.
And this new patent appears to point at another contender. The company behind it appears to trade as XGJ, making the usual rash of single-cylinder 150cc, 200cc and 250cc bikes with derivative styling and paint schemes clearly designed to give the impression of Yamahas or Hondas. Last year it even showed a 320cc twin that almost indistinguishable from Yamaha’s R3 sports bike.
This bike’s engine again looks like the Yamaha R3 and MT-03 unit – the layout of the clutch cover, oil filler and water pump are all but identical to the Yamaha’s. It appears to be fitted to a steel frame, again rather Yamaha-R3-like in its shape. Even the swingarm and wheels are very much like those used on the Yamaha. It’s not known if these parts are officially sanctioned or simply copied from the Japanese originals.
Differences include upside-down forks, radial calipers and a second front brake disc, all elements that elevate the Chinese design above its Yamaha inspiration, at least in on-paper terms.
All indications suggest that the bike is developed for European regulations. There are ABS sensor rings on the brakes, reflectors on the fork legs and the sort of large exhaust collector needed to meet our emissions rules.
The bike’s styling is hard to judge fairly from these multi-coloured CAD images, but it has the sort of short-tailed design that’s currently in vogue. There’s perhaps a hint of MV Agusta to the fuel tank and headlight. Derivative? Yes, but at least it’s not actively repulsive.
We know from experience that the fact a new design is patented in China is no guarantee that it will reach production, so we’re not holding our breath, but even so it’s another step towards Chinese bikes becoming viable alternatives to the establishment.