CHANGJIANG is one of the oldest names in the Chinese motorcycle industry, having been churning out military-style sidecar outfits based on WW2-era BMW R75 designs for decades.
But when local emission rules finally hammered a nail into the production of the old 750cc, air-cooled boxer twins, the firm was left without a product. Now it’s back with a new water-cooled 650 that it will sell as a two-wheeler as well as a sidecar.
The firm showed the prototype for its new sidecar, complete with the 650cc parallel twin borrowed from fellow Chinese manufacturer CFMoto, last year. But this is the first glimpse of the bike without the chair attached, in pure two-wheeler form.
And the immediate impression is that it’s a potentially interesting cut-price bobber – although it’s worth mentioning that it’s pictured here with no mudguards at all, so the finished machine could be a more conventional cruiser-style bike.
What’s immediately clear is that there’s a sprung single seat that’s visually similar to that of Triumph’s runaway-success Bonneville Bobber, although the Chinese bike lacks the Triumph’s sophisticated monoshock rear suspension. Instead it has a conventional swingarm, with shocks mounted to look like the plunger rear suspension of the earlier CJ750 models (and the BMW R75, of course).
The engine is the same motor that’s powered several generations of CFMoto 650s. Closely resembling Kawasaki’s ER-6 parallel twin, it makes 70hp at 8,750rpm. That’s actually pretty close to the 76hp that Triumph’s Bonneville Bobber churns out. With little more than half the capacity, the Chinese bike’s 46lbft at 7,000rpm can’t hold a candle to the British 1200’s 78.2lbft at 4,000rpm, though.
Of course, the CFMoto engine is Euro4 compliant, which raises the possibility of European sales for the new ChangJiang. The pictures of the new bike, from Chinese site www.newmotor.com.cn, appear to show several more of the machines in the background, in both two and three wheeled form and multiple colours, suggesting production is underway.