Top 10 copy bikes

Tributes? Replicas? Counterfeits?

CHINESE bikes have something of a reputation for being less than totally original. Sure, some are entirely the work of their own manufactures but for every genuinely unique machine there seems to be a raft of bikes that take inspiration from – or simply copy – models from more established makers.

With many bikes made in multiple factories and sold under several brand names, it’s often hard to even establish who’s responsible for some of these creations, but most of them are to be found on marketplace websites like Alibaba, usually with incredibly cheap price tags.

Here are 10 of the best (or should that be worst?) ‘replica’ bikes we could find.

10: Jida JD250

The paintjob screams ‘Yamaha’ doesn’t it? As does the styling, which takes a dash of last-gen R1 and a whole lot of R125 and mixes them together with a few dodgy-looking bits (like those mirrors) to create something that, at a glance, would almost fool you into thinking it might be a Yamaha - if it wasn’t for the jarring details.

9: Unknown ‘KTM’ copy

We’re really not sure who’s responsible for this monstrosity, which makes claim to be a KTM ‘style’ bike, although an identical machine is also offered, hilariously, in Kawasaki green as a ‘Yamasaki.’ The KTM Duke ‘influence’ is clear in the headlight, tank and seat, although the beam frame and air-cooled engine let it down.

8: Yayama ‘R6’

We’re loving the badges on this one; ‘Yayama’ for instance? Or the misspelt ‘Producde by sport’ tagline down the side. The actual plastics are pretty convincing Yamaha R6 copies, but there’s a 150cc air-cooled single in there, and the frame seems to be made from leftover bits of Ikea furniture.

7: Leike Hornet

No, it’s not a copy of a Honda Hornet, but if it looks familiar it’s because it’s near-identical to a Gilera DNA scooter. Its makers seem to be keen to mention that it’s got a patent, but we’re not sure they own it…

6: Leike Thunderer

This one doesn’t actually appear to be in production yet, but the design is one that really has been patented by Leike. Perhaps BMW weren’t too concerned about the fact it mimics the S1000RR’s shape. After all, the mini-bike proportions and tiny engine mean it’s not really going to confuse anyone.

5: Haray HY300

In case you can’t quite place it, that styling is basically identical – apart from the headlight – to Honda’s Brazilian-market XRE300. Weirdly, though, the Chinese machine actually seems to be slightly higher-spec, with a DOHC water-cooled engine and what looks like an aluminium swing-arm instead of the Honda’s air-cooled motor and steel swing-arm. Still reckon the Honda might be a better bet, though…

4: Wonjan WJ150R and WJ250R

The first of four appearances from Wonjan here, this is a semi-rip-off of Honda’s CBR250R styling. At least it has a few changes from the original, particularly around the tank and seat unit, but the influence is clear to see.

3: Jonway YY250

What we particularly like about the YY250 is that, as well as being a painstaking ‘replica’, the details are accurate right down to the design of the instruments. They’ve opted to copy an unloved bike that was generally reckoned to be pretty ugly even in its original form: BMW’s F650CS. Of course, the Jonway is 400cc short when it comes to capacity and lacks the BMW’s single-sided swing-arm and belt drive, but it manages to capture the essence of the original’s ugliness. Well done.

2: Wonjan WJ150-18

Honda’s MSX125 is something of a cult bike, with a strong following (particularly in America, where it’s called the Grom). So you can understand why others might want to cash in on the idea of a little runabout that’s got real-world usability even though it’s only ¾ the size of a ‘real’ bike. But Wonjan’s take seem's a little too close to the bone, since it could very easily be mistaken for the real thing.

1:  Wonjan WJ300 Space Ranger (naked and faired versions)

Not one, but two bikes share the top spot. Who needs a Ducati Streetfighter when you can have a Wonjan WJ300 for a fraction of the price? You’d have thought Ducati’s lawyers would be all over this one like a rash, even if it’s got no chance of ever being mistaken for the real thing, but it’s nothing compared to the firm’s take on a Ducati 1098/1198 (see it in our picture gallery below). Sure, it’s still only got a 300cc single, but once it’s all wrapped up in bodywork there’s a fleeting chance it might even pass for a real Ducati, at least at a distance. Not sure they really need to write ‘Super Bike’ on the side, though.

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