The Xianglong JSX500i takes Chinese copycat designs to a sinister new level!

There is copying a motorcycle... and then there is copying one that hasn't even gone on sale yet. Meet the TVS Zeppelin 'inspired' Xianglong JSX500i

Xianglong JSX500i

We’ve featured a fair few motorcycles originating out of China over the past weeks, months and years that have - using varying degrees of shamelessness - been using another model as a clear inspiration.

The term ‘inspiration’ is a kind one because in some cases we have seen motorcycles that are straight up traced facsimiles of the original thing, albeit built to a much lower price - CLICK HERE for some great (bad) examples.

The likes of Ducati, Yamaha, Honda, MV Agusta and Kawasaki have been ripe for ‘honouring’ over the years with imitations, but this example here - the Xianglong JSX500i - possibly takes the biscuit when it comes to straight off ripping a design.

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Fair enough, you may not actually recognise which model the JSX500i is being doppelganger to so we will tell you it is the TVS Zeppelin. OK, so Indian company TVS - new owners of Norton - is not an obvious candidate for copying but as you can see the JSX500i bears a VERY striking resemblance to the Zeppelin.

So what makes this so shameless? Well, the Zeppelin you see here is a concept currently in development for production. In short, the JSX500i is copying a motorcycle that hasn’t even gone on sale yet!

It’s not a direct copy and, truth be told, it’s actually a handsome beast with its multi-spoke wire wheels, chunky engine casing and fairly tight panel gaps. But placing it alongside the Zeppelin - due to go on sale later this year - creates a surprisingly hard ‘Spot the Difference’ game.

Under the skin things get a bit more conventional 471cc engine producing a modest 44hp so it’s a touch more style than substance from our standpoint.

Now, while most manufacturers are content to turn a blind eye due to the complexity and red tape that would come with trying to stop the sale of a model that won’t be sold in huge numbers anywhere beyond China, TVS might have a more significant case here in that its intellectual design is being offered before it has even puts its version on sale.

I mean, they just have to, don’t they? If not, a very sinister precedent is going to be set...