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Chinese junk?

GRR125

Member
Member
Guest
I recently picked up a Chinese 160cc scooter for $100, because it quit running and the owner tired of trying to get it started. He had a friend work on it, but he had no luck either. I thought it might be an interesting project.

Other than sitting untouched for a couple of years without running, it was in very good condition, with only 250 miles on the speedo. And it was in boxes.

It took me a while to sort it out, but it turned out to be a faulty ECI box, which the earlier mechanic replaced with an incorrect box. I splurged on a new $15 ECI and got it running with just a minor carb clean.

It now starts up instantly and runs like a watch. It's electric-start, water-cooled, electric choke four-stroke with disk brakes front and rear on 16" mags with good tubeless tires. All electronics work, the gauges and signal lights are bright. I haven't verified it, but it's supposed to do 60-65 mph and get 60-70 mpg.

The quality of parts such as the frame, the castings and machine work of the engine, and the overall component parts is pretty high. The carb is Keihin. The plastic body panels are not broken as they are flexible, and fit together perfectly. I was surprised and impressed to find things like shouldered bolts that squish o-rings into recessed castings, just as you'd expect from the high-end guys.

Overall I'm very impressed with this little Chinese scooter. To help troubleshoot this scooter, I bought a $10 multimeter that outperformed in every way my $100+ BluePoint (SnapOn) meter. I completed a moderate house re-model with an assortment of $25-50 Harbor Freight tools, which worked flawlessly. I just watched a Project Farm video today in which he rated the HF Icon torque wrench in the top third of performers, just under SnapOn, SK and Proto.

As much as I appreciate the value this Chinese stuff offers to someone like me (budget minded), we should not underestimate their likley coming worldwide dominance.

Gary
 

Cra-z1000

Member
Member
Years ago a friend bought 6 of the Chinese SKS rifles (200.00 each new) 3 of them were pretty poorly made and 3 seemed surprisingly well made . Back then Chinese quality was questionable but now and then you'd find something good . Maybe the odds have improved now .
 

Merle Lowe

Member
Member
Everybody is upping their game these days. I've ridden the Royal Enfield INT 650 and Meteor and they are much better than what RE was making only a decade ago.
 

GRR125

Member
Member
Guest
Holiday activities and severe weather kept me from taking the scooter out for a test ride, but today turned out clear and sunny, so I took it out for my first venture on city streets.

It ran great! I live in a hilly neighborhood and it motored right up the hills without hesitation. I didn't know much about this scooter design before I bought it, but have learned that the engine is a modern clone of the Honda GY6 engine that was first developed in the 1960's and used since in perhaps millions of scooters worldwide. It's supposed to make about 14 hp. It starts right up, even in cold, wet conditions.

The air temp right now is cold (~45-50), but the little front skirt kept me comfortable. The 16" wheels handle well and the dual disk brakes are more than what this little bike requires. The auto transmission is easy to use.

Returning to my earlier comments about build quality -If you've ever reassembled old plastic stuff, you know those little posts that receive steel screws turn brittle and crack easily, making reassembly a real pain. I was pleasantly surprised to find all the plastic body parts went together nicely, and the plastic lugs remained tight.

After going all through it, the only complaint I could have is that the ignition trigger pickup coil is solidly mounted inside the stator cover, and cannot be adjusted. The gap between the trigger coil and stator rotor was one of the things I suspected, and there was no way to easily check or adjust this setting. Other than that, the engine was easy to work on.

I'm waiting on the DMV to send me final paperwork, but as soon as I get it, I'll put it up for sale. It will make a nice little around-town bike.
So looking for the next project.
 

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Douglasjre

Member
Member
Years ago a friend bought 6 of the Chinese SKS rifles (200.00 each new) 3 of them were pretty poorly made and 3 seemed surprisingly well made . Back then Chinese quality was questionable but now and then you'd find something good . Maybe the odds have improved now .
They haven't. It's still junk
 

Strawboss

Member
Member
I had a Chicom SKS too, about 1991 vintage. It was ok, shot ok, loose tolerances, easy to work on, cannot be compared to anything made anywhere else as it was never intended to be compared to anything else as it did EXACTLY what it was designed to do, and that was to go bang each and every time the trigger was pulled and to hold a battlefield zero, work after being thrown into a mud puddle and be worked on by uneducated soldiers while costing a few bucks apiece to make after being copied from a soviet design.

Now, was my 1991 Chinese junk better than what is made today? Well, maybe not if stood side by side, todays stuff may be a bit better.

BTW, many ceremonial rifles used by guards these days for Russian and former Soviet states color guards use Cold War era SKS's.
 

Merle Lowe

Member
Member
Not copied, the Soviets set up a factory for them. Relations soured between the two nations shortly thereafter. The first Chinese SKSs were identical to Soviet rifles with a number of running changes in the following decades to simplify production. I have yet to see one of poor quality, though a number of them were in poor condition. None of them is pretty.

On the M/C front, there's now a Chinese-made Sportster. https://www.rideapart.com/news/622177/swm-custom-v1200-cruiser-eicma/ Not sure I'd buy one, but I'd sure like to ride it to see how it compares to my 2000 XLH. The real change needed on these engines would be a move to a 4-valve head. You could fix the breathing issues along with a cleaner combustion chamber. Worked on the M8 right?
 

Merle Lowe

Member
Member
I imagine it was sold. What GRR said last Dec.

"I'm waiting on the DMV to send me final paperwork, but as soon as I get it, I'll put it up for sale. It will make a nice little around-town bike.
So looking for the next project."
 

Murph

Crotch Rocket
Industry Vendor
Ah. I read that thinking once he had the papers he was going to be riding it. Totally missed the sell thing
 

kzz1king

Member
Member
Not copied, the Soviets set up a factory for them. Relations soured between the two nations shortly thereafter. The first Chinese SKSs were identical to Soviet rifles with a number of running changes in the following decades to simplify production. I have yet to see one of poor quality, though a number of them were in poor condition. None of them is pretty.

On the M/C front, there's now a Chinese-made Sportster. https://www.rideapart.com/news/622177/swm-custom-v1200-cruiser-eicma/ Not sure I'd buy one, but I'd sure like to ride it to see how it compares to my 2000 XLH. The real change needed on these engines would be a move to a 4-valve head. You could fix the breathing issues along with a cleaner combustion chamber. Worked on the M8 right?
A Buell motor or head would help.
 

GRR125

Member
Member
Guest
Re "How did the scooter do through 2022?"
I kept it for a few months and enjoyed riding it around town on residential streets. Overall I was very impressed with everything about it. However, I wasn't comfortable riding it on major (35 mph +) streets with other cars. My risk and liability was no different than if I were on a bigger bike, but I had a very insecure feeling on this smaller vehicle. Not rational, but enough to convince me I'm not a scooter guy.

I sold it to a woman who participated in large horse shows at various fairgrounds. She needed a convenient way to get around the grounds, yet move it to each location. She was delighted with it.

I took the profits and bought another fixer-upper that needed only a new carb diaphram to run right:

1669220853106.jpeg
 

horsenuts123

Member
Member
Re "How did the scooter do through 2022?"
I kept it for a few months and enjoyed riding it around town on residential streets. Overall I was very impressed with everything about it. However, I wasn't comfortable riding it on major (35 mph +) streets with other cars. My risk and liability was no different than if I were on a bigger bike, but I had a very insecure feeling on this smaller vehicle. Not rational, but enough to convince me I'm not a scooter guy.

I sold it to a woman who participated in large horse shows at various fairgrounds. She needed a convenient way to get around the grounds, yet move it to each location. She was delighted with it.

I took the profits and bought another fixer-upper that needed only a new carb diaphram to run right:

View attachment 34636
That should be a fun project. I owned a couple V65 Sabres back in the day and had pretty good luck with them. I miss the lock nut and screw valve adjustments the older bikes had. I'm glad I never had a carb issue with them, because I wouldn't have had the first idea how to wrestle those carbs out of the "V" without screwing the linkage all up...
 

GRR125

Member
Member
Guest
I bought the bike in running condition, but it didn't run well, refusing to pull higher than about 5k. I removed the carbs to see what was wrong, and they turned out to be very clean, just needing new diaphragms. The rubber tubes that the carb assembly slides into were flexible enough that with a little WD-40 and a stick for leverage, they popped back in. Nowhere near as difficult as on the V65.

I checked the valves. Even though they were the locknut type, access was so compromised that I didn't want to risk loosening them without the factory tool to set them. Clearances were close enough. It was difficult enough just getting the valve covers and gaskets on and sealed.

To refurbish this bike, I took the outer engine covers off, cleaned, painted and re-polished the exposed aluminum fins and such. Changed fluids, filters and it ran like a top.

Which really underscores Honda's misunderstanding of the US cruiser market interests - cruisers don't benefit from a 11k redline with power coming on in the upper half.


I sold it to a nice young lady that had been looking for exactly this bike. Used the proceeds to move on to the next project.
 
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