Are Chinese copies of other engine brands like the originals?  Is copying legal in Europe?

Are Chinese copies of other engine brands like the originals? Is copying legal in Europe?

This article is a continuation of the previous two, about engines produced in China, which can often be found in motorcycles sold in Poland. The last two sections are:

Motorcycle opening days at Inter Motors showrooms in Warsaw. Warsaw on the 5th!

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Now we will deal with the final aspects of Chinese engines, that is, how is it possible that these engines are the same as old models from famous manufacturers?

Daylight robbery?

Someone will say that the Chinese boldly took advantage of the knowledge and experience of Japanese designers, imitating the engines they created. In addition, they did well, taking the 125th market not only in Europe, but also in Asia and Latin America. However, a few Chinese motorcycles are also sold in the US! I have never found any confirmed information that the Chinese legally produce these engines under license, but it is worth looking at the history and forming your own opinion …

In 1980, Yamaha established a partnership with the Chinese factory Jianshe, which existed since 1896. Later, the partnership was strengthened by entrusting the production of motorcycles to the Japanese manufacturer Jianshe-Yamaha, which was established for this purpose. This company produced, for example, the YBR 125 model. Can you guess where the Junaka RS 125 with the Yamaha YBR clone engine was produced? …. Yes, you guessed it for Jianshe.

In 1985, Suzuki began production of the Suzuki K90 motorcycle in China at the QINGQI factory. 7 years later, the production of the Suzuki GS 125 motorcycle was launched at the factory. In 1996, the company QINGQI – SUZUKI was established. By browsing this manufacturer’s website, you can find pictures of motorcycles with the Kreidler logo and a Suzuki GS engine.

Kreidler 1 of QINGQI

Kreidler produced at the QINGQI factory – K157FMI engine – Suzuki GS clone.

In parallel with the cooperation with QINGQI, Suzuki started cooperation with another Chinese factory – Haouje. This factory produces Suzuki motorcycles to this day. Cars produced at this plant are also sold at European exhibitions. An example is the Suzuki Inazuma 250 or V-Strom 250.

Honda, of course, does not remain in debt and founded the Wuyang-Honda company in China in 1992, which begins with the production of the CG 125 model.

In 2004, Piaggio concluded a strategic business agreement with the Chinese group Zongshen for the production and sale of engines, vehicles and equipment based on Italian technology for Asian markets. What? do you know where the chinese got a 15 horse engine?

In 2005, BMW outsourced engine production to Loncin. In 2012, Loncin releases the CR9 motorcycle modeled after the BMW GS 850 engine. In 2020, Loncin starts selling Voge motorcycles in Europe…

2 BMW Loncin 10th anniversary

The 10th anniversary of the partnership between Loncin and BMW

I have listed only a few examples, although there are dozens of such companies. We know that legends like Harley Davidson or MV Augusta also collaborate with the Chinese. How will it end? I have my feelings. Probably you too.

What? Chinese conscience moved?

Only they can answer this question. The fact is that, however, in cars from the middle country there are engines that differ so far from the Japanese model that they cannot be called a copy or clone. They appear more often in motorcycle models produced in Europe. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that over the last few decades China has educated its own engineers. With the help of Japanese subjects, they taught them how to create their own designs. The technological progress of the Middle Kingdom is no secret today, although it surprises many of my interlocutors.

TYS engine Another article? Already designed?

The manufacturer himself shows the difference between the OHC engine (km 157FMI) and his own design called TYS.


Compared to the Honda CB engine, the Chinese made a lot of changes in the TYS unit. First, the balance shaft is moved very close to the shaft, which is intended to reduce vibrations better than in a unit where the shaft protrudes beyond the engine (extra bulge in front of the engine).

4 TYS horizontal shaft 1

The crankshaft is lowered and placed on large bearings.

Engine lubrication has also been improved by modifying the oil lines. Thanks to this mechanism, the path that oil travels during start-up is significantly reduced.

For several years, engines of this type have been found in Kiden motorcycle engines (Junak Racer, Zipp VZ6) and in motorcycles from the Senke factory (Romet K125 FI). Users have no technical problems with them. As for their 10KM engines, they deliver power quite efficiently.

Engine oil 5 TYS

The TYS engine is manufactured by a company related to the Zontes group. This unit is installed mainly in mid-range motorcycles of this concern (Kiden brand). These motorcycles are sold under various brand names across Europe. And we, especially under the Junak brand. This engine is also sold to other manufacturers, so it can also be found in Senke motorcycles (eg Romek K-125).

However, Zontes did not stop at the TYS engine. Recently, engines of this manufacturer with 14.6 hp appeared. It is not a pure copy of any Japanese engine.

Not just 125!

Just a few years ago you could buy a top Chinese 250, very rare in Europe they were 4 hundred with an engine drawn from a Yamaha Virago 535. In China, the police and the army had to drive something, so there were also motorcycles with high capacity. produced. So there was a Ural boxer named Chang Jiang upgraded with a 650cc engine, a Kawasaki clone, a police and military Jialing 600 with a Honda clone engine and a CF Moto 650 TR with the same engine as in the new Chang Jiang.

6 Chang Jiang with 650cc engine

Chang Jiang with 650cc engine (Kawasaki copy)

7 JH600

Jialing JH600 (probably Honda clone engine)

After such a history of development, we should not be surprised that CF Moto already offers a motorcycle with an 800 engine. Suddenly, Gaokin also appeared, motorcycles from this factory were exhibited at the Milan Fair by Keeway and Brixton.

In addition to the production of small-engined motorcycles, China has been working on capabilities that provoke the imagination. A 1000cc V-twin and a 1200cc inline-twin went into series production.

8 Gaokin 1000 copies

In the European market, the power of Chinese motorcycles can be surprising, but only because we cannot follow everything that happens in the Chinese motorcycle market. Recently, the Polish motorcycle portal spread “news” about the Chinese rock Indiana or Harley, nicknamed XIANGSHUAI, at the same time it turned out that the manufacturer showed these motorcycles at the motor show in 2019.

9 Xiang

Someone will ask why we missed such Chinese “gems”? The answer is simple. Until recently, the European reader had no interest in Chinese driving at all. Cheaper Chinese 125s and 250s were more popular. So there was no one to explain the motorcycles that no one could buy here anyway. The fact that Chinese motorcycles are slowly beginning to appear in exhibitions and showrooms is due to the growing popularity of superpowers in China itself. China’s domestic market is very absorptive, as long as there was a local demand for cheap means of communication, 125s and 250s were produced, and some were exported. Now the Chinese middle class is starting to see motorcycles as something of status, as a toy and a hobby. Therefore, great potential is sought and, as before, some of them are outsourced.

I don’t know how the competition between Japan and China in the motorcycle market will end. Someone will say that the quality of these Chinese cars is still not the same as the Japanese ones. Maybe not, but I’m afraid it’s consciousness. Because the fact that the Chinese can do very good quality, I have known for a long time.

I was confirmed in this belief during a conversation with an inspector of a large automotive concern. He had the opportunity to find small sellers of the newly built factory. The quality he saw in China did not differ from that of Europe.

Interesting times are ahead of us.

Top left Benjamin.