Affordable motorcycles made by Chinese companies can be very very enticing, and sometimes overall be great value for money. Believe me, I couldn’t be any happier with my CFMoto 650NK. The nice thing about these machines is that most of the time, they make use of technology that came standard in Japanese and European motorcycles, but have been revised or tweaked to be produced at a lower price point, thus making the bikes more accessible to customers. Now, this isn’t a problem for companies like CFMoto, which is China’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. However, other smaller Chinese motorcycle manufacturers without an actual dealer network don’t carry the same level of reliability.
I’m talking about the machines you can buy online from Amazon. Complete motorcycles that you can purchase with a click of your mouse or a tap of your smartphone. These bikes would then be delivered to your doorstep, either completely assembled in a gigantic box, or with their wheels taken off, for you to install. Nonetheless, these bikes can be extremely enticing for first time riders on a budget. But what if something goes wrong? This is exactly what Sean from SRKCycles experienced in his video wherein he explains how his Amazon-bought mini dirt bikes broke down. For the mechanically ungifted, the nightmare of the absence of a physical dealership network rears its ugly head. For one, most if not all bikes you buy online through an e-commerce site such as Amazon are non-returnable items. As such, warranty coverage doesn’t usually mean that you can just return the whole bike.
As illustrated by Sean, he had to pay additional money to have the bikes diagnosed. He had to do a compression test on one of the bikes, and had to swap out the carburetor on the other (which turned out to be the reason why it wouldn’t start). But what if you’re not as mechanically inclined as Sean? And what if the motorcycle shops around you won’t work on your motorcycle because it didn’t come from them?
In the end, despite the bikes Sean bought having warranties, he opted instead to take them to a shop to have them diagnosed. Luckily, the problems with both bikes were pretty simple, and the shop was able to sort them out without needing to replace any parts. But what if that wasn’t the case? Imagine the struggle in sourcing parts for a bike that has no dealer support whatsoever. Indeed, an adventure for some, but a nightmare for others. So next time you come across that super cheap motorcycle on Amazon, think twice and think about the long term. How will you maintain the bike, what’ll you do if something goes wrong? What mechanical skills will you need to learn to keep the bike running?