I know there's a lot of hate that today’s motorcycle market has seen a massive influx of Chinese brands. While there are indeed a lot of them that continue to print out photo-copied machines, there are a few notable players that are capturing global attention, and for good reason.

One of these brands is Qianjiang, better known as QJ Motor. Apart from marketing bikes under the QJ brand, the company also has a growing number of brands under its belt. The company seems to have a thing for purchasing the IP of historic motorcycle brands, a lot of them from Italy.

And the latest news from the company is that one of its biggest subsidiaries, Keeway, which traces its roots to Hungary, has recently acquired the rights to the Italian brand Morbidelli.

In case you weren’t familiar, Morbidelli is a historic motorcycle brand from Italy. Its history dates back to 1968, when it first started operations building racing bikes in company founder Giancarlo Morbidelli’s small workshop. The company enjoyed noteworthy success in racing in the 1970s, until it ceased its racing initiatives in 1982.


In 1999, Morbidelli opened a Museum showcasing the racing motorcycles of the Italian brand. However, in 2020, Giancarlo Morbidelli passed away, and the museum closed its doors.

Since then, little remains of the Morbidelli brand—that is, until now.

Qianjiang’s growing portfolio

New Keeway TX450R Is A Rally-Inspired Adventure Bike

Keeway's TX450R is a rally-inspired adventure bike.

Morbidelli is yet another addition to Keeway’s, and in turn, QJ’s growing number of brands. It’s joined by other Italian marques like Benelli and Moto Bologna Passione (MBP), and it’s worth mentioning here that QJ Motor is also in a joint venture with Italian suspension specialist Marzocchi, and has an agreement with the company to produce suspension components in China.

In the case of Morbidelli, it appears that Keeway has merged the brand with MBP, renaming it to Morbidelli MBP. It's known that it’ll be marketed in the US, European, and Chinese markets, and that the company is expected to produce motorcycles with engines sized 125cc all the way to 1,000cc.

There’s even an electric model range set to be unveiled in 2025.

2024 Benelli TRK 702X - Main

2024 Benelli TRK 702X

The M502N is a middleweight naked sportbike from MBP.

The M502N is a middleweight naked sportbike from MBP.

It seems that Keeway is serious about expanding the Morbidelli brand, as it’s building the Centro Stile Morbidelli in Bologna, Italy. The facility will focus on “exploring new technologies,” with the goal of “bringing Italian motorcycling excellence to the world.”

So yes, it appears that the bikes will be made in Italy, but overseen by its Chinese owners. 


A quest for world domination?

So, what does this mean for the global motorcycle industry and for enthusiasts like you and me? Well, all things considered, it’s a pretty smart move on the part of Keeway, and in turn, parent company QJ Motor, as they don’t need to create a brand from scratch—instead, they can use the brand’s existing image, or at least, whatever’s left of it. Ultimately, this translates to a quicker go-to-market, and more models (presumably affordable ones) made available in the market. 

While researching the data on this story, I discovered that the QJ Motor empire is much bigger than I first thought. As it would turn out, the Qianjiang Group isn’t the big boss in the grand scheme of things. It is, in fact, the Geely Group who serves as the parent company of QJ Motor. Apart from all the brands under the QJ Motor umbrella, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group also holds the rights to big automotive brands like Geely, Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus to name a few.

It seems that the Geely Group is working double time to strengthen its grasp on the automotive and motorcycle industries, seemingly gobbling up big-name brands left and right. But of course, the question remains: can these products stand the test of time?

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