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Another convincing Chinese bike firm?

Chinese bikes have long been the underdogs of the motorcycle world, often seen – rightly or wrongly – as derivative, poor quality and often ugly machines that pursue low price at the expense of all else.

But that’s changing. The latest creations from the likes of CFMoto are good-looking bikes, and Benelli’s Chinese-developed new models – the Leoncino and TRK502 – have won plaudits. And now another manufacturer has emerged from China with a surprisingly well-developed range.

Taizhou Moray – which sells bikes under the name Motrac – has revealed a good-looking 500cc adventure bike and a 400cc naked machine, both using parallel-twin engines, and has plans for a sportsbike in the future. It has previously only offered mini-bikes and scooters, so producing larger-capacity, multi-cylinder models is a major step up.

The bikes

The MG500 is the most convincing. It’s a good-looking adventure bike with a hint of Ducati Multistrada in its styling. The chassis combines a steel trellis front section with a cast aluminium rear, plus an upside-down fork, radial calipers and an aluminium swingarm – a specification that looks good on paper, too.

The engine is familiar. Externally it looks like Honda’s CB500 motor. However, the internal dimensions reveal significant differences including a larger 491cc capacity (471cc on the Honda) and a different bore and stroke ratio. The 76mm bore and 55.1mm stroke are extremely oversquare – the sort of dimensions you’d expect to see on a high-revving superbike. Despite this, claimed power – 35kW at 8500rpm – is identical to the CB500, as is the 43Nm of torque.

MG500 brochure (1)

The MT400 is a cheaper, smaller parallel-twin which, despite its similar layout, uses a completely different engine. The 399cc motor, with a near-square 63.5mm stroke and 63mm bore, makes a claimed 26.2kW at 7600rpm and 33Nm at 5500rpm. An all-steel frame and swingarm reveal the bike’s lower costs, although it still sports an USD fork and radial front brakes.

Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 5.15.10 PM

What’s next?

Although not yet officially revealed, the firm has also filed patents for the design of an MT2 sportsbike model based on the MT400’s mechanical components but using a full fairing.

What’s more, the company has released outline teaser drawings of a 500cc nakedbike based on the mechanical parts of the MG500 and an 800cc V-twin cruiser.

Whether any of these machines reach international attention in the longer term will depend largely on whether the company can get the right certification for sales in other countries and establish a solid network of importers and dealers.