The motorcycle industry has been a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape, with different countries and manufacturers dominating the scene at various times throughout history. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in production and innovation, particularly from China. Below is a great video discussing the current state of Chinese Motorcycles and underneat the video are the highlights we found.

1. The Rise of Chinese Motorcycle Production

In 2018, China produced approximately 14 million motorcycles, with a significant increase to 19 million units by 2022. This growth indicates China’s burgeoning presence in the motorcycle industry, not far off from their peak production in 2013. Chinese manufacturers have been expanding their infrastructure and model ranges, aiming to make a mark in Western markets. They’ve also been at the forefront of electric motorcycle technology, challenging established brands with competitively priced and spec-comparable models.

Chinese companies are not only forming partnerships with iconic brands like Triumph, Harley-Davidson, MV Agusta, KTM, and BMW but are also venturing into the production of high-performance motorcycles. This includes attempts at creating full-blown liter bikes and a variety of copycat models. However, the question remains: Are these manufacturers truly capable of producing high-quality, reliable motorcycles at a lower cost, and is the Chinese motorcycle industry poised to take over?

2. A Historical Perspective on Motorcycle Dominance

The motorcycle industry has not always been dominated by the current leading nations. Initially, it was a Western-centric field, with British and American companies such as Harley, Indian, Triumph, and Norton leading the way. Post-World War II, significant technological advancements emerged, and the landscape shifted dramatically.

Japanese manufacturers, in particular, revolutionized the industry in the ’60s and ’70s. Companies like Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki rose to prominence through intense competition, innovation, and by meeting the demands of riders. They produced reliable, high-performing motorcycles and employed effective management and production strategies, eventually overtaking established Western competitors.

3. China’s Motorcycle Evolution and Current Trends

Motorcycle manufacturing in China began in earnest in the 1950s, with an initial focus on military use. By the end of the 1970s, the modern era of Chinese motorcycle manufacturing had begun, with the city of Chongqing becoming a central hub. Fast forward to 2022, China has reportedly surpassed other nations in terms of motorcycle export revenue.

While historically Chinese motorcycles were often synonymous with lower quality, this perception is changing. Manufacturers like CFMOTO, Lansen, and Zongshen have grown to be among the largest globally, producing a wide range of motorcycles and gaining acceptance in Western markets. These companies are also heavily invested in electric motorcycle development, a segment where they have a significant head start.

4. The Western Market’s Response to Chinese Motorcycles

As Chinese manufacturers expand their lineups to be more competitive in every market segment, it’s crucial to consider whether they can replicate the success of Japanese brands in the ’60s and ’70s. While some Chinese companies have been criticized for copying designs, others are making strides in developing original and innovative motorcycles.

CFMOTO, for example, has been growing in the United States and has established a partnership with KTM. Their models, such as the 800cc street and adventure bikes, offer compelling alternatives to more expensive Western counterparts. The potential for success lies in the middleweight category, where there is a balance of price and quality that could appeal to a broad range of riders.

5. The Future of Chinese Motorcycles and Global Competition

The future of Chinese motorcycles in the global market is a subject of much speculation. While some may doubt the ability of Chinese companies to innovate at the level of their Japanese predecessors, the current trends suggest a more competitive landscape. Increased competition can lead to improved quality and affordability, benefiting consumers worldwide.

As Chinese manufacturers continue to improve their quality and reliability, they may gain a more substantial foothold in Western markets. Only time will tell if we will see a Chinese manufacturer competing in prestigious events like MotoGP, but the trajectory seems promising for the industry as a whole.


The evolution of the motorcycle industry is a testament to the constant change and innovation that drives it. Chinese manufacturers are making significant strides, and while they may not be “taking over” in the same way Japanese manufacturers did decades ago, their impact is undeniable. As they continue to grow and compete on the global stage, the ultimate winners will be the consumers who benefit from a diverse and competitive market.