While Canadian motorcycle events are still very much in doubt for 2021 (at least as far as public attendance goes), other markets are motoring onwards. In the US, the IMS Outdoors show circuit kicks off soon, and in China, the big-shot manufacturers recently took the wraps off their premium machines at the Beijing Motor Show.
Now, if you’ve been a long-time CMGer, you know we’ve had our own fair share of China bike experiences over the years, particularly with the Lifan GY-5 and Konker KSM200. Looking at the offerings at the Beijing show, it’s obvious the Chinese OEMs have advanced their product offerings considerably in the last decade. Look at the QJ Motors Chase 700 for proof.
Ten years ago, you could only buy two kinds of Chinese motorcycles: Cheap, underpowered dual sports/dirt bikes, or scooters with iffy reliability. Now, the Chase 700 shows the Chinese are rapidly advancing into the middleweight bracket.
QJ Motors’ new bike has a liquid-cooled parallel twin engine, just like all the Japanese OEMs and increasingly the Euro manufacturers are moving towards. Supposedly, that 693 cc motor is sourced from CFMoto, which hints at distant ties to Kawasaki’s 650 parallel twin, due to CFMoto’s past cooperation with Kawi. Far as we can tell, that deal ended years ago, but no doubt QJ Motor remembers the parts of that design that worked.
Although we have not seen any reputable mag put that engine on a dyno, it seems QJ Motors is claiming 76 hp at 8,750 rpm, and 50 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm. That’s a considerable upgrade over the old Konker.
Don’t expect industry innovation from this company. QJ Motors isn’t thinking too far outside the box here, with a steel tube frame, and styling that’s obviously a mash-up of Euro and Japanese ideas.
But, with adjustable KYB suspension and ABS, this machine appears to be aimed at competition with Euro and Japanese offerings (although we’d be unsurprised to see it come in with a weight penalty, and pricing that’s not terribly far behind its equivalents from established OEMs).
Since QJ Motors controls Benelli, it’s likely we will see this machine sold in the EU and maybe the US under that brand. But—with a billion customers inside its own country’s borders, QJ Motors can do just fine off domestic sales as well.