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I'm looking to potentially purchase my first sport bike. Intended use would be joy riding with friends. I'm not really interested in buying a bike for speed, etc.

A friend of mine just purchased his first bike: a Lifan lf 200. As some of you might know, it's manufactured by a Chinese company. I myself started looking into Chinese made sport bikes because of the money factor. I've tried to do some research on these bikes and I have seen a lot of negative feedback. However most of the time it's a person saying "these bikes are crap" with no explanation.

So can anyone with some experience on/around Chinese sport bikes give me some helpful feedback? Below are some links to 2 ebay auctions for different Chinese sport bikes that i've been looking into.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170338808804&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120430416170&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

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Having done a lot of work with Chinese suppliers in the automotive and heavy equipment industries, my recommendation is not to buy a Chinese bike. The quality of their manufacturing is just not up to par yet. We've had numerous problems with substandard metals and poor welds in our products, and the problems were consistent among different suppliers. Imagine if you're riding down the road and a car pulls out in front of you, and during your panic stop the front brake lever breaks off in your hand because the casting was bad. You just never know what kind of quality you're going to get, and that's not a risk you should take on a bike.

Even though the Lifan is nice and shiny and brand new, you're better off buying a used Ninja 250 for that money. It will hold its value better and be more reliable. Another thing to consider is that Chinese bikes are not supported by a real dealer network. They are mostly sold by small companies whose primary business is not bikes. If they go out of business or stop selling the bikes, where will you go if you have a problem or need parts? Even the Ebay seller has told you upfront that if there is a problem, you're screwed:
All Sales Are Final, AS-IS. We DO NOT exchange, replace or service bikes. 30 day limited parts warranty for manufacturer defects only. Labor is NOT covered. (If replacement parts are required for repair during the warranty period, please return the defective parts to us at your cost.)
 

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I have very limited experience with chinese motorcycles, but I know about chinese steel. I'm a welder that travels around fixing power plants, oil refinerarys, and some parts of steel mills. I can tell you for a fact that anything that comes from china is inferior. A lot of the welds I make get X-rayed (high pressure boiler tubes) and Chinese metal will show up differant. I've found air bubbles and dirt trapped inside the metal, and I've seen good welds crack because of the inpurities in the metal. Just something to think about, considering the whole bike will be made of chinese metal.
 
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