Chinese Quality Fade

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Irish John, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I thought this recent attached article from Forbes Magazine about deliberate 'quality fade' policy from Chinese manufacturers might interest some people. Those who have had dealings with Chinese manufacturers will really know what they are referring to. So will those who install or own an HT motor. Every kit I get these days has at least one really serious flaw - yesterday it was a 415 chain that had links of varying lengths and could never run over any sprocket wheel. This article explains the slippery tricks that some suppliers resort to in order to cut every corner possible and to maximise their margins at the expense of qualty & even safety.
    Irish John

  2. BSA

    BSA Guest

    Your right. In the olden days stuff was made to last.

  3. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    && to think how much money U.S. owes to China ! I think it is past time to start looking for another supplier, of everything, for us, that will be closer to the U.S., & more allied with us. How about this ! There is severe poverty & rampant unemployment on our Indian Reservations. Build our new factories near them, & keep the money in this country !
  4. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    Great in theory but not practical. Labor is the primary cost driver in manufacturing.

    In a recent article, some high paying factories are paying workers 160 dollars/month. Assuming a 40 hour work week (don't count on it, probably much higher) this is a buck/hour at best. Wages can be as low as 22 cents/hour.
  5. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Maybe your right about Indian

    I notice you mention Indian which made me think of India where wages are also very low but they make all sorts of mechanical things. I attach a picture of a Royal Enfield motorcycle - the old British classic "Bullet" still being made in Indian factories. They are well built but not fast. Unlike their British antecedents they don't seem to leak oil and they have better fuel economy.
    It's a pity that western companies aren't investing the same amounts in India as in China. The end product would be better and the end result would probably produce a better outcome, cetainly for India which is a democracy.
    On a recent visit to India I took another photo, also attached of an international motorcycle rally that happened to roar up at India Gate on the Rajpath in New Delhi while I was walking past. They gladly posed for the photo and roared off again.

    Attached Files:

  6. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Yep, I should have said Native Americans. Labor costs do drive the prices of everything up, but I believe most of teh time, you get wht you pay for. Goos examples right here on this forum. But, yes, India is on a economic roll. They can make great products, many are copies of old tech ideas. The Royal Enfield, [ they used to make it in a diesel version, too ] Lister diesel gensets, [ pretty good quality] etc., etc. BUT, I would rather owe India a lot of money, than China.
  7. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

    nothing new for those who've been watching closely

    anyone who'd knowingly pass this "economic sabotage" onto his or her fellow americans is a traitor. notice how lately a "bushing" engine of a year ago is still running while new "bearing" engines are falling apart in months?

    anyone who'd knowingly put a 12 year old on one of these time-bombs (that have been known to hit 30mph+ then sieze) is...well, the reader can fill in the blank. as soon as some child leaves half his head on the asphalt, even your legal & quality Golden Eagle will be outlawed.

    "sorry about your son, but here's a replacement engine, because i'm all about the customer service."

    your timing on posting this now is almost scary, it sooo fits the mood. the current campaign to cash in on the movement is going to destroy the movement. we all must take a new direction, "someone" here has been advocating the organizing of an american cottage-industry all that's for economic stimulus?

    "he" knows the whole world would buy a $400 "made in USA" HT, 48cc, 2hp, 30mph (WHIZZER, TAKE NOTE!!!)...this country has to actually produce something at home instead of just buying C R A P from CROOKS. people are saying "welcome to walmart" for ****-wages, "he" thinks people would gladly install seals or bearings all day on an american product for the same pay.

    "he" will never again advocate the sale or installation of, or help fix, another
    (not so) super bicycle (and no longer) happy time" :evil:
  8. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    It's the market that drives the price

    There is a market for a decent copy of the HT engine made with care and precision. There is a market for such a kit at 3 times the current price but it's not being produced. People are prepared to buy quality gear in the bicycle fraternity - just look at the prices for some of the latest mountain bikes. I'd just love to see them being made somewhere other than China. You can't make good steel in a wood fired furnace!
  9. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    I wouldn't compare motocyclists to regular cyclists. Regular cyclists will buy a new 2000-3000 dollar mountain bike each year because each new bike has new technology or weighs several ounces less. Motocyclists will buy an inferior engine kit on Ebay to save 50 bucks.
  10. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I'm surprised

    Im surprised at the response to the article I posted on this thread. Meanwhile I'm going back to building my Honda 4-stroke for which I need help. To get the money I'm off to work - 55 km round trip down the freeway and I'm taking the new HT rig cos the nearly new rig is broken and the quite new rig is sounding like it will break anytime. The old (4 month old) engine is being mended if indeed the 2-stroke mechanic guy can mend it.
    On the freeway I need to know I'm not going to have a rear wheel lock-up and that means I have to run a fleet of untrustworthy HTs. Some people's gardens are full of gnomes but mine is full of blown HT engines.
    Lastly why is my carby causing the new engine to splutter at full throttle? Is it a carb problem and if so, how can I fix it?
    Let's all go 4-stroke!
  11. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    I have a kings 80 on my stingray and I bought a second one as a spare. So far this engine hasn't let me down but it is fickle as to how it's going to perform. It took an incredible amount of tweaking and aftermarket parts to get this engine functioning reliably on the bike. For these reasons I bought a staton kit. Sure they're bulky, sure they're pricey. But I'll be darned if I don't get to enjoy some good all day rides this summer. American and Japanese engineering and manufacturing won't leave me stranded. I'm expecting the bicycle to give up before the engine, gearbox or nuvinci do. Once that happens or I'm ready for an upgrade the kit and all the extras will be easily transferred to another bicycle. Sure, I could have bought a complete scooter or moped for the same cost but with the universal nature of this kit I'll never be out of spare parts.
    On the other hand I don't think the HT kits would have gone anywhere if it wasn't for their low price. I bet more than half of the people on these forums would have never even started motorizing bikes without these kits low price, me included. Now that I see how fun MBing is I'm more than willing to shell out good cash to build a reliable bike.
    We also can't totally blame the vendors of these kits for looking overseas for their products since the good 'ol USA has almost lost all of it's manufacturing capabilities. Even if price wasn't a factor you'd be hard pressed to find any factories in this country that could build anything other than weapons nowadays. We've got the perfect economic and political storm brewing and our country is at the epicenter of it. Look around you, everything is deteriorating, we're being taxed more than ever before, your fellow citizens are making less now than they were in the early 70's (adjusted for inflation.) Yet our corporations make record profits at the worlds expense. You have more to worry about than the possible shady aspirations of HT kit vendors. If you dont like where X vendor buys their stuff from then don't buy from them. It's only the nature of business to try to grow as fast as possible. If they don't they're doomed to failure.
  12. Why I love my Happy Time

    A few years ago,I aquired a 1971 Honda 750 four. It didn't run when I bought it for 100 bucks. I cleaned and sincronized the carburetors and checked compression and got her running...okay. Then I took it on the highway. Man what a blast. I was FLYING,man. Going 65 mph. But you see,going that fast was only half the thrill. Today's bikes 65 is nothing. It was a thrill cause it's an ancient bike. The steering bearings were shot,tires all cracked,the fork shocks had like no dampening and from 45 mph on the steering would shake violently. So you can only imagine what 65 mph felt like.
    That's what I LOVE about the Happy Time. You gotta talk to it so she won't lock up on you. You gotta take her down the road easy. You NEED that tool pouch cause on a long ride your gonna use it.
    When I'm on my bike I feel like a rebel. I got my Happy Time free flowing so no kidding when I'm putting along at an incredible 7 mph thru the strip malls cause I'll be the first to admit I love the attention I get,it almost purrs along like..a Harley.
    I'll probably go rack mount with my aluminum schwinn. That trailer pusher idea is still in the bag but the rack mount may be more appealing. It's gonna be so trouble free and quieter and smoother and you don't need to mix the gas and you're not gonna break down and you're gonna go faster and the trail riders will accept you better cause it looks more like a bicycle that a Happy Time does and yes,I'm probably gonna like the not worrying.
    But I kinda like the Happy Time problems. I like the side of the road little breakdowns.I like the over vibrations. That's the tinkerer in me.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2008
  13. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    I haven't blown a HT engine yet.* Haven't even had the dreaded wrist pin failure occur.* The only happy time problem I have of late is a flat tire that I got while exercising my dog on the golf course.

    So, as far as I am concerned, the HT engines are of acceptable quality. I, of course, have new studs and nuts in every of my builds. I've tried my best to seize one of these engines with nothing but almost constant full throttle hill climbing but I haven't been as lucky as some of you. Its the bean oil man!

    I would have no problem putting a 12 year old on any of my happy time builds provided they are responsible. In 3-4 weeks, I'm going to put 1,000 miles on my Happy Time by taking a trip from Colorado to Texas.

    Irish John, try 5 oz of Maxima 927 oil per gallon in your next Happy Time build.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2008
  14. I use Maxima too. I have to admit most of the time I don't have 30 bucks to my name so when my Maxima half gallon jug went half way down I started mixing it with auto parts synthetic 2 cycle oil. No break downs here either other than that magneto. Mostly bicycle related stuff.
  15. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I use the best synthetic oil

    I use the very best synthetic oil at Aus$14/ltr wholesale with discount. I'm afraid we are fully metric and although I was schooled in imperial measure it was the 1950s and I would have to consult my conversion tables to understand oz to gallons. I mix at 1:20 but I used to go 1:30 and it was OK.
    It is not the poor oil that causes the motors to break it is plain and simply really poor quality engineering. You guys can tell me otherwise but i know what's dud when i see it and the pages of MBc reinforce this fact over and over again. I've also spent 4 years in this Millenium working in China in the construction industry (China's largest industry) so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to Chinese manufacturing quality and total lack of safety standards.
    My HT is not for fun & games - it's my means of transport. That's why I'm moving over to something more reliable and sustainable. An engine where the piston shape bears a slight resemblance to the cylinder shape and doesn't spend 49% of it's life span running in!
  16. mickey

    mickey Guest

    Heh. I hear you. For me, the cheapness of the HT was integral to my getting started with this hobby. Even then, I overpaid at $235US delivered. I wouldn't have even considered something that costs $400US+ for mounting on a bicycle. I would have just stuck with motorcycles. Now that I'm involved, paying extra for the good stuff seems more acceptable.
  17. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest

    This is why I have always been a little shy of getting one of the frame mount engines - It cost me all in about £850 to build my current bike and I have done over 200 miles with no problems whatsoever... you can now get fully built schwinn type bikes with engine etc for £299.

    Now cheaper is sometimes better but sometimes you can get too cheap.

    Given a choice of buying and riding a frame mount bike for £299 from china and one from indian or native american manufacturers priced and built to £500+ standards I know what I would choose.

    Incidentally there is at least one of the modern Indians around my area and it looks a nicely put together machine (and trust me I am picky) so I would not personally have problems with paying a bit more for better quality.

    One thing that also may be food for thought, I have gotten the impression that alot of the builders on here have spare cash for these machines but like my father are quite interested in quality for price... ie you pays a bit more and it lasts 10 years not 2 years...

    In my position if the engine develops a serious fault or requires machining straight out of the box it would be useless for me - this is one of the reasons I didnt go for a much cheaper frame-mount engine this time. This is not to mention the safety implications of a locked transmission or a shattered piston at speed... accidents mean police interest and police interest generally means whiney health & safety-aholics putting the boot in which none of us want...

    just my $0.02

    Jemma xx
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2015
  18. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Jemma & Mickey echo my sentiments absolutely. I wanted a good rig when I started out in 2005. I paid Aus$2000 for it - $1100 on the bike, rack, paniers, mudguards, good night lights etc and $800 on the engine. I was ripped off on the engine - could have got it for $210 but I didn't know the cheap supplier then. I find it hard to understand people singing the praises of those Chinese HTs when Blind Freddy with his balaclava on backwards can plainly see that they are total rubbish.
    The difference between a Whizzer and an HT, for example, is like comparing a Mercedes to a Trubant or a Lada. I designed heaps of amazing projects built in China but they only look good if I photograph them from a distance. If I went in close people would recoil with laughter at the shonky finishes on practically everything.
    The sooner I have my Honda frame-mounted on my Schwinn Cruiser the better. Sadly the Schwinn frame is Chinese but it's made to US standards unlike the nasty Cruiser copies that cost $220 that I suspect come with the motors that Jemma was talking about. If I could have got a Ducati engine for my bike at the outset I would have because, as Jemma says, I've spent nearly that much on HT motors and labour.
    Good headlights are another problem with motored bikes but that is another grouse for another day.
    I don't get Jemma's lawnmower/donor joke. Can someone explain it to me - I'm Irish and it's St Paddy's day!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2008
  19. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I am a bit of a "tinkerer" & don't mind making some adjustments & repairs, myself. BUT, I do avoid the Chinese kits because when I want to ride my motorized bike,, I want to ride it, FIRST,,, not work on it. That is why I prefer the quality engines/engine kits, that you can find. YES, they cost a lot more, but TO ME,, they are worth it. Mine is a 1969 kit & still runs very well.
  20. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    What sort of kit is it I wonder? Where was it made? Any pictures of your mount?
    1969 - anyone who can remember those days wasn't there!