Everything from china is poor quality IMHO, try to find a reliable electrolytic capacitor from China, they are a major cause of failure in all sorts of kit. They should stick to cheap plastic kids toys until they learn about quality control, PRC = Possibly Really Crap in my book.
Chinese bikes are often let down by the smaller components that the manufacturer of the bike has farmed out to the lowest bidder. Metal used on screws and bolts is often shocking whilst the main components can be pretty good but prone to failure due to the shit that holds it all together!
Jinshen etc Honda Cub copies, engines crap out in a year and are only fit for scrap, not a problem, the engines only cost £100 new.
Genuine Honda Cub engines are pretty much indestructible and last decades.
Lots of lads I know who have decided to get a 125 for commuting/getting some experience on before going for a full licence. Being an avid biker (when the suns out) I'm usually first to be asked for advice. I ALWAYS tell them to save up a few quid and buy Japanese, or spend the cash they have on a 10 year old Yamaha DT, Kawasaki KDX or similar, rather than the same amount on a new or newish Chinese piece of shit. Those that haven't taken my advice have been on the road a maximum of 3 weeks before the piece of shit packs in or rots out from underneath them. Spares are a nightmare too, so getting one back on the road when its fucked is a bitch.
Buy Japanese, AVOID Chinese like you'd avoid a charity fundraiser with a clipboard.
And yes, I ride an Italian bike (Aprilia RSV Factory) and should have taken my own advice, been back to the dealers several times with electrickery issues, and the rear brake has never worked, but god I love the sound of a big twin with those Arrow cans!
china has a copy it cheaper mentality - you can take a yamaha into a certain factory and they will remake it for you a couple of k less.
the problem is they try to make more money by shaving a bit of here and there so you end up with a different product to the one you agreed a price per unit on. there's 50,000 electric bikes in germany apparently which no longer meet their standards so cant be sold. china likes cash up front and rarely gives it back.
if you're lucky you get one with a chinese honda engine in it so it will at least be reliable for a while, then you get the problems which make italian products seem like luxury items.
you get sharp edges, thinner metal stampings, cheaper plastics even the wire insulation can be altered.
there's a brilliant article somewhere on one of the paper sites about a guy who tried to get a new hybrid bike built but the engineers had no idea how to design anything so his money was just frittering away.
the mini moto market was just about when china started to export like crazy, one of my local scooter shops had dozens of broken ones they couldn't get spares for and outside a few china made scooters for 700 quid - no way anyone could compete with that but they advised me not to stick my fingers anywhere as there was razor sharp edges all over it.
one of my neighbours has a toy quad bike for his lad and it really is a bag of shit.
if your lucky to get a factory who builds then copies piaggio or similar to their specs then you can get lucky and find a decent bike. for value though taiwan produces much better quality.
Got to agree with Danny F above. I bought a Chinese 125. First the tyres are lethal in the wet (so changed), within 1 month the ECU packed up, replaced quite quickly (just a week or so), but that failed within 2 weeks. New 'uprated' ecu took best part of a month to turn up. Servicing results in lots of wrecked nuts, bolts and screws as all put in tightly (but made out of crap metal) that just shears and bends when trying to remove. After selling and new owner had small off resulting in bust clocks reveals...............no spares anywhere....so araldite to the rescue. I could go on but I'm sure you get the message.
If you can't afford new Jap then buy old Jap.
It all depends on whether you are confident turning a spanner, the old adage 'You get what you pay for' definately applies to Chinese bikes/scoots.
If you buy new then try and check around to see how good/bad the dealer is, especially their aftercare. If you buy second hand be prepared to spend a few days looking over the thing with a fine tooth comb.
Whether new or used always change the oils, brake pads and spark plug as the ones supplied are very dubious quality. Plus depending how you drive the tyres can be dodgy in the wet.
The main problem is that used Chinese stuff has normally been owned by youngsters who basically turn the key and ride them without a thought to maintenance and/or care.
If they are maintained from new and you don`t expect them to perform like a rocket, then they are an acceptably cheap form of transport.
It might be worth looking for something built in Taiwan as their quality control is a lot better and is almost on a par with the Jap stuff.
I work at a place which hires out scoots to youngsters who can`t afford to put one of their own on the road. The fleet is mostly Sym which are very good considering their price. We also run a couple of Daelims which are nothing but trouble. Having said that, a lot of our scoots have a hard life.
It is not so much a case as getting a bad one or the old friday night special.....they all seem to be pretty much tat until quite recently where there has been a great improvement on quite a few chinese manufactures. ( still pretty **** though )
A lot of high quality firms get a lot of their components built out there, My BMW has a Chinese built engine for example....I assume German Quality control must patrol the production line and watch like shitehawks.
If you are looking at a cheap bike, have a looksee at a couple of other countries contributions.Here is a road test on a Hyosung.....( its a yank test )
although chinese bikes have a reputation of being made from monkey metal and working for about a week, their neighbours in taiwan make a very cheap reliable run around.
wanting a little run around and something to greenlane on, i bought a hartford 125 vr ( cheap DT type lump)
i found it to be ideal for the little trips to town 3Miles and a lot of fun off road.
for £10 i got about 150 miles out of it and it was good to about 50mph, although if i had to travel any further than 3-4 miles then the proper bike came out.
it had a very comfortable riding position and a well padded seat, the gears were a little too close to be road useful ( but ive found this with all trails type bikes)
although i had this bike for several years and had minimal problems, exhaust rotted through, a dodgy rear light etc i still got nearly the same price i paid for it when i sold it.
however i would agree with other posters that you are probably better off spending a little more for a yamaha or a honda, safe in the knowledge that parts are readily available and you get a slightly better built bike.