There was a time when the only small sized motorcycles also now known as pit bikes were made by Japanese companies such as Honda and Kawasaki. In the past few years these pit bikes have become more and more popular, which has created quite a demand for them. Well now the Chinese manufacturers and others are stepping in to fill the void. So called knock off bikes such as Thumpstar pit bikes and Sikk pit bikes are built with Chinese engines and frames. The big question is can these bikes stand up to the old faithful Honda and Kawasaki models?
Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki have been the staple when it comes to dirt bikes for years, and rightfully so. These motorcycles are very competent and reliable. Recently a host of Chinese made motorcycles have entered the scene in the form of mini bikes or pit bikes. Why would people buy a motorcycle from China when they can’t be sure on the reliability? The reason is simple, they are much cheaper than their Japanese counterparts.
You can buy a completely tricked out Thumpstar pit bike for around $1500 brand new. When it comes to the new CRF100 tricked out by BBR you are looking at around $5500. This is quite a difference in price. There are many other brand names of so called knock off pit bikes such as Pittster, Sikk, Thunder Pro, and the list goes on and on. All of them are priced similarly and the quality is about the same depending on who you ask. I currently own 2 Thumpstar pit bikes, and I know some people who have the other so called knock off brands such as Sikk so I can speak personally on the quality of these motorcycles.
Are they as good as a Honda or Kawasaki? The simple answer is no. These bikes still have quite a way to go to stand up to the quality and performance of the Japanese brands when they are all tricked out. There is only one problem. When you buy a Honda 50cc, it comes bone stock. You need to upgrade everything from suspension, exhaust, tune the motor and this will add up to thousands of dollars. Well I don’t know about you, but I am not spending $5500 on a tiny pit bike. This is the reason why bikes made with Chinese parts such as Thumpstar pit bikes have become so popular. They come stock with a nice race exhaust, the suspension is better than stock Honda, some even now come standard with Japanese Mikuni carburetor. I personally think most of the knock off bikes look much nicer than the Honda or Kawasaki as well. As time has gone by these motorcycles have become better and better.
Isn’t it impossible to find parts for pit bikes with Chinese parts? Surprisingly not. There are many suppliers now supporting these motorcycles, and with the internet it has become easier to find parts for nearly anything. There are many places to find aftermarket parts and upgrades for Thumpstar pit bikes and many others.
So how have my 2 Thumpstar pit bikes stood up to the punishment of a hard riding season? Well I have to say that they have been just great. The engine was a pleasant surprise delivering smooth power through all 4 gears. The suspension although quite stiff was still better than stock so I was happy with that. The frames have been durable, and overall the bikes have been very reliable. The only problems I can say I had were that the chain dug the swingarm in the back of one of my Thumpstars, some bolts rattled off, I replaced the levers, and some plastic cosmetic damage. The engines run a little hot so I am currently looking into getting oil coolers for my Thumpstar pit bikes, I have seen a number of them for sale online.
If you are currently in the market for a pit bike it is up to you. Do you want to pay $5500 for the very best or would you rather pay around $1500 for a comparable motorcycle? It was a no-brainer for me. I’m sure the shelf life for my Thumpstar pit bike is less than a Honda, but who cares I’ll just get another one in a few years and still have spent less money!