Chinese bikes have gotten a bit of a bad reputation. Perhaps it's not entirely undeserved, but Johnny "Pag" Paganini would like to change all that. "The China hurdle, some people can't go with it, but it's getting better, " says Pag. To beat the rap, Johnny Pag Motorcycles (JPM) went with a single, proven liquid-cooled 300cc parallel twin to power all of their American-Designed bikes. This made stocking parts far easier than if there had been a variety of power plants. And stock parts they do, with every part for each of the bikes sitting on the shelf at their Irvine, CA stockroom.
While designed and tested here, the bikes are manufactured in China by Lifeng. They're marketed as full-sized motorcycles, but as is probably obvious, they're on the lightweight side. What's new compared to bikes that came before from Japan and China (and Taiwan and Korea...) is that these are very pricepoint-oriented bikes with some fairly high styling and quite a bit of variety. Drawing from his background as a custom chopper builder, where every engine and trasmission pretty much mounts up the same though the bikes might be very different, the JPM bikes are no different with some very distinct models (including a sportbike) in the lineup that use the same underpinnings. For entry-level machines they also have some nice features like stainless brake lines, color-matched wheels, steel fenders (cough, Honda), and (on some models) blacked-out or chromed engines.
We had a chance for a short ride on each of the models, and for the price, they're decent machines. They may have smallish engines, but their light weight makes up for much of that, and they cruise at highway speeds with little effort. As an inseam-challenged American, I was the perfect candidate to queue up and take a spin. The Raptor is a floorboard-equipped traditional cruiser, which fit me very well and was fun to ride. The Spyder is a stretched-out hidden shock chopper, so stretched in fact that I had trouble reaching on it. It is, however, adjustable. My favorite was the Barhog, a simple, classic hardtail with a hidden shock under the seat. There was definitely some slightly chintzy things like mirrors that rattled and some other parts in need of some re-engineering. The power from the little 300cc engine was surprisingly good, and any of these bikes would make a good run-around-town bike for those who don't want to haul out the $20k bagger at the drop of a hat.
Pag claims that unlike the...
Pag claims that unlike the Chinese models at Pep Boys, you can actually get parts for the JPM bikes.
The $3399-$4699 linup seems to be recession proof as Pag claims JPM's sales have doubled in the last year. If could be the light, small size and custom style appeals especially to the burgeoning female segment, which makes up 18% of JPM's customers. Judging by the large Irvine facility we toured, exploding sales, and an expanding dealer network, it looks like JPM is ready to become part of the American cruising landscape.
The Raptor MSRP $3399.00
Rapture X MSRP $4299.00
Spyder MSRP $4699.00
FX3 MSRP $3399.00
ProStreet MSRP $4699.00
Barhog MSRP $4699.00