The common preconception of Chinese manufactured bikes is that they’re all made of rotten cheese, fall apart like an undercooked cake and wouldn’t last 25 miles, let alone a lap of the M25. Granted, there are some howlers available on the market that wouldn’t be fit for your worst enemy, but there are also some exceptions.
What started off as novelty piss-take fodder ended in authentic appreciation for the product. We were invited to test a pair of Lexmotos: the Venom and the Michigan. Two very different bikes in terms of performance, aesthetics and riding pleasures but both endured a 44Teeth workout remarkably well, changing these misconceptions in the process.
It was a three-stage (and a three week) assault on the Lexmotos. First off, a day at Castle Combe circuit followed by some road assessments, finished off at the greenlane. Of course, these bikes will never see a racetrack or greenlane, but the focus of the test was centred on their reliability and longevity, and some of the fucking cool features like the Venom’s MP3 player that comes as standard.
Aboard the Venom, we had more looks from highstreet inhabitants than we would if riding a £30k superbike, but that’s probably down to S Club 7 and Lady Gaga blaring out. And the Michigan belittles its illegitimate DNA.
Ridden at any speed, there’s a real sense of cohesion to the Michigan. It feels solid, dependable and stable, whereas the sparrow-limbed Venom looks badass, sounds badass but suffers with flex and bouncy suspension.
Putting aside the environmental and financial catastrophes, a great deal is now manufactured in China. Everything from Piaggio scooters, Yamaha learners, and now most Pirelli tyres are produced over there.
There was no hidden agenda or, indeed, any hidden story behind the japes. While there was no intentional harming to the pair, we didn’t exactly hold back either – as you’ll see from the video.