China’s big bikes start hitting the UK market

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Above: MBP T1002V is just one of several large-capacity Chinese-made bikes heading this way


Over the last couple of years we’ve seen an explosion in the number of Chinese brands making large-capacity, multi-cylinder bikes but they’ve largely remained home-market models. That’s starting to change and from 2023 there will be a variety of Chinese-made machines on the UK market in the litre class or even higher.

The latest brand to join the fray is MBP, which made its UK debut this month thanks to importers MotoGB. Appearing seemingly from the blue with a 13-model range at the EICMA show in Italy in November, the MBP brand – it stands for Moto Bologna Passione – actually borrows machines from more than one existing Chinese company and brings them together under a single, European-friendly name.


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Above: MBP C1002V – previously seen as the Gaokin V1000 Thor


The most immediately interesting models are a duo of 997cc V-twins – the T1002V adventure bike and the C1002V cruiser – both due to reach the UK market during 2023. The cruiser in particular may be familiar to BikeSocial readers, as it first appeared in China earlier this year as the Gaokin V1000 ‘Thor’. When it first broke cover we suggested the Thor could reach Europe under the Brixton brand name, as Gaokin already manufacturers bikes for Brixton including the Crossfire 500 and the Cromwell 1200, but it turns out that the bike is appearing under the MBP name instead.

The DOHC, 80-degree, 997cc V-twin makes a claimed 70kW (94hp) at 7600rpm, which neatly slides under the maximum allowed for bikes that can be restricted to 35kW (47hp) for A2 licence holders. The 102Nm (75lb-ft) of torque is on the money for a litre V-twin, and arrives at 6500rpm. KYB suspension and J.Juan brakes with Bosch ABS look like a promising recipe, although the 262kg weight is as hefty as the bike’s cruiser looks suggest.


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Above: T1002V looks impressive, should be affordable


The T1002V hasn’t been seen under another brand name in China yet, but again it appears to be Gaokin-made, sharing the same 70kW, 102Nm, 997cc V-twin engine as the C1002V. This time it’s wrapped in an adventure-style model, weighing in at a more competitive 235kg. For comparison, a BMW F850GS – also making 70kW – weighs 229kg.

Again there are J.Juan radial brakes (J.Juan is a subsidiary of Brembo) and KYB suspension, with USD forks, this time allied to 19in front and 17in rear wire wheels. There’s no price yet, but we can be sure it will be at the affordable end of the scale for a big V-twin adventure bike.


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Above: We’ve seen the MBP M502N before as the Chinese market Gaokin Flame 500


Look further down MBP’s range and the Gaokin links continue with the M502N, a 486cc parallel twin making 38kW (51hp) at 8500rpm and 45Nm (33lb-ft) at 6750rpm, wrapped in modern, unfaired styling. It’s the same engine that’s used in the Brixton Crossfire 500, already sold in Europe, but the MBP’s bodywork takes a much more modern approach instead of the Brixton’s retro-inspired style. However, in China, the M502N is already sold under the Gaokin name as the Flame 500.

The rest of the spec follows the same pattern as the other models, with J.Juan brakes. Bosch electronics and KYB suspension, and at 195kg the M502 is on the money in terms of weight when compared to standard bearers in the class like Honda’s 189kg CB500F. As with the rest of the MBP models, the price has yet to be announced but the bike is expected in the UK in 2023.


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Above: MBP C650V looks identical to the Longjia V-Bob 650


MBP’s range isn’t only borrowed from the Gaokin stable, though. The company has also launched the C650V cruiser with a 647cc V-twin engine, 51kW (68hp) and 62Nm (46lb-ft) in a cruiser-style package. This time, it appears to be based on a model from China’s Longjia brand, the V-Bob 650. The indications that it comes from a different factory include the use of Nissin brakes rather than J.Juan parts, although like its MBP stablemates it features KYB suspension parts.

All these models are due to reach the UK market in 2023, along with a wide array of smaller MBP modes including several learner-legal 125s across different styles, and scooters up to 300cc.

While the ‘MBP’ branding is said to stand for Moto Bologna Passione, the Hong Kong-based company that’s trademarked the name and logo has also filed several trademark applications for rights to use the old Morbidelli name, famous for its racing exploits in the 70s and infamous for the ill-fated but impressive-looking Morbidelli V8 of the 1990s. Trademark applications around the brand and logo include the names ‘Morbidelli MBP’ and ‘Morbidelli MBP Pesaro’.


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