WWII-styled sidecar gets a new lease of life

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In China it was still possible to buy a brand new sidevalve-engined bike designed in the 1930s, in the form of the ChangJiang CJ750 M1 – based on the WW2-era Russian IMZ M-72, itself a copy of the pre-war BMW R71 – until it was finally killed by emissions rules in 2009. But now there’s this new ChangJiang to replace it.

Powered by CFMoto’s 650cc parallel-twin, itself a close replica of the Kawasaki ER-6 engine, the CJ650 has 71bhp – which is three times more than the old CJ750 M1’s wheezing 22bhp. It’s emissions-legal around the world and far more reliable than the old boxer engines, although also now chain drive, rather than being a shaftie.


The bike’s steel chassis is new, with swingarm rear suspension instead of the old M1’s plungers, and the sidecar is detachable to make a retro solo, while the styling is still very much in the WWII vein of its CJ750 predecessor.

‘The CJ650’s sidecar is even detachable to make a retro solo’ 

ChangJiang’s target price is around £6000; half what the old CJ750 cost. At the moment, export plans aren’t clear, but given the engine’s ability to meet Euro rules, some might eventually reach these shores. 

Would you buy one? Comment below. 

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By MCN News