WWII-styled sidecar gets a new lease of life
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.
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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.
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