My Lifan story

Discussion in 'Lifan Motorcycles' started by stoni1, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer


    So here it it guys, I bought a LIFAN (gawd elp me!)

    After trying to pick up a cheap run around I finally gave in after a fruitless search. I had looked at Lifan before but was always put off by negative things I have read on forums like this. I have read a couple of positive reviews and thought ' what the hell' At the end of the day it's not exactly a fortune if it all goes pear shape.

    So off I trot to the nearest dealer near the Bus station and asked for a test ride, to which I got a resounding 'no can do'. I didn't even wait around to ask why and hot footed it over to the dealer just past the train station only to be told the same thing. 'Dealer no give me a test bike' I think that they are missing a lot of potential business by not letting people try one first but this is Thailand I suppose. So I asked the lady with the big smile, who turned out to be the owners wife if she would throw in a back rack and to my surprise she agreed. One up for the Farang!. I looked the bike over on the front and noticed it had a few scratches on it and was told by the lady that she had a new one in the back and I would get that one. ' No scratches, 100 per cent' she shouted. So even though I wasn't happy about a test ride I agreed to come back the next day with the cash.

    Next day after fighting to get my cash out of the bank because their ATM's wouldn't give me more than 20k of my own money I high tailed it off to the dealer expectantly. I'm met by smiling lady again and she shows me to the ' new bike' at the back of the workshop. Straight away I could see more scratches on this one than the first. It was at this point the nice smile disappeared from my 'pleasant lady' and she then turned to pushy salesperson with all sorts of excuses and an even bigger frown.The Husband stepped in to rescue the situation and it was soon apparent that If I wanted a bike that I would have to take it warts and all. My hackles where up but I had already taken my hired bike back in anticipation and I had to get back to work and so I agreed against my better judgment to take the bike. New panels are inexpensive and I am going to cover it with decals later anyway.

    After reliving me of my hard earned pennies, a young man came and wheeled the bike around the back and about 20 minutes later I saw the same chap scream out the workshop and thrashed the life out my ' new bike' down the road. I inquired why he is thrashing the poor thing 'test for you' was the reply.. OMG..... Eventually he came back pulled up and stopped. ' Bike OK" good" and off he trots. I am now smiling to my self Thai style and wondering about my mental state at this point ha ha ha.

    On I get for the first time and start her up and off down the road I pop. Fist impression is that she isn't a speed machine but the engine note was quite pleasant. I noticed straight away that the gear box was tight and put this down to being new. I got home and pulled up and found it very, very difficult to find neural. I put her on the stand after eventually finding neutral and was looking over her and adjusting the clutch play and the Idle screw as she was revving like a banshee . A friend came by and asked to hear the engine. I started her on the stand and to my surprise she leaps forward and I nearly lost her. Even though the gear indicator showed neutral she had jumped into gear and taken off by herself. So off I go back to the dealer, now I'm only dealing with MR as Mrs looks like she is chewing a wasp when she see's me pulling up. I show him that even after selecting neutral the bike was still in gear.Out comes our young man again and wheels the bike away. Ten minutes later said young man comes screaming past me at full throttle on my' NEW BIKE' AGAIN!! and disappears down the road ...AGGHHHHHHH!!! He returns and jumps off bike 'Bike good now' and disappears.

    I think you can already guess that nothing had changed and after another test ride I returned and hold my hand up in frustration. I also noticed a lot of what appeared to be tappet noise and asked the dealer to check that as well. Out comes our young man and wheels the bike away for third time but after a few minutes owner asks me to come back next morning with the bike which I did.

    Next morning after about 30 minutes sitting around I took a walk around the back and my bike is now in a million bits. I notice that they are adjusting the valve clearances and I ask where the feeler gauges are? 'No need, we do not need.. EEKKKK......2 hours later and a lot of screaming revving from the workshop the bike is ready. I ask if it is properly done now and I get 'Yes 100 per cent; On I get ride home, NO DIFFRENCE, EVEN WORSE!!!...Now starting to get Miffed! Back I go for the fourth time and too his credit the owner said he will get another bike ready. I said I will come back late afternoon to make sure they take their time and also asked them not to rev the what's name out of the next bike. Just before I leave I asked one of the assistants if they would change my Owners manual as they had given me a manual for the cross version of the bike. She goes into the office and comes back with Mrs cheerful. She then proceeded to bark at me ' Only book we got; Manufacture don't do book for this bike' and walks back into office..Charming!

    Come back 5 hours later. New bike in bits???????? ... they had removed the clocks and swapped them to the replacement bike and put the zero clocks on the faulty bike...MMMMM I wonder why??? Is it going to be put back on sale???? Has this bike already done the rounds I wonder?

    Anyway, eventually they had the bike ready and the lad took it down the road without screaming it this time...HOORAY! I had to finish up last bits of paper work for the changed bike and the assistant gives me the owners manual for the bike...low and behold it is the correct manual!! HO HO HO. so much for the Factory not producing one...Just bare face lies!!!

    The changed bike so far is operating OK and I will report on how it goes over the coming months. I am hoping that I was just unlucky with the faulty bike but it is such a shame about the crappy service. Does anyone know a decent mechanic that can give the bike a once over . I want to make sure its OK and adjust things to get it running sweet? I just cant trust the dealer mechanic to do anything.
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Well Good Luck,
    The first Bike could have just been a Dud so lets Hope so! Even the Big Name Bike shops have pretty average Mechanics so I can only Imagine how well Trained the Cheap Bike Mechanics are???
  4. mezcal

    mezcal Ol'Timer

    keep us posted! Thanks for the entertaining read.
  5. jimbobs

    jimbobs Ol'Timer

    I hope all goes well for you ,it's very interesting that someone has actually posted an account of the Lifan service.
    I looked at one myself when I come to Thailand and opted for a second hand KLX, which to be honest is a very average bike.
    The good thing about GTR is it seams as if the real biker community are on here,and not as much snobbery as other forums, I stopped reading them .It seemed to be the same tossers slagging Chinese made bikes without actually owning one.
    Good luck and ride safe
  6. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    Ok Guys here is the latest.

    I had terrible problems keeping the bike running and turned to a local Thai mechanic for help. he told me that the Carb was basically rubbish and the rubber union for the inlet was letting in air. He originally advised to change out the carb for a Honda one as he said it's basically a copy but he could not find one on the day. I think he drilled the jets but I'm not sure if it was the air or the fuel or both that where the prob. The bike runs a lot better now. I now find that the rear shock is not adequate for me and I'm getting terrible back ache. It only has a pre load adjustment but I think that the rebound or compression rate are out of whack and transmit the shock right through my spine especially on the motorway over small continuous bumps. I am trying to find a replacement and went to the local shock dealer in Chiang Moi road but they was less than helpful to say the least as they only have pictures of major brands and the matching shocks for these but could not tell me if they would fit my Lifan. I did ask them to ring the YSS Factory to ask advise but the assistant was too busy eating her noodles...ha ha ha. I will return next week and ask again and I will continue to investigate a replacement option and maybe a slip on for the exhaust later. I have improved her a little in the looks department by adding bar risers, new grips, hand guards and have applied new graphics based on a scheme I found on the internet
  7. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

  8. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    I noticed that the steering was out of whack and panicked for a moment thinking that the forks may have been bent before i purchased or worse a bent frame. On further investigation I found that the tank mounting bushes are not aligned which was throwing the fuel tank to one side and causing an optical illusion. I corrected the gap and now it sits better although not perfect. This corrected most of the problem but the forks where still out of line and remembering that the Thai mechanic who installed the hand guards used a ruddy great hammer to loosen the bar ends it's no wonder. I released all the triple tree bolts and realigned every things and now she is running straight. I am going to investigate an aftermarket rear shock again today as I am convinced that the stock one is no good for me. I have tried to find the correct sag settings for this type of bike and the information on the internet is all over the place. The best I came up with was 90mm rear and 25mm front but I think this is for race machines and not just road machine like mine. I managed to adjust the pre load on the rear to get 90mm sag but I still get tremendous shocks from the bumps. I'm convinced its either the compression rate to high or the rebound to slow causing this as it seems to be worse when there are multiple bumps to contend with. The front is non adjustable and rider sag comes out at 45mm so maybe a lttle soft and contributing to a see-saw effect. I may look at putting spacers in and maybe thicker oil after a new rear shock. I emailed the Lifan factory in BKK for the correct Sag settings, fork oil levels and advise about after market shocks but they have not answered me yet. Any help or advise would be gratefully received if anyone knows the correct settings and levels for this type of bike. Wish me luck in tracking down the right after market shock. I have been offered a fully adjustable shock off a crb 600 I think and told this will fit but will the travel be the same I wonder?

    ps. The rear wheel was also out of alignment with the tension marks on the swing arm, now fixed and tracking straight.
  9. nikster

    nikster Ol'Timer

    I guess Lifan is for those who like to have a bit of drama in their life.

    Thanks for the report. Personally I think you're wasting your time, sell it off asap and get a proper bike. You get what you pay for TANSTAAFL.
  10. lordofthedreadz

    lordofthedreadz Ol'Timer

    Actually Lifan engines are very reliable, they are equiping Tuk-Tuk and many industrial stuff, I would personally consider buying a Lifan engine and put it on a different japanese bike myself if I was not in the process of buying a bigger / better bike.

    Of course you cant expect to get Japanese quality for 1/3 of the price, still you get a nice engine and it can also be fun to get your hands dirty, dont get surprised to run problems on the other parts of the bike tho...

    If I had to choose between a brand new Lifan with 3 years warranty and a 20 years old grey market Japanese bike for the same price (for which I am not even sure to find proper parts), I might even consider buying a Lifan.
  11. mudboots

    mudboots Ol'Timer

    I Disagree With lordofthedreadz, My Honda CRM 250 MK1 is now 23 years old and if you know where to look you can get new or used parts as well as alternative parts from rims up. It all depends on how savvy you are at tracking things down and your ability at motorcycle mechanics. But you are right in saying the Lifan is what you pay for I have ridden one from Mae Sai to Chiang Mai it went okay but the motor sounded like a bucket of lose nuts and bolts and it was near new, nearly 2 years down the road from that ride I have been told the motor has shat itself a few months ago and is sitting at his place collecting dust... hes got a pick up truck now.
  12. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    In answer to those criticizing my Lifan it would be good to hear some comments that are at least at little original for a change. We all know that The Lifans reputation has been pretty poor and of course you tend to get what you pay for that is a no brainer. It's easy to say every thing is just crap when you have the cash to buy the best but I wonder how many of the same people who pull Lifan apart are actually riding around on their 'Jap' bikes that also had the exact same reputation not so many moons ago. I am reserving my judgment on the Lifan for a little longer. My experience with the list of issues has been a little frustrating I have to admit but mainly because I cant get the proper advise or expertise to remedy the situations quickly, some issues being made worse by so called professional Thai mechanics who just have no clue, rather than amazing unfixable problems. I don't mind tinkering around and in fact have fixed most of the problems myself. It's a shame that the dealers are so crap at offering a good mechanical and backup service. A lot of the problems would have been spotted and put right in a half decent PDI by a competent person. To those who think I'm crazy buying this bike, how about contributing some of your great wisdom to help me fix my problems rather than just stating the obvious.

    Problems:1. Engine splutters at constant revs when hot. The tick over is good and the throttling and acceleration is good when changing up the box . Just sitting at a constant speed however I get this spluttering prob. This is more at low revs generally when cruising in town traffic or low speed. I can throttle up and it stops but it is annoying when it keeps bucking almost like it keeps cutting for a millisecond. The mechanic who ' modified' my carb ( at his insistence) just shrugged his shoulders when i told him about this problem. He has had his money now and it is just typical that he cant be bothered, or doesn't have the know how, to put the job right that he started in the first place.
    2. I need to swap out the rear shock and spring but couldn't get a decent answer from the shop in chiang Moi road ( shrugged shoulders again! lol) I have some one calling YSS next week to see if they can advise or mod some thing up. Any advise on an adjustable shock that will fit would be gratefully received. It's 300mm long extended and I'm 100KG

    3. Any advise on the correct sag setting for this bike for road riding settings, would be good.
  13. mudboots

    mudboots Ol'Timer

    I was not really laying shit on your Lifan , I am thinking about buying our friends bike and getting it going for my young brother in law so I have been looking into what one can do with the bike as for your back shock I can not find any reference to a replacement you really have to get the measurements off it length as well as the bolting points and shop around to find something to fit and back shocks are not cheap for good ones with adjustable preload especially gas. As for getting a bit more power out of your motor you could try this It may be dying at the top end due to running as lean as it can get away with and having a restrictive exhaust.
    In order you need to

    Set valve clearances, (critical in the first 3000 miles, check / adjust every service)

    Change the plug to a decent NGK or similar, iridiums fare well in these

    Remove the SAI (secondary air injection) system if one is fitted, (it's an EU reg part and irrelevant here)

    Bin the battery if it's the original chinese one, they suck and a battery not holding charge will struggle to provide the power for a good spark

    check the coil, they are notoriously poor and can struggle providing a nice fat spark at higher revs, (aftermarket ones are cheap)

    Replace or modify the exhaust, remove the cats if fitted, most have two, one in the downpipe and one in the can, can internal diameter is severely restrictive too

    Set up the carburettor properly, you may have to raise the needle one clip, richen the mixture and fit large main jet, (possibly all of the above), a freer flowing air filter can be fitted too. Some if not all these things may help as for changing your carb to a Honda xr 150 or a 200 it may work "IF the airbox rubber and the intake rubbers would fit the xr carb once again do your home work take your carb out and measure inlet and outlet. As you said I guess you don't have a lot to spend so I would try the above for a bit more power but your back shock that seems to be your main problem sorry right now I can not help.:think:
  14. rexnong

    rexnong Ol'Timer

    Must say you have done a good job on making it look much better than a standard bike just the graphics alone help
    It will always be down to get what you pay for but with the price of these low to start it dosent take much to get them looking good
    Good luck with sorting out the engine
  15. lordofthedreadz

    lordofthedreadz Ol'Timer

    I never said old Japanese bikes are not good quality, we even all know that they have proven more reliable sometimes than the newer models, some of the parts can still be tricky to get depending on the models, as for Lifan you know you can get parts for cheap in Thailand.

    The biggest problem like stoni1 pointed is to find a decent mechanic if you are not savyy yourself, it does apply to every kind of bike on the Thai market (you can check people complaining about Barcelona while BMW bikes are usually vrey reliable ones), personally I would be way more pissed to run troubles on a 800- 1000k bike than on a 45k one, again Lifan engines are very reliable if they are treated correctly and you spend some time checking for loosen bolts because the main problem in Thailand is and will ever be QC.

    That is also why Japanese models are reliable, because they know what QC means, and they apply their QC standards to Thai produced models also.
  16. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    Thanks so much for your help, This information is so constructive and helpful. This is what these forums are all about.

    I have had some of the things checked on the carb side but this was done by a Thai mechanic who modified the carb, or so he said. He changed the spark plug at the time and the coil but I don't know what type so I will get them checked.. I am taking it to another mechanic who I have been recommended to go and see and I will hope that he can work out what has been done so far and diagnose the prob and hopefully fix it. I am waiting on a shock shop to ring YSS on Tuesday to see if they can recommend an adjustable shock and if nothing available if they can make one up for me. I know it may be a few bob but my back comes first. I am going to get an after market slip on later and will get the cats taken out if they are there. I will also look at the other things you have suggested and see if I can make the changes. Once again thank you for you help . It restores my faith in the motorcycle brotherhood!

    ps. Where do I find the SAI ?
  17. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    I agree with what you are saying whole heartily. I just need to find the right mechanic to sort me out. I have a recommendation to Sa Moto in CM and will go and have a chat with them. Hopefully it will be positive. Thanks for your comments!
  18. mudboots

    mudboots Ol'Timer

  19. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

  20. mudboots

    mudboots Ol'Timer

    You have said you had a mechanic play around with your carb if he has indeed done anything to it at all, it sounds like its running lean lower the clip on your needle by one setting but be careful its spring loaded if the bike runs better you know your heading the right way.;)
  21. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    Thanks, I'll give it a try
  22. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    Latest update.

    Took it to the dealer today to have an oil change. I figured that I better let them do it as if I have to claim warranty they can not back out because i did not follow the dealers recommendations. So off to the dealer I go and ask for the oil change. I noticed that the oil that they where going to use 10w 40 and the recommended oil from the owners manual stated that the bike should have 15w 40. Obviously I asked why and the answer was was 'Mai me ' ha ha ha So the dealer is not even following the manufactures recommendations. I asked about my suspension just to be curious and he had no idea about a swap out shock. All he said after his so called mechanic looked at it and bounced up and down is ' Mai dee" go to YSS...ho ho ho..Well I have now try 2 YSS dealers so far. The first dealer just could not be arsed because it is not on their list in the shop. Long story but in the end I'm guessing she didn't even ring YSS but the answer was usual ' Mai me'. 2nd dealer I tried got his little chart out and when he realized it was not listed said ' Mai me' again. I asked him to ring the Yss dealer ( YSS do not deal direct with customers or through email) to see if they could mod some thing up like has been suggested to me. He asked me to wait a week and didn't ring me , surprise , surprise.!! Anyway I went back again to see him today and another long story but I think he couldn't be arsed either. When I hung around he gave me some bullshit that it will be at least 20, 000 baht and will take 2 months because he says Yss normally want an order for at least 100 units. I have to laugh because when I didn't flinch about the price he finally got a caliper out and measured the dam thing. I recon that he thinks he has got another silly farang with a fat wallet and will try to fleece me and whack a big premium on top of what Yss charge. Anyway he now wants another 2 days to figure it out and said he will call me back. ha ha ha....anyone would think that I'm asking for a special part for an Apollo rocket or some thing not a bloody part for a copy of a 10 year old Honda. Anyway I will wait and see what he has to say if he can be bothered to call me. Should be amusing at the very least! I am now slowly losing the will to live and if I was not already bald I think I would have become so in the last few weeks. I'll keep you updated.

    ps. I asked the dealer for the service manual and the answer was ...wait for it....' Mai me' asked him how he manages to services motorbikes as a main dealer without a service guide and he just said ' when part break, we put new '...DOH!..what about the correct torques, gaps, spring ratings, sags, oil air gaps, oil volumes, wear tolerances? I could go on! Apparently they guess all this.. Ha bloody ha!.. I am thinking about sending them some nice shiny feeler gauges for xmas, that should confound them...he he he
  23. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    I noticed that i had oil all over my shoes when I got of my bike but thought nothing of it. In the morning I noticed a pool of oil and checked the bike. It seemed to be very oily in a few places but nothing i could put my finger on. I then checked the oil dipstick and ' BINGO' there was the problem. I'm afraid I am going to mention that swear word again so be prepared....Dealer mechanic!....The dip stick was 2 inches above the top fill line!!! aggghhhhh!!! and it was black as your hat?. So the dealers mecahnic had not even drained the oil on the oil change and instead over just poured new oil on top of the old. I can not believe the total incompetence and waste of space that these total idiots and quite frankly crooks are. Enough is Enough!!!! NO MORE THAI MECHANICS ARE TOUCHING MY BIKE.

    I went and purchased a tool kit, spanners, drivers, socket set, and a set of feelers gauges. I'm the mechanic from now on!. I started by draining the oil which as I suspected had not been changed. It was black and full of sludge. The level had been over filled by 400 ml which is a massive amount considering that the capacity is 1.1 lt. It had been blowing out every where. I refilled with 1.1 lt of fresh Mobil 4T. I set to work on checking properly the valve clearances which I had to beg the dealer to do in the beginning if you can remember and they set them with no feeler gauges. The Inlet was too much gap and the exhaust was to little gap, Surprise, Surprise. I also adjusted the clutch and the free play on the throttle.. I then raised the clip on the main jet to lean the mixture as the plug was as black as you hat and clearly rich, I also adjusted the gap on the plug which was way too small. The bike now runs ' Sweet" and I cant believe how different it feels now. No more hunting or snatching, smooth on the throttle, Engine clatter noise has really reduced...Oh so happy !!!!!!!. This all because a few basic, basic, basic mechanical set ups couldn't be diagnosed or put right by the bunch of retards I placed my faith in !! DIY is the way forward in Thailand Lads!

    On another note I have ordered up a Hybrid shock from YSS ( gas and oil combo I guess ) which the factory should adapt to fit my bike. 2 weeks is the guesstimate from order. I could have ordered a fully adjustable set up but the dealer wanted 15K + and I think that just a reasonable quality rear shock should do the trick for me. I may look at making some front fork spacers to stiffen things up front once the rear shock is fitted. I'll keep you informed.
  24. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    Thanks for advise Guys
  25. stoni1

    stoni1 Ol'Timer

    Thanks for advise. The fuel mixture was indeed wrong. I tried lowering the clip but it was even worse and fouled the plug. I moved the clip one clip above the starting point and checked a few other things you suggested and it is running sweet, sweet, sweet!
  26. mudboots

    mudboots Ol'Timer

    Good to hear Stoni its not so much the fuel mixture your bike was just getting to much fuel by the sound of it. But to be on the safe side go get a new plug take the bike out somewhere where you have open road take the old plug out without burning your hand if you can, put the new one in start the bike bring it up to speed for a few min and pull the clutch in and shut it off roll to a stop with clutch still pulled in get your new plug out and check to see its a nice brown biscuit colour it will mean you have got it right the last thing you want to do is run lean and F... your motor.

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