"There's no doubt technology in many of these countries is way behind, so it takes them a long time to catch up and to get to the point where they can develop it," says Mathu Solo of LS MotorSports. "I've been seeing this higher displacement stuff in China for the past three years, and it was nowhere near ready during those visits. In fact, some of the stuff coming out now we won't even touch because we feel it needs much more development. The bigger the engines, the more technology that's behind it, and the more tolerance it needs."
Are companies forming partnerships to gain the needed technology? "I'd like to believe that to be true, but unfortunately a lot of it is that they try to copy designs, and I think that's where they come into trouble," says Solo. "I've seen where they've reverse-engineered an engine but couldn't find a carb to fit it, which makes it obviously not run that well.
"So it would be nice if there were more partnerships going on where there was more true technology being used, which is safer and more reliable. But a lot of it is not," adds Solo.
One Chinese company that has signed a deal for better technology is HS Motos Inc. (HS), the Shanghai-based producer of the HiSun brand. HS has a number of new ATV and UTV vehicles powered by engines sourced through a venture with Fuji Heavy Industries. Both Polaris and Hyosung have used engines from Fuji Heavy Industries.
HS representative Jason Sun says the company operates two production lines, one for the "higher level" Fuji-powered product, and one for the HiSun-powered product.
"In the past, a lack of readily available processes and technology forced most of the Chinese manufacturers to build smaller, simpler models," explains Sun. "But now, since that market has so much competition, they've been forced into larger products. And that's not an easy transition because the larger engines demand so much more technology. Not everyone can make it."
Sun says his company's next step is to pump up displacement to include 650cc to 800cc units.