An American Abroad


Zippy is a 2005 Zipstar LZX 125-6 motorcycle built by what was then called the Chonquing Zongshen Number Two Motorcycle Co., Ltd. and is now called Zongshen PEM Power Systems, Inc.

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Zippy used to belong to my colleague Matt, but since he is returning to Wales for an extended visit home, Zippy now belongs to me!

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Like almost every motorcycle in China, Zippy is small by American standards, with a displacement of just 125cc — less than one-fifth the size of my Kawasaki KLR 650. Larger bikes are very rare here because they are taxed very heavily.

After having a few minor repairs and adjustments made yesterday, I took Zippy for a three-hour ride this morning. We headed northeast out of Yuxi, initially tracking the bicycle route I took last summer. This time, though, I went a lot further. I passed through many small villages where farmers still till their fields with oxen and wood-frame plows. I rode up switchbacks into the mountains. For the most part, the road was smooth concrete, but this occasionally gave way to mud and gravel. Zippy’s light weight made for easy handling even on uncertain surfaces. I did, however, manage to plow through a deep mud puddle which undid the careful cleaning job I’d given Zippy before we left. But it was a fine shakedown trip–the first of many such excursions, I hope.

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  1. Mary Cole says:

    I do not think that Hiro (your motorcycle in USA) would be jealous of a mini substitute. Enjoy, explore and I cannot wait to hear about where you go.

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