3 Chinese ATV Facts You Need to Know
This month has been the month of Chinese ATVs here at Scooter's Powersports. We've had several in and out of the shop and gotten numerous phone calls about these little buggers. Below, we've tried to answer three of the most common questions surrounding Chinese ATVs as well as clear up a few misconceptions.
Where can I get a service manual for a Chinese ATV?
The short answer here is: you can’t. We know that’s not what anyone wants to hear, but the cold hard truth is that it’s not profitable to write a service manual for a Chinese ATV. That being said, it should come as no surprise that no one has ever done it. That’s not to say that there aren’t some troubleshooting tips and wiring diagrams out there.
But aren’t all Chinese ATVs the same?A common misconception with Chinese ATVs is that all the parts are interchangeable. For the sake of brevity, we won’t get into the various different makes and models (or even engine sizes), but consider the contents of our Chinese parts cabinet right now:
- We stock three different types of Chinese carburetors: electric choke, cable choke, and hand choke.
- Four different types of CDI boxes
- Two types of voltage regulators
- Three start switches
- Three different starter solenoids
Well, but all Chinese ATVs have the same engine…That’s not a question. Nor is it a correct statement. Again, we’re going to keep this simple and not bring up the various makes and models of Chinese ATVs. Instead, let’s start with what most people believe they have. Most people believe that all Chinese ATVs have the same engine, a GY6. This is commonly referred to a Yamaha clone or a Yamaha knockoff. But not every Chinese ATV has a GY6 engine. 110cc and 125cc engines are often referred to as Honda Clones or Honda knockoffs. In fact, there are at LEAST three other engine types that we’ve seen in Chinese ATVs in just the last few months.
- Horizontal Engines
- Vertical Engines
- 2-Stroke “Pocket” Style Engines
In the Chinese models that DO have a GY6 engine, it’s important to remember that GY6 refers to the style of the engine and not the name of the engine. Confused? Let’s try an analogy. Let’s say that you’re a smartphone user, and let’s say that last weekend you took your phone riding with you and damaged the screen. Monday morning rolls around and decide to go into the nearest cell phone store and buy a replacement screen. You can’t just walk in and say, “I need a replacement screen for my smartphone.” Well, you could, but we all know there’s more to it than that. What brand of phone do you have? What is the model? How about the screen size? Similarly, you can’t just say, I need a top end kit for a GY6 engine. There are actually several variations of GY6 engines. Last month, we encountered a GY6 Bravo and a GY6 Yerf-Dog within just weeks of each other. In each instance, not only does the valve cover bolt on in a different manner, but the heads themselves aren't even the same size. All this is to say, not all Chinese ATVs have the same engine. Even in the GY6 style engines, it's important to know that every engine is not the same.
At the risk of sounding bias, if you're looking for a Chinese ATV (particularly for a youth ATV), you're better off buying new from a reputable dealer. You'll spend a little bit more money initially, but if your dealer offers a warranty and carries parts on hand, you'll save yourself some money and headache in the long run.