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Welcome to the long awaited Z1 pocketbike review!

First I would like to thank XPBikes for supplying the Z1 for our review. If you are looking at purchasing a Z1 visit http://www.xpbikes.com


I want to get one thing out of the way before I start the review. A lot of comparisons have been done on this bike and the ZPF that it is a replica of. I will not being comparing the two bikes other than to say they look similar. The ZPF costs between 3-4 times as much as the Z1 so a comparison would not be fair. The Z1 in no way (except maybe for the plastics) matches the ZPF in quality or performance.

Now that we have that out of the way, on to the review!

Upon first opening the box I was happy to find that XPBikes includes a few "extras". Along with the normal very basic toolkit and oil mixing bottle was a spare sprocket and chain. This allows those customers who want to do a gearing change to be able to do so without having to buy a new chain. The bike comes with a 64t rear sprocket on the bike and an additional 68t rear sprocket for more bottom end (but you will loose a little top end speed with the larger rear sprocket).

Before my first ride I spent some time going over the bike to make sure everything was in working order and all of the nuts and bolts were tightened (something you should do before every ride / race). One problem I did notice was that I race with my clip ons straight out and not at an angle. The only problem with this on the Z1 is the radiator overflow bottle gets in the way and does not allow you to turn with as much clearance as I would like. So I had to adjust the clip ons in at an angle. Not a big deal for my first ride but later I will be moving the overflow bottle about an inch forward.

The pipe on the bike has a "dent" where the fuel line runs next to it. I'm sure that this does not help with the performance of the bike (in fact I'm sure it hurts it). I called XPBikes and they were surprised to learn about it and stated that his current shipment of bikes did not have this problem. I received a "preview" model direct from China so it looks like the problem must have been fixed after my bike was shipped out.

After filing the radiator up with water wetter and a mixture of 32 to 1 gas / oil I did a couple of slow laps around our newest secret test facility. I like our new practice area much better than our old one as it affords us much more room and I'm glad my first ride on the new lot would be with the Z1. The bike started up on the third pull and I almost dumped it in the first 10 feet while trying to adjust my gloves and ride at the same time (Not good!). The first 10-20 laps were taken at a very slow pace. Not only to get used to the Z1 but to also get use to our new practice area.

After feeling comfortable with the seating position and the practice lot I started to pick up the pace and right away I noticed the first problem. I knew the stock treaded Chinese tires were not as good as the Sava and PMT slicks that I normally race / ride on but I was surprised to find out just how little grip these tires had. Running at about 3/4 of my normal pace the front end was pushing through every corner. I decided to take it a little slower until I could get some more heat into the tires and scuff them in a little better. So back to doing more "easy" laps.

After stopping and checking out the bike for anything that might have worked itself loose (and to get more gas) I then proceeded to do another 20 or so laps at about 1/2 of my normal pace. I then decided to pick up the pace again to see what the tires would do and am happy to report that the front was no longer pushing. After about 10 more laps I decided to push a little more and the front tire starting breaking loose again so I throttle back down to about 3/4 of my normal pace.

NOTE: I have been told by XPBikes that the current shipment of Z1 bikes have slicks on them and all future Z1 bikes from XPBikes will include slicks as well.

After about 3 hours of riding I was beat and called it a night. I am very happy to report no crashing was to be had all night. ;)

Pros:

Looks.

The bike looks great! Granted it does not look as nice as the ZPF up close but compared to other Chinese bikes the Z1 is IMHO the best looking bike on the market. Both the welding and the plastics have come a long way since the Chinese bikes hit the U.S. in 2003. The plastics are far and away much better than any of the plastics on the Chinese bikes to date.

Power.

Stock bike to stock bike this is the most powerful Chinese bike in all areas (low end, mid range and top speed). The low end still feels a little "lacking" but this is a problem with all current Chinese bikes and can be fixed with a few simple mods and tuning. (I did not get a chance to run the bike with the extra 68t sprocket and I'm sure this would help the low end as well).

Cons:

Handling.

Because of the angle adjustment I had to make to the clip ons and the lack of grip with the treaded tires I could not take the bike any higher than 3/4 of my normal pace around the track. But with an adjustment to the overflow bottle and some better tires (which the latest Z1 now comes with from XPBikes) I'm sure I could have run at full speed.

Footpegs.

As with the other Chinese pocketbikes the footpegs on the Z1 are terrible. I will be replacing the stock pegs with a set of "meathooks".

Price.

The bike is still a little high priced (for my taste) at about $799 at the time I am writing this review. Only 2 years ago we were shocked to see the low prices ($800) on 2.5 - 3 hp Chinese bikes and now we are spoiled to the effect that a 50cc Chinese bike that is worlds better costs the same. If you would have told me two years ago that we would be able to purchase a 50cc 9-10hp Chinese pocketbike for under $800 I would have told you that you were crazy. My how the times have changed.

In the middle (Both Pro and Con):

Brakes.

The Z1 while having new "wavey" rotors still come with the standard brake levers. While these lever work just fine I was hoping to see an upgrade in this department with the new Z1.


Overall I am very happy with the bike and with a few small changes (tires and overflow bottle relocation) I will like it even better.

Now the big question. Should you buy this bike? Well, the answer is probably a little more complicated than you want but here it goes.


You SHOULD by the Z1 if:

1. You want to ride around (not on the street please) with your friends and are not interested in racing.

or

2. You want to race with your local race club and the majority of the bikes that race in the open class are Chinese bikes.

You should NOT buy the Z1 if:

1. You want to race with your local race club and the majority of the bikes that race in the open class are Italian bikes. With a competent rider I think the Z1 would be most competitive in the super production class but with it having a 50cc motor in it most race clubs you can only run it in the high horsepower open class. Please check your local race club rules as your local rules may be different.

For those of you who will be making it to the USMGP final in Arizona in November I will be racing the Z1 (with a few upgrades) in the Open class against some of the best riders from all over the country. Granted I have NO dreams of a podium spot, but I can tell you I will NOT be coming in last place. ;)

If you would like to discuss this review further please visit out water cooled Chinese pocketbike forum by clicking on the link below:

http://www.pocketbikeplanet.com/forumdisplay.php?f=83
 

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