I once had a Piaggio Zip until, on 27th September 2007 it was stolen and smashed for the hell of it.

I now have purchased a Huoniao HN125-8 custom cruiser. I was a little apprehensive given the low price of this bike, but as I only got a third of the purchase price for my 4 year old Zip, I had to compromise on the replacement. I scoured eBay for a cheap second-hand bike when, way back on page 7 I found one these Huoniao HN125-8 bikes. I was interested but sceptical because of the price. after a google search & an email I placed the order. Now just to wait for the 48 hour delivery.

To my surprise the bike was at my local distribution hub ready for delivery the next day !! but alas I was not ready for it.  Delivery was made. It was in a metal frame in a box, which was on a pallet.

Bike On Pallet

After a little struggle, the bike alone weighs 140Kg, I made it through to the garden & began to unwrap it. There was adequate wrapping & protection for the journey that it had made. The frame that secured it so that it couldn't move was a little unforgiving & required a little persuasion to release the bike. But after 10 or 15 minutes I had access to start assembly.

Bike UnwrappedThere were no instructions included, but it is blatantly obvious that the handlebars are for steering & the wheels touch the road & of course you'll need a battery to provide electricity. Everything was straight forward. After adding a little fuel I attempted to start it & as you'd expect, it fired as soon as the fuel got through. A little adjustment was required to the idle speed & clutch cable & these instructions are in the user guide. I have made a .pdf copy of the HN125-8 owners manual which can be downloaded >> HERE <<.

A little clean later & after being wheeled into the garage I now have an assembled and running Huoniao HN125-8.

HN125-8 Assembled in garage
There are some things to bear in mind if you buy one of these. You insurance company probably wont of heard of Huoniao and wont insure it. I used Rampdale and they seem quite competent. You will need insurance to register it and there is a £15 admin charge for insuring a chassis number. There is an additional £65 when you register, £50 for the registration and £15 for your tax disc.

My Huoniao HN125-8 's speedo is in Mph but the Odometer (mileometer) reads in Kilometres? Odd?

All in all though, generally a pleasurable experience.

When things go bad.....

Now I agree that this is not the average experience and generally I tend to get all the sh*t.

As you may of established I live in Lincoln. My first major journey was to Thetford (91 miles). I could have gone in the car, but I decided that the bike needed running in. So, 40Mph all the way. It is quite easy to maintain this speed at about 5000rpm. It was quite cold so I wrapped up and took a nice steady run until..... at Kings Lynn roundabout on the A10 - A47 interchange I had to stop at the traffic lights. It stalled. The bugger refused to re-start. I pushed it under the bridge to a small cutting an sat with it for about 25 minutes. There was a strong smell of fuel but I failed to find where it was coming from. Trying every couple of minutes to see if it would start, finally, ignition, idle speed is about 4500rpm? very strange? but it is running. So, helmet and gloves on and continue on my journey. Once I arrived I adjusted the idle speed down to about 1600rpm and everything was fine. This continued for the return journey, although I did run it at about 45mph on the way back. This is just a teething problem I thought....

On 17th November I was out visiting friends and all had been well. I started on my return journey when, after about 2 miles, there is no power and my HN125-8 grinds to a halt. Try as I might the bugger refused to start. So, from previous experience I waited and tried to start. Alas this was an endless task. Now the Lincolnshire Wolds aren't the flattest place on earth, so I used some modern technology to phone for assistance. Being some 40 miles from home this took about an hour. I was recovered and a email put in to LS Imports . I enclosed pictures of the carburettor which apparently had fuel leaking out of it.

Carburettor showing fuel leaking

LS Imports sent me a new carburettor next day, which would have been 20th November. It arrived on 22nd November with a 20th date stamp on it !! I fitted this component and to my surprise it made no difference at all. Being fairly mechanically minded and working in the car industry for 20 years gives a good insight. I have never seen a working carburettor just stop with no warning. I emailed LS Imports again telling them that the carb had made no difference only to be told it must be the CDI unit. It would be sent next day. Should be Saturday 24th November. A nice jiffy bag arrived on 26th November with a new CDI unit and a new coil. I popped them on (the CDI unit is under the seat) and............................. no change.

Position of CDI unit

I did a little checking myself and found that the old CDI unit was making an erratic spark with both the new and the old coils but the new CDI unit made no spark with either. I phoned LS Imports to tell them of my findings. "Sounds like your side stand switch" I was told. I insisted that I had run some checks on it and the new CDI unit was most defiantly defective. Eventually I persuaded them to send me another, which arrived on 28th November. This is it I thought, I'll have a decent spark and I'll be off again. I was so wrong. Yes the spark was now quite decent but still refused to start. I continued to check around the bike for anything that may cause this problem. Interestingly, the new carb was also damp with fuel. On further investigation I found a tiny pin hole in the fuel line, just above the inlet to the carburettor, which was barely visible from the right side (foot brake side). Side cutters out and off with the bottom inch of hose. Fixed !. I took off the new carburettor, reassembled and put on the old. I knew that it had been running on the old one before it stopped. Once fitted back together, no change. On 1st December I had some assistance from the Father-in-law, he knows his stuff. After much tinkering and dis-assembly, a multimeter check shows a open circuit on the stator. He suggests that a rectifier may also be in order. Another email to LS Imports on Sunday 2nd December which has a quick response to tell me the replacement parts will be dispatched on Monday 3rd. Another email from me to ask what has happened on 5th December reveals that they haven't sent them. I did phone land line and mobile, also attempted to fax, but there was no response from any of these.

Finally on Friday 7th December the parcel arrives.

Eagerly I open the box to find a old and oily housing containing the stator and ignition pick-up. Wrapped in the bottom of the box is the rectifier which was covered in road dirt. NICE !!. I cleaned them up and removed the stator from the housing, put the stator in my housing and fitted the bike back together. Wow the spark is the biggest that I've seen it, but alas, it still refuses to start. I spent Saturday 8th morning setting up the carb and.................................. we have ignition. Right'o left it running on fast idle (I turned the idle speed screw) about 3000rpm for two hours. It was a bit lumpy but reasonable. In the afternoon out I went. 4 miles down the road, stopped and it refused to start. I pushed it home, it is heavy. After a quick check I determined there was no fuel, so off with the old carb and back on with the new. A little setting up later and adding an in-line fuel filter..............

Inline fuel filter

I now appear to have a reliable bike. Only took 22 days !!

At this time of year there is a lot of dirt off the roads. Lots of this dirt gets on the bike. On Wednesday 12th December I decided to wash off this dirt. Remarkable the difference a wash makes. Now off to pick up the nippa from school. The bugger refuses to start. Cranking with no spark? very strange. I checked all the connectors and all appeared fine, now I have a weak spark. Could this be the CDI unit again? With the battery charger connected I persevere. I called the wife to collect the nippa, I just weren't gonna make it !!

I made coffee and came back for another go, still will not start. Checked the fuel, present. mmm. Interesting. After about an hour and a half, as if by magic, it fires !! YAHOO !! it is running. Some 10 - 15 seconds later it stops, refusing to start. But it was just running? very strange. More coffee. I leave it charging for 20 mins and then return. Switch on the ignition, check fuel is on, choke on half, press start button and it starts immediately and continues to run. Leaving it to warm up, more coffee. 15 mins it has been running, the choke is off and all is very hot. Coat and helmet on, off we go. 15 miles later, not a blip, as perfect as could be !! very strange.

All is well until, on 19th December another wash, and............ the bugger refuses to start. Now this just can't be coincidence. First things first, side cover off and connect battery charger, I'm gonna need it. Same old symptoms, cranking with no spark, I checked all the connectors again and all appeared fine, now I have a weak spark. What is going on? I remember reading on the Chinese Bike Forum that the side stand switch can give trouble similar to this so, off for a quick read and back to the switch. I got a small length of wire and wedged it in to the plug bridging the 2 red colour wires. Switch on the ignition, check fuel is on, choke on half, press start button and it starts immediately and continues to run. I removed the wire. Stopped immediately. Problem found. After some fiddling around I managed to get the plug to where I could work on it. I soldered a link between the 2 red coloured wires and re-fed the plug under the bike. After starting the bike I pushed the plug together and again it stopped immediately. So now the plug resides behind the engine next to the air box.

Plug behind air box

I removed the switch, it was dirty !

Side Stand Switch

Side Stand Switch

Side Stand Switch

So I took it apart to see what was inside. Now it is very simple. The plunger pushes a carrier against a spring. In the carrier is a metal plate with 3 raised areas to meet on  the contact plate, where the wires are attached. The plate moves back and forth to make and/or break contact ! That's it !

 Switch Innards

1 - Metal plate in carrier.

2 - Green wire attaches here

3 - Black wire attaches here

4 - Red coloured wire attaches here

5 - Red coloured wire attaches here

6 - No connection

It all looks in order, I didn't clean the inside before I took the pictures. I just don't understand why it doesn't work.





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