WK bikes specialise in small-capacity motorcycles and scooters manufactured in China and imported into the UK. They focus on value and reliability and offer an interesting alternative to the bigger motorbike brands.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at what they do, how they do it, and dig into their range to see what they can offer to UK riders.
How Do They Keep The Costs Down?
By using older but reliable engine designs and focusing on cost reduction over innovation, WK offers a cheap and compelling alternative to the big three’s 125cc bikes and commuting scooters.
WK’s current range is limited to small-displacement machines, priced very competitively.
Though they compare well in terms of economy with their Japanese cousins, bikes from WK offer few technological innovations, achieving their fuel economy with less-powerful engines and stripped-back designs.
This is not a complaint!
It’s this focus on simpler, better-tested design principles that make WK machines so reliable and bullet-proof. You won’t get the all-out speed, acceleration, or fancy, new tech common with Japanese bikes from WK, but you’ll get a dependable workhorse with spare parts and bike servicing readily available.
For a look at some other brands and more in-depth info on bikes from this part of the world, check out our article on Chinese-made motorbikes.
Who Are They?
WK partners with factories in China (which they inspect bi-annually) and are owned and operated by the same people who run the Quadzilla ATV company.
Unlike Quadzilla, the WK range is limited to small displacement bikes and scooters, designed to be ridden as commuters and requiring minimal maintenance and service. These are aimed squarely at riders looking for their first bike or a small backup for trips to the shop/light commuting.
There’s a valid debate out there discussing whether a first-timer is better off buying a secondhand bike from a better-known manufacturer (which tends to hold its value a bit more) or a newly-made WK/Mash/Lexmoto/Mutt.
The secondhand market comes with few (if any) warranties. There’s also a sound argument to say that if you’re new and want to get your hands dirty with a more straightforward, less finely-tuned machine, some of the Chinese-made brands make sense.
The WK Range
The Colt 50 is an excellent introduction to the world of two-wheeled transport for riders who are sure they want to transition on to a geared bike.
A twist-and-go scooter is brilliant for what it is, but the Colt 50, with its four-speed, manual transmission, makes more sense for many riders.
Its scooter-sized wheels, short wheelbase, and upright seating position make for excellent, responsive handling that feels somewhere between a motorcycle and scooter. With an air-cooled engine that maxes out at 28 miles per hour, it is well-suited to a learner getting to grips with riding for the first time. Front and rear discs ensure decent stopping power – certainly enough for the engine supplied.
We like the digital gear indicator and neutral light – both great visual confirmations for someone nervous about getting things right. Lights-wise, H4 front bulbs, an LED rear, and LED indicators keep things pretty bright. And as a Euro 4 bike, the Colt must keep that front headlight on at all times.
For a young rider who knows their future lies with geared bikes, this makes a much better jumping-off point than a scooter. Shifting, braking, and handling skills learned on the Colt will all carry over onto larger motorcycles as the learner progresses.
The WK Scrambler 125 (and similar retro-inspired bikes from other Chinese manufacturers) first caught our attention among bikes from the area.
Inspired by the British scrambler era, this bike manages to pack some modern concessions into its classic-looking, lightweight frame. An EFI engine delivers reliable and reasonably nippy performance, braided cables, and combined front and rear discs mean it stops effectively.
The same digital display and gear indicator as the Colt are present, making this an ideal choice for someone nervous about using a geared bike for the first time. The OEM lights are decent, too, with an LED in the rear and a bright headlamp and indicators.
The aesthetic of this bike is a large part of its appeal. It’s styled after a classic scrambler, but its power output, gearing, and suspension are not suited to any real off-roading. (See our round-up of the best electric dirt bikes if that’s your thing!)
That said, it does look the part, and its full-size wheels and deep-tread tyres will get you through the muck better than a scooter.
Black lace-up spokes on black rims, a black exhaust, and a black subframe make for a perfect canvas for those looking to further customize their own brat/tracker style bike. The included seat is a neat-looking, thin cafe racer example with an embossed WK on the back.
A pretty cool first bike and a legit alternative to buying a used Suzuki GN 125.
WK’s learner legal 50cc, the TTR50, looks decent, handles and brakes well, and delivers up to 130 miles per gallon.
If you are 16 years old and in the market for a first scooter, fuel economy may be a genuine factor for you to consider. This is in the upper echelon of scooter miles per gallon thanks to its lightweight chassis but uses angular bodywork that gives it a contemporary, anime-inspired look that’s uncommon at this price point.
Typically, cheaper scooters from this part of the world look slightly dated when compared to the latest designs from Japan’s big three. Not the case here.
We like the paint, the teardrop-shaped front faring, and the spiky, racing-inspired lower faring. The red or blue colourways available in the UK are certainly decent, but we’ve seen a yellow variant in marketing material that looks even better.
We like the one-piece, moulded luggage rack/passenger bar. At 50cc, you probably won’t be taking passengers very far, but the rack is a nice touch to include.
Combined brakes help you keep both wheels in contact with the road in sketchy situations, performing very well for this price point and power level. The handling is decent, too, combining a comfortable upright position with steering that will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s ridden a scooter made in the last 20 years.
The 2-year parts and labour warranty from WK offers more peace of mind than you’ll typically find in the secondhand 50cc market.
We’ve always had a preference for scooters with larger, narrower wheels. The SX 125 uses 14” rims and slim profile tyres to give it an agile feeling in traffic but also a better sense of control at speed or while accelerating.
And this thing can move for a 125cc.
Again, it probably isn’t comparable to the latest 125cc sports scooters from the big Japanese companies in terms of acceleration and all-out speed, but it is a lot cheaper.
Like its smaller cousin, the TTR50, the SX125 more than holds up in the visual department. The angular faring, flared out in its lower section to protect the rider from weather, has a contemporary look that punches above its price point.
The combined braking system is as effective as with the rest of the range from WK. With braided cables as standard, these should continue to perform well for several years (depending on storage).
Passenger pegs, LED indicators and rear light, a USB socket, easy-to-read, analogue speedo, and chunky, simple fuel gauge make this an attractive first bike for people of a certain age or a convenient twist-and-go backup for anyone.
Brands like WK have traditionally tested the market with small-displacement machines, only to later release larger, less well-received “big bikes.” WK’s focus appears to remain squarely on the small engine/first-time market.
We hope this means improvements with every iteration and more affordable, durable machines that are easy to source parts for and service. Competition is good provided it doesn’t drive down the overall quality.
If I were in the market for a small bike right now, a new WK Scrambler over a used GN125 could seem like a reasonable proposition.