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Chang Jiang 750 History:

The Chang Jiang 750 is the Chinese version of the Russian M72 which is a copy of the BMW R71. Though the history is a bit mixed about the origins of how China ended up making the Chang Jiang 750 sidecar motorcycle. We do know for a fact that its origins came from BMW and as time progressed modifications were made to what we know now as the Chang Jiang 750. We can basically call them all cousins.

The Chang Jiang 750 has stock originally has a 6v 22 hp engine or a 12 24hp engine, this commonly is know as the flathead or sidevalve engine. The flathead motorcycle was so popular back in the earlier part of the century that even the Harley Davidson motorcycle company made a flat head engine, the XA, in 1942 with a flathead twin engine, and it was also used by the U.S. military.

The story is the Russians, which were initially allies with Germany got the technology from the Germans, later produce the M72 from machinery that came from a joint venture with the Germans. The M72 is identical to the BMW R71. Even newer BMW engines such as R60, R75, R80, R90 and R100 fit right into the Chang Jiang 750 with some slight modifications to the transmission.

The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) No. 6 Automotive Works started to make and assemble sidecars in 1957 and in 1959 the NanChang Aircraft factory was in full production with the Chang Jiang 750 sidecars. These sidecars were primarily used by the military and communications bureau. The Chang Jiang Factory was to produce 30,000 sidecars a year for the military so you can imagine the amount of sidecars that China has. An estimate is that there are about 1.3 million Chang Jiang sidecars in China. Most of the Chang Jiangs are in military areas such as Beijing, Fujian, other provinces such as ShanDong also produce similar sidecars thus adding many more to the total amount of sidecars manufactured.

Many of the old Chang Jiangs from the late 50s and early 60s have Russian parts and also Russian sidecars. These bikes are referred to as Chang Jiang M72. These old Chang Jiang 750s all have 6 volt engines known as Type 1 engines. You can recognize the Type 1 engine because the oil dipstick is located at the bottom of the engine block. The first ones where made in 1952 with Russian parts the second version was made in 1957. These M72s where made till the late 60’s. The frames of the 1960's Chang Jiangs M72 are also welded together thus one can see the welding around the joint area. More detailed photos of these bikes can be seen on our 60s Chang Jiang M72 page. This type of frame production ended by 1960 however there are many 1960's sidecars assembled from these frames. If you bought a late 1950 early 1960 Chang Jiang sidecar, to check its authenticity by the details in the photos on our 60's page..

M72 Chang Jiang side cars are easy to identify by a few of the following:
Sleeved frame

Tool box mount
Moveable sidecar mount arm
Type engine (oil stick at bottom of block)
Type one transmission
Tool box gas tank with square ends
Sidecar frame with arm around fender
Front mount of sidecar frame is welded and not one piece

There are several variations on old frames depending on when it was manufactured. Over the years there are some Chang Jiangs 750 sidecars that are made quite noticeably different than others. One example of this is the 1982 Chang Jiang 750 that has round tubular frame (pic 1, pic 2, pic 3) and is overall smaller and has a smaller gas tank (pic 1, pic 2). Many of the frame jigs are different in size so many of the Chang Jiang 750 sidecars parts need to have slight modifications in order to fit perfectly. The sidecar frame from the 60s and early 1970s also have a different step on the side, a bar and not a platform (pic1, pic 2, pic 3)

As time evolved (mid 1980s) the Chang Jiang factory has started to manufacture the 12 volt engines. Many of the 12 volt engines are converted from old 6v engines by adding modifications such as starter, alternator, distributor, etc. These 12v sidecars are known as M1M and later the M1S with the over head valve 32 hp engines was launched. This OHV engine shares strong similarity to the “Slash 2” series of BMW engines. These engines were the standard boxer twin for BMW motorcycles through 1969.

Whatever the history of the Chang Jiang 750 you can now own one of these historical machines at the incredible local Beijing prices from Big Bill's Bikes. There is no need to pay more for some fancy story, and there are thousands of these sidecars all over China. They are not hard to find and the military unloads hundreds of them every year. Talk to us about getting a Chang Jiang 750 stock or customized to your style, better yet visit us and we will give you a clear understanding of what the actualy market situation for a Chang Jiang 750 sidecar in Beijing.

Beijing is one of the few cities where these bikes are highly available and affordable. Beijing has tons of Chang Jiang 750 sidecar parts, all sorts of Chang Jiang 750 sidecars and also other makes of sidecars, and tons of military (PLA NOS) inventory. There are over 20 shops buying selling and maintaining Chang Jiang 750 sidecar motorcycles. We encourage you to get one as soon as you have done your research. You will be then able to see parts of Beijing that not many others get to see, especially up on the weekend mountain getaways.

Check out our map for the locations of shops around town and it will come in handy especially if you are researching to buy a Chang Jiang 750 or need repair. Many of the smaller size shops have been in business for over a decade and the owners have been riding Chang Jiang 750s for more than a quarter of a century, however they do not speak english, anyway visit them and you will find that you can get a Chang Jiang 750 from them at decent prices.

This site is to bring Chang Jiang 750 enthusiast an opportunity to see the amazing craftsmanship that Big Bill's Bikes puts into customizing these classic sidecar motorcycles. Whether one wants an old bike in stock condition 6 volt engine and no reverse gear, a WW-II replica, one painted with multi colored flames, or something classic with just pinstripes, an 32hp OHV engine, or even a BMW engine installed into a Chang Jiang 750, just drop us a line for the real deal. Look at the photos carefully and check out the details!

One last and important note, all Chang Jiang 750 are genuine, authentic, real, and original. Check around and you can now own a part of motorcycle history direct at the local Beijing prices.

Written by Chang Jiang 750 riders for Chang Jiang 750 riders!

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