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Pugang 125: The motorcycle built by starving slave laborers

Updated on February 4, 2009
You too can ride a motorcycle built by starving slave workers!
You too can ride a motorcycle built by starving slave workers!

As Sharon Stone recently found out, it's not wise to question the Chinese government. In reaction to a statement by the actress who put "gratuitous beaver shot" into the vernacular through her movie Basic Instinct, (and also gave her name to a disease suffered my middle-aged women who over-exercise to keep their figures... yeah... no kiddin'), the Chinese government banned her films from being shown to nearly a fifth of the world's population. Not that Ms. Stone's comment was exactly complimentary or even rational, as she stated that the devastation caused by the recent massive Chinese earthquakes was "karma" for that government's quashing of Tibetian independence. However, it seems that free speech is welcomed by Beijing as much as bird flu outbreaks, so the Politburo saw fit to react in its usual Draconian manner.

Given that China is getting an extreme makeover to show the world that the host of the 2008 Olympics is not the land of massive inequality and poverty coexisting with export nouveau-riche billionaires that it truly is in reality, picking on the nation that houses the world's largest population is ill-advised even by relatively anonymous bloggers: Especially when there are far worse offenders who seem to be getting off scot free.

North Korea is a closeted dictatorship ruled by a tyrant who prides himself on his Daffy Duck cartoon collection to the point where he actually looks and walks like the character. Millions of people in his country are literally dying of starvation since any foreign aid coming the country's way is mostly diverted to increasing his DVD collection. It is estimated that roughly 50% of the North Korean population suffer from intestinal ailments due to the fact that indigestible straw is ground up to make bread in the absence of real flour.

However, North Korea seems to be learning from its giant neighbor and long time ally in that the Western World will fall all over itself to save a buck on consumer products, and there seems to be no end to the poorly conceived, ill engineered, slapped-together, defective and outright dangerous merchandise that can't be sold by the shipload to the West as long as the MSRP is low enough. Chinese motorcycles have become legendary in the two-wheel biz for their tin can construction, gutless powerbands, penny pinching parts, and the longevity of a hand grenade with the pin pulled. Now it seems that the North Koreans want in on the act with a lineup of motorcycles that make their Chinese counterparts look like 24K plated Gold Wings:

By the way if you really want a good laugh check out their cars at

Not only are the bike's engines shameless and unlicensed ripoffs of the venerable Honda CB-100/125 powerplant, but it is evident even in those low resolution photos that they are deficient in every possible measure from design to construction: exactly as what is to be expected by a motorcycle factory that employs slave labor.

Pugang is the state-run "company" that manufactures these two wheeled dream machines, along with an interesting array of other products which include machine products, metals, gold and silver commemorative coins, chemicals, glassware, natural health foods and medicines (gasp!) including Hyolgungbullojong ("an elixir of life with tens of times of remedial efficacy as compared with musk") and Kumdang-2. The latter is claimed with a straight face as:

"Kumdang-2 injection takes miraculous effects on various chronic diseases with no side-effects. Over the past two decades, many of in-patients who suffered from various diseases have been completely cured after administering this injection."

After that, I was half-expecting to read that the Pugang 125 Sport gets 800 mpg, set the world's speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats, was selected by Valentino Rossi as his personal ride.

When, not if, you see your first local ad for a Pugang motorcycle, likely at the pricepoint of some hardware store bicycles, exercise some personal ethics and walk away. Not only will you be saving yourself the frustration and humiliation of owning a tin POS, but you will be sending a signal that products produced by slave labor will not be tolerated in this country.


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      tahrey 6 years ago

      I think my favourite part of all that is where they say their 125cc engine is "5-stroke". So there certainly weren't any engineers involved in writing the spec for that one we assume? That or it's a desperate cry for help that they hope will be spotted by any knowledgable western observer...

      Oh and some of the bikes so equipped only manage 80km/h (50mph), which is bizarre given that's approximately where my own 125 revs out in 3rd gear (of 5) and some of the others claim 110km/h (which I can't often reach).

      That and the 4x4 being heinously inefficient... 100mph top speed and the equivalent of 20mpg UK at 75mph (13+ L/100km at 120kmh, 17mmpg US), barely 32mpg UK at 37mph (8.8 L/100km at 60kmh, 27mpg US... and not even the roughly 1.8-2.0x economy you'd expect at 60k vs 120k!) would be not-very-good V8 territory (with a better top speed), let alone a 2.3L 4-pot in a 1.7 tonne vehicle. Strangely, that's the only one where any kind of detailed economy is given; the passenger car and van are just stated as "less than X L/100km" (the van at 50kmh, the car at...??), with better but still not stunning figures, and the van isn't even given a clear top speed except that it's in excess of 130km/h for both of it's damn near indistinguishable engine types (the only options that any of them have). Would you want to be doing over 80mph in one of those? Not likely.

      But then it's just indicative of the sheer madness of Uncle Il's regieme. One can only hope his son isn't quite so insane and is just biding his time for dad to croak...