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New Owners Tips:

Welcome to the world of owning a Chang Jiang 750. We hope that you bought a legally licensed CJ750 sidecar and have all your documents updated, such as insurance, road tax, etc. The CJ750 is very old motorcycle technology that is going to take some special handling and should be treated as an old antique motorcycle. A CJ750 sidecar does not ride like a two wheel motorcycle. Read our FAQ on performance about all the little problems of these sidecars. The first 500KM will be very testing for new owners, screws will come loose, the engine will expand and reset, etc..

There are many groups riding every weekend so please send us your e-mail and we will put you on our list. If you live out in ShunYi you may also contact Jim Bryant of the Beijing Dragons for ride information. For our riders in the city, we ride on the weekends with groups such as the Wang Xin, Lao Ren, Mountain Eagles, FXZ and long distance trips with the Fire Dragons. Our gallery pages also have some good information on riding.

(download PDF version)

Important tips for new CJ owners:

  • Highly suggest breaking your Chang Jiang 750 sidecar patiently, your patience will pay off. (Better performance, less problems, more efficient engine)
  • Always load up on gas. 90, 93, 97, whatever you like as long as it is not diesel. You get about 300km on a full tank. Reserve is good for about 20km.
  • Nuts and bolts will come loose for the first few hundred km.
  • The CJ750 is almost as wide as a car.
  • The CJ750 will go faster than it can stop.
  • Use a good quality motor oil, straight 50W or 15/50 is recommended, (never use synthetic oil, the chemicals may harm seals).
  • Always carry extra oil in the bike. Leaking a few drops of oil is common.
  • The Chang Jiang 750 sidecar is a high maintenance machine and not made to go fast!
  • Check your oil daily, especially before long rides.
  • Back brakes are used more to stop the bike (like 85%). Keep a safe distance especially when roads are wet. Heavy load will also cause increase stopping distance.
  • Driving a sidecar motorcycle takes some getting used to, it is as wide as a car so beware of the space on the right hand side, especially when turning and pulling up to curbs.
  • It will probably take more distance to stop a CJ than you expect.
  • Keep a safe distance “buffer” especially in wet roads.
  • Be extra careful of taxis, when they see a potential passenger they are blinded by $$$$$ and will not see you. Constantly read the road and the idiots on the side or road.
  • When riding in the bicycle lane beware of people, bikes, dogs and especially small children jumping out in front of you.
  • CJ 750 sway when braking and with a passenger stopping distance is increased.
  • Alloy wheels have better stopping ability than spoke wheels.
  • Spokes tend to snap and in multiples, check spokes often and replace broken spokes; spoke wheels have been known to collapse.
  • Slow on right hand turns, especially with someone on the pillion seat, as the sidecar can lift and bike will loose control and may flip over.
  • CJ 750 engines are air cooled so in the summer it tends to get very hot, be wary of overheating carbs .
  • You may need to stop every 50km or 45 min of riding and let your engine rest.
  • Headlights use up more battery than the bike can recharge. If you frequently ride at night in the city, it is advisable to buy a battery charger to recharge your battery at home and learn how to kick start your Chang Jiang 750.
  • Long rides will help recharge the battery.
  • Turn off gas tank’s petcock when not riding.
  • Air pressure should be 3.0 to 3.2 bar.
  • Always lock your bike when you are not riding it.
  • Always carry some tools.
  • Beware of people cutting out in front of you especially making right or left turns into your right of way.
  • Foreigners most likely will get the shorter end of the stick in an accident - Avoid them!
  • At night, beware of drunk drivers, especially on weekends.
  • Do not ride with shorts or shoes. The engine may burn your shin, and hot oil may come off the engine.
  • If you have a back seat passenger, DO NOT swerve your CJ750 or make extreme sharp turns. Your CJ750 may tip over or you passenger may get thrown off the back seat.

BEWARE: Beijing traffic law states: Motorcycles are 100% responsible for accidents by default, even if you do not cause them. There are opportunists taking advantage of this law. Make sure you carry your registration card and your insurance is up to date.

First 200KM:

  • Nuts and bolts will come loose and fall off.
  • Valves will need to be adjusted.
  • Brakes will need to be tightened.
  • Cables will loose some tension.
  • Carburetors will need to be adjusted.
  • Spoke will need to be tightened to straighten wheel.
  • Smoke may come off engine when its hot especially flatheads because there is wax covering the fins and heads.
  • Gears may slip and will need some adjustment.
  • Some oil leaking may appear.

If bike does not start:

  • Make sure gas valve is open and you have gasoline
  • Check the red light on left side of key slot. If light is on, power is good.
  • Check the distributor to see if rotor is turning.
  • Check your spark plug cables to make sure they are firmly attached
  • Manually pump some gas into the bike by tickling on the button on top of the carburetors before starting kick bike.
  • Some riders choke by closing off some air, with the choke lever between the carburetor and the air cleaner to help the bike start.
  • If engine starts and red light does not go off when throttle is turned, the battery charging system is not working properly.
  • Check battery cable, power switch (black box under seat), ground cable, battery connectors.

If you hear abnormal engine noise when riding:

  • Engine might be overheating, rest till it cools a bit. Never throw water on the engine.
  • Valves might be leaking.
  • Timing might be off.
  • Piston or piston rings may be bad.

If you hear engine hissing:

  • Gasket seal might be leaking.
  • Exhaust might be leaking.
  • Carburetor may be leaking.

If the engine gets very hot:

  • A very common problem for 24hp engines when riding for long distances at high speeds and or going up long up hills.
  • Sometimes the carbs become hot enough to boil the gasoline in them. A clear gas filter placed above the carbs helps, as it will readily show this. If this occurs, stop & let bike cool off for about 20 minutes.
  • Sidevalve CJ 750 engines (24 HP) should rest every so often, normally 50km or every 45 minutes .
  • If you hear your valves to start making a clicking noise when engine is hot, stop and let the engine rest.
  • Never throw water on a hot engine.
  • Check your oil again.

Cooling down technique:

  • Sidevalve CJ 750 engines, and OHV, seldom but occassionally, the engines may overheat. When you stop your CJ750, and the engine is off, you may aid in the cooling of the engine by unscrewing the oil dip stick. Put your engine into neutral and make sure the ignition is switched off, then kick over manually the engine to circulate the oil. This will help the engine to cool down quicker.

If your gears slip:

  • This is a very common CJ 750 problem.
  • In most cases it's an adjustment problem that may be fixed easily by a professional.
  • Have it adjusted before your transmission is taken apart.
  • Up shift if it slips into neutral and your bike is moving.
  • Try not to grind your gears when shifting.

Finding neutral:

This is very important to learn!! (two techniques)

Ankle technique:
When down shift to first with your left foot, place your right ankle to feel the movement of the hand shift going back towards the rear wheel. Push slightly forward with your left ankle and you should be in neutral. The movement of the hand shifter is about an inch between gears so it should be easy to find. This takes a bit practice and once you get the hang of it, finding neutral will be a breeze.

Tapping technique:
Works when you are standing next to your bike. Put bike into high gear, and tap the front to lower the gear. Use light taps. Each tap should move the gear down one shift. After second the gear will go into neutral. Again it is just tapping on it to shift, not stomping on it or pressing on it. You can also do it the other way by putting it into first gear than tap it softly and it should shift into neutral. If you push too hard it will go right into second gear.

Winter riding:

  • Use lighter weight motor oil, and pump the kick-start in neutral to get some oil flowing into engine before kick starting it.
  • Carburetors can freeze (water in the gas).
  • Transmissions also get frozen.
  • Use knee guards and keep warm.
  • Use hand guards, and hand warmers.
  • The Workers Stadium and Olympic Stadium is a great place to do some donuts. CJs handle very well in the snow. With their third balance point and low center of gravity, have excellent traction. So put on your ski gear, and get out there for some winter CJ fun !!
  • Be extremely careful when going down hills and driveways.

Wet weather riding:

  • CJ 750s may slide on turns and on braking... ride slowly!!!
  • Stopping will definitely be impaired by the wet.
  • Old cloth spark plug cables will short out.
  • If you are using cloth cables it is advisable to put some black electrical tape on the rubber spark plug covers.
  • Keep the wire and spark plugs dry.
  • The coil may get wet and short out the spark plugs.
  • Water may get into transmission from speedometer cable, this can be sealed with a little bit of silicone rubber cement. If not sealed & water enters, the transmission fluid will foam up causing it to leak out, check your transmission fluid.
  • Make sure water does not get into your key slot or it will short out the switch.
  • Throttle and light switch may tighten up afterwards, loosen with some oil.
  • Shocks may also become squeaky.
  • Keep some electrical tape handy.
  • Keep some duct tape and plastic bags for protecting your shoes and taping up sleeves.
  • If the weather looks bad, take your bike cover with you in case you need to stop and cover the bike.

Long distance riding in China:

  • It is best to ride long distance trips in a group.
  • Plan ahead so you will get to the next town before sunset.
  • Carry some plastic bags and also duct tape. We have encountered some very cold nights and rain which has made the plastic bags invaluable for keeping the shoes dry and also as insulation.
  • Carry rain gear.
  • Lead rider slowing down and accelerating will keep the riders behind senses up especially at night.
  • When tired, take a rest, people have fallen asleep on their bikes.
  • No matter how tired you get or dark it is, check your oil frequently.
  • Be extra careful when riding at night especially with China's road conditions.
  • Be aware of large rocks on the road.
  • Also, farm animals are known to be in the road or may get startled and run in front of you.
  • When passing in a group, rider in the back should set a pick to block drivers from coming up and blocking you from passing.
  • Carry extra oil, points, condenser, and electric wire.
  • If you are going for very long distance rides carry extra parts such as transmissions and rear drives as whole unit. You do not want to waste time taking the CJ 750 apart for repairs on the road. Do your repair work at night.
  • Slow down on rough roads, it is better to arrive a little late than to break parts .
  • Always carry some extra bottles of water and toilet paper.
  • Do not create a scene and avoid trouble.

Rules for riding in groups:

  • Gas up and check your oil and tire pressure before you get to meeting point.
  • Most of the leaders on group rides in Beijing have many years of experience. If you are a new rider let the leader know and he will put you in the front of the group.
  • Always load up with gas before arriving at meeting point, 24hp engines use up more gas than 32hp engines.
  • Carry extra motor oil with you.
  • 24hp engine bikes ride up in front of the group.
  • 32hp engine bikes and CJs w/ straights pipes ride in the back of the group.
  • Do not swerve from side to side, riders in front, looking in rear view mirror, may think that you are trying to signal them and that there is an accident or adverse road condition.
  • Never pull up along side of someone unless you need them to pull over.
  • Never pass a vehicle on both sides. If someone is passing on the right or left side of the vehicle do not paralle pass on the opposite side at the same time.
  • No over taking when riding in a group.
  • Never ride in bicycle lane.
  • If a rider in front of you pulls over, do not over take, pull over and stay with him.
  • Bring extra water and some snacks.
  • Follow the front bike carefully and do not fall behind too far, if the riders following you have fallen behind, wait for them at turn or locations where they may lose the group.
  • If you borrow another biker’s spare part please replace them.
  • When going up hills or on rough roads keep your distance.
  • Respect other riders even if they are idiots.
  • For long distance rides, make sure that your group ride is covered with insurance.

Other info:

  • The CJ 750 cover may damage the paint job especially when the wind causes it to flap. Areas most affected are the corners of the CJ 750, front of sidecar, and side fender.
  • Things have been known to fly out of the sidecar, especially small dogs.
  • Keep the fork lock rod off the fork when riding, because it will rub and rattle.
  • Keep little kids away from the CJ 750, the engine gets real hot and can give a nasty burn.
  • It is suggested to not wear shorts or slippers when riding, you can easily get burned.
  • In accidents, the right foot may get caught under the right cylinder especially on OHV engines.
  • Do not turn too fast going right or left, we have seen bikes go out of control flip over.
  • Carry some extra rags or old towels.
  • Nuts and bolts come loose and wires fray from the vibrations, always take some time to look over your CJ 750 and carry some extra nuts and bolts.
  • Never pick up strangers.
  • Do not drink alcohol and ride.
  • Obey traffic laws.
  • Make sure your documentation is up to date.

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

(download PDF version)

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