Chang Jiang - Black Star
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Chang Jiang D2-492-14-12
Photo ou archives : D. Ganneau

Capacity : 750
Model : Black Star
Production : 1990 - 0
Category : (R) Street Bike


750 Black Star -1992

A living fossil

In the late 1930s, the BMW R71 was the most refined of touring motorcycles, though its side-valve engine was even then regarded as slightly old fashioned. BMW's contemporary overhead-valve 600cc R66 developed 30 hp while the 750cc R71 could do no better than 22 - and still retained the obolescent handchange transmission. Nevertheless, between 1938-41 BMW produced the respectable total of some 3,500 examples of the R71.

War Reparations

It was the rustic engineering of the R71 that appealed to many countries after the war when the need was for reliable, easily maintained transportation. So when BMW's machine tools were confiscated as war reparations, versions of the BMW flat-twins quickly went into production in the USSR and even France. In Communist China, it wasn't until1957 that the nation's rulers thought that its people were ready for anything as technically advanced as a 1938 BMW design. The bike was reserved principally for military use, especially in sidecar form.

Unchanged and Unchanging ...

Nowadays, some 20,000 Chang Jiangs are built each year in Chinese factories. The Black Star is virtually unchanged from the R71 of 50 years ago. Even Soviet motorcycles had made more progress! Its technology is obsolete, but since its price is as far behind the times as its engineering and nostalgia is very much in fashion, there's obviously a place for it in world markets!


Engine: 745cc (78x78mm) flat-twin fourstroke

Power Rating: 22 hp @ 4600 rpm

Valves: side

Fuel System: 2 carburetors

Transmission: 4-speed; final drive by shaft

Suspension: telescopic fork, (front); plunger (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 3.50x19 inch (front & rear)

Weight: 419 lb


The Black Star has the dubious distinction of being the last motorcycle in production with a side-valve engine and plunger rear suspension: its price is in keeping with its engineering!

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
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François-Marie Dumas

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