If ever there existed a motorcycle that embodied the “stealth” appeal, it would undoubtedly be synonymous with the Zontes ZT310-R2. It is the latest model offering since the R310 that was originally introduced in 2019. I am not just attributing its stealth to the glossy near all-black finish. The word “stealth” lends itself to a body that is deliberate, secret in action or a character with intent.
The Zontes and all it has to offer stands not readily apparent. It is the sort of motorcycle that grips your gaze while simultaneously piquing your curiosity about the potential riding experience achievable.
The Zontes brand, Chinese in origin, is just one of many under Guangdong Tayo Motorcycle Technology Co Ltd. Their main focus lay in developing and producing motorcycles of medium to large discharge capacity. By their own core philosophy and mission, they embrace innovation and the development of new technologies from the manufacturing process right up to the features embedded within their motorcycles, bringing about maximum functionality and added convenience to the rider.
From afar, this naked sport bike is as aggressive as it is sleek in its overall design. Off the bat, it does indeed look like a carbon copy of the former model. The frame is designed with sleek and sharp edges along its aluminium alloy body. It has a neat tail tidy, finished with a swingarm-mounted number plate holder and a distinctly fused LED tail light situated right under the length of the pillion seat. Along its frame, the twin exhaust pipes do not go unnoticed. Up front, you are met with an aggressively stylish headlight, reminiscent of a Transformer Decepticon when lit up.
As the end rider, the question posed then is, “Does Zontes actually live up to its own core philosophy?”
Once mounted, the very first unique tech feature was handed to me. A simple almost weightless carry-on transponder, like a fit bit watch, initiates the exciting reality of a keyless control system. A feature you do not find all too often with modern-day motorcycles, let alone smaller cc sports bikes. Upon ignition, you are met with the unique Zontes ‘Decepticon’ zooming out from the centre of the bold TFT screen.
Before riding out, the TFT dash houses a number of functions and key information. Initially, you’ll be welcomed into a riding mode from which you have four options to select (Casual, Street, Simple and Race). All the above will be intuitively laid out on the screen. And yes, each of the four has a layout that visually respects its criteria. All of this is accessible through 2 buttons on the left side that helps you simply navigate the menu and make your selections.
To your right, you have an electric flip-up fuel cap and seat button. All the information possibly required is readily accessible as you surf through the menu, everything from ride modes, odometer, speedo, voltage, fuel capacity and range as well as tyre pressure and more. Above and beyond that, it has GPS/Bluetooth connectivity.
The Zontes is backed by a 312cc single-cylinder engine which produces around 34hp. It is water and oil cooled with a fuel injection system. It is sparked by means of electric ignition, running an O-ring drive chain system with a 6-speed constant mesh transmission accelerating you up to a top end of 160km/h.
Truly, one of the highlight features of this Zontes model is its fuel consumption and efficiency. It has a 15-litre tank, from which it delivers an astounding 3.2l/100km. When you do the quick maths, that translates to a 468km total range. I won’t claim to have successfully reached that exact number, but I can confirm that after every fuel top-up, the Zontes is indeed incredibly light on fuel as though you were riding a scooter. It is just as easy to ride but above and beyond that, it is honestly an impeccable commuter. You will not, at any point, feel as though you don’t receive your money’s worth. As long as you remember to have it on Eco mode for maximum range.
For a 300cc, the Zontes certainly has decent acceleration under the engine. You pull away effortlessly from the stop and get up to cruising or even highway speed in no time. From one rider to another rider, it is best ridden with either dedicated bike boots or at least harder compound shoes as I did find the gear lever on the harder side for casual shoe riding.
The ride itself is a relatively comfortable one. The seat is 795mm low, with the bars right within reach. Considering it weighs just 145kg, it makes for enhanced and easier handling as you ride slightly forward in the typical naked bike riding position. Both the front and rear are disc brakes, with an integrated Bosch ABS system. I was thoroughly impressed with the suspension and handling abilities of the Zontes with both myself and a pillion on board. It kept up easily on the highway, especially when that little extra burst was required here and there. At no point did it feel unstable or unsure. However, the seats are not ideal for longer-distance riding.
There has always been a hush-hush stigma around Chinese-built motorcycles. However, Zontes has clearly made some serious advancements in its motorcycle production line. Ensuring that what makes way to the end rider, is a motorcycle that is both reliable and functional whilst not neglecting quality and of course, their unique technological feature integrations.
Now, after all those considerations of the new Zontes ZT310-R2, it would be fitting to say they certainly are on track to fulfilling their philosophy.
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