Chinese motorcycles are basically made from the same mold and lack any form of inspiration. That all changed last year when Zontes decided it was perfectly alright to do something different. Last year I reviewed one of their products, the S250, and I came away thinking that it is not a terrible bike. Well, this year they came up with something even better looking – the ZT 310–R.
The 310-R is a spectacularly good looking bike. The styling is aggressive and it will not look out of place next to the naked bikes from Kawasaki or Honda. It has bold lines and an exhaust system that terminates in two stumpy sliced pipes just behind your right footrest. Even the headlight has evolved from the S250 and looks even more Transformer like. There are a lot more colour accents, and I must admit, I honestly like the design of this bike.
Looking good is only one half of the coin, though. Firing up the fuel-injected 312cc mill sounds tinny, but no different from its rivals. The bike pulls with a hefty dollop of grunt. This was not what I expected. Chinese motorcycles are not known for a great deal of power. They focus more on reliability, so when the little Zontes took off with a kick, I was pleasantly surprised.
The brakes are ABS assisted, but felt spongy at best. It needed a serious pull before you could shave off any speed on the bike. The brake lever is adjustable but it did not make much difference. You just have to adapt your riding style and following distances.
When I tested the S250 last year, I bemoaned the fact that the dash was rather short on information. This has been rectified in the 310. Not only has a gear indicator been added, but engine temperature also made it to the triangular shaped dash.
Other notable features on the bike is a keyless entry. I am no fan of keyless entry and because the seat and fuel cap are released electrically, you will be properly screwed if the battery dies on you.
The ZT310-R makes for an ideal commuter or beginner bike. It has arresting looks and enough grunt to keep you ahead of traffic. Even the build quality has improved and on the whole the Zontes is not a bad bike. It has killer looks, and that alone might sway buyers in this category.
Price R63 900
Words and Pictures- Brian Cheyne