Zontes Motorcycles ZT310-T (2021-on) Review
- Great value
- Generously equipped
- Well built
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Yes, it’s Chinese, built down to a price and has performance that won’t set the world on fire, but the Zontes Motorcycles ZT310-T is also a hell of a lot of surprisingly well-equipped bike for the money.
Originally named the T 310 when launched in 2019, it’s comfortable, smooth, swift, doesn’t panic when you show it a corner and way cheaper than its A2 licence-friendly and even 125cc rivals.
- Related: Best A2 motorbikes
Only time will tell how durable it will be and what it will be worth a few years down the line, but engines have always been bulletproof and Zontes build quality has moved on from the bad old days of Chinese bargain buckets.
Updated for 2021 and renamed: Zontes ZT310-T
Detail changes for 2021 add extra refinement to what was already a capable, very well-equipped, nicely finished and incredible value A2 licence-friendly all-rounder. It isn’t the last word in excitement but the Zontes is comfortable, smooth, gets from A to B with little fuss and never lacks real world power or gets flustered in corners.
- Related: Best adventure motorbikes
If you opt for the 19in front wheel version it could handle some very light off-road trails, but the grip from its dual-purpose rubber in the cold and wet could be better. Best of all Zontes Motorcyles are starting to get top marks in our online owners’ reviews, which bodes well for the Chinese firm. However, alongside the above changes for 2021 was a £500 higher price tag to justify the extra kit.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Granted, it doesn’t ride with the grace of a Ducati, or have refined controls of a Honda, but you know what? It isn’t half bad, especially when you keep reminding yourself the ticket price starts with a three. Even the major manufacturers would struggle to produce so much metal for so little.
Once you’ve picked yourself up off the floor from the shock of the impressive spec list, you’ll ride down the road and discover the Zontes does nothing wrong on the move. There are no nasty vibes from the engine, thanks to its balance shaft, it doesn’t go one way when you want to go the other and everything works exactly as it should.
It doesn’t have the behemoth dimensions of a big capacity adventure bike, so carrying pillions will be a squeeze, but that keeps things light and manageable. The 159kg machine is comfy enough for one and has a roomy riding position. Big mirrors are clear and the two-position screen quiet and effective.
Non-adjustable suspension offers up an unflustered ride and there’s no sign of the cheap, crashy ride your bones and false teeth would normally have to contend with a Chinese bike over bumps.
Unlike most adventure-style machines the T 310 wears a 17-inch front wheel up front rather than a 19 or 21, so your off-road pretentions will need to be tempered to bumping up a kerb at the McDonald’s Drive-Thru, but on the road the Zontes rolls easily from corner to corner with little effort.
Dual purpose CST tyres have adequate grip wet or dry, the single 260mm front disc and twin piston caliper gets you stopped easily and a dab of rear gives you extra stopping power when you need it.
2021 Zontes ZT310-T ride verdict
The way the Zontes rides and conducts itself in the corners is perfectly acceptable for the price. Returning a claimed 74mpg from its 19-litre fuel capacity (up from 15 litres in 2021) will get you a theoretical 300 miles from full to empty…or Portsmouth to Birmingham and back without having to get off. The riding position and large padded seat are comfy enough to do those kinds of miles in one hit and its two-way electric screen shields you nicely from the elements.
Its physical size is somewhere between a 125 and a full-size adventure bike, making it manageable at low speed and easy to get feet down at a stop, but it’s slightly cramped for bigger riders and for two-up work.
For 2021 the ZT310-T comes with either cast aluminium 17in wheels, or a spoked 19in front, which raises the seat height from 795mm to 830mm. They’re shod with CST dual purpose tyres, which are fine in the dry, but lack grip on cold, wet tarmac. The adventure style wheel and tyre combo are there more for looks than any real off-road pretensions, not least because its cruiser-style front mudguard would quickly scoop up mud and lock the front wheel. For more natural on-road handling and a lower seat the 17in wheel option is the one to go for.
A twin sliding piston front caliper bites a bigger 300mm disc (up from 260mm) for 2021 and the rear is up 30mm to 230mm, so braking power is never a problem, even at spirited speeds, plus there’s Bosh 9.1M ABS to bail you out just in case. Steering has the slightly lazy feel of a bike with a 19in front wheel, which you quickly get used to, but it’s an easy bike to jump on and ride and doesn’t spring any nasty surprises. Non-adjustable suspension is soft, forgiving and never sloppy or crashy, just well balanced and confidence inspiring.
EngineNext up: Reliability
A liquid cooled 311.7cc single cylinder dry-sumped motor (oil is stored in the frame) will never set the world on fire for the experienced, but for the new rider there’s a broad spread of throbby single cylinder power, decent low-down punch, perfect fuelling from the Delphi injection and enough oomph to cruise at motorway speeds and above. There’s no slop in the gearbox and not a false neutral in sight.
2021 Zontes ZT310-T engine verdict
The ZT310-T is powered by the same liquid cooled, DOHC, 312cc dry sump (oil in the frame) single with nickel silicon carbide plated aluminium cylinders. It produces just 35bhp and 22ftlb of torque, but it’s enough to push the Zontes along at a decent rate of knots. It’ll handle A-road overtakes with a few down changes (the six-speed gearbox works perfectly) and tops 90mph. The engine is smooth at low and mid rpm (a bit strained above) and has nice fuelling with Bosch fuel injection replacing Delphi for 2021, along with the addition of a slipper clutch to get rid of unwanted engine braking.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Cylinders, swingarm and wheels are aluminium, the steel fuel tank is galvanised, plastics are sturdy and the stainless-steel exhaust (which has 'cool touch' stacked end cans, that won’t burn luggage or your pillion’s leg) all count towards long term durability and already this current generation of Zontes machines are getting the thumbs up from owners (see Zontes ZT310-T owners’ reviews section). Paint finishes and plastics are sturdy and you get a two year warranty. Servicing is every 3000 miles.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Chinese-built bikes always score against their rivals in the price department and the T 310 is no different. Add in all its toys and an impressively capable ride and it’s an even bigger bargain.
To ride and live with the Zontes is a pleasant surprise. Of course, it’s never going to be as polished as something like a Honda CB500X, but then the T 310 is two grand cheaper and most importantly a step towards convincing us that Chinese bikes really can be taken seriously.
2021 Zontes ZT310-T vs rivals
In terms of bang for your buck the Zontes ZT310-T has a level of standard equipment to embarrass a top-shelf European adventure bike and it’s cheaper than a KTM 390 Adventure and BMW G310GS. In terms of price and performance the Zontes is on par with the Sinnis Terrain 380 and Royal Enfield Himalayan.
The Zontes is surprisingly well equipped with keyless ignition, two riding modes, Bosch 9.1M ABS, an LCD display, lightweight lithium battery, USB charger, adjustable brake and clutch levers, electric screen, seat lock and fuel tank cover. Rugged, hard adventure-style panniers and a top box are also available as an accessory.
2021 Zontes ZT310-T equipment
A TFT colour display with Bluetooth connectively replace an LCD display for 2021 and doesn’t look too dissimilar to an exotic MV Agusta’s.
Elsewhere the spec level belies its bargain basement price: keyless ignition, two riding modes (Sport, Eco), a USB charger, adjustable brake and clutch levers, an electric screen, automatic seat and fuel flap release, a cubby hole under the dash, rack, bullbars, handguards, LEDs, backlit switches and a metal tab on the pillion peg for a disc lock and MV stainless-steel 'cool touch' stacked end cans, that won’t burn luggage or your pillion’s leg. Hard adventure-style panniers and top box are also available as an accessory.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4v single|
|Frame type||Tubular steel spine|
|Fuel capacity||15 litres|
|Front suspension||Upside down 37mm forks, non adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, non adjustable|
|Front brake||260mm disc with twin-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||210mm rear disc with single-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||150/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£45|
|Annual service cost||£100|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||35 bhp|
|Max torque||22 ft-lb|
|Top speed||93 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2019: Model introduced
- 2021: Updated with a tweaked name (ZT310-T), Euro 5 updates, a slipper clutch and Bosch fuel injection replacing Delphi. Bigger fuel tank and brake discs, TFT colour dash and comes with 19in spoked or 17in cast wheels.
R 310 (naked) and X 310 (faired sports). Essentially the same mechanicals with different styling and ergonomics.
Owners' reviews for the ZONTES T 310 (2019 - on)
3 owners have reviewed their ZONTES T 310 (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£100|
Great Value, Looks Fantastic, Loaded with Features, More Polished than Expected, More Show than Go, Adventure Ergonomics, Pseudo-Adventure components
As an economical runabout, 5 out of 5. Given the limitations of its suspension and compared to what is state-of-the-art, a 2 out of 5. Hence the 3 out of 5 rating. Everything works, but is not state-of-the-art.
My brother and I bought two of these to tool around dirt roads and run errands at our shared second home. We added Givi top boxes for US$80 each (factory three piece luggage was US$800 each). These bikes have filled the bill completely. We are long term riders and have 6 bikes between us in our home garages, several of which are established dual purpose adventure bikes (KTM, Ducati and Aprilia). In terms of quality, everything works, and this bike has more unique (and sometimes superfluous) details than the more expensive bikes. The cartoonish beeps, the electric windscreen, the electronic seat and gas compartment latches are amusing and work, but in the long run, and on a real adventure tour, are just doodads that can break and cause unnecessary headaches. Adventure bikes are all about functionality and components built to withstand adverse conditions. The Zontes is more about appearances. It is clearly a small road bike wearing Adventure Bike makeup. Hence Plastic covers that imitate steel structural elements and components, funky metallic gold paint on the handlebars, crash bars, side stand and other bits, and the tallest handlebar clamp in the world to provide and adventure bike look. Is this bad? Yes if you expect to do serious touring, not at all if you are looking for a fun practical bike with great ergonomics that looks like the real deal.
Both Zontes together cost less than any other bike we have. Fuel lasts forever...the range is longer than any other bike I own. ANd Zontes provided the first filter and a battery charger for the lightweight lithium battery.
The 2020 TFT color display is impressive as a feature, and unexpected at this price. That and the overall look and ergonomics are top features.
Buying experience: Great...I ordered over the phone and had both bikes delivered to my home.
Nice bike I like it
Good for curves
Buying experience: I now need one
Annual servicing cost: £100
The extras given with this bike are exceptional. The quality is of a very high standard and the engine is smooth running for a single.
The suspension is obviously non adjustable but copes very well either on or off road.
Engine performance is excellent and good torque from third gear. Cruises easily at motorway speeds and above.
2000kms done so far not one problem.
Electric screen, keyless ignition, crash bars, hand guards and more unbelievably value for money.