Following the launch of the 2019 Zontes ZT310 series of motorcycles in Malaysia, a factory visit was made to the Guangdong Tayo Motorcycle Technology works in Jiangmen, China, which makes the Zontes. The purpose of the visit was to demonstrate the production and quality processes that go into Zontes bikes and showcase upcoming new models and technology Tayo is working on.

It cannot be denied the quality of motorcycles coming out of factories in China can be a little hit and miss. Sometimes more miss than hit but we did find out during the factory visit is that Zontes is indeed serious about making a quality motorcycle that caters to the rider’s needs.

This was borne out during a three-hour briefing with the owner of Tayo, Tao Ye, who outlined his vision for the Zontes brand and shared some of his concepts for future designs. These included design proposals for a litre-class three-cylinder big bike, several iterations of model variants in the scooter, quarter-litre and middleweight motorcycle arena and a flying car, seven years under development.

While we were not allowed to take photographs inside the Tayo facility, we did see several clay models in the design department for future Zontes motorcycles and scooters, all of which include conveniences and gadgets targeted at making riding easier and more accessible.

Tao, an enthusiatic rider and driver himself, has a hand in the design of every Zontes model and carefully considers what a rider expects from his or her bike. Walking around the production facility, we were informed that 80% of Zontes motorcycle components are made in-house, with the remainder, specialised components such as LCD instrument panels, come from outside vendors.

In terms of export sales, some 20,000 bikes of the 100,000 or so motorcycles Tayo makes in a year is exported. For domestic sales, Zontes supplies machines directly to the China government for use in the police and military.

Production work in the Tayo factory is heavily mechanised, with robots looking after welding, painting and heavy lifting. Of note was the sub-assembly section where work is controlled and queued by an in-house developed app, and items such as headlights and wiring harnesses are put together before entering the production line.

During the factory visit, guests – comprising of Zontes Malaysia dealers and staff – were given a look at several upcoming models in the Zontes range, including the ZT310-Z cruiser. It was noted some upcoming Zontes models will be fitted with single-sided swingarms, in pursuit of weight reduction, but there was no confirmation as to when these would enter the local market.

For the Malaysian market, there are currently three models of the 2019 Zontes ZT310, with one model variant. These are the Zontes ZT310-R naked sports at RM19,800, the Zontes ZT310-T adventure tourer at RM22,800 and the sports-tourer ZT310-X and ZT310-X GP, priced at RM20,800 and RM21,600, respectively.