Adventures In Thumperland: New Zontes 500T Single-Cylinder ADV

For years, it seemed like single-cylinder motorcycle engine development was more-or-less dead…and then the Ducati Hypermotard 698 appeared, just before EICMA. Huzzah! But what if you wanted something a little more practical and a little less expensive? Chinese manufacturer Zontes also had a single-cylinder bike on the show circuit this year. The new Zontes 500T adventure bike has nowhere near the power of the Duc, but it would be a lot more closely-suited to most consumers’ real-world needs.

There aren’t many readily-available details on the new Zontes 500T because as far as we know, it’s not being imported to any English-speaking market yet. It’s not even on Zontes’ Chinese-language website. Watch the video above, shot on the floor of the EICMA show, and you should be able to pick up a few useful details though.

The single-cylinder engine is supposed to make 51 hp at 8,000 rpm and 37 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. Not a lot, but more than any Japanese 650 single. As the video points out, it might actually make sense for the importer to detune this engine to the 38 hp level, so it would be legal to ride in Europe on an A2 licence. However, since Zontes already has a 350 single-cylinder in that category, perhaps they won’t bother.

Overall, this bike’s design owes much to that earlier 350 model. However, this machine has several finer touches that are not typically seen on the lower-priced ADV bike bikes. An electrically-operated adjustable windshield, heated grips as standard, and quite possibly those crash bars and side bags as well, at least in some markets. A 5-inch TFT gauge gives you all your in-flight data needed. It sure looks like those 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels are spoked tubeless assemblies as well. ABS appears to be standard. There’s even a remote-unlock feature for the seat and tank, just like you get in a car.

If this all makes it to production, this would be the swankiest sub-650 adventure bike in the market… if indeed it ever came to our market.

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