Chinese motorcycle manufacturer Zontes may not be a name you've ever heard of before, however, in China, neighboring Asian countries, and parts of Europe, Zontes is a well-recognized brand known for making budget-friendly low to mid-displacement motorcycles. Although not as established as the likes of CFMoto and Benelli, Zontes has showcased original designs in the past, and clearly looks to break the mold of stereotypical Chinese manufacturers.
At the moment, the Chinese motorcycle manufacturer mostly manufactures single-cylinder motorcycles with displacements between 125cc and 310 cc.That being said, like its fellow established Chinese moto-makers before it, Zontes is starting to dip its toes into bigger, more performance-oriented engines. Last year, Zontes announced plans of releasing a three-cylinder engine with impressive specs on paper. Now, more details surrounding said engine have come to light, suggesting that it could compete with the likes of MV Agusta.
What we do know is that the upcoming three-cylinder engine will have a displacement of 800cc, and churn out in excess of 100 horsepower. Now, whether or not this engine is a reverse-engineered replica of either a Triumph Street Triple, MV Agusta F3, or even Yamhaa MT-09 engine is uncertain. That said, Zontes released a video showcasing the new engine, and those of you who know a thing or two about the inner workings of engines would notice that the engine has a 120-degree crankshaft, similar to the previously mentioned bikes with triples.
Interestingly, a recent article from German motorcycling publication Motorrad Online reveals that Zontes' triple will have a compression ratio of 13.5:1—putting it squarely within the ballpark of the engine from MV Agusta. Incidentally, MV Agusta's 800cc triple is touted as the most powerful production inline-three cylinder engine of that displacement, with an output of 147 horsepower. Needless to say, this much power from an engine this compact would suggest that the upcoming Zontes models to feature this engine will be really, really fast, perhaps even outperforming liter-class naked bikes from a power-to-weight perspective.
While all these performance figures are impressive, the Chinese manufacturer will have to prove itself in the reliability sector, as well. I mean, let's be honest. High-powered engines such as those from MV Agusta aren't exactly known for their reliability, so an engine of this caliber from a manufacturer like Zontes will certainly have its work cut out.