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Zontes Monster (4 years old) Review

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Monster Mash – Zontes Monster 2012 Review.

By Mike Carter

A friend of ours was put on a scooter by the local job centre and having got a job they were relieving him of £40 a week for a gutless Honda Vision scooter. Now our friend is 6 ft 5 inches tall and 25 stone. He looked like a gorilla on a kids push bike. It also topped out at 30 mph at the top of the steep hills round where we live.

We saw a Zontes Monster advertised on line, 90 miles from us, at a price of £500, a months MOT left, so we expressed an interest and toddled over. A look round the bike impressed me. OK there was severe corrosion of the exhaust, but other than that not too bad. Switch gear was pretty nice, all the lights apart from the number plate light worked as they were supposed too, but the right fork seal needed replacing. Decent set of tyres on it and chain and sprockets looked good too, even if the chain was a little loose. The footpeg rubbers are also a bit worn and could do with replacing.

The seller had advised that the bike was losing power sometimes. So he said that the price had dropped to £200! A quick 83600 text showed no advisories on being stolen, no advisory on outstanding finance and it was not an insurance write off. So our friend quickly handed over £200 and got a top box thrown in on the deal as well, so well chuffed!

We wheeled it out into the road and I was to ride it back, I have a full license and I am used to geared bikes. He has only ridden scooters and a blast from Colchester to Norfolk is not the time to learn how to shift gears! So I was put on his insurance policy he had set up the day before (nothing like being eager) and after collecting the bike he paid the £17 road fund via the mobile and 4G!

We filled the beast up, swapped the tap to main and set off from Colchester. Now the first thing I noted was that the back brake was there for decoration, not for use. It appeared to have no effect on deceleration unless you stood on it! Front brake was nice and sharp though, the clutch was nice and usable, no creep, and the gear change though clunky, was safe and predictable and the gear position indicator was working nicely.

Blatted through the town, the exhaust having a rather fruity burble and warble in it's additional hole. The handling was great, much better than the learner staple of a CG125. Actually very good handling, it leant over much more quickly than any other learner I have ridden (CG 125, YB100, Derbi Fenix and an SR125). The acceleration was reasonable to 40, then it sort of slowed, but still not too bad.

About 10 miles out of Colchester it struck, the Kangaroo Bounce, it bounced, lurched forwards, slowed down, stopped, revved ok without load, set off did it again. Stopped, let things cool down for 10 minutes, started again, more Kangaroo progress, at this point I was getting worried. Stopped by the roadside again, then I thought well it is not electrical, as it was running, electrical tends to be either go or stop, nothing in between, was running OK so not air, last left is fuel.

I knew the fuel we put in was fresh, so problem in the lines? Swapped from main to reserve, revved freely, so a fist full of throttle and waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! Off it shot like a demon, the little bike spun up to speed nicely and cruised onwards with renewed vigour. So a problem in the fuel tap diagnosed as being the main reason for the £300 price drop!

It was nearly ninety miles door to door and somewhere 30 miles in some son of a female dog swapped the seat when I was doing 50mph. It went from being a reasonably comfortable perch to being something built out of angle iron. It got painful, very painful. Sitting here 16 hours later it is still painful!

We bought 10 litres of petrol, it has a 12 litre tank. We poured at least 7 litres in, topped up as we went back, got back and had enough fuel in the can to top the tank to virtually full again! I also noted that the fuel gauge is wonderfully inaccurate!

The Monster is a capable bike, it handles, you can chuck it into corners and come out grinning and happy rather than worry about grip. We know it needs work, but for a few quid more he will have a bike that can cope and at the end of the day will be his! Would I recommend one as a thorough Jap/European owner?

I have not seen anything on that bike that I have not encountered before and to a worse degree on something made in Japan. It handled as well as anything from a Japanese or European manufacturer of learner bikes. It was also cheap, very cheap, ok so it will never fetch as much as a mainstream bike, but it never cost that much and even with the repairs that need to be made, it will still be worth what he paid.

So buy a Chinese bike with an open mind, have some fun, enjoy the journey! You want special fried rice with that?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The wife just bought one, 15 plate, less than 1200 miles on it (showing 1835 km after riding back), first service done, paid £300 for it. No it was not stolen, just the bloke was bought it when he was unable to handle a big bike. Now he can handle a big bike again it is not needed. The local to him Honda dealer would only give him £100 as a trade in, he got more off the bike he wanted for not trading it in, he stuck it up for £400 or offers, never put up any photos.

She who must be obeyed offered £300, he accepted, wife made like a pigeon and left a small deposit on it! :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

MOT Preparation!

Replaced bake brake caliper, it was seized, another was found for about £30, bought, fitted, works, great.

Chain tensioned properly!

Footpeg rubbers replaced!

Exhaust, hole at top of downpipe was in an outer pipe, there was a steel tube inside, but gas still leaked out, plugged that hole with Araldite Repair Putty, sanded, repainted, reassembled.

Right fork was seeping, fork cleaning tool made from ice cream tub, cleaned no end of crap, front end compressed by gorilla a few times to see if it sealed, it appears to have done!

Number plate light unit was missing, now replaced.

Front brake fluid changed, has improved brake no end!

Let's see how it does!

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I bought a Monster in February. It was a bit hesitant when riding it home, when pushing it a wee bit. I was trying to hold back for first wee while to let the engine settle in. Checked the plug gap and was only 0.04mm, should be between 0.06 and 0.07mm. Next planned to check valve clearances etc. I assumed they were the same as the Yamaha YBR125. Spark plug change and valve clearances were my immediate plan, and ensuring all bolts were tightened properly. Both rear shock upper mounts were loose, missing washers. Also air filter side panel mounting screws were both very loose, one was almost out! Build quality not great so far. Also sump had way too much oil in it, well over the maximum mark.

I was pleased as I got it for a very good price. Bike had lain for ages unused by previous owner, had only done 2 miles when I bought it. This could have accounted for the hesitancy at 6000RPM. It was like it hits a wall, seemed like fuel starvation. Changed plug, and adjusted valve clearances, made no difference. Added some high performance fuel and Redex, and noticed some improvement. Blanked off the SAI system at the cylinder head as it can account for problems such as this. Also stripped and cleaned the carburettor. Possibly just needed to get a few more miles on it. Just bought it for a bit of fun during the winter months, was out first few days when temperature only 2 degrees!! Planned to keep my Harley for the nice dry sunny days, not many of them, only managed 200 miles last summer.

The hesitancy at 6000RPM continued to be a problem, so swapped the main jet from the stock 92 to a 96. Now runs as smooth as you like. Goodness knows why it was fitted with such a small main jet at the factory. I also have a 98 jet and may fit it together with a cone filter. So anyone with a Zontes 125 that is not running as well as you would like, just swap the jet. Takes 5 minutes and costs about a quid. No need to remove the carburettor, just remove the 3 bottom screws holding the float bowl and remove it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The above post should be read by anyone considering a Chinese bike. If you do nothing it will fall apart. If you are happy getting stuck in, will constantly check for loose nuts and bolts and know how to fix stuff when it goes wrong, and want a cheap run around go for it.

I'll still advise going Japanese to people... but for super cheap bimbling can't really argue. *starts looking at 125 idiot challenge again*

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