Zontes is one company that seems to be serious about mobilizing South Africa to get onto two wheels. You need to be sixteen to obtain a valid licence, and then you are limited to a 125 cc motorcycle. But, to be honest, the options in this category are fairly limited. Zontes might just have the solution: the Kiden KD125-V.
When I saw the Kiden for the first time, I immediately wanted to ride it. I knew that the 125 cc engine would have a hard time moving my bulk around but I wanted to ride it anyway.
The bike is styled like a Café Racer. It even has those exact words embossed onto the back of the flat seat. It has two traditional coil springs at the back and rubber gators over the front forks to enhance the retro look. The seat is only 760 mm from the ground and is surprisingly comfortable. It flows neatly into a generous 17 litre fuel tank. To round of the retro look, the bike has spoked wheels and round, chrome bar-end mirrors. These are a bit fiddly to adjust but they work well.
The overall build quality of Chinese products have improved a lot over the last couple of years, and the Kiden is no exception. In fact, the Kiden is built in the same factory as its Zontes siblings and those bikes really impressed me. The bike feels well put together and switches and buttons feel solid to the touch. The instrumentation is just one small dial that is minimalistic at best. It packs a surprising amount of information into such a small unit.
The small engine delivers only 10 kW and I do recommend you only stick to urban roads. Here, the little Kiden shines. It can fit though the smallest of gaps and the handling is light and nimble. If you venture out onto a highway, you are quite vulnerable because the top speed is not nearly enough to navigate a highway safely. The bike is equipped with disk brakes front and rear, and do provide enough stopping power.
I can remember, as a sixteen-year-old, eagerly waiting to start my motorcycle journey. So, if you are considering getting your sixteen-year-old a motorbike, then the Kiden is not a bad choice. Zontes offers a 2 year / 20 000 km warranty on the bike and their dealer network is still growing. Yes, he will not be going fast, but at least he will be doing it on a good looking machine.
The Kiden KD125-V sells for R 24 950.
Article & Photos: Brian Cheyne
This article first appeared in Ultimate Drive Ed.55