Zeth ZFR 500 R

Are you familiar with the Zeths ZFR 500 R? It’s a sportbike with a retro style approved for production in China. While it may not be widely available, its appearance is certainly noteworthy. The ZFR 500 R features a refreshing 1980s-inspired design with circular lights on the front and nods to old endurance racers with a single-sided swingarm and removable headlight cover.


The bike is powered by a 494cc parallel twin engine built in-house by Zeths, which produces 53 hp. While it may not be the most powerful option out there, with a wet weight of 428 pounds, the performance is still quite respectable. The Zeths has a long 56.7-inch wheelbase, which makes it appear larger than it is, but it helps maintain the ’80s-inspired proportions.



AW AW500N, another lesser-known brand, is also developing a similar neo-retro, 494cc parallel twin sportbike that uses the Loncin-made version of the same engine featured in the Zeths. 

The Zeths is larger and heavier than the AW500N but has a more powerful engine. The AW500N is lighter, has a shorter wheelbase, and is less powerful. Both bikes have ABS and TFT colour screens.


The AW500N

Chinese Market

It will be interesting to see if these bikes appeal to riders outside of China. The Chinese car industry has proliferated in recent years, and there is a growing interest in manufacturing leisure-focused, larger motorcycles in China. If these bikes are flourishing in China, we may see them in other markets in the future.

Here are the pros and cons of the Zeths and AW500N:



  • Retro styling with modern features
  • Powerful 494cc parallel twin engine
  • ABS and TFT colour screen
  • Long wheelbase for stability


  • Large and heavy
  • It may not be available outside of China



  • Lighter and has a shorter wheelbase
  • Less powerful than the Zeths, but still adequate
  • ABS and TFT colour screen
  • It may be more affordable than the Zeths


  • Not as powerful as the Zeths
  • May not be as stable as the Zeths

The Zeths and AW500N are two interesting motorcycles with pros and cons. It will be interesting to see if they appeal to riders outside of China.

Here are some additional considerations:

  • Reliability: Chinese motorcycles are known for being unreliable, but this is changing as Chinese manufacturers invest in quality control. It is still too early to say how reliable the Zeths and AW500N will be, but they have the potential to be very reliable motorcycles.
  • Aftermarket support: There is only a little aftermarket support for Chinese motorcycles outside China. However, this is also starting to change as Chinese manufacturers expand into international markets. It is still too early to say how much aftermarket support there will be for the Zeths and AW500N, but some help will likely be available.

The Zeths and AW500N are two interesting motorcycles with the potential to be magnificent. However, some risks are involved in buying a Chinese bike, such as reliability and aftermarket support. 


China has recently demonstrated an increased interest in larger gas-powered motorcycles. In 2022, over half of the internal combustion engine motorcycles manufactured in China were exported, with a growing interest in producing larger motorcycles more suitable for European and North American markets. The future is uncertain, but seeing what the motorcycle industry has in store is always exciting.


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