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2023 Zontes GK350: Road Test Review

Authors Image

Ajinkya Lad

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Introduction

Zontes GK350 Left Front Three Quarter

Why buy it?

- Modern Sports Café styling

- Good build quality

- Feature loaded

Why avoid it?

- Engine vibrations

- More expensive than the competition

- Limited sales and service network

The Zontes GK350 is the fourth offering from the Chinese bike maker in the Indian market. Now, right at the outset, we can tell you that this is one of the best-looking bikes in its segment. But, does it offer on-par performance? And, should you consider putting your hard-earned money on the GK350? Let’s find it out.

Styling and Quality

Zontes GK350 Right Front Three Quarter

The GK350 is hands down the best-looking motorcycle in its segment. The proportions are just about perfect, and the modern retro styling looks quite appealing. Up front, you get a round LED headlamp, which has a die-cast aluminium bezel that improves heat dissipation. Behind the headlamp is a cafe racer-style fuel tank, followed by a single-piece seat, and a slim tail section.

Zontes GK350 Left Rear Three Quarter

Apart from that, the quality of materials and fit and finish levels are quite good. We didn’t notice any ill-finished panel gaps or any kinds of creaking noises from the panels. As for the switchgear, the quality levels are excellent and the switch cubes operate with a reassuring click.

Zontes GK350 Keyless Ignition Switch

Ergonomics and Comfort

Swing a leg over and you’d notice that the ergonomics on the GK350 are spot-on. It features a comfortable rider’s triangle with a slightly aggressive seating posture. The wide handlebar provides good leverage, while the slightly rear-set footpegs offer a sporty riding experience.

Zontes GK350 Left Side View

With a seat height of 795mm, the GK350 is quite accessible and feels easy to manage in stop-go traffic. The rider seat, although narrow, is spacious to move around, and the firm padding helps during long hours in the saddle. The pillion seat, however, is too narrow, which makes it uncomfortable over long distances.

Zontes GK350 Silencer/Muffler

Another issue for the pillion rider is that the high-mounted exhaust dissipates a lot of heat onto the right thigh. Lastly, at 188kg kerb, the motorcycle is slightly on the heavier side. However, it masks its weight brilliantly while on the move.

Performance and Handling

The Zontes GK350 uses a 348cc liquid-cooled motor that makes 38.8bhp at 9,500rpm and 32.8Nm at 7,500rpm. The engine is linked to a six-speed gearbox that comes packed with an assist and slipper clutch. The engine cranks up to a mechanical clatter and sounds crude all throughout the rev range. It makes most of its power in the higher revs, so it only comes to life post 4,500rpm. That said, it does offer decent tractability, provided you are in the right gear.

Zontes GK350 Engine From Left

There’s a noticeable step-up in acceleration post 5,500rpm, post which, power is delivered all the way to its 9,000rpm redline in a linear manner. The motorcycle cruises at 100kph at around 6,500rpm, which is the meat of the power band, and overtakes are just a twist of the throttle away. However, what will put you off at these rpms is that there are a lot of vibrations on the seat, handlebar, and even on the pegs.

Zontes GK350 Right Front Three Quarter

On the upside though, the handling and chassis balance is very good. The firm suspension setup makes it effortless to tip the bike into corners, and once tipped in, it maintains its line with precision. What’s more, the handling doesn’t come at the cost of the ride quality. Now, although the ride has a firm edge to it, the setup feels pliant over most road surfaces. It glides over minor undulations without throwing the rider off the bike. However, the rear tends to unsettle over bigger bumps and potholes.

Zontes GK350 Right Rear Three Quarter

The tyres, too, offer good grip levels and deliver decent feedback while riding spiritedly. The motorcycle drops anchors with the help of a 320mm rotor at the front and a 265mm unit at the back. The safety net includes dual-channel ABS as standard fitment.

Zontes GK350 Left Front Three Quarter

The front brake offers sufficient bite and the feel and progression on the lever are good too. On the other hand, the rear brake provides more bite, but this causes the ABS to intervene too early. This not only increases the braking distance but also robs you of the feel and feedback at the pedal.

Features and Technology

Besides the styling, another highlight of the Zontes GK350 is its long list of features. It gets an LED projector headlight that offers good illumination, however, the beam spread could have been wider.

Zontes GK350 Projector Headlight

That said, the most distinguishing feature is the keyless ignition system, which allows you to start the motorcycle without using a physical key. All you need to do is carry the keyfob with you as you do in cars with a push-button start/stop system.

Zontes GK350 TFT / Instrument Cluster

Other features include backlit switchgear, a tyre pressure monitoring system, two riding modes, dual-channel ABS, and a colour TFT display. The instrument console also gets four display themes, which change the interface depending on the theme selected. Moreover, the display can also mirror your phone’s screen, allowing you to play videos on it.

Fuel Efficiency

Zontes GK350 Right Rear Three Quarter

If you are curious about the ‘kitna deti hai’ aspect of the bike, the Zontes GK350 delivered a mileage of 26.7kmpl in BikeWale’s real-world fuel efficiency test. Now, that’s not bad at all, considering the test was done in the city, with moderate traffic and some open stretches. Given its 17-litre fuel tank capacity, the GK350 can easily offer a range of close to 450km on a full tank.

Should you buy it?

Zontes GK350 Front View

The Zontes GK350 is quite an enticing motorcycle. It is easily the most stylish offering in the segment, and the engine performance is good too. Moreover, the GK350 is an engaging motorcycle with a good balance between ride quality and handling and is loaded to the gills with a plethora of features.

Zontes GK350 Left Rear Three Quarter

However, it does come with its set of shortcomings. For instance, the engine sounds crude with a lot of mechanical clatter, and there are vibrations from as early as 5,000 rpm. Moreover, the price tag of Rs. 3.37 lakh to Rs. 3.47 lakh (ex-showroom, India) makes it quite an expensive proposition, compared to the likes of the KTM 390 Duke and the BMW G 310 R. And then, there’s the limited sales and service network, which doesn’t help its case either.

Zontes GK350 Right Front Three Quarter

So, should you put your hard earned money into the Zontes GK350? Well, if you want to stand out from the crowd and are looking for a modern sports café motorcycle, then you can consider it. However, if you want to make an informed decision, then you have better motorcycles at a similar or lower price point like the KTM 390 Duke, BMW G 310 R, or even the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650.

Photography by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Zontes GK350 Left Rear Three Quarter
Zontes GK350 Fuel Tank
Zontes GK350 Projector Headlight
Zontes GK350 Right Rear Three Quarter
Zontes GK350 Left Front Three Quarter
Zontes GK350 Front View
Zontes GK350 Left Front Three Quarter
Zontes GK350 Left Front Three Quarter
Zontes GK350 Right Rear Three Quarter
Zontes GK350 Silencer/Muffler

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