Adishwar Auto Ride has not only brought the Moto Morini bikes to India, but has also introduced a couple of Zontes motorcycles here. For the uninitiated, Zontes is a Chinese bike maker that introduced a street naked and an ADV in India. What you see here is the Zontes 350T ADV, a road-biased adventure tourer, which will lock horns with the KTM 390 Adventure and the BMW G 310 GS. So, how good is the 350T ADV? And, does it have any tricks up its sleeve to take on the competition? Let’s find out.
But, before we go ahead, here’s a disclaimer for you. We had a very brief time with the motorcycle, so this review will only include our first impressions of the bike. However, we will bring a full-fledged review when we get the motorcycle for a longer duration for a proper road test.
The styling of the Zontes 350T ADV seems to have been inspired by a sci-fi movie. The multi-layer fairing looks sharp and edgy, while the quad-projector LED headlight setup lends a futuristic vibe to its design. Then, the electrically-adjustable windscreen, knuckle guards, front beak, luggage rack, and crash guard brings out the adventure persona of this motorcycle.
Coming to the build quality, the fit and finish levels are acceptable. The panels feel sturdier and we didn’t hear any squeaking noise during our time with the bike. Moreover, the switchgear has a decent tactile feel, and the paint quality isn’t bad either.
Now, the 350T ADV feels comfortable the moment you swing a leg over. Its ergonomics are spot-on, thanks to the centrally-set foot pegs and the raised handlebar, which is further pulled back towards the rider. Although the seat height is slightly on the taller side at 830mm, placing your feet on the ground isn’t an issue because of the slim midsection.
Features and technology are one aspect where Zontes has hit it out of the park. The 350T ADV comes loaded with first-in-segment features like a keyless control system, which lets you electrically operate the ignition system and fuel tank and also open the seat. It even gets an electronically adjustable windscreen and TPMS. What’s more, there’s a five-inch colour LCD instrument cluster that displays a plethora of information.
As for the cycle parts, the 350T ADV gets 19/17-inch cross-spoke tubeless wheels at the front and back, respectively. These are, however, shod with road-biased tyres, which seems like an odd combination. Suspension duties are handled by 43mm USD front forks and a preload-adjustable mono-shock. Furthermore, the bike drops anchors with the help of a 320mm front disc and a 265mm rear rotor, while the safety net is provided by dual-channel ABS. However, the ABS here cannot be switched off, which is a bummer.
The 350T ADV uses a 348cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor that pumps out 38bhp at 9,500rpm and 32Nm at 7,500rpm. The engine is coupled to a six-speed gearbox. Thumb the starter, and you’ll immediately notice the mechanical clatter that is associated with this engine. And then, when you rev it past 5,000rpm, you can feel vibrations emanating from the tank and handlebar, and even a minor buzz from the foot pegs.
As you get rolling, it is quite evident that the motor lacks the bottom-end grunt, which is starkly opposite to what you’d expect from an adventure tourer. That said, there’s a healthy build-up of pace in the mid-range. Now, I only rode the 350T ADV over the off-road trails and the ride quality felt composed at slow speeds, but as we picked pace, even small jumps resulted in the front-end bottoming out.
Talking about the brakes, they provided decent bite and feedback, while the rear offered better progression. And although the ABS intervention isn’t exactly invasive, the fact that we couldn’t switch off the ABS meant that we couldn’t make full use of the braking setup.
Should you buy it?
To conclude, the Zontes 350T ADV makes for a decent offering in its segment. It gets bucket-loads of features, offers comfortable ergonomics, and the engine performance should be better suited for highway touring. However, Zontes needs to work on its engine refinement and perhaps provide better tuning.
Now, the 350T ADV will lock horns against the KTM 390 Adventure and the BMW G 310 GS, both of which are capable ADVs and have set a high benchmark in the segment. So, unless Zontes prices the 350T ADV aggressively against its rivals, it has a tall mountain to climb to make a mark for itself.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi