Zontes of China is the second brand to partner with Adishwar Auto under the Moto Vault venture. We sampled two of their offerings to bring you a first ride review
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
Zontes 350T ADV
Zontes is set to introduce five motorcycles in the Indian market. We got a very short spin astride two of their motorcycles. The first of these is the 350T ADV which boasts of a few segment-first features. In terms of design, it looks like a proper adventure motorcycle and one of the other models from this line-up is a variant with alloy wheels compared to the tubeless spoked wheels on this one. This ADV makes use of a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch one at the rear, while the road-focused T variant uses 17-inch wheels at both ends. What makes it unique is that it is keyless, so the fuel-tank and seat can simply be opened with a button incorporated into the switchgear. Apart from that, a really cool feature is the windscreen that can also be adjusted with the touch of a button.
All the Zontes bikes that have been brought to India make use of the same 348-cc liquid-cooled motor that puts out 38.8 hp at 9,500 rpm and a peak torque of 32.8 Nm at 7,500 rpm while being mated to a six-speed gearbox. As I got going, it felt natural to stand up on the pegs, but I felt that the handlebar of the motorcycle was not as wide as I would have liked for off-road use and the motor quite vibey. The seat height of 830 millimetres is accessible, the suspension set-up allows a rider to take on very short off-road stints, and the braking set-up worked decently. More on the ride quality later, for we hardly spent a couple of minutes in the saddle.
Apart from that, the bike gets a very tiny storage compartment for documents at the front, right under the LCD dash. This dash is engaging, displays important information, and there are also different layouts to select from. The switchgear feels nice and is easy to use once a rider gets acquainted with it. While this might be called an ADV, it seemed like a bike that will be more comfortable on road with the capability of short off-road stints. Now all that is left to be seen is how this motorcycle is priced as well as the after-sales service and durability.
This streetfighter from the Zontes range is called the 350R. Given its sharp styling, I must agree that this one looks futuristic and gets three unique colourways to choose from. In terms of features, this one, too, is keyless which makes it more convenient and a feature we see on larger and more expensive motorcycles. The riding position is comfortable as the bike places the rider upright with the foot-pegs in a sporty position, set towards the rear. This model rides on 17-inch cast alloy wheels at both ends and a nice touch is that they sport dual-tone colour schemes.
Like all the other motorcycles in the range, this one also makes use of the same 348-cc liquid-cooled motor that puts out 38.8 hp at 9,500 rpm and a peak torque of 32.8 Nm at 7,500 rpm. The power delivery is linear but it did feel more like a 250-cc motorcycle. Vibrations do tend to creep in at the pegs, tank, and handlebar post the 4,000-rpm mark. It would have been nice to test this streetfighter through a set of corners, but we were at a location dedicated to off-roading with only a short straight stretch of tarmac.
The 350R feels extremely light and its 795-mm seat height is easily accessible for most riders. The suspension set-up comprises 43-mm USD forks and a monoshock at the rear. It is a set-up on the stiffer side to suit the character. The brake feel is not as sharp, so that is something to watch out for.
This model makes use of the same LCD dash with similar options to toggle between. The quality of the switchgear is decent and it is easy to use on the go. With the streetfighter segment already having some very reliable options, we will have to wait and see if this one gains popularity. The design language is surely a plus, but I am not so convinced about it taking on motorcycles in the 300- to 400-cc segment. It did feel more like a 250-cc and not a very refined one. We can bring you more updates once we properly test it within the city and also see its handling capabilities through a set of twisties.