The Zontes 350T ADV is Zontes’ first stab at the sub-400cc adventure bike segment and comes loaded to the gills with electronic features.
Buyers in the sub-400cc adventure bike segment are spoilt for choice today, with multiple offerings from Europe, Japan as well as some worthy homegrown competitors. Whether you want a road-biased performance-oriented ADV or a seriously off-road capable one, there is one available for each scenario. Now, Zontes, a relatively unknown bikemaker from China, has launched a total of five bikes in India, of which, the Zontes 350T ADV is potentially the best suited for our roads. It gets tubeless wire-spoked wheels, a reasonably powerful engine, comfortable ergonomics and a host of electronic features that would put much larger bikes to shame.
Zontes 350T ADV: design and features
TFT display is intuitive and easy to read.
The first thing that you notice when approaching the 350T ADV is that it carries the overall silhouette of an adventure bike while adding its own flair to it. It has an unmistakable front end, with an angular beak and tall windscreen adding to its visual mass. The angular LED headlight with the DRLs and indicators (also LED units) flanking it do give the bike an imposing look and make it stand out, even in this understated black colour.
What is also as cutting-edge as the design is the suite of electronic features on it. The 5-inch, full-colour TFT dash is crisp, intuitive and has four layout modes to choose from, which alter the way data is presented to the rider. There’s mobile phone screen mirroring as well, a first in this segment. This also has an electronically adjustable windscreen, which is a feature you’ll only find on bikes that cost many times the price.
Zontes 350T ADV: engine and underpinnings
Engine lacks refinement at high speeds.
The 348cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine on the 350T ADV isn’t lacking in power as much as it is in refinement, with increasing amounts of vibrations as the revs pile on. A respectable 38hp and 32Nm is on tap here, but the overall gearing is definitely not focused towards high-speed cruising. While that pays dividends at low speeds, especially off-road, it harshly caps your comfortable cruising speed right around 90/95kph, which is simply not enough for someone that wants to cover big miles in the saddle. This hurts the bike even more considering its accommodating rider triangle has the potential to keep you comfortable during long days in the saddle. While the gearbox isn’t the slickest out there, the light clutch is a welcome positive.
The 350T ADV’s portly 196kg kerb weight is nearly 20kg more than the equivalent offerings in the market, although it does boast of a large 19-litre fuel tank. While the large fuel tank does increase the distance between fill-ups, it lends the bike a very top-heavy feeling, further highlighting its weight. The suspension, tyres and brakes proved to be just about adequate in the brief time we had with it, although this was mostly off-road and only a proper road test will paint a clearer picture.
Zontes 350T ADV: should you buy it?
Estimated to be priced between Rs 3.5 lakh and 4.5 lakh, the Zontes 350T ADV poses quite an interesting conundrum to its prospective buyer. How much would you put up with to stand out? On the one hand, it does have features that are unobtainable elsewhere, regardless of the price point, and it does stand out from the rest owing to its striking design and the comprehensive suite of electronic features on offer. The flip side is it’s an unproven product from an unknown brand and it needs a big improvement in its refinement.