Zontes 350T ADV vs KTM 390 Adventure: Chinese vs Austrians
Article by Drivio | 24th Jul 23
Both the adventure bikes look futuristic and promise to pack a punch
- The Zontes 350T ADV’s 348cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine makes 39.42PS and 32.8Nm.
- KTM, on the other hand, has tuned the 390 Adventure to make 43.5PS and 37Nm from its famed 373cc mill.
- Despite making more power and having a bigger mill, the KTM carries a more affordable price tag.
Adishwar Auto Ride India (AARI), a Hyderabad-based company managing Benelli's operations in India, has experienced significant growth in the past year. In 2022, AARI expanded its portfolio by introducing four additional Chinese-owned motorcycle brands to the Indian market, including QJ Motor, Zontes, Moto Morini, and Keeway.
This move has transformed the company from merely selling a few Benelli models to offering a diverse range of 26 different motorcycle models from five manufacturers.
One notable addition to their lineup is the Zontes 350T ADV, a strikingly designed bike equipped with impressive features, a powerful 350cc engine, and a price of Rs 3.67 lakh (ex-showroom). This pricing puts it above the renowned Rs 3.37 lakh (ex-showroom) KTM 390 Adventure, which is widely regarded as one of the best road touring solutions available within this price range.
The real question now is whether the Zontes 350T ADV can stand up to the competition and maintain its position as a compelling alternative to other popular bikes in the market.
Zontes 350T ADV vs KTM 390 Adventure: Design & Features
The Zontes 350T ADV undoubtedly stands out with its captivating design. Unlike the KTM's distinctive long and slender insect-like styling, the Zontes adopts a larger and more conventional approach for an adventure motorcycle. The bike's appearance is accentuated by a striking LED headlamp that not only looks impressive but also functions exceptionally well.
In contrast, the KTM 390 Adventure tends to blend in with the traffic, while the Zontes effortlessly attracts attention and earns compliments from onlookers. If you seek a motorcycle that stands out from the crowd, the Zontes is the clear winner in this regard.
The Zontes 350T ADV's features are equally impressive and tend to amaze anyone who takes a closer look. Some of these features are typically found on motorcycles that cost significantly more—up to 7-8 times the price of the Zontes.
For instance, the bike comes with keyless ignition, an electronically adjustable windscreen that can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button, as well as a similar mechanism for releasing the rear seat and the fuel tank flap. With the Zontes, you can keep the key in your pocket as it is not required to start or operate the motorcycle, offering added convenience.
Moreover, the Zontes boasts a TFT display that, despite being relatively small, offers various display modes and even has the ability to mirror your smartphone display. While these features are undoubtedly cool, there was an unfortunate incident during the test bike's shoot when the TFT display stopped functioning midway. Subsequent investigation revealed that a blown fuse was the culprit, which also affected the windscreen adjust button, resulting in its temporary malfunction.
In conclusion, the Zontes 350T ADV presents an alluring package with its striking design and an impressive list of features that would typically be expected on much more expensive motorcycles. However, it's worth considering the reliability and durability aspects in light of the TFT display issue encountered during testing.
Zontes 350T ADV vs KTM 390 Adventure: Engine
|Specifications||Zontes 350T ADV||KTM 390 Adventure|
|Engine||348cc liquid-cooled engine||373cc liquid-cooled engine|
According to Zontes, their 348cc, DOHC, four-valve liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine produces 38.8hp and 32.8Nm of torque, which is relatively close to KTM's 43.5hp and 37Nm output. However, the Zontes engine feels and sounds gruff, particularly with noticeable vibrations at higher rev ranges.
The gearing of the Zontes is a bit tall, and there's an odd closeness between fourth and third gear, giving the sensation of repeating the same gear when shifting up from third. In our tests, the Zontes managed an 8.2-second 0-100kph sprint, which was slower than expected and 2.1 seconds behind the KTM's performance.
On the other hand, the KTM's engine also exhibits some roughness and clattering at low revs while riding within the city, but it smoothes out once the revs surpass 4,000rpm. Despite still having some gruffness and noticeable vibrations through the foot pegs, the KTM's engine is smoother overall compared to the Zontes.
It offers shorter gearing, delivering an enjoyable surge starting at 6,000rpm. The KTM's engine is notably quicker and can maintain a higher cruising speed as well. In highway efficiency tests at a steady 70-85kph, the KTM returned 34.6kpl, while the Zontes managed 31.6kpl.
Zontes 350T ADV vs KTM 390 Adventure: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes
|Specifications||Zontes 350T ADV||KTM 390 Adventure|
|Front suspension||Inverted Fork||Inverted Fork|
|Front brake||Disc Brake||Disc Brake|
|Rear brake||Disc Brake||Disc Brake|
|ABS||Dual-channel ABS||Dual-channel ABS|
The significant difference in performance and efficiency between the Zontes and the KTM can be attributed to the Zontes' heavy weight. The company claims a kerb weight of 196kg, but it might even be higher than that. This excessive weight makes the Zontes feel top-heavy and sluggish right from the moment you start riding it.
Even simple actions like turning the handlebar require more effort than they should. As the speeds increase, the bike's steering continues to feel cumbersome and heavy, making it challenging to maneuver the Zontes through bends and corners.
On the other hand, the KTM excels in comparison. It has always been known for its exceptional handling on the road, and the blocky Metzeler Tourance tires it comes with provide better feedback and grip compared to the Chinese CST tires on the Zontes.
While the KTM's off-road riding capabilities have been criticized for having road-biased ergonomics and less compliant suspension, skilled riders can adapt to these challenges and effortlessly jump or slide the KTM around, as it confidently handles such maneuvers.
Zontes 350T ADV vs KTM 390 Adventure: Dimensions
|Dimensions||Zontes 350T ADV||KTM 390 Adventure|
|Fuel tank capacity||19-litres||14.5-litres|
In addition to its performance and handling issues, the Zontes also suffers from awkward standing-up ergonomics. The sharp edges of the fuel tank dig into the rider's thighs, causing discomfort during off-road standing positions.
Moreover, the pillion foot peg holders force the rider's heels to splay outwards, adding to the discomfort. This awkward ergonomics, combined with the bike's top-heaviness, makes off-road riding even more challenging and less enjoyable.
Furthermore, the Zontes has limitations when it comes to off-road capabilities. Its relatively low ground clearance and lack of engine protection make it unsuitable for tackling rough and uneven terrains. In contrast, the KTM's bash guard, though made of plastic, proves to be quite tough and effective in protecting the bike's critical components during off-road rides.
Zontes 350T ADV vs KTM 390 Adventure: Price
|Price||Zontes 350T ADV||KTM 390 Adventure|
|Ex-showroom Delhi||Rs 3,57,000 onwards||Rs 2,80,652 onwards|
Prices for the KTM 390 Adventure begin from a mouth-watering Rs 2.80 lakh, making it a much better value for money proposition than the 350T ADV’s exorbitant Rs 3.57 lakh price.
The Zontes has an impressive and eye-catching design, complemented by unique features like tubeless spoked wheels and keyless functionality. However, to justify its price and compete with other premium motorcycles like the KTM and BMW G 310 GS, it needs significant improvements in quality, refinement, and overall capability.
While it excels in grabbing attention as a stylish gadget at this price point, its performance and appeal diminish once it hits the road. For those seeking a comfortable, capable motorcycle suitable for daily commuting, long tours, and occasional off-roading, the KTM remains the superior choice.