Zontes D350 test: Introduction, positioning and rivals of the Zontes D350
The Zontes D350 (36.7 HP, €4,787) is part of the second generation of Zontes medium-displacement scooter, after the successful Zontes M310. It shares a drive unit with the Zontes E350, whose presentation we attended just 6 months ago and which represents the GT option. The Zontes D350 is the sports option along with its brother M350 with which, except for appearance, it shares everything.
Both are shorter between axles, lighter, but while the M350 maintains the manga appearance of its predecessor (the Zontes M310), the Zontes D350 that we tested today is designed with European taste in mind, more discreet and less strident.
The vocation of the Zontes D 350 is to be the most efficient vehicle in the city and on expressways, that is, for those who live in the suburbs (or go to the suburbs) and need a fast, agile, economical and functional vehicle. For now and on paper, it is the most powerful. Add to that their equipment is at a high altitude. Along with a groundbreaking price, it aims to be the scooter with the best quality-price ratio in a segment in which there is a lot of fighting. It is enough to mention the best-sellers in the category, such as the Honda Forza 350 (29.2 HP, €6,350) and the Yamaha XMAX 300 (27.6 HP, €6,499).
Also around half a year ago, we were able to attend the presentation of the Vogue SR4 Max (34 HP, €6,289), cutting premium and which in a very short time we will be able to offer you proof of its first update and which also shares an engine with the BMW C 400 X (34 HP, €7,250). It can also be considered premium the Italian Piaggio Beverly 400 (35.4 HP, €6,599).
Among the most economical Taiwanese, we find the Kymco flat. Among the most powerful Taiwanese are the Kymco Xciting VS 400 (33.39 HP, €6,999) or the SYM Maxsym 400 (34 HP, €6,999). Of course, it will not be due to lack of supply, but if you look at the figures of its rivals, those that are close in terms of power, do not do so in terms of price and vice versa.
Zontes D350 test: Technical characteristics of the Zontes D350
In the search for success in Europe, it is noticeable that the design of the Zontes D 350 has been westernized. Its soft and harmonious lines are proportioned and convey compactness and solidity; an impression that, as you will see later in this article, in “how it goes”, will be confirmed in sensation once it is underway.
We have already said that it shares a drive unit with its sister, the Zontes E350, and with its twin, the Zontes M350. It is a 349 cc DOHC single-cylinder, powered by Bosch electronic injection and liquid cooling. It develops a maximum power of 36.71 HP at 7,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 38 Nm at 6,000 rpm, the highest figures in the 300-400 cc environment and which is still within the margins of the A2 license.
The surprising thing about this engine is that its consumption is very tight, with real figures of 3.5 l/100 without regard to consumption. With its 12 liter fuel tank capacity, it is not difficult to travel 350 kilometers between refuelings. It also has traction control and two driving modes (ECO and Sport) with hardly any differences between them; In both, the scooter runs amazingly.
The chassis is a multi-tubular steel that, while the suspensions are entrusted to a telescopic fork with a 37 mm diameter and 109 mm travel with a double seatpost, something unusual and which gives the Zontes D350 an unusual solidity in the footprint. of the front axle. Behind it, there are two shock absorbers with 98 mm of travel with preload regulation – somewhat cumbersome. Chassis and suspensions provide that the distance between axles is 1,405 mm.
The front brake consists of a 268 mm diameter disc, clamped by a 4-piston J.Juan caliper. The rear brake is a caliper manufactured by Zontes, 266 mm in diameter and 1-piston caliper. The CST tires (Cheng Shin Tire) in sizes 120/70-15 and 140/70-14 are correct, but also susceptible to improvement in the first wheel change that the D350 faces. Softer tires would come in handy.
In terms of dimensions, the wheelbase is 1,405 mm, very far from the 1,565 mm of the E350 and which determines the differences in behavior between the two. The dry weight is 176 kg, almost 190 kg in running order. With the seat 760 mm from the ground, maneuvers while standing are not difficult, as is raising the motorcycle on the stand (it also has a kickstand).
The negative part is the cargo space, which only fits a helmet (not all full-face ones) and little else. There is a trunk as an option, which will be essential if you want to carry cargo. Heated grips and grips are also optional.
From there, the equipment is overwhelming. Adjustable levers, handbrake, two screens with electric adjustment, pneumatic piston in seat, keyless key, remote opening of seat and fuel cap, traction control, double USB socket, full LED lighting, temperature/pressure control of the tires backlit tires and cones, but out of pure necessity, because there is an overbooking of buttons and levers.
So many buttons have a positive counterpart and that is that navigating the TFT screen is easier than in the previous M310; It does not require much of a menu and submenus, as almost everything is in the pineapples. It may require some skill to choose between any of the four different information displays (Simple, Street, Casual and Race), each with day and night vision.
The Bluetooth connectivity is also not very easy to operate. Through it, it is possible to reproduce the screen of your mobile phone (Screen Mirroring), including maps, as long as it has been linked to the vehicle through the Zontes Carbit Ride App, but it requires that your mobile screen be on at all times, hence there are two USB sockets: you will need continuous charging on your mobile if you want to use your phone’s navigator on long journeys.
The phone must be housed in any of the glove compartments, whose entrance openings are half as wide as the covers that close them, a point to check. In the end, as with most motorcycles and scooters, it is more practical to have the cell phone attached to the rearview mirror or equivalent attachment system.
Test Zontes D350: How the Zontes D350 performs
As soon as you sit on the Zontes D350 you realize that it is a compact scooter. The handlebars are close and means riding with your back upright. Far from being a nuisance, it is a comfortable scooter, which is easy to reach the ground, thanks to the 760 mm seat height (I am 178 cm tall).
The feet have space longitudinally and behind the shield, too. A shield that does not protect 100% from the elements, as well as the sports screen that our test unit was equipped with, easily replaceable with a taller screen, also standard.
When starting, the smoothness and finesse of the engine surprises, but above all the thrust of the single-cylinder at all times. It is not a violent push, but rather a constant and controllable one, with the addition of having traction control, in case the surface is slippery. The top speed is above 150 km/h…
It is very easy to feel control, especially because of the tread of a front axle that it transmits at all times. This scooter contains some elements that should be mandatory on all scooters on the market. One of them is the double seatpost, which, together with the section and travel of the fork, provides a magnificent feeling of what happens under the front wheel, making you forget about the bending and twisting that abounds in economical scooters.
Another element that should be essential is tire pressure control, especially in vehicles for urban use such as the Zontes D 350 and which receive abuse in continuous use. The angled valves also stand out as necessary, turning into routine what is usually a nightmare, such as trying to fit a gas station inflator into the valve of small diameter wheels.
Likewise, there are gadgets that are not well resolved, such as Bluetooth connectivity or the keyless key, which are reluctant to work or be detected the first time. When the rush is urgent it is irritating, although it may be a specific failure of the testing unit. For the rest, the equipment of the Zontes D 350 is aimed at making your life easier. Also noteworthy is the handbrake, a mechanical system on the left lever (rear brake) that is most ingenious and useful and allows you to free your hands on a slope to, for example, look for the garage door opener.
In motion it is very easy to drive. The engine’s ability to accelerate and recover, to adapt to the speed of fast roads, competes with the ease of entering curves. It’s child’s play. Perhaps the suspensions can be accused of being firm, but not dry. The orientation is clearly sporty, unlike its cousin the E 350, in which the suspensions are on the soft side.
The result is complete confidence in the scooter’s dynamic capabilities, even allowing acceleration before the apex of curves. The brakes also convey confidence, although it is necessary to apply pressure to them to obtain effective braking. It won’t be a problem for anyone, because both levers are adjustable.
Passenger space is generous and the retractable footpegs are at a suitable height. The optional trunk can serve as a backrest for the occasional passenger, because although it comfortably accommodates a passenger, it is a sporty scooter. Its tires perform better than they appear, but I repeat that I would prefer a softer compound to enhance the dynamic qualities of the D 350.
In the city it is practically unbeatable. Few scooters will beat you in acceleration, none of its same displacement, with the addition that it is as short between axles as a 125 cc and has enough turning radius to make wriggling through traffic a child’s play, in which you will always you win