Fake it ‘til you make it.
Established in 2013, Chinese motorcycle manufacturer Zeths specializes in 250cc V-twin cruisers. Now, in 2021, the brand is ready to compete with the big boys. It just unveiled a new 1,000cc powerplant that looks oddly reminiscent of the Indian Scout’s V-Twin. While the ZT1000’s unique castings, cylinders, heads, and crankshaft make the mill Zeths’ proprietary design, the Chinese marque certainly nipped a few ideas from its American counterparts.
The ZT1000’s 60-degree V-Twin architecture, DOHC valvetrain, and engine mount positions are identical to Indian’s engine. Internal specifications also mirror the entry-level Scout Sixty with a 93mm bore, 73.6mm stroke, and 11.0:1 compression ratio. The similar machinery results in similar power figures as well, with the ZT1000 producing 81 horsepower at 8000rpm and 66.4 lb-ft of torque at 5500rpm compared to the Scout Sixty’s 78 ponies at 7200rpm and 65.6 lb-ft at 5800rpm.
Gallery: Zeths ZT1000 Model Lineup
Zeths plans to power its upcoming Bobber, Chopper, and Tracker models with the new 1,000cc V-twin while outfitting its Touring rig with a bored-out 1,200cc version Though the bobber and chopper variants borrow from American custom culture, Zeths’ State Touring concept looks like a liquid-cooled Indian powerplant plopped into a Harley-Davidson Road Glide chassis. The upcoming Tracker also borrows liberally from Indian’s FTR. While Zeths’ interpretation employs a steel trellis frame as well, the frame design, trellis subframe, and clip-on handlebars set it apart from the source material.
We’ve seen numerous Chinese manufacturers recently adopt European styling and larger displacements for worldwide appeal. This isn’t the first time that Chinese brands have copied American V-twin technology and aesthetics, but it makes us wonder how Zeths plans to market the upcoming motorcycles. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if the ZT1000 makes it to European and North American shores, but for now, they sure look the part.