Yamaha FZ X could be a confusing product for many, read on and you might as well get your answers
Words: Neeraj Padmakumar Photography: Sarath S
It was quite recently that Yamaha launched the FZ X in India. It could be a confusing motorcycle for many on multiple grounds. Essentially built on the outgoing BS6 Yamaha FZ, this motorcycle can be quite polarising. Here are a few key questions on the FZ X answered…
Yamaha FZ X Vs Yamaha XSR 155: Busting The Myth
This could probably be the most popular narrative around this motorcycle. The entire Indian Motorcycle enthusiast fraternity had been waiting for the manufacturer to launch the Yamaha XSR 155 in the country. The XSR 155 being a neo-retro motorcycle based on the R15 platform, does go hand in hand with the rising demand for the genre here.
However, what finally we got was another (reportedly) neo-retro motorcycle-the FZ X! The FZ-X is in a word, polarising in nature. It has multiple things in it which could evoke a difference in opinion from neo-retro lovers. What then, is the logic behind this product?
The R15 is essentially a premium product compared to the FZ 150. It is underpinned by a considerably more advanced chassis than the FZ and thus has a notable upper hand in performance. The other side to this is that the R15’s mechanicals require significant increases in manufacturing and input costs over the FZ. In the Indian context, it is mostly the FZ family that sells more numbers than the R15. Thus, building an affordable retro-motorcycle on the FZ could be a much safer game than bringing the XSR 155 in, with a premium price tag. Though the motorcycle has a few areas where you get to see desperate attempts to draw connections with the XSR, it clearly stands nowhere near one on multiple grounds including the performance! This is a totally different motorcycle altogether. Myth busted!
The most controversial thing about this bike would probably be its design. The FZ-X has more or less a ‘love it or hate it’ design. It looks evidently different from the regular FZ, despite sharing the same mechanicals. The motorcycle appears to be slightly larger than the regular FZ, apparently due to the sculpted fuel tank and raised seat height.
The FZ-X has evenly spread retro and modern touches in the overall design. The front end might look a bit awkward with the ‘almost weird’ headlamp design. The LED headlamp cluster comprises an LED projector-beam and a 3-piece LED DRL. This design strikes a stark contrast to the rest of the motorcycle design, by appearing to be a tad too modern. I personally think the size of this cluster to be reasonably small, going by the overall dimensions of the motorcycle and its design. There are no big complaints in terms of the actual functionality. The beam intensity is decent and there is ample throw as well.
The other key design highlights at the front include a stylish front fender with prominent Satin Silver inserts and gaiters on the front forks. The side profile instantly flaunts the raised saddle height (810 mm). The overall side view is quite reassuring. The tear-drop-shaped fuel tank appears to be notably larger than the FZ’s, but in fact, stands lower in terms of the actual capacity (10 litres vs FZ’s 13L!) It gets a stylish Black applique on top as well. Other notable highlights include fake radiator shrouds ( the motorcycle gets no radiator at all!) and sump guards. The exhaust design also differs from the one on the regular FZ. The single-piece grab rail at the rear looks odd, aesthetically underwhelming, and thoroughly out of place! The FZ-X rides on 17-inch alloy wheels shod with block pattern tyres. This, along with the overall design will evoke the image of a neo-retro scrambler.'
The seat gets magnificent upholstery and has a ribbed structure. It is very comfortable, probably the most comfortable in its class. Essentially a single-piece unit, it has the rider and the pillion seated at two different levels, a nice touch! The rear design is decent. There are a neat LED tail lamp, tyre hugger etc in place. The overall tail design is quite streamlined.
Quickie: Of the 3 colour options on offer, I feel Blue to be the most striking.
Yamaha FZ-X has all-digital instrumentation. The screen, however, does not come straight from the regular FZ. It gets a speedometer, tachometer, two trip meters, fuel levels, and a digital clock ( one that ended up confusing us quite a while with its font and layout). There is, however, no gear position indicator on offer. The display quality is decent but visibility in hard sunlight is sub-par. It is in the night that we get to see this cluster in its full glory. The backlit negative display looks classy during the night.
The top-spec variant gets Bluetooth-based smartphone connectivity as well. The motorcycle will pair with the Yamaha Y-Connect Bluetooth app, and provide a host of information like fuel consumption, maintenance recommendation, and more. You would have to pay an additional Rs 3000 for this variant. There is, however, no turn-by-turn navigation on offer.
There is also a 12V charging socket near the cluster. This, by the way, is no USB port. You need an adapter to get things done, which is quite fine in most cases. The overall plastic quality and fit are decent.
Mechanicals: Engine, Platform And Transmission
The FZ-X has the same mechanicals as the regular FZ family. It is underpinned by the same platform, but gets minor tweaks in the rear swingarm. The powerhouse here is the same 149cc, air-cooled two-valve engine producing 12.4 hp (hardly 0.4 hp more than a Bajaj NS125!) and 13.3 Nm. This, if you might notice, is in keeping with Yamaha’s recent ‘tradition’ of having the engine outputs droop, even as the overall sizes rise. The FZ-X without argument, is the least powerful in the 150 cc space. The 5-speed gearbox feels quite smooth and refined in shifts. The motorcycle gets disk brakes for both the wheels (270mm at front 220 mm at the rear) along with a single-channel ABS.
A piece of muse would be the exhaust note. Yamaha has given a deeper tailpipe soundtrack on the FZ-X. It sounds deep while idling and at low revs, but gains the familiar flat note when revved hard. It would be of no wonder if one draws auditory connections with the Honda Hness or the CB350 RS.
How Does It Ride?
Yamaha FZ-X, to be frank, is no enthusiast machine! It is not the fastest or the sportiest machine in its class. No, I don’t intend to say that it is awful to ride one either. The FZ-X behaves more or less like an urban commuter in overall performance and handling. I could clock up to 105 kph, but the motor seemed to be strained above 80 kph. I would personally recommend 70-75 kph as the most comfortable cruising speeds for the FZ-X. The gearbox is quite precise and smooth with its shifts. You would, however, need to play with it for quick overtakes or in other similar torque-hungry scenarios.
The plus side here is the overall ergonomics. The rider sits quite upright and is much in control of the vehicle. The seat is supportive and comfortable and the footpegs forward-set. At 810mm, the seat height is quite high but should not be a problem for the average Indian. Another thing you would appreciate is the overall weight of the motorcycle. At 139 kilograms, the FZ X is still on the lighter side in its class. This benefits the rider greatly during his ride. However, when pitted against the regular FZ, the FZ X is around 4 kilos heavier, owing to the few additional metallic components used (The headlamp brackets, front mudguard, etc are all made of metal)
The overall handling is decent. The chassis feels balanced and composed. It is, however, not the sharpest or the most confidence-inspiring around corners. The FZ-X gets MRF’s block pattern tyres on both wheels. While these dual-purpose rubber could instantly give you the impression of this motorcycle being off-road friendly, it might not always be the case. More on that in a while. These tyres offer good grip in most dry slippery conditions, but might not be the best on wet, slippery surfaces. The springs on the FZ-X are slightly on the firmer side, but the overall ride quality is on par with the standard FZ.
Though we don’t have the exact figures yet, the FZ X is as fuel-efficient as the BS6 FZ 150. The overall braking performance is decent even though the brakes might feel to offer softer bites.
Can It Go Off-Roads?
Going by the visual implications of its design, it is obvious for someone to confuse the FZ X for a retro scrambler. The 17-inch wheels with their block pattern tyres would only add to this inference. However, things change the moment you take this motorcycle to terrains. As it borrows the regular FZ’s chassis with nominal changes gone into the suspension, the actual capability remains identical as well. With no additional travel to the shocks and zero changes to the ground clearance, the FZ-X can tackle just those terrains which the regular FZ 150 would feel like home on. However, the block pattern tyres do improve the overall traction on loose surfaces like gravel or shallow dirt.
Price And Variants
There are two different variants to the FZ-X- the Standard priced at Rs 1.17 lakh and the Bluetooth-equipped variant at 1.20 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). This is in fact, a good Rs 11,000 more than the regular FZ.
Verdict: Who Should Buy One And Why?
Yamaha FZ-X might not be the sportiest or the fastest motorcycle in its class. But it has a character. Consider the ‘X’ in its name to signify ‘X-Factor’. This motorcycle has it in abundance. Go out with it and you would turn multiple heads wherever you go. It is this ‘x-factor’ that you are putting your money on. If you want to own a motorcycle that would give you an instant recognition in a crowd, one that looks good and ‘premium’ (at least to some), something which not every random guy out there owns, this is the one for you!
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