Yamaha Ray: First Ride
With the launch of the new Ray, Yamaha hasn't merely filled up a few blank spaces in its two wheeler arsenal for the Indian market, but rather engineered a product that despite its primary motive of catering to the country's growing female rider population, should immediately see mass appeal. On a recent test ride in Hyderabad, Rahul Basu got thinking while craftily circling cones on this purple pastel scooter
It closely resembles the most dashing looking moto scooter on sale in the market today, and yet it seeks to satisfy a very different kind of customer. Call it plain old chivalry or clever product strategy Yamaha India has created what it is convinced will be a new ‘Ray’ of hope for enthusiastic female scooter riders in the country.
Priced at Rs 46,000 (ex-showroom Delhi) the country’s first ever scooter offering from Team Yamaha, namely the Ray is here to squeeze itself into a two wheeler category which isn’t just expanding heavily in sales and volume, but is simultaneously maturing across verticals, be it design, overall efficiency or just clean and simple practical motoring.
However, given the direction that Yamaha has taken with regards to conceiving the Ray and perfecting it for production in the months that followed the unveiling of the first concept at the AutoExpo in January this year, it must be said that the final outcome is a noteworthy one.
Design: Fairer Sex Flavour
For those who have already begun comparing this new face with the current generation Honda Dio it’s seriously time to stop. Yamaha may be among the late comers in the Indian scooter segment, but isn’t exactly new to the small moped/scooter business globally and a quick glance at its Mio Ultimo and the likes family of commuters selling across Southeast Asia for almost a decade now will better explain the inspiration behind the V-shaped headlights that we absolutely adore on the new Yamaha Ray.
Unlike larger-bodied scooter models now present in significant numbers, the Ray settled for a rather leaner and well sculpted body frame (1835x675x1075mm) that isn’t necessarily feminine in its overall demeanour.
The rider display is lavishly laid with a bright white speedometer dominating the central part of the triangular shaped console flanked on either side by turn indicators and the high beam signal lamp. The fuel gauge finds room in a much smaller reverse triangle below the main display.
Elbow deep cubby holes make up the front dash, while a 15.5 litre under seat storage area comfortably fits a regular sized helmet. A highlight feature for me on this bike were the compact leg shields that offer protection to the rider’s feet in the advent of an unsavoury fender bender.
The Purple-pastel dual-tone version we rode might have more feminine appeal, but there are five other even cooler shades to pick from. We found the Blue-gray two-tone job rather dashing and this will likely be the shade of choice for strapping young lads, but the classy Burgundy Bliss was my personal favourite.
In fact, the matte-gray (or matte-black in half the colour options) lower panel contrasts beautifully with the high-quality gloss finish of the primary body panels, and really does deserve a special mention. That apart, the inclusion of a telescopic front suspension, sizeable grab bars and a hip stopper for pillion riders, not to mention the rather unconventional yet stylish tail lamp assembly with clear-lens indicators are all very neat touches to this very female focused scooter architecture. Can’t think of a good reason why their male counterparts would desire to settle for anything lesser.
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