The second blow from Yamaha India came in the form of the newly launched FZ16. Varad More takes the FZ16 for a spin to see if she has what it takes to bring back the glory days of Yamaha
"Hey! It’s 6.00pm right now. Let's catch a movie at 6.45pm at Adlabs? Say what guys?" Heads nod in agreement. The dudes hop onto their motorcycles with the pretty-young-things as pillions and off they go. This is the generation, which demands something cool, hip and stylish. Every thing that they ever want has “Cool” as its USP – something that screams "Look at me!" And the Yamaha FZ16 delivers that in best possible way. My very first ride astride the FZ16 on the streets of Pune had me bathing in envious looks and enquiring stares.
Needless to say how much I enjoyed all that attention I got from the fellow commuters and passersby, including a lot of women (Guys are you listening?) – the FZ16 caught the fancy of everyone. Just like the YZF-R15, once again this is the design genius of Yamaha’s consultant firm GK Dynamics. They have played a pivotal role in styling and designing most of the Yamaha motorcycles for all these years. And the FZ16 only bares testimony to the fact as to why Yamaha hands over most of its projects to the Tokyo-based firm.
FZ16 wins the 'Looker Prize!'
The elegant yet sporty poi
se of the FZ16 is largely attributed to its muscular and curvy tank with the plastic shrouds. Use of fibre made it easier for Yamaha to craft those curves and edges while the metal fuel tank remains hidden inside the plastics giving the bike a very clean and neat look. The black strip in the centre of the plastic fuel tank shroud reminds one of the similar design cue seen earlier on the TVS Apache RTR – nonetheless, it adds a lot of spunk to the FZ’s naked appeal. Keeping in mind the importance of style on the FZ16, the centre panels too have been carefully designed to look as a pseudo-twin spar frame and they sync perfectly with the sharp and edgy tail panels.
The FZ16 spent almost six months in the Yamaha wind tunnel, so that the respective parts on the bike allowed maximum airflow onto the cylinder block and head. For example, the front wheel mudguard with its sharp curves steers the air toward the cylinder head, while the plastic shrouds below the tank, which carry the Yamaha logo with pride, have also been carefully designed to direct more air to the engine for improved cooling. Yamaha has worked hard, very hard, and the result is here for all to see.
Yamaha has done a brilliant job with the detailing on the FZ16 and it is clearly visible the way its headlight and the exhaust have been crafted. Placed at a low-down angle than seen on most Indian bikes, the headlight presents the FZ16 with an aggressive demeanour. The short and stubby exhaust is borrowed from Yamaha’s international FZ lineage and it successfully compliments the bike’s compact stance.
Makes you feel as buffed as the bike...
It really does. Swing a leg over the FZ16 and it will instantly trigger off the feel good factor. The wide flat handlebars, the macho tank, rearset pegs and low seat height together contribute to give the rider a very comfortable and stylish riding posture. Lack of a bikini fairing feels surprisingly nice and the unobstructed sight of what lies in your path, is pleasant for a change.
The stumpy rear view mirrors look good and are extremely functional. The FZ16 really begins to shine in the cityscape as she comfortably squeezes through tight spots maintaining its composure. The fully digital instrumentation upfront houses the usual tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge and the tell-tale lights. Though the orange backlit display looks uber-chic in the night, during the day the display lacks brightness and it is difficult to read the console.
Touching your heart
Open the throttle and the sweet sound emitted through the exhaust by the 153.0cc motor will instantly strum the strings of your heart with finesse of a musical maestro. The air-cooled single cylinder motor has a bore x stroke of 58.0 × 57.9mm translating into a long stroke configuration tuned for low-end and mid-range grunt. The engine has the conventional 2-valves head and it is fed by a 26mm Mikuni carburetor. The carburetor is equipped with Yamaha’s 3-position TPS (throttle position sensor), which works hand-in-hand with the advanced ignition system. The CDI has a 3-dimensional mapped control for more versatile power delivery to suit different riding conditions.
In terms of power and torque, the FZ16 doesn’t break any new grounds but it produces enough punch to make it one of the quickest bikes in its class. The 153cc powerplant makes 14PS of power at 7,500rpm and 13.6Nm of torque developed right from 6,000rpm. The FZ16 touches the 60km/h mark from a standstill in 5.6 seconds and continues to record a top whack of 112.34km/h. That’s respectful performance for a bike which is not aimed at the performance oriented bikers. However, the FZ’s true charm lies in roll-ons and that’s where the 13.6Nm of torque comes handy.
The gear ratios are sorted out to give the FZ a solid mid-range thrust and the bike takes 10.59 seconds in 4th gear to complete the 30-70km/h dash. Even while riding in 5th gear, the difference wasn’t much and it took 12.36 seconds for the FZ16 to do the same. The whole gear changing process is silk-smooth and one need not to keep dancing on the gear lever while dodging city traffic. The 5-speed transmission on the FZ16 is super-refined and it offers precise shifts even at higher revs.
Is she obedient?
In every sense of the word! Not only is the FZ16 a well-behaved bike, it is also extremely thrilling and fun-to-ride motorcycle on Indian streets. And just incase you get fed up with all the attention, a quick flick of the right wrist is all you will need to reach the state of solitude. Riding through the gaps in traffic and missing those potholes is very easy on the FZ16, thanks to the wide handlebars which allow the rider to give precise steering inputs. The engine is a stressed member and it is packaged inside a diamond type frame. The FZ16 boasts of largest in-class 41mm chunky front forks and they do a great job of keeping the front wheel planted and comfortably absorbing the mid-corner bumps.
The FZ16 is the third bike in India to utilize a monoshock rear suspension, which was introduced by Honda in the Unicorn and later by Yamaha on FZ’s elder sibling, the YZF-R15. The monoshock is mounted directly on the swingarm, unlike the one on the R15 which has a link-type mounting for the rear shock absorber. The meaty swingarm on the FZ16 coupled with its 17-inch alloy wheels and lightweight frame weighing 126kg dry, present the FZ16 spot-on handling characteristics.
Living with it
Since the time that we have got our FZ16 for the test, I have clocked more than 350km that includes city as well as highway use. For the first time the ride quality might feel a little stiff, but it will only need minor tweaks to the rear suspension to make it better than most bikes in its class. One thing that deserves the mention here is the quality of cycle parts, which is truly upto Yamaha’s international standard. Every single panel fits in perfectly leaving no scope for gaps or misaligned edges. The built is the best in its class and that is one big reason why the FZ16 appeals to the eye in one glance.
This is what determines the sales in our country for majority of the bikes in the 150cc segment. Looks come second. Followed by comfort and stability and last comes performance. In this order the FZ16 already takes full marks in the looks department. Another aspect where the FZ16 really scores is fuel efficiency. The FZ successfully strikes the perfect balance between performance and economy. Even with liberal use of the throttle, the FZ16 surprised us with an over all efficiency of 60.32kmpl. In the city she ran 58.33km on one litre of petrol while on the highway she did 66.32km on same quantum of fuel.
Now that makes theFZ16 a good buy even at a slightly higher price-point than its competition, for you get the best looking motorcycle with adequate performance and outstanding economy at Rs. 73,480 OTR Pune. Yes, it does sound a little expensive for its segment, but if you factor in the complete package and superb built quality on the FZ, it is a good bargain. Leave alone the compliments and all the attention that you will draw while riding it. We are glad that Yamaha has delivered yet another product that has further raised the stakes in this class. Welcome back Yamaha!