Yamaha Motorcycle India seems to be making all the right moves in shifting focus from being a commuter bike manufacturer (in India) to building sporty motorcycles targeted at biking aficionados. The company first revealed its bold new product game plan when it simultaneously launched the hyper YZF-R1 and macho MT-01 around end-2007 and then rolled out the YZF-R15 early this year. In November 2008, bang in the middle of the festive season, it launched the muscular FZ-16. Is the latest Yam a real-world firecracker with fizz? AutoCar (Dec.’08) took a gruelling road test to find out…
The rugged and naked 153cc FZ-16 is an eyeball turner and borrows handsome lines from its litre-class sibling, the FZ-1. As common on Indian bikes today, there is a liberal dose of black on the slimspoke alloys rims, engine, frame and silencer, all of it to good effect. The FZ-16 lends body to its single downtube frame with a clever pseudo radiator cowl, complete with vents that scoop air to the hot engine and spark plug region. Above this lies a conical halogen headlight with a dazzling, well-spread beam and a city light set in the chin. However, the front number-plate seems like an afterthought and is a definite scar on such a handsome machine feels AutoCar (Dec. ’08).
This bike which does not have a kickstarter, thumbs to life with just a short stab of its button starter. The rider benefits from an engine-kill switch as well as a set of smart handlebar ends. The flat, wide handlebar comes directly clamped to a steering brace and houses all-inclusive switches, dogleg levers, conventional mirrors and palm grips that offer good feel. The FZ-16 has a huge resin-fabricated tank. Placed above the actual fuel bay, this bi-colour unit houses a brushed finish round filler and offers knee recesses that easily accommodate even a tall rider’s thighs. The bike comes with alloy footrests, drilled foot protectors for the rider and a spilt grab bar. Much of its muscular demeanor stems from its massive tyres, the rear sitting under a neat hugger flanked by an exposed O’ring sealed drive-chain. And the latest Yamaha sports a stubby silencer. So, the FZ-16 is built with excellent attention to detail and flawless build quality that we have often lauded on Yamaha models in India.
Although the FZ isn’t the fastest in its segment, its forte lies in the carefree manner in which power is delivered, making it a joy to ride in the city. It uses a new four-stroke, air-cooled and 153cc Yamaha engine that deploys two valves and is fed by a Mikuni CV-type carburetor. This engine has large cooling fins on its sides, as well as the lower sump area. Ignition is three-dimensional and considers throttle position – thanks to a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) – before deciding on the spark strength to be supplied to the combustion chamber.
The FZ-16 comes with a precise shifting, one-down, four-up gearbox that operates via an adjustable toe-shift lever. This slick-shifting gearbox uses perfectly spaced ratios and comes supported by a light and city friendly progressive clutch. The Yamaha has a punchy exhaust note and develops 14bhp at 7500rpm. It musters an above-average 1,42kgm of torque at 6000rpm, which helps it deliver strong low and mid-range power that tapers off at higher rpm, but is enough to make this a great tool to carve through city traffic.
The FZ-16 managed to accelerate past 60kph in 5.59sec, on its way to a respectable true top whack of 109kph says AutoCar (Dec. ’08). It also posted impressive in-gear acceleration imes as can be gauged from the 4.87sec it took to run between 60-80kph in fifth. The bike is good enough for 41.4kpl in the city with a healthier 46.8kpl possible on the highway.
This Yamaha 150 is ideally suited to stress free city carving, feels AutoCar (Dec. ’08), thanks to that wide handlebar and is just as good a motorcycle to munch miles on while riding fast on highway excursions. Ride quality is near perfect, set slightly towards the firm side and can easily be adjusted seven steps on the rear shock absorber by a rider wanting a plusher ride. Yamaha also gets its ergonomics spot-on and a few Indian bikes offer as comfortable and well sorted a riding stance that is neither too sporty, nor too upright. The FZ’s low riding saddle feels soft but makes up for that by being really wide ad perfectly shaped.
Among the FZ-16’s best parts are the massive, new compound and tubeless MRF footwear; the rear 140/60x17 inch radial is easily the fattest on an Indian 150cc. Enourmous traction and a stable feel are available all the time, with the rear tyre sometimes emitting a unique rumble which is audible at low speeds.
Handling is rock steady in a straight line, precise, ever forgiving and with turn always light. The FZ stitches up corners with little effort, tight or high speed and no matter how bad the tarmac may be. Braking quality is of a high note too and rider confidence is enhanced by the large diameter 267mm front disc and rear drum units.
Thus the FZ-16 is a class act from Yamaha with the refined 150cc bike simply blowing away the competition. It looks awesome, comes with a high standard of fit anf finish, generous specifications and rock solid build quality. It uses a delightfully punchy engine, near-perfect gearbox and allows riders to esily harness its potential thanks to a superb riding posture, high grade tyres and forceful brakes.
The FZ-16 certainly isn’t as frugal as some 150’s, but its outstanding virtues clearly make up for this. It is unquestionably the most sensible 1500c bike to buy today. Sums up AutoCar (Dec. ’08), the latest Yamaha is a quantum leap ahead and easily eclipses the current crop of Indian 150cc motorcycles.
At a Glance
List Price: Rs. 65,000 (ex-showroom, India), Top Speed: 109kph,
0-60kph: 5.59sec, Kpl(overall): 44.1kpl,
Economy: City – 41.4kpl, Highway – 46.8kpl, Overall – 44.1kpl, Tank size – 12 litres
For: Rugged style, forgiving handling, Against: Tachometer difficult to read on the fly, front number-plate location seems an afterthought