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For those who love the sound of the roaring engines!!

YAMAHA FZ16 Ride Report

fz16

Flash back to the 1980s—Yamaha,a renowned bike maker from Japan stormed the Indian two-wheeler market with the launch of the RD350cc lightweight performance bike..light weight 2 stroke 350cc engine churning out 30.5 horsepower at the rear wheel(Indian version) was a revelation to Indian bike enthusiasts…Uncontrolled power wheelies in the 1st and 2nd gears,a crazy top end speed in excess of 150kmph created a rage in the hormones of thousands of bikers….A new era of performance biking had just begun in india…It was followed by its sibling and relatively civilized Rx100-a 98cc 2 stroke wonder…this was followed by the RX135 and RXZ…..Stringent emission norms however led to the closure of its production….

And Yamaha had to revert to making small displacement 100cc 4 stroke commuters…but die-hard yamaha fans held on to their prized possession hoping for the revival of the bike maker in the indian market………

Back to 2008:-Carefully observing the growing Indian bike market and the demand for performance bikes and the rising sales figures of bikes like the Karizma and Pulsar range,Yamaha took the whole Indian two wheeler by storm with the launch of the YZF R15,a lightweight race track derived supersport bike complete with a full fairing and the latest technological advancements in the international market….what more could have a Yamaha fan expected …!!

But then a particular section of bikers who swear by the name of a naked bike were left disappointed….but did Yamaha dissapoint them???no way…..

Months after the launch of the R15 sportsbike,out came Yamaha with yet another stunning piece of its engineering—the FZ16 naked bike,a 153cc 14 PS mill doing its job in complete style and authority with its muscular body and stytlish appeal…..

fz

STYLING

The bike oozes style from every part….the main highlight of the bike is the muscular tank and the fat radial tyres….the beautifully designed outer muscular tank is actually made of plastic beneath which lies the actual 12 ltr fuel tank.However the most defining styling bit externally is the midship muffler which adds a lot of character to the bike’s appearance.Going against covention,Yamaha has provided a straight handlebar,quite unlike any other run-off the mill 150cc commuter but ergonomically its fantastic,though it takes a while getting used to it…this in turn helps in taking turns at slow speeds quite easily.The slightly upright seating position is spot on and proves to be a boon in city traffic..Yamaha has provided the FZ with an all digital speedo console along wid a digital tachometer also(first time in India)…Though it looks quite small and the quality of the plastics surrounding it left me unsatisfied and pointed at cost cutting techniques….Comfortable seats are complimented with 41mm front forks and a monocross suspension at the rear…..

Now a look at the rear…Very unconventional yet welcome design by Yamaha…..The company logo finds place on the tail piece which usually houses the tail lamp while the tail lamp is located along with the rear mudguard besides accommodating the license plate…..The tail lamp appeared small in size to me wich might not provide ample visibility for the bike to be spotted on dark foggy nights in the highways…..At first look it appears to be a mere reflector but it actually isn’t…..The tail light is reflected onto the Yamaha logo which makes it look good at night…The fat 140/60-17” low profile radial tyres at the back provide a lot of character to the bike and looks fantastic from rear….A 100/80-17”tyre does duty upfront.The air scoops,unlike those on other bikes,actually channel air more effectively towards the engine thereby helping it cool down more efficiently….The rear view mirrors however looked a bit awkward to me and didn’t quite gel with the bike’s overall design theme….The bike does away with any bikini fairing and instead adopts a single triangular shaped headlight,reminiscent of its elder brother,the FZ1..unlike the oder bikes in this segment,Yamaha has not provided the FZ wid any crash guard(not even optional) which leaves the handlebar and the dummy outer tank to take all the beating in case of a fall….At a height of 1045mm and a wheelbase of 1335mm this bike exudes style like no other in its competition…..Standard equipments include black alloy wheels,split grab handles,digital console,267mm front disc and a 130mm drum brake at the rear…..The front license plate though has been placed quite awkwardly which makes the headlamp look odd…..As I tested the bike during the day,I didn’t get the chance to test its illumination

yamaha-fz16-gbu

PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING

I got the bike to ride in two different terrains-on the dusty and potholed roads of the city and highway as well as the smooth surface of a well constructed highway…Swinging a leg over the bike,I got the feeling of sitting deep into the seat,a bit upright and perfectly positioned rear set footpegs…..Now the riding….Thumbing the electric start(no kick start),the engine settled into a low and smooth note giving me an indication of the refinement of the engine….The clutch felt light to use and the gearbox is one of the smoothest available on any bikes and felt a delight to shift…..The 153cc,two valve,SOHC engine churns out 13.8 bhp or 14 ps of max power at 7500 rpm and 13.6Nm of max torque at 6000rpm..This bike is factory tuned for a torquer low and mid range power sacrificing topend speed(which I couldnt test)….The engine provides ample torque to ride the bike at slow speeds and still pull away strongly in higher gears….I didn’t face any probs in twisting the throttle slightly and riding strongly in the available torque at low revs….As I mentioned earlier it’s a delight to handle this bike in traffic with its wide handlebars and good low end power delivery….The engine does its duty with minimal fuss without showing any signs of fatigue or vibrations at even high speeds…The creamy smooth engine is a delight and is a class apart….Refinement is top notch which results in a smoother power delivery…..The low end torque also endows the bike with an impressive 0-60 figures matching upto its nearest competitor,the apache and bettering sum of the other bikes..The meaty 41mm telescopic front forks and the huge monocross suspension at the rear absorbed all the potholes with aplomb without bottoming out even with a pillion…..The rear suspension though felt a bit stiff for my liking in solo city riding…Braking is provided by 267mm disc up front and a 130 mm drum at the rear which has ample feedback…..The brakes felt assuring to apply and helped to shed speed aptly….

Out on the highways now….The stretch in front of me had a mixture of relatively smooth roads with occasional potholes(in huge numbers and sizes) and the FZ was spot on in manouvering over them…The meaty tyres and the able chassis providing all the traction that I wished from them without any hint of skidding.Once on the open roads I opened up the throttle and the bike responded willingly to rev up..though the bike pulls quite strongly till about 6000rpm,anything further took time to accumulate …..All the while the sweet note from the stubby muffler managing to impress me…The midship muffler has a functional aspect apart from its visual appeal;it actually improves torque characteristics and helps in mass concentration(as claimed by Yamaha)..At high rpms the bike felt underpowered to me and took time in hitting the redline…But then this bike wasn’t made to ride on the race track,but provide ample power for comfortable city riding…..On the 10km ride on the highway,the FZ gripped the road very well and was assuringly very stable and never failed to put a smile on my face even around few corners.However I would say that this doesn’t mean you can take this bike out onto a track and exploit its cornering abilities.The fuelling appeared very linear through the BS26 carb…The bike held its line even on mud with a rider and pillion quite well….

Overall I would say that Yamaha has come out with a very nice package providing all the goodies and a superbly refined engine but some people like me feel that the bike deserves a more powerful engine to go with the overall image of the bike……Howver I found that the paint quality was not upto the mark in some places like the black alloy wheels which showed signs of peeling off within few days…..In addition one has to be careful as to not carry much speed riding over potholes because of the low profile tyres which transmit a lot of shocks to d alloys..

At 65,000/-(ex-showroom,all over India) the bike is priced slightly higher than other 150cc bikes but this bike proves its worth…..Given an option to select a handsome looking and decent performing 150cc segment bike,this bike wont dissapoint anyone…However it remains to be seen how the bike will fair after clocking few thousand kms of riding

FUEL EFFICIENCY:-All the while in a mixed ride comprising of city and highway rides,the FZ manages to deliver a fuel efficiency figure of around 40kmpl which is not the best among competition but not too bad either….

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:-

ENGINE:153cc,4-stroke,single cylinder,air cooled

COMPRESSION RATIO:-9.5:1

MAX POWER:13.8BHP @7500rpm

MAX TORQUE:13.6 Nm@6000rpm

GEAR:5-Speed constant mesh,1 down,4 up

BRAKES:267mm dia disc(front)

130mm drum(rear)

TYRES:100/80-17”(front)

140/60-17”(rear)

FUEL TANK CAPACITY:-12ltrs

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