xBhp rides the recently launched Yamaha FZ-s Fi and finds out if it is an upgrade to the older model.
Text: Avinash Noronha (The Monk)
Photos: Sunil Gupta (sunilg) and Ashish Guliani (orange)
The Yamaha FZ had taken Generation Y’s imagination by storm when it was first launched in India in 2008. With its aggressive street naked styling, fat rear tyre and a fatter fuel tank, the bike raised the bar for other manufacturers to follow. Added to it was the Yamaha build quality, and the company had a winner on its hands. After many minor visual updates over the past 6 years, the Japanese manufacturer has finally answered the fervent prayers of its fans and brought out a revamped bike to once again make a splash in the Indian market. Is the new bike worth being called an upgrade? Let’s find out!
The bike looked great in its original avatar and Yamaha has been smart in not making too many changes. It maintains its trademark aggressive looks, but adds a touch of finesse to the package. The front of the bike gets a facelift with a new sharper headlight dome, and that is just the start of the sharpness! The console is now a clean meter with none of the ‘videogamish’ colours on it. All the information that one wants is clearly visible even in bright sunlight on the all-digital display. The new addition is an ‘Eco’ meter which lets you know when you are riding in the economy range of the bike - a useful feature for those who use this motorcycle to commute. The switches and plastic quality is as expected from Yamaha, though the RVMs do stand out as a trifle cheap in comparison to the rest of the build and also in terms of aesthetics. The tank, tailpiece, taillight and grab rail have all been given the edgy treatment and do add to the visual appeal of the bike. The differences are not drastic, but do add a youthful touch to the V2.0. Some people might find the rear tyre hugger to be very drab as it hides the rear tyre and robs a bit of the macho attitude of the motorcycle. The all new split seats on the other hand are a welcome change in the looks department and give the bike a more purposeful look as compared to its predecessor.
The very neat and clear Instrument Cluster
But the real update to the motorcycle lies under the tank in the form of the Blue Core Technology being used in the bike. The Blue Core technology is not so much a new technology as a different outlook towards design. Yamaha, like other manufacturers, have understood that in this category of motorcycles, fuel efficiency will always be a factor. And this is the underlying focus right from the R&D stage itself. Where the engine is designed not just for maximum power, but also towards improving efficiency and reducing emissions. And to this end, Yamaha have succeeded by increasing efficiency by a claimed 14% and bringing down CO2 emissions by 29% as well as reducing the engine weight by around 1.5 kg. Impressive things which are not immediately apparent. Instead of the carburettor, the new FZ now runs on fuel injection. It has made the throttle response on the motorcycle far better. The power is delivered smoothly across the rev range and one does not feel any sudden surge of power or flat spots when accelerating. Hidden in this upgrade is a development that people normally do not expect in an upgrade - a drop in power! Yes, the V2.0 gets a marginally smaller engine down to 149cc from the earlier 153cc engine, with a drop in power by 1Ps. On paper, this sounds bad, but in real world conditions you just won’t notice, thanks to the smoother power delivery and the fantastic chassis that the company has designed. In fact both these things go a long way in making the FZ V 2.0 a better package to navigate through the crowded urban traffic, where this motorcycle will find itself most of the time. Yamaha also claims that the motorcycle will be 14% more fuel efficient compared to its previous iteration - a good move indeed in a ‘mileage’ sensitive market where fuel prices are increasing on a daily basis. The youngsters, for whom fuel efficiency is a major deciding factor, will now find it even harder to ignore the FZ.
The extremely well sorted out Yamaha engine
The ride quality of the FZ-s V2.0 is excellent and leaves the rider more than just satisfied. The bike is balanced perfectly and with the new diamond frame and now Fi engine, the bike can be turned on a dime. The V2.0 also sheds some 3 kg to make it an even sweeter proposition. The bike handles like a dream and is a complete point and shoot package, never giving the rider anything to fret about. The tyres from MRF do a wonderful job in the dry and stick to the tarmac under hard braking as well as some spirited cornering. And we also had the chance to take it out for a spin in the dirt and the tyres held their own along with the plush suspension giving a composed feeling when bumping around in the mud. The flip side is the rear drum brake; we did hope to see the V2.0 sport a disc at the rear and are a tad disappointed, though this would of course increase costs. The split seats are broad, soft yet firm and give both the rider and pillion a reason to be happy, at least on short city rides. Whether it is flicking the bike through traffic or taking corners too enthusiastically, the bike feels sure footed at all times and reminds you that it is a true blue Yamaha! The slightly shorter overall length and wheelbase of the bike helps in change of direction, though it does not take anything away from its straight line stability.
Riding posture of the FZ-S Fi is extremely comfortable even for a tall rider
The bike's neutral handling is a boon off tarmac
The lil red thing that helps you ignore the numerous potholes that dot our roads
Drum Brakes were effective, but no disc brake is a disappointment
The front brake gives good feedback even while braking hard
The pillion seat is extremely comfortable, even though it is a split seat
Version 2.0 a big improvement
Good quality switch gear
Is the FZ-s V2.0 a real upgrade over the original? Well we do think so. The revamped Blue Core engine, the Fi, new lighter frame, stickier MRF tyres and fresh styling make it a worthwhile upgrade. What makes it an even better deal is that this bike would cost only around five thousand more than its predecessor. Well worth the extra dough you have to shell out. The motorcycle is available in 4 new colours – Astral Blue, Moonwalk White, Cyber Green and Molten Orange. Though how will the Yamaha fans react to the reduced power and engine capacity is yet to be seen.
The muscular Tank
The rear tyre hugger could have been designed better
Tech Specs -