Yamaha FZ16 First Impressions

153CC 13.8BHP 14NM

The Lord?

Text and Photos: Sunny/ Sundeep Gajjar

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When someone has the guts to call himself the’ lord of something’, it definitely must be his previous night’s hangover or he could be really talking about his newfound superpowers which may well have been the result of some freak laboratory nuclear explosion or a mutant-spider’s bite.

So when Yamaha launched this bike in Goa on the 15th of September 2008, they tagged it ‘The Lord of the Streets’. The poor mute machine could not argue about the imposed tag. But wait, was there anything to argue after all?

In my opinion, there just wasn’t any room for an argument.

First looks

One look at the images of the striking orange FZ launched in Goa, and I thought “This is one handsome looking bike, one which I must have.” Earlier to this, I was subjected to this reflex thought only for the 2008 Honda Fireblade, Yamaha MT01 and the Honda CB1000R.

I feel that this is one bike which looks perfect from all angles, something which no other Indian two-wheeler had managed to achieve so far. So what if they had to Xerox the fantastic actual FZ power-bikes and scale them down for India? That makes a lot of business sense and displays market logic.

The once abandoned Yamaha showrooms have started getting horsed of youth traffic, the salesmen are back on their feet again and have a sincere reason again to comb, shave and brush their teeth before they reach the counters daily.

For a true Yamaha fan this is how the stable would look: Yamaha RX100, Yamaha RD350, Yamaha R15, Yamaha FZ16, Yamaha R1 and Yamaha MT-01 – and make that all black for me please, and oh yes, you can buy all the bikes within India – legally. Fantastic, really!

Of course that is where the comparison ends in the above mentioned motorcycles. The FZ16 is not a powerhouse, but a premium executive-commuter-streetfighter, which makes it even more incredible for me. I having trouble accepting that people will buy this bike in hordes just to commute to the office or get vegetables on it. But the very same bike can be used in the umpteen B-grade adverts and Tv soap operas as the chariot of the good looking college chocolate-hero making passes at girls or the spoilt rich brat with a expensive bike respectively.

All the above made possible by the lethal combination of the incredible muscular styling and the spot on price tag.

My only grouse? Why wasn’t it there when I was in college? Why did I have to ride skinny bikes with an engine that couldn’t even pull a small cat out of the well. Darn!

With the Honda Stunner and now the FZ16, things are at all time high for the impressionable young male. Lots of options to impress the damsels with. This means lots of sales, and this would in turn mean better bikes for all of us as the Japanese giants pump in more money into this sector. We are in a win-win situation at last.

I am also pretty sure the FZ16 would be a corner carver, a bike which I would as much love to take to the mountains and as just sit and admire its great looks.

But then why won’t I?

It may have the ‘FZ’ in it’s name, but ultimately it is just another 150CC bike, something which wont seal the deal for a person like me, who has been biking on a few performance machines which have more than just the name in their DNA. Had the mill been producing even 17PS, the same as my Karizma (which again is not a performance machine, but a compromise that we all have had to make, albeit a good one), I would have dumped the Hero Honda and gone for the FZ. But sadly, that is not the case.

However, the fact remains that everytime I see this bike at a red light, at a parking, or laden with a family of four, I will have a slight twitch in my heart with a wish to own it, then I will have a slight twitch in the right wrist and make it a blur in my rear view mirror so as to shorten this agony and reclaim the validity of my decision of waiting for tad more for the perfect bike which not only looks like a Greek god but performs equally well at the Olympics.

Yamaha has built themselves a solid base on which they now cannot afford to be complacent. The passion has been rediscovered and hopes refilled with premium quality Helium. They can’t afford to be complacent now, and I am sure they won’t be.

The next version I expect in the FZ series is the 250CC engine which this bike had, but surprisingly isn’t launched even till now:

Love: The naked styling, FZ brandage, generous rubber, price tag
Hate: Power, but not really considering the target market
Did not understand: Why it was named FZ16 and not the FZ15.
Best Color: Orange
First modification to be done post buying: Loose that damned saree-guard! Thank you.
Perfect Track Day companion: Yamaha R15
Perfect Touring Companion: Comet Gt250 or the Karizma
Perfect Power riding companion: Yamaha MT01]
Next Logical Upgrade in the bike: Fi, projector lamp

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The Console is the most radical thus far on any bike. The RTR Fi console looks as good as this one, if not better.
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The switchgear looks and feels standard. I don't know if it is backlight at night like the P220, but that would really add to the overall quality and feel.

Headlight and frontal

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The rear 140 looks good and should aid wet cornering, but it will put many a Karol Bagh modification shops out business.

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The black treatment looks good and makes the bike look bulkier.

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Monoshock : Thumbs Up!,
No chain cover: Thumbs Up!
Saree Guard: Thumbs Down!

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The stubby and meaty exhaust does not really lend the bike a husky note but it sure does the job in the looks department. The midship also lends the better a better center of gravity which should result in better handling of the bike.

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Arguably the most proportionate looking motorcycle available in the Indian market.

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Rear grab rails look functional and good.

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Monocross suspension, we know it is there!

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Plastic it may be, but it sure gives a lot of character to the bike. Most welcome in the skinny motorcycles Indian market! Now instead of that 12 only litres fuel tank underneath, if we had a huge airfilter, alright, its not a fz6…

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Specifications:

Engine type: Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 2-valve

Displacement: 153.0cm3

Bore & Stroke: 58.0 × 57.9mm

Compression ratio: 9.5:1

Maximum output: 14PS / 7500 rpm

Maximum torque: 14 N.m / 6000 rpm

Starting method: Electric starter

Lubrication Type: Wet sump

Carburettor Type: BS26

Clutch type: Constant mesh wet multiplate

Ignition type : CDI

Transmission type : Return type 5-speed

Chassis: Diamond Frame

Suspension (front/rear): Telescopic / Monocross

Wheelbase: 1,335mm

Brake type (front/rear): Hydraulic single disc / drum

Tire size (front/rear): 100/80-17 / 140/60-R17

Length × Width × Height: 1,975mm × 770mm × 1,045mm

Seat height: 790mm

Wheelbase: 1,335mm

Minimum ground clearance: 160mm

Dry weight/Curb weight: 126 kg / 137 kg

Fuel tank volume: 12 liters

Engine oil volume: 1.2 liters

tags
FZ16
Yamaha
Yamaha FZ16

Yamaha YZF R15: First Impression

149.8CC 16.8BHP 15NM

Text: Gourab Das/ MG

Photos: Sundeep Gajjar/ Sunny

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I already had the first glimpse of Yamaha R15 back in the month of January during Auto Expo 2008. But I never had the opportunity that time to look into the smaller details of the bike. It’s only after Ayush (One of the first customers of R-1-5 in Delhi) had given us the opportunity for a photoshoot that I came so close to the bike.

Looks: I already had an initial impression of the bike as I had seen it sometimes back. My first reaction remained unchanged this time around also. When Yamaha had thought so much about the bike and this is the most important launch for them in years why they have compromised with the final looks? The bike looks a bit disproportionate. I’m not only talking about the rear but the complete bike as a package. The perfect lines which start from the front seem to get lost somewhere in the middle. In an effort to keep a balance between Supersport and the normal Indian buyer they compromised with the overall looks. When the FZ is coming out in near future Yamaha should have gone all out with this product. That said the bike looks absolutely superb from the front or when the bike approaches towards you.
Switchgear quality is average and I would have loved to see better switchgear for a product which costs 1lakh. The rearview mirrors are pretty well built and are very useful. The light looks good but need to check their usability in the night.

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The console is neatly done and looks imposing. The panel looks nice from a distance but a closer look at some of the points gives you the feeling that the job could have been better.

Riding Position and Stance: I rode the bike for 5 minutes in a very bumpy surrounding. The riding position is sportier than a P220 and P200 but less sporty than Apache RTR. All concerns about tall riders facing problem can now rest as I found the seating perfect for me. For the record I’m 5’11”.
Power Delivery: I easily felt there is very little power at lower R.P.M which is like any other Supersport so no complaints on that front. But it will be interesting to see how the bike fares in stop-go traffic as most of the buyers will use the bike for a daily commute.

Right now I won’t comment on any other important aspects of the bike and I’m looking forward to have a proper test ride of the bike so as to have a complete idea about the bike.

So did this bike set my pulse racing and its worthy of saying “WOW” as Yamaha promised us on the R1 launch. I would say no and will give it a 3/5 for looks and first impression. I though always judge a bike through its performance so I would reserve my final verdict. And yes I’m looking forward to FZ16.

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First Impression: TVS Apache RTR FI 160

159.7CC 15.7BHP 13.1NM

Text: Gourab Das/ MG

Photos: Sundeep Gajjar/ Sunny and Gourab Das/ MG

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Engine and Performance:

One of the problems that the earlier generation Apaches and to an extent the RTR is the engine roughness. The performance was never a problem. With the addition of Fuel Injection that problem seems to have gone out of the window. The power delivery is very smooth and the throttle response is very crisp. The gearbox too is precise with positive shifts every time you tap the lever. The first gear is a bit weak and you don’t feel the true potential of the 150.7cc mill. It’s only when you slot into second gear that the RTR FI starts to show its true colors. Once past 5k r.p.m it accelerates with authority. Shifting while in the power band, I began to feel at home and was excited enough not to resist the urge to go faster and faster. That said if you shifts the gear in lower r.p.m’s then you feel a tremendous loss in power and it takes quite a while to hit the power band again. So correct shifting is the key if you are riding the bike in day to day traffic. But personally I don’t have any complaints about the character of the bike.

TVS says: The bike was not properly run-in and maybe the tuning was not correct and hence the loss of power in lower gears. You won’t feel the loss of power once the run-in is completed.
Some rough figures which I tested:

1st gear- Didn’t want to rev the bike too much
2nd gear- 70 at 10K r.p.m
3rd gear- 92 at 10k r.p.m
4th gear- 104 at 10k r.p.m
5th gear- Tested only till 116 but I got feeling that it will touch close to 130.
**All the above speeds are speedo indicated.

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Ride and Handling:

A look at the weather and the overall surrounding and I knew that I won’t be able to push the bike on the corners which is the main forte of this bike. It has been raining pretty consistently from the past couple of days. That said I tried to give my 100% during the test ride.
To provide that racing intent Apache RTR FI has that perfect seating position, courtesy the clip-ons and perfectly positioned rear sets. You have the option to select between two seating modes based upon your requirement to ride on road or race at the track. Also, it gives an option to people of various heights to adjust.
Apache’s compact geometry and 17-inch front tyre make for quicker turn-ins in a series of corners but it is far more enjoyable on tight corners. But in city traffic, I found it a little bit cumbersome to steer at high speeds.
I’m on a bit taller side and I felt the bike to be a bit cramped especially when trying to get behind the bike for that special moment when you try to attack the corner very hard. People with height up to 5ft10inch will enjoy the bike more than the taller guys.

TVS says: Most of our test riders fall in the category of 5ft10 inch to 6ft2inch and they didn’t face any such problem. That’s the beauty of those two seating positions which a lot of option to two different dimension of people. It has more to do with spending more time with the bike.
Could be yes.

The ride is a bit on the stiffer side bit I have no complaints as I always prefer a stiffer setting than a softer set-up. The gas charged shocks responds quicker to surface inconsistencies and also dissipates rebound damping energy thereby completely eliminating the bouncy aspect. But for longer hours of riding on a not so smooth road the back will take a bit of beating.

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Chassis and Suspension

TVS says: We take extreme pride in our chassis and suspension development which is typically suited for both track and road conditions. The project engineers did extensive research in fine tuning the suspension and worked on the chassis to keep the balance and that’s why we feels proud in saying that this is a track tool.

Braking Performance:

Petal discs not only look cools but perform pretty well. Front disc brakes are very sharp and there is a sense of surety whenever you apply it. The rear disc is also very sharp and you don’t feel any sponginess in it. Infact people who have a tendency to use the rear disc brakes more should take it easy before using it properly as it may turn out to be a bane rather than boon.

TVS says: Most of our buyers are enthusiasts who know the correct technique of braking and hence we believe that they won’t face any problem.

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Tyre Performance:

As against the popular belief that the TVS tyres are not good and specifically loses traction on wet conditions, I found them pretty decent even if not excellent both in dry and wet conditions. But to be very frank I would have loved to see tubeless on the FI variant.

TVS says:

We accept that the tyre quality in our earlier models( Read the first generation Apaches) were not great but now it is at par to the competition if not better. It’s the perception of public that we need to change. Tubeless would have added the overall cost and the bike is made especially for normal street and track and we don’t see the need as such. But in the higher capacity models you can expect to see tubeless.

Pillion Comfort:

I had the opportunity to have not one but two pillion riders who regularly sits behind me. As per my conversation with both of them this is what they have to say.
“The rear seat is pretty hard and a bit narrow. The two piece grab rails are pretty neat and very usable eve in the case of heavy braking and you don’t feel any pain in the hand. On sudden acceleration you don’t feel like falling backwards but on hard braking you have a tendency to fall on the rider”.

Note: The pillion have the experience of sitting only on Karizma and Pulsar 220 so the above lines are plain comparison with the said bike.

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Miscellaneous:

Headlights: Works fine and provides ample light in the night.
Horn: Does its job without creating major fuss but there is no need for any market fitments.
Switchgear including clip-ons: Pretty ok but for something bigger I would like to see a better-finished product.
The best is definitely the digital meter with those added on features and the new blue backlit which makes it even more interesting.
Fuel efficiency: It’s difficult to predict the actual fuel efficiency but I got somewhere around 46 so a proper run-in bike will easily give 50-55 in day to day riding condition. On highway it will be slightly more.

A short compare with RTR Carbed version:

Though both the bikes looks identical on a closer look you can see the difference in the racing stripes pattern and also the different colour backlit speedo. The rear disc is not there and also all the important FI is missing from badging. The difference is the exhaust note is prominent and with your eyes closed, you can say that it’s not the FI version. After riding the FI RTR I didn’t like the carbed one not because it’s a bad product but because FI variant is much better. The throttle response is not that crisp and you can feel a slight roughness in the engine. TVS had cleverly given only one FI variant to differentiate the product and they should seriously think of just continuing the carbed version in the price-sensitive zones.

Sunny’s First Impression

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Amidst the battle of the giants, Bajaj, Yamaha and Honda lurks this compact yet dynamic and powerful predator – TVS. I had always liked the Apache advertising campaigns, they were directed towards t he youth. In fact this is when me and most of us stood up and noticed a company called TVS. The Apache was its trump card. Thanks to TVS, we managed to get hold of the Apache RTR Fi 160. Those two additional acronyms do sound impressive, and they are. RTR(Racing throttle response) and Fi (Fuel Injection) give it a purposeful name.

The bike that we had got was an Orange colored one. Strange color you may say, but not stranger than a certain bike in lime green, eh?

My first impression of the bike was, OK, this looks good, I mean this looks really good. The sky again was, not surprisingly, painted with dark clouds and the time was 6.15PM. The light was pathetic and the sun was about to go down taking away all the chances of any photoshoot. Without wasting anytime I sat on the bike, inserted the key and turned it on. The response was a sweet whirr of the FI self test and the ultra cool dials lit up. I was sold to the console assembly and the blue lit LCD.

The shield motif on the handle bar assembly did the trick for me. I personally felt that it was fantastic to see a company develop a bike to be the first to see the chequered flag on the finish line.

The pinstriping was a very subtle but important touch which enhanced the character of the bike.

Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday – this is what TVS lives on, and this is what this exudes.

I also like the way TVS are no-nonsensically are clear about the positioning of the bike – on the racetrack, as a brilliant handler and for the youth who wants immediate response from life as well his bike.

I rode the bike was a couple of kays on wet roads and slush. The bike also sounded wonderful. I am told that this particular model had its catcon removed, hence the sound. Someone will verify this later.

The bike also seemed to handle very well on the corners, the most important thing being it felt light and flickable.

I havent ridden an Apache RTR before, so I cannot comment on the improvements or the lack of the. However, I feel that this would be a potent machine for people looking to do lots of twisty riding in the hills as well as show off on the tracks down south.

MGBiker had the bike for a whole day. He will be penning down his first impressions, including a brief ride report.

Of yes, did I tell you that the console also remembers the top speed that you have done. (Details by MG).

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TVS Apache RTR FI 160

The KoJap Dilemma : Ninja 650R vs GT650R

649 / 647CC 71 / 72.7BHP 66 / 60.9NM

xBhp Reviews and compares the Kawasaki Ninja 650R with the Hyosung GT 650R.

Photos & Text: Sundeep Gajjar (Sunny)

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Options make men happy, and they make them sad too…

There was a study that was conducted amongst two groups of people. The first group was given two types of cell phones to choose from, with some great exclusive features in each; the second was made content with just one. After a few days, a study was conducted to measure the happiness quotient of both the groups. The first group was overall much more sad than the second one. It was clear enough as to why – the people in the first group had a very high tendency to think what if they had chosen the ‘other’ phone.
As options for the Indian motorcyclist also increase in the Indian market, they are forced to think twice or more about the decisions they take. More time is spent on research. More window-shopping is done. Everything makes for the classic undecided shopper’s dilemma.

Gone are the days when someone who wanted to have a ‘sports bike’ could walk into the showroom and ride away with the chic CBZ without much ado. And certainly gone are those days when someone who wanted to be a ‘bad-ass on the road’ didn’t have to think further than the still super fun RX100.
Those were the happy-go-lucky unadulterated motorcycling days, unspoilt by choices. Fine and dandy.

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But today, are these choices for real? Or is the Indian consumer too ignorant to see that it is not prudent to classify two bikes based on similar cubic capacities or even the price bracket they fall into?

The ‘fresh in the mind’ big comparo-mistake was to compare the race derived Ninja 250R and the touring master CBR250R. We did so too (see xBhp magazine June – July 2011 issue), but we told you straight up at the end of it – they are two different bikes and cannot be compared without skewing one’s perspective.

The latest pair in the spotlight to hit the Indian scene are the two middleweights – the Kawasaki Ninja 650R in its signature green and the blood red Hyosung GT650 in the bright red (and other color options as well).
The Kwacker has come to our shores under the aegis of the mighty Bajaj, while the Hyosung has been bought by a young (in motor vehicle segment), but big enough, company, Garware Motors.

The Green Goblin has nothing to prove and the red sportster is the classic underdog with a lot of promise. No battle has ever been equal. Neither will this be.

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Should we compare the Ninja 650R and the Hyosung GT650R?

Yes and No.

Yes as these are the only two players in the middleweight motorcycle space in India as of this writing (June 2011).

No, if and only if we need to be politically correct. Because once again we have two very different bikes in the same specification space and they will anyways be compared because of the ‘consumer choice dilemma’.

For the sake of brevity we will now use N650R and GT650R for the Ninja 650R and the Hyosung GT650R respectively.

Can the N650R and GT650R be compared at all?

Apples and Oranges cannot be, but Red and Green Apples can certainly be.
Both the bikes share a lot of similarities and yet possess entirely different characteristics and applications off the shelf. But either can be tweaked to match the other. Let us start with the most obvious and primary,

The Cost

This one is very close, the Ninja ( at 4.57 lacs ES Delhi) is a tad cheaper than the Hyosung (at 4.75 lacs ES Delhi ). The Hyosung just crosses over the 5 lacs mark on road while the Ninja stays under that.

Our comments to the manufacturers:

Great job done there Bajaj, keep it at that price point! We hope the bigger Kwackers are reasonably priced as well.

And kudos to Garware to bring on the Hyosungs first despite knowing that the bigger players might be having something on the anvil in this category. The price is terrific for the Hyosung as well considering what it is sold at in countries like Australia (9000 AUD approx, which is 4,27,000 INR minimum) and with the exorbitant import Indian duties to boot. But Garware, just try and get that on road price below 5 for that all psychological advantage. Rest is all good!

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Looks

A Very subjective issue. Both the bike’s signature colors are sporty and striking. The green is unmistakably Ninja and the red of the GT with its 999ish vertically stacked projector lamps lend it a ‘Ducatish’ look (and that’s a BIG complement). If you ask me, then the Ninja looks more radical than the GT650R from some angles while the GT looks like a proper super sports with its definitive lines, clip-ons and the faux front scoops.

Overall the fit and finish of the Ninja feels better up close, but the Hyosung is not far away from the Japs either.

The best style components of the Ninja

The stunning and large console
Side mounted mono shock
Dual wide lights
Some design cues are taken from the supersports ZX6R

The best style components of the Hyosung

Vertically stacked projector lamps
Proper super sports styling
The rear with the meaty flanked exhaust
Exhaust note

The Hyosung takes my vote for the decided looks and color options available in India.

Rideability

The Ninja’s good mid range torque and power is suited best for relaxed long distance touring .This is complemented by the upright handle bar lending the rider a very relaxed riding position. It will munch tarmac like no one’s business plus it will go off-road at will too.

The Hyosung is best suited for spirited sports riding, albeit . It’s little more powerful than the Ninja and the V-twin engine lends it some healthy torque throughout the tacho range. It is especially fantastic on curves, the huge tank lending the rider lot of surface to crouch on and direct the bike precisely in and out of corners. But make no mistake, it will blast through the city and highways as well like a hot knife through butter if the need be. However, if you want to tour long distances on this bike, spacers beneath those clip-ons will go in a long way negating the super sports position of the rider and taking some weight off the wrists. That will make it a lot more practical as a tourer. The engine of the Hyosung is similar to the trusted Suzuki SV650 engine which is practically bulletproof like the Ninjas.

I personally enjoyed the Hyosung much more than the Ninja on the curves and the Ninja was better on the highways (because of it’s more relaxed position). This combined with the sweet V-twin note emanating from underneath made it for a truly fantastic and involved experience.

In the braking department, the Hyosung felt little better than the Ninja, which could be because of the dual discs upfront as well as due to the meaty upside down forks.

In terms of rideability, both bikes are almost similar with the Hyosung taking my top marks by a hair’s breadth because of its more focused nature. Serious tourers will have to make a few changes mentioned above to make the Hyosung a more potent tool for the same.

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After you buy

There are some products like the iPhone which are worthy of buying just because of the rich add-on universe they command from third party manufacturers.

The Ninja has a plethora of options to customize your bike – windscreens, levers, exhausts and more.

The Hyosung, which is relatively young, also has decent after-market options available with companies like Leo Vince and Two Brothers taking serious interest in them and the commercial success all over the world but in all probability the Ninja will score over the Hyosung in this department if you like to have more customized options available post buying.

VFM – Value For Money

I started with Cost and I will end with VFM. The two most important factors in deciding who will be your soulmate for the trips to come.

This is a tough one as VFM is as subjective as much as the cost is objective.
However instead of taking one’s perspective and applications as a yardstick we will stick to the old school notion of measuring how much one gets for how much money.

Ignoring what we have been always saying about these two bikes – they are in two different segments and cannot be fairly compared, we can evaluate each as follows:

For 4.57 lacs ES for the Ninja you get:

The Kawasaki and Ninja brand, a great tourer off the shelf and a great service network

For 4.75 lacs ES for the GT650R you get:

A complete BIG sports bike, decided looks, sweet sounding mill, a very capable engine.

Both the bikes will eat miles as no one’s business and both can be set up for either touring or track with minor mods.

The only way you will get a definitive answer which no comparison or review will ever have is to book yourself a test ride of both the bikes and decide for yourself…*

*Last we checked the N650R wasn’t available for test rides yet, while you can get one on a GT650R in Delhi, Goa, Bangalore and Pune with more cities being added.

And as for me, I already have a fantastic Ninja 250R in my garage, so I went ahead and booked a blood red GT650R for myself (and going with the trend these days I am posting the booking receipt of the same below !)

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tags
GT650R
Hyosung GT650R
Kawasaki Ninja 650R
Kawasaki Ninja 650R vs Hyosung GT650R
Ninja 650R