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There are motorcycles and then there are refined motorcycles. This piece of sweetness belongs to the latter. The Yamaha FZ 25 ain’t no hooligan, it is a sedate machine which will do absolutely everything you need, without breaking a sweat!
Yamaha organised a media ride in the lovely state of Goa, which is actually a perfect setting for this motorcycle. Twisties, undulating terrain, potholes, gravel and all two-lane highways! The road plays to the motorcycle’s strength and masks its limited weaknesses.
The bike is good looking, I don’t think there will be many who disagree with that. It carries over the successful base design from its younger sibling sold in India and adds a touch more muscle. In fact, it does feel like a more grown up and mature version of the FZ-S. The prospective buyer will find the design familiar as well as refreshingly different. Face first, the LED headlamp makes you sit up and take notice. The only 250 in India with this setup Yamaha boffins proudly tell you. The LED lights have two bulbs in the centre for the low beam and one bulb in the lower half of the dome for the hi-beam. 13+13+9 Watts together consuming 35W with the hi-beam in play. Unfortunately we rode in bright sunlight and have no clue on the effectiveness of these new lights.
Switching from the lights we go to the switch gear. Quality finish and everything falls naturally to the rider’s hands. The pass switch though isn’t activated by your index finger, instead by the thumb. Which brings me to a pet peeve, why can’t these basic things be standardised across motorcycles! I have a tiny brain and don’t want to use it. Let muscle memory handle mundane things like this please!
Your leg muscles gladly grab onto the beefy fuel tank. The plastic is neatly sculpted and the recess provides you sufficient grip for all regular riding conditions. The saddle is oh so plush, you almost forget to mention it. That’s how good it is. My pillion for a couple of kilometres vouched for the pillion saddle as well. The ergonomics are spot on for my 5’11” frame and I would gladly ride the length and breadth of this country on the FZ 25, if given a chance! The bike is neither excessively commuterish nor sporty, just skimming the sweet spot between the two.
The gearbox is super smooth, the handling of the bike is neutral. It’s neither in a hurry nor sluggish, one can ride it at ones comfort level. The motorcycle is overall very forgiving, you don’t feel as if sitting on pins and needles at all times. Make a mistake mid-corner and you can still reel it in without your pants turning brown! MotoGP racer Pol Espargaró had described riding the Yamaha YZR- M1 as a motorcycle which the harder you push, the slower you go. To go faster, you got to be smooth. That description holds true for the FZ 25, even though the two motorcycles exist in different galaxies!
The brakes on the bike are satisfactory, very gradeable, but if you grab a fistful, the tyres will protest. The MRF rubber on the FZ appeared quite capable, but not something you want to go kamikaze with! The bike doesn’t have the safety net of ABS, so discretion is the better part of valour!
One of the strongest points of the Yamaha is its gem of an engine, equipped with the ‘Blue Core’ technology. The marketing term to describe an engine which extracts maximum power without being excessively thirsty. Departing from media ride convention, Yamaha laid bare it’s heart and soul, quite literally! A variety of components from the engine internals were kept on display for enthusiasts to drool over. From the lightweight piston, thinner piston rings, cylinder head block with oval combustion, the nickel and silicon plated sleeve, the muffler with multiple expansion chambers for the smooth sound, the 10-hole injector and a cross-section of the headlight. All this weight saving helps keep the weight down to a measly 148kg. Another figure the tech guys are proud to bandy about. This low weight aids handling considerably and the bike would be a different beast if it were 10 kg heavier. The torque from the engine might be scoffed on paper, but in real world riding conditions it’s wonderful. Peak torque coming in at 6000 RPM, ensures that frequent gearshifts are not required and a bit of throttle will see you comfortably sailing past traffic. The bike does struggle for breath at the top end and we don’t expect high speed runs. But riding at near around the triple digit mark is comfortable with no vibes coming in at any point. For those wondering about top speed, frankly Goa isn’t a place you want to risk life and limb to attempt it, and with a brand new engine, your findings wouldn’t be very accurate either.
Along with the engine tech, Yamaha also showcased its aftermarket capabilities. On display was their diagnostic tool which is hooked into the ECU and all information about the various sensors of the motorcycle is provided to you. These are compared to set parameters which then allows the mechanic to clean/ replace any parts. There was also a fuel injector cleaning unit, in which Yamaha recommends the injectors to be cleaned every 6000km. Service intervals are set for 5000km so you would want to get it done at every service. All Yamaha SVCs will have these tools at their disposal to ensure a satisfactory service.
FZ 25 vs Duke 250
For starters, the bikes are very different and shouldn’t be compared! So why am I doing so? Because someone will go ahead and ask me this question, so I will grab the bull by the horns!
The KTM Duke 250 is a busy motorcycle, which requires the constant attention of the rider. The bike begs a thrashing. The FZ 25 is calm, mature and gentlemanly and forgives the rider’s mistakes and imperfections. The FZ is lighter in absolute weight and will be lighter on your pocket as well! The Duke is razor sharp and boasts around 10 bhp more. The Duke and FZ should have a similar tank range, though the former comes with a metal tank, while the latter has a plastic one (weight saving). The Duke has a more aggressive and purposeful riding posture, while the FZ is more relaxed. Both bikes come equipped with MRF tyres. The bikes should also get similarly decent after sales and service. And therefore…
…the bike of choice should depend entirely on the character of the rider. The hooligan for the hooligan and the gentleman for the gentleman!
Photos: Thulashi Dharan J and Avinash Noronha (The Monk)