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Text and Photos: Sunny/ Sundeep Gajjar
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.
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
Headlight and frontal
The rear 140 looks good and should aid wet cornering, but it will put many a Karol Bagh modification shops out business.
The black treatment looks good and makes the bike look bulkier.
Monoshock : Thumbs Up!,
No chain cover: Thumbs Up!
Saree Guard: Thumbs Down!
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.
Arguably the most proportionate looking motorcycle available in the Indian market.
Rear grab rails look functional and good.
Monocross suspension, we know it is there!
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…
Engine type: Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 2-valve
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
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
Minimum ground clearance: 160mm
Dry weight/Curb weight: 126 kg / 137 kg
Fuel tank volume: 12 liters
Engine oil volume: 1.2 liters