Yamaha FZ X Review
This is a Yamaha motorcycle and as you can see it has some neo-modern retro styling and also some bits that makes it look tough and rugged. But it is not the XSR 155. It is the Indianized version of it and it goes by the name the FZ-X.
This is a Yamaha motorcycle and as you can see it has got a neo-modern retro styling along with a few elements that make it look tough and rugged. And while it looks like the XSR 155, it's not. In fact, it is an Indianised version of the XSR 155 and goes by the name FZ-X. Now, the name clearly suggests this bike is based on Yamaha India’s most accomplished and profitable FZ platform. But, the company has invested heavily to make it aesthetically pleasing and also create a motorcycle that can cater to a market where good roads are a bit difficult to find.
Now one of the main reasons Yamaha wanted to launch the FZ-X in India was to bring in a new set of buyers to the brand who wanted something retro and something that differentiates them from other genres of motorcycles.
This is why the bike sports a lot of modern-retro design elements. Starting from the front, you have a round projector headlamp that is flanked by neatly designed LED DRLs. Then there’s this large brightly painted tear-drop fuel tank that also has decent space to rest your knee. And if you move towards the back, you will notice this single-piece seat that complements the overall design language. There’s also this grab rail that looks extremely basic, something a lot of people might not like. But we believe there’s an utilitarian reason for such a grab rail.
The FZ-X gets a lot of metal parts. It also gets fork gaiters - something we see on bikes with off-road capabilities. And at the back, this grab rail might look cheap, but it does complete the tough and rugged look. Then there are also these button tyres to provide better grip in dirt conditions. But there’s something that confirms the bike’s scrambler connection and it is in its name – the X. Usually, most of the marketing guys relate X to something extreme or adventurous. So we believe this bike was named FZ-X to enhance that product positioning.
The FZ-X being a 2021 motorcycle, gets some modern features. And the coolest of all is this Bluetooth-enabled instrument cluster. The system is brand new and even the more expensive FZ25 doesn’t get it. So it is quite desirable.
Once connected to Yamaha’s Y Connect App, the cluster shows a host of notifications like missed call and incoming call alerts, and SMS and email prompts along with the battery level of the phone. This app also does more. It lets the rider see the engine rpm, degree of throttle opening, rate of acceleration and real-time fuel consumption. The app also notifies the rider in case of any malfunction. For safety and security reasons, the Y Connect App also has the option of showing you the last parking location.
This Yamaha is also equipped with a 12V charging socket that is placed right in front of your eyes. There’s also a metal cowl to take care of the roughness of Indian roads. And like we see in a few other Yamahas, the bike gets the side-stand engine-cut off switch. This system doesn’t let the rider ride the bike if the side-stand is activated.
Now coming to the 'living with it' aspect, we think Yamaha has done a fair job. For example, the seating triangle is quite comfortable. It is easier to reach the saddle, even though it is a few millimetres taller than the FZ. The footpegs are slightly forward seat, the handlebar is easy to reach and then this seat is wide and it feels nice. So these three things make the FZ-X a comfortable commuter motorcycle. For the pillion, the space is decent and if you are one of those guys who tour a lot, well, we think you will be fine with a good amount of luggage.
The FZ-X is based on the FZ platform. So the 149cc air-cooled engine that you see here is from the FZ. In fact, nothing has changed for this new model. The power output. The torque. The compression ratio. Everything is the same as the FZ. And, the five-speed gearbox too, has been borrowed from the FZ. Because of such extensive cycle parts that's shared with its naked sibling, the FZ-X has the same engine character. The refinement level is really good. The NVH is quite controlled. The power delivery is linear and the engine revs quite nicely. We really enjoyed the mid-range as there’s enough torque to overtake vehicles easily. The bike feels sober till 5000rpm, post that the FZ-X does deliver a fun experience. And if you are one of those, you like stay at higher revs most of the time, this bike can do that with ease but you will deal with some minor vibrations on the tank and the handlebar.
The FZ-X rides on traditional 41mm telescopic forks at the front. And at the rear it gets twin shock absorbers with a seven-step preload adjuster. This is something we usually see in motorcycles of this segment. But what we really liked here is the way all of this comes together. We thoroughly enjoyed the low speed ride. The monsoon has hit Mumbai and the roads have started to show its true colours. But the FZ-X has been tuned well to tackle the poor roads and stay calm and composed. But yes, the high speed ride something that we aren’t truly happy about. Maybe Yamaha found out that being a city bike, most of the time it will be at lower speeds. So that’s why not a lot of focus has gone on the quality of its high speed ride.
Now coming to the brakes, the entire setup has been lifted from the FZ. So we are talking 282mm disc at the front and a 220mm one at the back. Single-channel ABS is standard. Even with its weight increase, this braking setup works fairly well. The stopping power is decent. You don’t have to put a lot of effort on the levers. But yes, as we see on other commuter motorcycles, the feedback on the levers is quite poor.
Let’s agree to the fact that the FZ-X is a commuter or you can call it even a city bike. That's why you see a low seat height, accessible kerb weight and good weight distribution. All these factors have made the FZ-X a motorcycle that is super easy and such a joy to ride in the city. The wide and easy to reach handlebar, the fantastic view from the saddle and the comfortable seating triangle - all come together really well and that makes the FZ-X one practical bike to own. In the corners, the bike works decently well. You might not feel comfortable entering and exiting a corner as you would do on the FZ-S, but you won’t be disappointed if you are on some twisty roads.
The FZ-X can easily take on some good off-road conditions. Thanks to its decent ground clearance, the bike can go through some nasty dirt conditions pretty well. The tyres offer decent grip in the dirt and that does improve the overall confidence. But it is not a Tenere, so one should avoid jumping it around or climb some steep hills. We tried all of it and it felt as if the bike doesn't want to do any of it.
The FZ-X is available in two variants – the standard model costs Rs 1.40 lakh on road and the premium variant which gets the Bluetooth connectivity costs Rs 4000 more and that brings its cost to Rs 1.44 lakh on-road Mumbai. Now, the main question? Should you buy the FZ-X? Well, there are a few things that you should know before you decide on this bike.
The FZ-X is aesthetically pleasing. We know this could sound a bit controversial, but the bike does look so much better in person. The visual. The overall body proportions. This is something a lot of Indians are definitely going to like. When it comes to features, the bike does have some decent ones and we really liked the Bluetooth system and the various features it offers. The engine too. It is nice. Refined. Churns out good performance and has decent overtaking skills. The clutch is easy to pull and the five-speed gearbox works fairly well too. Plus, the riding dynamics are friendly, thanks to the comfortable seating ergonomics. So when you combine all these aspects, you have one good city commuter. And if your primary requirement is to commute to work from home and you want to do that in style, then the FZ-X is for you. But if you are looking for something sportier, you might want to want to check out the FZ or maybe walk into a Hero or TVS showroom.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
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