Yamaha FZ25 Review
Yamaha's entrant to the 250cc bracket is a scaled-up version of the ever-popular FZ16. Will it succeed in the same way that the 150cc has? We find out.
What is it?
Why I would buy the Yamaha FZ25
It is a perfect upgrade for someone who has outgrown the performance of the premium 150-200cc commuter motorcycles but doesn't want to let go of the low commuter maintenance costs.
Why I would avoid the Yamaha FZ25
The rough edges like the engine vibrations are very unlike Yamaha. Plus, it doesn't stand out in a crowd like its price-point peers do.
Yamaha’s bigger, more expensive FZ is its answer to the expanding premium motorcycle segment that everyone is eyeing, based on the numbers that Royal Enfield sells. The space here is getting quite crowded – besides the standard Bullet 350 and the Classic 350, there’s the KTM 200 Duke, Bajaj Dominar 400, Bajaj RS200, Honda CBR150R and Yamaha’s very own R15. The Japanese manufacturer saw a gap in the price range for a commuter motorcycle and decided on making a bigger version of its very popular FZ16, which clocks segment-leading numbers even now.
How does it ride?
Surprisingly stiffly. The FZ16 offers a cossetting ride, but the FZ25 needs a little more suspension travel at the front. Even with our heavy road testers (who we like to call ‘load testers’) the ride was stiff – of course, this translates to some great feedback, especially considering the chassis is a Yamaha, so cornering on the FZ25 is a hoot. The engine is derived from an old design, so there’s a two-valve head and an unimpressive 20bhp power figure. The torque has an identical 20Nm figure, and it is spread well over the rev range. We must mention here that anything that displaces 250cc and yet manages to generate less power than a Pulsar 220 and the same as a Karizma ZMR won’t win any spec comparisons. However, in real life, it means that getting ahead involves a mere twist of the wrist. There’s no downshifting business required with this motorcycle. The gearbox is a smooth, positive unit but has only five speeds. The brakes on the FZ have no ABS but are full of feel and feedback. An option of specifying it with ABS would have been a great idea – we expect this will happen when the equivalent Fazer launches.
The switch from the FZ16’s radials to a regular nylon crossply set has made the FZ a better handler on smooth roads, but it exhibits some old-school behavior like the handlebar twitching in your hands when you try to cross an expansion joint at too shallow an angle. That said, it is a hoot to commute on, with enough power to outrun most things on the highway as well, and keep up with all but one or two motorcycles at the price point. With the wide handlebar, surprisingly rearset footpegs (for a commuter) and a chassis, suspension and brake setup that is willing to play, the FZ25 will be a good choice for a jaunt down twisty roads.
Anything else I should know?
The engine is based on a ten-year old design, so it will be indestructible. It also has the vibrations of a motor engineered that long ago, which is a bit of a shock if you’re used to the silky refinement of the FZ16. It more than makes up for all its negative points with a real-world fuel efficiency figure of nearly 42kpl – 150cc owners would be happy with a figure like that! The FZ25 also feels like a small motorcycle – great for most regular-sized Indians, but when you sit on competition like the Bajaj Dominar, you get a sense of how cramped the Yam actually is.
While the instrument cluster displays a lot of information, it is a very small screen. We’re slowly but surely moving to displays that have a strong sense of style; reverse LCDs and colour screens with Bluetooth and whatnot – the FZ25’s screen feels like a digital screen designed a while ago.
Should I buy one?
If you’re an FZ16 owner, yes. If you’re a premium 150cc owner and wants to upgrade but don’t want the extremes that are available at the price point – KTM 200 Duke, Royal Enfield Classic 350, Bajaj Dominar 400 – and want to stick to the style of motorcycle that you’re comfortable with, then yes, you should. The fuel efficiency and maintenance costs will keep you happy, the performance will keep you smiling, and it will be dead reliable.
Where does it fit in?
At Rs 1.18 lakh ex-showroom, the Yamaha FZ25 has a surprising number of motorcycles that can be considered competition – at the low end there is the Bajaj Pulsar 220F (Rs 89,000), an old favourite that offers the best horsepower-to-price ratio in the business. A more modern set of alternatives lies in the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 (Rs 94,000), TVS Apache RTR 200 4V FI (Rs 1 lakh), Bajaj Pulsar RS200 (Rs 1.22 lakh) and KTM 200 Duke (Rs 1.45 lakh). Left-field alternatives to the FZ25 are the Bajaj Dominar 400 non-ABS (Rs 1.4 lakh) and the Royal Enfield Classic 350 (Rs 1.36 lakh). Much further up the price chain are similar format, similar displacement models like the KTM 250 Duke (Rs 1.75 lakh) and Benelli TNT25 (Rs 1.71 lakh).
1. Nuvo 'Foul Plugs' helmet Not on sale for a while now, this helmet meets ECER22-05 ratings and has a double-D ring strap all at a very affordable price. Not to mention a very neat little cartoon story as well. Price: (approx) ₹ 6000
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5. Royal Enfield long riding boots With a little inspiration from both off-road boots and touring boots, the RE long riding boots are comfortable and yet protective. Price: ₹ 11,000
Photos by Kapil Angane
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