The Yamaha FZ-X – is it a calculated risk or a gamble?
Whether the buyers will be attracted to it remains to be seen
Even before Yamaha launched the FZ-X in India, undisguised pictures of the bike were spotted in some hilly places in the country. Yamaha is marketing it as a neo-retro and a crossover bike, thanks to its looks. It is inspired by the XSR series which is on sale for the European markets. Yamaha did not think it might be worth bringing the XSR series to India, so they have remodelled the FZ to look like it. With its retro scrambler look and off-road tyres, the obvious question was that would it be a scrambler? And the answer is, no.
An FZS for off-road?
Not exactly. The FZ-X, as you can make out, is based on the FZ series and shares the same cycle parts with the latter and the difference is mostly limited to the appearance and packaging of the FZ-X. So what is different here? The FZ-X is longer, wider and taller than the FZ series bikes. The seat height at 810mm is also 20mm more than the FZ series. The single-piece two-step seat, by the looks of it, seems to be more focused on delivering a comfortable ride and this should be an advantage for long rides. The fuel tank capacity is 10 litres, 3 litres less than the FZ series. It also has block tyres and a bash plate, lending it a scrambler look. The ground clearance is the same for both FZ and FZX at 165mm. So not the one for off-road. The footpegs of the FZ-X are positioned towards the front, unlike the FZ series and that makes the former more commuter-ish. Personally, I feel that Yamaha should have gone the whole nine yards and brought the XSR 125 and 155 bikes, which would have given KTM India a headache.
Why choose the FZ-X?
So, why would someone opt for the FZ-X over the FZ series? To stand out from the crowd? Sure, the FZ-X looks fresh, with its round headlamp unit with DRLs, LED headlight and taillights, and the fork gaiters that lend it a scrambler look. Another reason to opt for the FZ-X might be comfort. Don’t get me wrong - the FZ is a very comfy bike for the rider, but not much for the pillion. Especially for long rides. The FZ-X, however, may not feel like that in terms of pillion seat comfort due to the new seat design. Another highlight in this bike is that you get Bluetooth connectivity, SMS and email notifications, maintenance alerts and other bike telemetry information as a part of the Y-Connect suite.
But then, the options...
It's not easy for the FZ-X in this segment. Now, with some popular bikes in this price range in the 150-200cc category, the price also becomes a deciding factor. You have the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V which makes more power, handles very well, looks cool, accelerates quickly, and has the digital goodies as well. And more importantly, it costs less too. Priced at Rs 1.07 lakh for the drum brake version and Rs 1.10 lakh for the disc variant, the Apache RTR 160 4V undercuts the FZ-X by Rs 8000.
Taste of Adventure for the masses
For the adventure-oriented folks out there, you have the smallest dual-sport in the country (in terms of engine capacity) and the noob-friendly Hero Xpulse, which costs is priced at Rs 1.18 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Frankly, the FZ-X is outgunned and in this company. The base version without the Y-Connect costs Rs 1.16 lakh, while the one with Y-Connect retails at Rs 1.19 lakh. So, what is your pick? The latest entrant in the 150-160cc class or the reigning king of the segment or the adventure-oriented one? Whichever you choose, wear a helmet and other protective gear and ride safe!